Back in 2016, a strange headline started to make waves around news outlets throughout the world. And it said that the well-known and beloved musician Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And the first question that popped out in the minds of many was ‘How is this possible?’ Are music lyrics literature? If so, what sets Bob Dylan’s lyrics apart from those of other musicians?
The announcement felt like an anticlimactic decision, mainly since all the bets were on the famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami, who’s been a favorite to win the prize for many years. 2016 was the first year when the award didn’t go to an actual writer, but rather to someone who is known for his sound and rhythm just as much as for his lyrical content.
The Academy gave an ambiguous explanation to as why the artist won the prize. And a lot of voices welcomed this decision, as they’ve seen it as a change of pace, and a shift in the right direction. Many have said that lyrics are indeed literature since they are words that carry a heavy emotional load, just like any novel, play or poem. They even argued that the first poems in the world were songs sung around fires.
However, an even more significant number of critics said that he was not worthy of the distinction. They reminded the Academy that authors like Don DeLillo and Philip Roth have had longer and more impressive literary careers and that they have been overlooked by the Swedish prize committee. They emphasized that song lyrics are nothing without music and that they fall flat when read and not sung. Consequently, they should belong to a different art category.
Meanwhile, the artist himself remained silent. He is well known for his reclusiveness and for the fact that he likes to keep his life private from the ruthless public eye. And this angered people even more, as it seemed somewhat arrogant. He didn’t even reply to the Swedish Academy when they politely asked him to come collect his prize.
In the end, he did reply by saying winning left him speechless, but that he won’t be able to come and receive the prize from the hands of the King of Sweden, as he had previous commitments. This was another blow even to people who’ve supported him throughout this controversial period.
The answer to the initial question cannot be simplified and is subjective. It matters if you consider lyrics to be literature or not. But objectively, there aren’t many arguments that prove the committee took the right decision. Some say that Patti Smith, who sang at the ceremony, should have won because her lyrics are much more meaningful and complex.
Learning to play the ukulele is a simple task. You just have to find a high-quality instrument and to travel the Web for a good teacher. It can take you less than three days to grasp the basics and less than a month to learn how to write songs on your own.
But to be an actual artist and to be a pro at playing this melodic stringed instrument requires real talent and years of hard practice. There are quite a few professional ukulele players who deserve their fame, and they usually stand out through their creativity and unique sound. Down below, we’ve curated a list of artists whom we think are the top players of the ukulele game.
Jake Shimabukuro is a name that is automatically associated with the instrument. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and is a ukulele virtuoso and a composer at the same time. His trademark is his complex and ultra-fast finger work. The artist loves to experiment with jazz, funk, folk, and flamenco.
His original compositions have received excellent reviews from the critics, and he was hired to write the soundtracks to two Japanese movies, Hula and Sideways. He reached a considerable level of fame in both Hawaii and Japan after a video of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral.
Another artist, who is known for her lyrical complexity and punk style, is the ever-changing Amanda Palmer. She can play many instruments besides ukulele and has a quirky style that is matched by nobody else. She gives a melancholy to the instrument that cannot be imitated, which is surprising because the instrument is somewhat jolly sounding.
Amanda is also a songwriter and has reached fame with her band The Dresden Dolls. She received many awards for her music and achieved a new peak of admiration after her TED Talk and book The Art of Asking were published. Recently, she had a son with the British author Neil Gaiman, and she mentioned that she often uses the ukulele to play him lullabies.
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole is someone who needs no introduction. The Hawaiian legend became famous in 1993 after his album ‘Facing Future’ was released. He is mostly known for the refreshing medley “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” which is played on the ukulele.
He sang a mix of traditional Hawaiian music, jazz, and reggae. Facing Future, his most successful album, has become the best-selling Hawaiian LP of all time. He was also an activist and has fought for the rights of native Hawaiians when they were confronted with adversity and oppression.
If you are inspired by these Gods of the Ukulele, and if you feel you want to give this instrument a chance, I recommend you go through a complete article on ukulele, where you can find the best models for beginners, so you have an ideal starting point.
