Jul 2005

Nahoo? Yahoo!

You have no idea what I'm talking about!

Yes, well here they are, the CDs that I've been looking for for quite some time. Those CDs are: Nahoo, Nahoo Too [sic] and Nahoo 3: Notes from the Republic. Nahoo Too is still in the mail somewhere, but 1 and 3 have arrived. These CDs are by Paul Mounsey, who is all but unknown in North America. I first heard about him on CKUA, the Alberta Public Radio Station during the wonderful Celtic Show.

I found the album from the radio announcer for the track I heard, which turned out to be the album Proterra by Runrig, a Scottish folk/rock band that Mounsey teamed up with for Proterra.

Paul Mounsey is a Scottish born guy who decided to move to Brazil for a little stint (and marriage as well). Along the way he picked up several new musical styles, which I guess you could call Brazilian-Scottish fusion, for want of a better term, though even that doesn't really do it justice. There really is no way to explain it unless you hear it. If I can find a website that has some music samples I'll post a link here.

Back to the story: the Proterra album didn't have the song I wanted, despite what the radio announcer said and the difficulty I had in getting it. I was an excllent album, though. I've been looking for his Nahoo series of albums, where Mounsey is fronting the whole thing, in the hopes that I could find my mystery track.

Unfortunately these CDs are very difficult to find in North America, so it's taken a while to get a hold of them. I am very glad they came, and I am listening to the first one as I type.

It's a very good album. I don't know how to classify it. Sometimes I think Enya, then Braveheart, then Moby, then Hadhirgaan, then Spirit of the West, then Buckwheat Zydeco, then I don't know what.

And lo and behold, I've found it! The mystery track is called "Alba" and it sounds great!

It was worth the effort.

Now I'm wondering what's on Nahoo 3.

Here are some notes on the Nahoo project.

Oh yeah, I failed to mention his album City of Walls, which I acquired when I got Proterra. It is similarly excellent.

Check him out of you have a chance.

Harry's Latest Adventure

Here are my thoughts on the new Harry Potter book.

Whew, I haven't posted in a while! That's what I get for being busy.

I recently finished the new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It came in the mail on Friday and I finished it Sunday night. What do you think I did that weekend?

I'm not going to talk about the story too much, because it's too easy to spoil the book. All in all, I really liked it. This is the sixth (and second last) book in the series. Rowling clearly shows her ability to tell a familiar yet different tale. The book is similarly cyclical as all the others. The story begins just before the school year, runs through the year and ends as the school closes for another year. There is the requisite covering of the Dursleys and the visit to the Weasleys.

The muggle world is similarly familiar yet different from that of our own. I always feel that it is an alternate 50s take on Britain. It is commonly thought of as our world, but I don't think that was ever the intent. Well, at least the world of the Dursleys isn't our world, I think.

Harry is older now and is dealing with more grown-up magic and grown-up problems. There is clearly a darkening of the tale going on, as if the storm clouds are gathering for the final battle in the last book. (Which they are, of course.)

One note of interest is that the first chapter tells the story through the eyes of the muggle Prime Minister. This is an unusual technique for Rowling, and she has only used it once before, as far as I can tell: at the beginning of the first book when the story is told through the eyes and feelings of Vernon Dursley. The rest of the text in all the books is told from the point of view of either Harry or the Narrator. I'm not sure if there is any significance of returning to this technique, but I will have to think about it.

My only real gripes are Harry's love interest and the two-dimensionalness of the secondary characters. Harry gets a new love interest, but I don't really like the way it was handled. It seemed more like a plot device rather than part of the story. Rowling can write better than that. Also, the secondary characters were too two-dimenstional. I expected the characters to fill out as Harry grew older (and began to see them more as adults). Sadly this doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps the child readers won't notice. They are the target audience after all, so I guess they are what matters.

Now I will have to wait quite some time for the last Harry book. I'm looking forward to it. Despite the huge Harry marketing behemoth that now exists, there is still a charm in the stories that appeals.