Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcome to S.A.H.E.O.

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Hello!

 

We are Saheo 🙂

  • S – Sonia Sandhu
  • A – Anne
  • H – Harveen Kaler
  • E – EstefanĂ­a Wujkiw
  • O – Olivia

 

The passions covered in this blog are food and music.

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Sa… Re… Ga… Do… Re… Mi… (Sonia)

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For this blog post, I searched and searched and searched for topics/ideas for weeks in vain. Until now, when I finally realized that music is universal! So why not discuss Indian classical music and some of its similarities and dissimilarities to Western music!!

I have been studying North Indian Classical Music for over 4 years now. And I have come to realize that Indian classical music in one of the most beautiful gifts to mankind. It is deep, energizing, relaxing and, well, old! As per my research, existence of Indian music can be dated to as far back as 2000 BC.

Indian classical music is based on ragas, which are scales and melodies that provide the foundation for a performance. Unlike western classical music, that is deterministic, Indian classical music allows for a much greater degree of “personalization” of the performance, almost to the level of jazz-like improvisation. Thus, each performance of a raga is different. The goal of the raga is to create a trance state, to broadcast a mood of ecstasy. The main difference with western classical music is that the Indian ragas are not “composed” by a composer, but was created via a lengthy evolutionary process over the centuries. Thus they do not represent mind of the composer but a universal idea of the world. They transmit not personal but impersonal emotion. Another difference is that Indian music is monodic, not polyphonic. Hindustani (North Indian) ragas are assigned to specific times of the day (or night) and to specific seasons. Carnatic (Southern Indian) ragas constitute one of the oldest systems of music in the world.

Honestly, 350 words cannot be enough to even introduce Indian music. The study is so vast. However, here’s a video that might give a hint. It is a clip from a program on Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of Patiala Gharana, the Great Indian Classical Vocalist.
In this clip, Khan sahib sings the following ragas:

Bhairav, Bhairavi, Gujari Todi, Megh, Pilu, Multani, Marwa, Shankara, Kedar, Malkauns, Sindh Bhairavi, Jaijaiwanti, Yaman and Pahadi.

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“Banaras, Music of the Ganges” (Documentary)

Basics and history of Indian Classical Music

Simple Introduction to South Indian Classical Music – Part 1

Simple Introduction to South Indian Classical Music – Part 2

Sound of India

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– Sonia

The Flute

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The art of music lies in its ability to organize sounds and rhythm. Sounds usually come from the singer’s voice as well as out of an instrument. We define an instrument as any object that is used for some purpose by humans. The key to this definition is that the instrument itself is provided its functional use and identity because of humans.

In the early stages of the flute, it didn’t carry the musical connotation it has nowadays. In certain cultures it was usually identified with “mythical or spiritual figures, with pastoral life, and with death.”[1] Dates like holidays or deaths might have been inscribed on by tribal leaders. At the time, it had the capacity of producing one sound that was used to be informative of weather or danger.

In the 14th century, after the Swiss troops defeated the Burgundian army, the Swiss used “the flute to signal precise movements (…) of soldiers armed with pikes,”[2] and other types of weapons. This method spread all over Europe quickly. It was preceded by the earliest written instruction on how to play it.

By 1700s, the German and French influences over the flute gave it prestige. The earliest educational books written by composers gave it the identity it holds today in classical music. Bit by bit, the flute became classical and musicians like Theobald Boehm enhanced the instrument. He “aimed to make the flute louder, its timbre more homogeneous from note to note,”[3] and because of his creativity he radically changed its anatomy. He also gave it more keys, creating more notes, therefore it was more in harmony with other instruments. His innovation served as the blueprint for later instruments like the saxophone and clarinet[4].

Used among cultures as a tradition to declare war or to celebrate, the flute shows it is time biased, promoting tradition and stability. Boehm’s drastic design proved it has the flexibility to change[5]. No matter who you are, or where you are, the flute has no restrictions. To anyone who is willing to play, it will be happy to show its versatility.

 

Estefania Wujkiw

 

[1] Flute History. http://www.flutehistory.com/

[2] Flute History. http://www.flutehistory.com/Instrument/Military.php3

[3] The Anatomy and Evolution of the Flute. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/flute/anatomy.html

[4] The Anatomy and Evolution of the Flute. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/flute/anatomy.html

[5] Intersections of Media and Communications. Pp. 117

Ethnic Cleansing

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Music empowers because it has the ability to be accessible to many people around the world. The messages in its lyrics bring about “social change, of speaking truth to power.”[1] In song writing, music becomes liberating, motivational and powerful, because this is when most artists are free to express their feelings deliberately. Their passion is felt by the audience, and therefore makes a song meaningful.

The song “Strange Fruit[2]” was first sung by Billie Holiday[3]. The story goes that it was originally a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a teacher who was deeply impacted after what he saw in a picture of Southern lynching[4]. Because he couldn’t do much at the time about the crime, he expressed his impotence through this chilling poem. In its simplicity, Meeropol contrasts the “beautiful landscape with the scene of lynching, the smell of magnolias with that of burning flesh,”[5] a product of racial oppression.

Lynching was a form of murder. It was torture led by a mob that didn’t allow formal trial for its victims. It is important to point out that lynching had no restrictions, because the justice system that could potentially place limitations was dominated by white people. And so, it was a dehumanizing way to show who ruled. It was often geared towards African-Americans to emphasize that they were “not truly human beings or, if human, certainly not equal or endowed with any right to life or liberty.”[6] The mobs demonstrated their superiority by punishing these people any way they pleased. Lynching went from a form of murder to a sort of “ritual of interracial social control” encouraged by the community.

