Romani Music and Fortune Telling : Entertainment Inspired by Multiple Regional Influences

Romani music collectively refers to the melodic compositions of a historically nomadic group of people known for bringing entertainment that made them popular as musicians. Although the Romanis are also called gipsies, the term is derogatory as they have often been marginalized in the many places in which they briefly settled. Nevertheless, many also welcomed the arrival of gipsies because they also offer fortune telling services.

Since this group of nomads have seen and lived in different far off places, Romani music has different influences, from their Northern Indian to Arabic, Byzantine, Persian, Greek, Turkish, German, Slavic, Dutch, French, Russian, Romanian and even Jewish traits. Romani songs often infuse one or more dialects. While musical compositions tend to have varying melodic styles, format and rhytkic structures, since influences come from different regions.

Still, music experts say that Romani or Gypsy music drew most of its themes and inspirations from Hungary, Romania, Russia and other Eastern European countries many have settled permanently. Part of the interest in Romani culture stems from the racial discriminations

The Fortune Teller

In the late 18th century toward the early 19th century, one of the most popular live musical presentations in Broadway, was a three-part operetta called “The Fortune Teller” composed by Victor Herbert, an American musician. The musical premiered at the Wallack’s Theater in Broadway and thereafter ran for 40 performances. Depicted in a Hungarian setting and headlined by popular Broadway star Alice Nielsen, the show ran in London’s Shaftesbury Theatre on April 9, 1901 for 88 performances.

In 1929, a revival of The Fortune Teller went on in New York’s Jolson’s 59th Street Theatre but ran only for 16 performances. During that time, fortune telling was already considered a criminal offense in the state, which made it unpopular as an operatic theme. However, the musical is more of a romantic musical in which the opera star Alice Nielsen played a dual role as Musette the gypsy fortune teller and as Irma,a Hungarian heiress studying ballet in Budapest.

A merry mix up transpired as events led to a case of mistaken identity to which Musette was mistaken for Irma. It turned out that Irma was trying to escape from her family as she was being forced to marry a wealthy but silly Hungarian aristocrat named Count Barezowski.

Irma was also in love with a dashing Hussar captain, while Musette was trying to avoid local authorities. At that time, voth the Church and State regarded fortune telling as witchcraft and anyone who practices it has demonic tendencies. Still, not many in Eurioe shared the same belief about fortune tellers, because some see predictions as helpful in mapping out plans for the future.

Romani Fortune Telling Still Popular in Modern Settings

Modern day fortune tellers like محمد سالم بن علي الهاشمي contend that planning has to take into consideration patterns of behavior extracted from past experiences in order to make future predictions However, certain events like the pandemic, could happen, which can impact all plans and predictions about the future.

There is also fortune telling by way of divination, which involves the ability to read and interpret tarot cards, the entrails of sacrificed animals and analyze phenomenal events such as the appearance of comets and the flight and arrival of birds.

Read More Romani Music and Fortune Telling : Entertainment Inspired by Multiple Regional Influences
November 15, 2022

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Car Audio Systems and Why You Need Car Covers to Protect Them

In India particularly in Mumbai and Bengaluru, owning a car is not practical because traffic congestions in cities are branded as the worst in the world. Still those who do have car s install a stereo or audio system to help them manage the long hours of driving in congested cities. Moreover, once they reach their destination, they protect their vehicle with a car cover to keep the car and all its systems and mechanisms shielded from the direct heat of the sun’s UV rays

As a matter of fact, nowadays, car covers are one of the most important car travel accessories for car owners. The covers come in different types and for specific make and models to make sure they fit the vehicle to a tee. Let’s say one is driving a standard 2021 Ford SUV Expedition, the car owner needs only to input the specific details when ordering a ford car cover from an online store.

A car cover is essential to keep an automobile protected not only from dust, rain, snow, hailstones and bird droppings but also from other elements that create conditions, which can affect the quality of sound produced by the car’s music system.

Other Important Maintenance Steps in Caring for a Car’s Stereo or Audio System

Actually, harsh and unforgiving hot weather and climate conditions are now common everywhere. Nevertheless, take heed of the following pointers as it’s common for car owners to neglect their vehicle’s car music system. Not a few, remember to do so, only when the system produces distorted, jittery, fading or low sounds. Such issues are usually caused by damaged wirings, grime build up and corrosions.

At the very onset, it’s important to make sure the speakers are set up correctly. As the vehicle constantly travels, loose-fitting speakers will create excessive reverberations that distort sound outputs. It would be best therefore that when buying a stereo or audio system, a professional installer should perform the installation process. That way all the plugins, wirings and bolts are in the right places.

Avoid placing magnetic elements near the speakers, as magnetic forces can greatly rival the electromagnetic airwaves transmitted by audio systems.

Do not place speaker systems on a metallic base to prevent magnetic field conduction that could cause voice distortions. Speaker systems are best installed in compartments made of wood with no magnetic elements.

Regularly clean the speakers as the mesh materials easily builds up grime that clog the porous speaker covering. The clogs distort the sound waves coming out of the speakers. However, be sure to refer to the manual for proper cleaning instructions. Mainly to avoid damaging delicate components of speaker or audio systems.

