The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

April 23, 2015

flute, tour, flood

Images of a Ladakhi flute, given to me by Fred Lieberman, an
ethnomusicologist and qin expert. The flute is constructed with
reed, tar, and duct tape, and has an architecture similar to
Native American flutes (see the Wikipedia article on the
subject). Lieberman speculated there was a historic cultural
relationship between the two groups. I had an Albert System C
clarinet - this was decades ago - and I gave it to him; he
wanted to play klezmer, and we were friends. In return, he gave
me the Ladakhi instrument as a gift; he said he had gotten it in
Ladakh. I remember all of this poorly, and am fascinated by the
potential musical parallels between the Native American regions
and Ladakh. I hope the National Music Museum will research this.
And how accurate is my memory of his recounting, after so many
years? (I had to keep the flute refrigerated, by the way so that
the tar would retain its shape.)

The video is a collection of still images I shot at the museum -
instruments I was interested in, as well as some establishment

On the way to and from Vermillion on Route 29, we noticed dead
trees on the western side of the road, near the Missouri River;
this is likely the result of flooding a couple of years ago. The
eastern side was going through the usual spring budding. All of
this near Council Bluffs with its cylindrical iron jail; hence
the title of the video.

Betty Ford, Martha Graham, Ford Birthplace, Prairie Harmonica

We're a block from the Gerald Ford Birthplace,
Betty Ford Danced with Martha Graham, perhaps
there's a photograph in my Barbara Morgan book?
These images are from the birthplace and park.
I think about the prairie and Lee Murray has
given me an old 10-hole Hohner Chromonica in G
and I make believe I am a prairie.

I recognize this will stop soon enough when we
return to dark and medieval Providence where
the streets are paved.

Johannes Birringer and I are next to each other
in the forthcoming issue of VLAK.

I forgot to mention the streets are paved here
in Omaha, I didn't mean to imply otherwise. And
today I came close to another episode of
depression. I exist by rereading Hermann Weyl's
Symmetry with the full hope I turn back again.

I cannot imagine a man.

And Betty Ford? She's marvelous.

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