The subtleness of the song empowered awareness about discrimination, “ethnic cleansing”[7] and injustice. I believe the song was ahead of its time because its protest message was unusual for the 1930s, but one that was later expressed in the Civil Rights movement.

 

Estefania Wujkiw


[1] Intersections of Media and Communications.  Pg.80

[3] Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9FZMHNhJ80

AltSounds redefines success

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People are constantly bombarded with music that reflects the mainstream media’s opinion. What is mainstream media? It represents the “prevalent attitudes, values, and practices of a society”[1] or group of people who focus on the “next best thing.” These groups of people choose music based on which artists will give them back the largest profit, instead of providing the audience with a variety of genres. Alternative media instead chooses to provide a “range of perspectives and ideas that aren’t readily available in the profit-driven media products and outlets that dominate”[2] the music world.

Websites such as AltSounds focuses its mandate on the artists, the label companies, and most importantly the fans. It’s an online music community that provides its fans with choices from the music they hear to how they hear it. AltSounds praises opinion, and so they created a website that is “wholly interactive and constantly fresh.”[3] This online community lets its fans post their own opinion and music they love. Their ideology of being fan-focused allowed them to “create a promotional system for artists.”[4]

AltSounds challenges the idea that in order for an artist to be heard they need a contract with a label company. They developed a system in which artists create their own profiles, therefore promoting themselves for labels and fans to notice. For label companies they organized a method that allows them to advertise their company easily.

In this way, fans hear music by artists who are still not recognized by mainstream label companies. But, it also gives label companies the chance to notice hidden talent. It provides everyone with the necessary tools to make music accessible, fun and diverse. As their motto goes, “Independent music journalism: For the people, by the people” that as a result has allowed AltSounds to provide precise, balanced and honest opinions that in turn shape our music world.

 

Estefania Wujkiw

(I researched for criticism, but couldn’t find any.)


[1] The Free Dictionary. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mainstream

[2] The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=a1ARTA0009706

[3] AltSounds. http://hangout.altsounds.com/faq.php?faq=whatisaltsounds

[4] AltSounds. http://hangout.altsounds.com/faq.php?faq=whatisaltsounds

Lady Gaga not so different from Judas

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The controversial song “Judas[1]” by none other than Lady Gaga has provoked audiences to react everywhere, among them prestigious Catholic groups. The video is directed by Gaga herself and Laurieann Gibson. It has characters like Jesus; Mary Magdalene played by Gaga and Judas played by Normas Reedus. Gaga uses the biblical story of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas to metaphorically represent and intensify the regret, deception and pain associated with falling in love with the wrong person.

Catholic groups worldwide feel that Gaga is against their beliefs and that she is on a mission to provoke anger. As these groups stated, they believe Gaga is “Another ex-Catholic whose head is turned around,” [2] who uses religion as her only way to advance in her career. What caused more fury among these Catholic individuals was the video’s release on April 15th, and its proximity to Holy Week.

Once released, the video was clearly misunderstood by many. Gibson explained in an interview that during the process of making the video there were many different opinions. The confusion on what it should look like proved that it was powerful enough to stir up controversy behind the scenes[3].

Clarifying the controversy in interviews, Gaga has said that she intended the video to be “a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal.”[4] She sings: “Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to.”[5] Gaga leaves with Jesus, which symbolizes that she chooses all the positive things in life instead of Judas, who represents her haunting past. She modernized the biblical story on a connotative level with the concept “that the mistakes in your life are in fact not mistakes at all,”[6] only part of the plan that allows us to reach our destiny. While her critics think more like Saussure, analytical and literally, Lady Gaga proved Bakhtin’s theory. The meaning of a message is between the speaker and the listener. Her presence, intention, and manner in which she chose to bring her own realization to life created a revolution among us about our faith in religion.

 

 

 

Estefania Wujkiw

Recipe Preserves

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The memory of Grandma’s cooking is something that is remembered fondly by many people. Passed down from one generation to the next, everyone has incorporated their own touches to a family favourite. Old recipe cards are triggers of nostalgia, are food-stained snippets that share a “history of eating” from its time [1]. There is something about the rustic quality of your grandmother’s handwriting, or newspaper clippings glued onto tarnished cardstock that we want to preserve.

With the evolution of communication, the way we transmit information including recipes, has evolved as well.  Going from sharing a recipe by word of mouth, to recording it down on paper by hand, then print, there has been no problem saving our family’s recipes. Now that it’s the 21st century, many of us have too much on our plate (pun intended) to keep track of these recipes, as they will eventually wear away, yet we don’t want to lose them.

With the use of computers as well as the rise of the Internet, we can not only store our recipes in a never-will-be-ruined-by-grease format, but we can also search for thousands of other recipes by people everywhere. Even more advanced is the adaptation of smartphones taking over many gadgets we’ve used in previous years. With smartphones come the countless apps for entertainment and adding convenience to our lifestyles. Food connoisseurs, including celebrity chefs, have definitely taken advantage of creating apps that feature their popular recipes [2].

From a slightly different perspective, there are other ways to attain new meal ideas than by reading about them. Since the creation of television, there have been an endless amount of cooking shows available. From The French Chef with Julia Childs to shows featured on The Food Network [3], these programs have incorporated new ways for us to discover new recipes as well as show physical demonstrations of how to cook these dishes that reading a recipe alone lacks.

However you choose to preserve or learn a recipe is a choice of personal preference. The most important thing is to share and enjoy the results of your cooking.

By Olivia Quan

[1] The Seattle Times  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/allyoucaneat/2016540969_recipe_box_seattle_newspapers.html

[2] AppStorm  http://iphone.appstorm.net/roundups/lifestyle-roundups/20-delicious-recipe-apps-for-iphone/

[3] Flow TV http://flowtv.org/2008/05/tv-cooking-shows-the-evolution-of-a-genre/