Category Archives: Playing by Ear

Documentary Films: “What Happened, Miss Simone?”

One of the films generating buzz at this week’s Sundance Festival is a documentary about Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone? The title comes from a poem by Maya Angelou. I want to see this one. Continue reading






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Sista Iria’s New Year’s Resolution on WNYC

Listening to the Studio 360 podcast this morning, I was surprised and thrilled to hear my friend Maria Thornton (Sista Iria) talking with WNYC’s Kurt Andersen. Maria is one of four artists whom Studio 360 will follow this year to encourage them to lean in and complete long-imagined creative projects. Maria plans to return to her reggae roots. Good luck, Maria – Yellow Springs will be a better place to live as a result!






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Avett Brothers – “the love that let us share our name”

As the holidays approached I kept thinking of a line from a song I heard on Pandora. Didn’t know who sang it. Didn’t know the name of the song. Wanted to post the song as a Christmas greeting for my family. Googling a scrap of lyric (“the love that let us share our name”), I figured out that the song was called “Murder in the City” – not exactly the title I expected for such a lovely refrain. So I didn’t post the video for Christmas. Here it is now.






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“The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders”

I confess, Moll has kept me up past my bedtime three nights in a row! Where’s Kim Novak when I need her? I’m reading as lively a version produced by the Library of Congress (NLS). Narrated by Barbara Caruso, that audiobook is available only to blind readers, so I can’t share it here. Nonetheless, you can listen to it, too, via a LibriVox audio book that is freely available in the public domain, as an MP3 download or a live stream.






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Playing in the SoundCloud: “Stand Still”

I followed a link from CBC Spark 152 to this soothing piece on SoundCloud – Stand still by weathercast. Now I’m enchanted by it. “SoundCloud is a platform that puts your sound at the heart of communities, websites and even apps. Watch conversations, connections and social experiences happen, with your sound as the spark.”






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