Finding his way back home

My first encounter with zydeco music was one track on a CD lent to me by my ex husband’s uncle. It was a Clifton Chenier song, but later it was Buckwheat Zydeco that got me hooked. I am sure there are a lot of people like me who will say the same. Buckwheat Zydeco made it big – ‘it’ being zydeco music. He expanded his music’s reach. He made the audience bigger; big enough to reach me way up north.

In 1999 I caught him at the Edmonton Blues Festival. It wasn’t easy to find zydeco music from here, and there was no iTunes to turn to. I am pretty sure I found my first few songs on Napster.

I also saw him in 2002 at the Winspear Centre – I have the ticket stub to prove it. I got iTunes not long after that and since then have had a zydeco playlist.


I love music, almost all genres, and this was one genre and one artist that I have had the fortune and joy to discover in my 48 years of listening on this planet so far. I don’t want to get into some long blog about Buckwheat Zydeco or zydeco music. I just want to acknowledge his passing, and tip my hat to his influence.

So here are some songs to see him off, as he finds his way back home:

Mon Papa – Cajun Waltz

Hot Tamale Baby

ma Tit fille

On A Night Like This – 1989

Finding My Way Back Home

buckwheat1If you want to know more go to:

September earworm roundup

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Sometimes they fade quickly, other times they last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can never figure out what triggered them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my September earworms:

archie bellTighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells. That riff gets stuck in my head.

conwaytwittyYou’ve Never Been this Far Before by Conway Twitty. That ‘bumbumbum’ is hard to shake out of my head.

I’m Lost Without You by Memphis Slim. That piano riff is so catchy.

I Want to Break Free by Queen. God knows, god knows I want to break freeee…

That’ll Be The Day by Buddy Holly. That’ll be the dayheyhey…

patsyclineFun fact: I sang in a little country band when I was 18, and I covered the song Back in Baby’s Arm’s by Patsy Cline.

I know Otis Redding had many fabulous songs, but it’s only Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay that gets stuck in my head.

Walk this Way by Aerosmith doesn’t seem like a 40 year old earworm.

I know it’s gonna be a long day when Uncle Penn gets stuck in my head. I don’t know who’s version gets stuck there, they are all equally tenacious.

Hit the Road, Jack by Ray Charles. This could be one of the best earworms ever.

mamasandpapasI Saw the Light is another earworm that has no specific version. It is super sticky, but gospel tunes are written specifically to stick in your head so no wonder.

Monday, Monday by the Mamas & the Papas. This whole song repeats in my head. Every word.

Band of Gold by Freda Payne is one of those compulsory dance earworms.

joan-jett-bad-reputation-frontI Hate Myself for Lovin You by Joan Jett has been stuck in my head since Jr High School.

Who hasn’t had the violins from Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve stuck in their head at least once?

My mom had Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry & the Pacemakers on a K-Tel record, which I played over and over. I have that record now. I blame her for this getting into my head.

And finally;

The piano riff from Whole Lot of Shakin Goin On by Jerry Lee Lewis is a classic rock earworm.


September’s earworms covered a few genres. Obviously my subconscious mind has lived several lives, musically speaking.

Women classical composers – the September edition

Like most things historical, women are underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them, a few women wrote some exceptional classical music that survives to the present day. They deserve more exposure. So it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are 7 female classical composers I have on my iPod right now, with one song link for each.


Isabella_Leonarda-218x300Isabella Leonarda (Sept 6, 1620) was one of the most productive woman composers of her time. At the age of 16 she entered an Ursuline convent where she stayed for the remainder of her life. She is most renowned for the compositions that she created during her time at the convent. Her published compositions span a period of 60 years. She composed in nearly every sacred genre: concertos, dialogues, psalm settings, responsories, Magnificats, litanies, masses, and sonata da chiesa.




josephaJosepha Barbara Auernhammer (Sept 25, 1758) was an Austrian pianist and composer. She wrote mainly piano works which are characterized by extensive knowledge of piano technique. In 1781 her family took Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a border, and she became one of his first students.




Clara Schumann (Sept 13, 1819) was a  musician and composer, clara-wieck-schumann-2considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She was a child prodigy and was a sensation in Europe by the time she reached her mid-teens. She continued performing and composing even after her marriage to Robert Schumann; which was very rare feat for a 19th century woman. Her career spanned six decades.




amy-beachAmy Beach (Sept 5, 1867) was the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music. She published nearly 150 works and was the first by a woman to be performed by Boston Symphony.




