Año nuevo

I am leaving in the morning, as the bluesmen say. I am going to try to climb this mountain. Even if I do not make it to the summit, I will still get close. If I do not post, it will be because I am drinking Andean wine at some base camp, or sifting through … More Año nuevo

Se vuol ballare

Slaves of Academe has reminded us more than once that in academia, as in life, good deeds rarely go unpunished. Sometimes, however, they are rewarded or at least not opposed. This leads to feelings of empowerment, which brings perspective and focus, and fosters further accomplishment. This is why I have always considered empowerment a positive … More Se vuol ballare

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

[Five Rigoberta Menchús, oh my!] One of my students wrote an honors thesis on the controversy which surrounded Rigoberta Menchú after David Stoll alleged that there were false statements in her testimonio. This student read virtually every book and article then in print about the issue. She said to me, “This is the academic Jerry … More Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Lydia Mendoza

[Lydia Mendoza. Folk Roots/Arhoolie Foundation.] Every once in a while, you need mariachis, but I could not find a video that was not just too campy. So I started looking at conjunto music, and finally decided to introduce the amazing tejana singer Lydia Mendoza. NPR’s brilliant Lydia Mendoza page page allows us to hear her … More Lydia Mendoza


I 1. This page looks terrible in LINUX, or at least in the version I have and the browsers I have. 2. The exam I gave today was very hard to fail, if you studied, but very hard to pass, if you did not. All students who had failing averages before the exam, have now … More Technicalities

Avre este abajour

I should have known that the FNAC would have a recording I would like, and we could hear, of ladino folk songs. I am fascinated by Ladino or Judaeo-Spanish because it is so creolized, and so full of archaisms. As in this lyric: Avre este abajour, bijou, avre la tu ventana; por ver tu kara … More Avre este abajour

El mar y las campanas

There is much I do not like about Pablo Neruda, but these lines fit this morning’s windswept sunniness. Gracias, violines, por este día de cuatro cuerdas. Puro es el sonido del cielo, la voz azul del aire. On this graceful, four-stringed day, skies sound pure as violins: the air’s blue voice. Axé.

In Honor of HAH!

Moksha is on a blogging hiatus, but my stats suggest she may still be reading. If she is, she will discover that this post is for her, since I know she will appreciate it. How do I know that? Well, she liked a term I coined, “Bible-drippers.” With her in mind I will dare to … More In Honor of HAH!

Nanci Griffith

Today, being too busy to write much, and given that it is the weekend, so we should be singing, my first thought was to search for a James Brown video. I have specific reasons for this, upon which I may expound later. It being a beautiful country Saturday here, with Mediterranean weather reminding me partly … More Nanci Griffith