While music has always been used as a mean of expressing one’s values, feelings, and beliefs, throughout the history there have been many moments in which the music of a certain artist or band was banned because it didn’t correspond to the local politics.
Nowadays, most of the countries are democratic, meaning their people can freely access different types of music until they find that one artist or band that represents everything they stand for. From political messages to funny songs and those specifically used for partying or having a good time, there is no denying that music does make the world go round, as long as people have free access to all its contents.
Unfortunately, not all countries agree with the artists’ way of expressing their mind and consider some of their songs, if not the entire repertory, as unworthy of their people. Here is a list of famous artists that were banned due to their songs or political views in some countries.
The famous rapper is known for his colored vocabulary and constant use of illegal substances, so it comes as no surprise that some of his songs or lyrics are not liked. However, it is his reckless behavior and multiple convictions that got him banned from the United Kingdom, Australia, and even Norway for a couple of years.
Probably the most popular artist ban in the history remains the incident occurred with The Beatles back in the 1960s. The band unintentionally snubbed the First Lady of the Philippines which led to locals rioting against the British band. The Beatles ended up being chased away by the locals, and they even had to refund some of their concerts.
After the incident, the band was never asked to play again in the Philippines, while some other people claim that the British band was in fact banned for good.
Another example of Brits gone wild was the soul singer Amy Winehouse. Due to her tumultuous background for substance and alcohol abuse, she was banned from entering the United States in 2007 and 2009.
Because she was arrested for drug possession in Norway, she wasn’t granted the visa to enter the United States, ending up missing the Grammy Awards where she was due to perform.
The famous singer and songwriter was banned from China because of his links with Chinese counterculture that fight for liberating the country from the claws of communism. His previous songs included topics such as revolution and social protests which were obviously not liked by the Chinese authorities.
As a result, the singer was banned from performing in Shanghai and Beijing, which later affected his Asian tour, determining him to cancel his concerts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Ultimately, Dylan was allowed to perform in China as long as the officials had his full playset in advance.
Not many people are fond of vinyl records because it’s easier and faster to download an app on the smartphone and pay a monthly subscription that gives you access to unlimited music. However, there’s something magical when listening to vinyl music. Not only does it sound different it allows you to have a hobby. You can start searching for cool records, go to music fairs and festivals, and meet people that share the same passion as you do.
The only possible drawback is that vinyl records are hard to find in a good shape. Furthermore, keeping them in a proper condition requires a great deal of devotion. If you’re willing to spend some serious time taking care of them, you might want to start buying vinyl for your collection.
We all know that vinyl provides a crisper sound compared to regular CDs and MP3’s. Nevertheless, the modern headphones available on the market are able to play music at the same way high-end music studios do. So, it’s more about having the opportunity to hold the record in your hands.
In case you didn’t know, there are two types of vinyl records. Typically, you’ll find either 7’’ pieces which are singles or 12’’ records that contain a full music album.
Once you’ve established that vinyl records are your thing, you need to consider purchasing a great turntable. Fortunately, there are different items to choose from and many of them are quite affordable.
You need to think what turntable suits your personal needs and style. It’s important to own a tool that is able to improve your music hearing experience. It all comes down to the way you’re used to hearing the music. If you have an excellent talent for music, you’ll clearly need some top-notch turntable. Otherwise, a model that doesn’t cost a fortune and has the basic features is all that you need. There’s really no need to get a DJ turntable if you only listen to your vinyl from time to time when you want to lay back and relax.
Speaking of sound, you might want to consider a good pair of speakers. Indeed, you don’t really need them when playing records on the turntable. However, if you would like to invite some friends over for a small gathering or if you need to throw a party at your house, you’ll see a notable difference. Nevertheless, avoid bad tools or ones that have poor sound quality because they can distort the sound of music even if your turntable is great and the vinyl is in excellent shape. Don’t overlook the audio connector and make sure you buy the one suitable for your turntable.