Nadia Boulanger
(16 September 1887) Nadia Boulangerwas a French composer, conductor, and teacher. She is notable for having taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century.







guranNazife Güran (Sept 5, 1921) was a Turkish composer. I know very little about her.







And finally, one living woman composer:

helen giffordHelen Gifford (Sept 5, 1935) is a composer for stage, orchestra, chamber ensemble and solo instruments with a special interest in music for the theatre.






Classical composers – the September edition

I have broad, perhaps somewhat eclectic taste in music. Most of the genres outside what gets airplay on popular radio I stumbled upon by accident. Our culture doesn’t really expose young people en masse to much more than current popular music. And that’s a shame. So it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are 30 works of classical music composed by artists born in September whose works I have enjoyed – one for each day of the month.

Franjo_KrežmaFranjo Krežma (Sept 2, 1862) was a Croatian violinist and composer.

Constantijn Huygens (Sept 4, 1596) was last of the true Dutch Renaissance virtuosos and a Golden Age composer.

bruknerAnton Bruckner (Sept 4, 1824) was a composer whose works are representative of the end of Austro-German Romanticism.

Milhaud_1923Darius Milhaud (Sept 4, 1892) was a modernist composer, member of Les Six and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century.

František Václav Míča (Sept 5, 1694) was a Czech composer.

diabelliAnton Diabelli (Sept 5, 1781) was best known as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.

Sebastian Knüpfer (Sept 6, 1633) was a composer almost entirely of religious works.

Walford_Davies_001Sir Henry Walford Davies (Sept 6, 1869) was a composer, and Master of the King’s Music from 1934 until 1941. His best-known work comes from that time.

François Francœur (Sept 8, 1698) was a composer and violinist.

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (Sept 8, 1841) was a composer. Many of Dvořák’s compositions were  inspired by Slavic traditional music.

pijperWillem Pijper (Sept 8, 1894 ) was a composer considered to be among the most important Dutch composers of the first half of the 20th century.

boyce2William Boyce (baptised Sept 11 1711) was an composer and organist. known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems and his odes.

Friedrich Kuhlau (Sept 11 1786) was a German-born Danish composer during the Classical and Romantic periods. He was a central figure of the Danish Golden Age.

Theodor_KullakTheodor Kullak (Sept 12, 1818) was a pianist, composer, and teacher.

Salvador Chinoria (Sept 12, 1898) was a composer. helped to promote new music At the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, Bacarisse exiled himself to Paris after rejecting the militarist regime of Francisco Franco

shoenbergArnold Schoenberg (Sept 13, 1874 ) was a composer, With the rise of the Nazi Party, by 1938 Schoenberg’s works were labelled as degenerate music because he was Jewish

Johann Michael Haydn (Sept 14, 1737) was an Austrian composer of the Classical period, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn.

KjerulfHalfdan Kjerulf (Sept 17, 1815 ) was a composer. His fame rests mainly on his partsongs and solos. His piano music is equally charming. Edvard Grieg was an enthusiastic admirer.

Jenő Hubay (Sept 15, 1858 ) was a Hungarian violinist, composer and music teacher.

Bruno Walter (Sept 15, 1876) was a pianist and composer. Born in Berlin, he left Germany in 1933 to escape the Third Reich.

bernersGerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners (Sept 18, 1883) was a British composer of classical music.

PizzettiIldebrando Pizzetti (Sept 20, 1880) was an composer of classical music.

Gustav Theodore Holst (Sept 21, 1874) was a composer, best known for his orchestral suite The Planets,

Giovanni Maria Bononcini (Sept 23, 1642) was a composer, the father of a musical dynasty.

Julius Klengel (Sept 24, 1859) was a cellist who is most famous for his etudes and solo pieces written for the instrument.

lembaArtur Lemba (Sept 24, 1885) was an composer and piano teacher, and one of the most important figures in Estonian classical music.

PichlVáclav Pichl (Sept 25, 1741) was a classical Czech composer of the 18th Century.

Wenzel Müller (Sept 26, 1767) was an Austrian composer and conductor.

Florent_Schmitt_1900Florent Schmitt (Sept 28, 1870) was a French composer.

Jacques-Martin Hotteterre (Sept 29, 1674) was a Frenchcomposer and flautist. Jacques-Martin Hotteterre was the most celebrated of a family of wind instrument makers and wind performers.