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Archive for the ‘Rebecca West’ Category

augSOUNDTRACK: HOLLY MACVE-“Sycamore Tree” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 16, 2016).

macveHolly Macve (pronounced Mac-vee) is a 20-year-old songwriter from County Galway. At the time of SXSW she only had some demos available.

For this Lullaby, it’s just her and her acoustic guitar.  Her low notes seem surprisingly low somehow (I ‘m guessing she plays very cleanly so her notes stand out).

But the thing that stands out most is her voice.  The song’s melody is pretty standard, but she often jumps octaves and nearly creaks her voice while getting there–it’s unsettling and charming at the same time.  She sounds very old school country to me.

Also notable is the length of this song.  It seems like a simple folk song with a pretty standard verse structure.  In good Irish tradition, it also tells a story.  But the slow pace seems to really stretch out the music.  The chorus seems a few lines longer than one might expect (I do love the past and future mixed together in the lyrics).  When she gets to a third part, which takes the song in a rather unexpected direction with very high notes, it’s unclear how long this song might just wind up being.

Macve has a lovely sound, and I enjoyed this song as a lullaby, but I think she’s too far into the country realm for my liking.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “Notes on Some Twentieth-Century Writers”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I have enjoyed Rivka Galchen’s works.  Indeed, I have tried to write about everything she’s written.  One of the things I especially like about her is that she always defies expectations.  So, in this Forum, while everyone else is writing about being a parent, Galchen writes about writers who were or were not parents.

She lists dozens of writers and states their parental status.  I will not go through them all because it would be exhausting (and would basically just duplicate what she wrote). (more…)

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