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Music Librarians – Why They Find the Adobe Acrobat Pro PDF Tool Useful

Not many are aware about a career as a music librarian whose responsibilities go beyond tasks concerned with organizing, cataloguing and retrieving music pieces. In fact, this profession has been given importance by Adobe when it created the Acrobat Pro, which music librarians can use in editing and optimizing scanned PDF music documents.
Music librarians play an important role in performance companies, because the applications of their knowledge in music include locating and selecting rare music materials, and overseeing the preservation of documents.
Apparently, Adobe R&D took notice that there is a growing community of performance organizations and companies that founded the Major Orchestra Librarians Association (MOLA) in 1983. MOLA was established by more than 300 members represented by over 450 music libtrarians.
Aside from performing the duties and responsibilities of traditional librarians, those devoted to specializing in music libraries are also tasked to answer inquiries put forward by people as a way of reciprocating their interests and appreciation of music.

How Does the Adobe Acrobat Pro Help Music Librarians Perform Their Task?

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a powerful PDF editing software with functionalities and features most music librarians find useful in performing their tasks. In exchange for a fee, users have the option to donwload pdf online or use the editing tools offered as part of the Adobe Document Cloud storage service.
The general consensus among music librarians in their feedback about this powerful PDF editing tools is that it has helped them make quick fixes to beautify music documents that have been poorly scanned in order to produce better, more readable print outs.
Below is a brief run down of the important features often mentioned by users as most advantageous in their line of work:

The Arrangement Tools– Under this set, users can find tools for organizing pages, such as the Insert Pages, Replace Pages, Extract Pages, Split Files and Add Bookmark features.
Optimization Tools allow users to edit using features such as Rotate Pages, Straighten Pages, Enhance Scans Using Filters and Deskew, Redact, Remove Balck Margins, Crop Pages and Compare Files.
Editing Tools The Adobe Acrobat Pro has editing tools that run on optical character recognition (OCR). The latter is a system that empowers the software to pick up character shapes when editing or deleting scanned music scores.
The editing tools include functions that permit the addition of new texts, images, watermarks and esignatures in a PDF and/or even change text formatting by selecting the Format option.

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Russian Rapper Cancels Shows to Protest Putin’s War on Ukraine

Famous Russian rapper Oxxxymiron cancelled his stage shows in St. Petersburg and Moscow as show of support for calls of ending Russia’s assault on Ukraine. The Hip-hop artist and rapper, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov hopes that his fans understand why he won’t be able to provide them with entertainmènt while Russian missiles bombard Ukraine and residents forced to evacuate, or die fighting for their country. He added in his Instagram video that Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is a crime and a disaster.

As translated by The Time, Fyodorov said he cannot remain silent as he knows most Russians are also opposed to the war. He has been encouraging people to speak about their real opinion on the war as he believes that the greater the number of people discussing it, the faster the conflict will end. The rapper reminded his audience not to have a sad face in showing their resistance.

Actually, this is not the first time Oxxxymiron has called out and criticized Putin and the Russian government, which labels political opponents as foreign agents. The rapper has attended various court hearings as a way to show support to nonviolent political protesters and activists.

A few other Russian musicians such as Vladi, Khamil, Kasta, Noize MC, Shym, and Zmey expressed their opposition to Russia’s military attack on Ukraine.

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Eilish and Wilson Align with Exeter University; Urging World Leaders to Make Decisive Climate Change Emergency Actions

Billie Eilish joined forces with actor Rainn Wilson, in calling on world leaders set to meet in the COP26, to take immediate actions in addressing climate change. “The Office” actor and the multi-Grammy awarded singer, also expressed their support for the GreenFutures campaign of England’s Exeter University as the campaign plays an important role in the discussions that will take place in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) on November 1 and 2.

In a short video message, Eilish mentioned that world leaders will decide on emergency actions needed right now for the climate change affecting the environment. She also urges people to stand together as one in saving the planet not only for the present, but also for future generations.

In a separate video, Wilson added that what our world leaders need to have “courage,” because the decisions they have to make to address the climate crisis are the most important decisions in the history of the planet.

The UN Conference unites world leaders in increasing the pace of actions, with the aim of achieving the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as the Paris Agreement.

About the GreenFutures Campaign of the Exeter University in England

Exeter University is home to the country’s five most influential climate scientists, who have been leading in interdisciplinary research for over twenty years. They are primarily engaged in research that deepens understanding of environmental concerns toward addressing climate change.

Currently, the university’s climate researchers are coming up with solutions on climate emergency by using their expertise in education and research work. They aim to speed up global actions by working alongside businesses, communities, and governments.

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Baylor University Study Proved Earworms Occur Even During Sleep Periods

While most people turn to music as a form of relaxation, usually as a sleep inducing, going-to-bed ritual, a study shows doing so produces the opposite effect. A recent scientific survey and lab study performed by researchers at Baylor University investigated the correlation between sleep and music, with particular focus on involuntary musical imagery known as “earworms.”

Earworms usually happen when one is awake, but occurrence is also possible while sleeping. The phenomenon can be described as those instances when a tune or song gets “stuck” in a person’s mind.

Earworms Lead to Poor Sleep Quality

According to lead researcher, Michael Scullin, Ph.D. whose core specialization is the study of sleep, our brains still process music when we’re slumbering; and even if the music we are listening to has stopped playing. While it cannot be disputed that listening to good music is very enjoyable, Professor Scullin contends that a person is more likely to get an earworm during sleep time.

To many who find it difficult to catch a much needed sleep, getting an “earworm” can be most annoying.

Actually many suffer from earworms, once or twice a week and the experience often results to having poor sleep quality. Quite surprisingly, instrumental music and not the lyrical ones have the most potential to cause earworms that negatively affect sleep quality. This particular revelation clearly opposes common recommendations of listening to calming musical instruments.

How the Occurrence of Earworm Syndrome During Sleep was Proven?

The study analyzed data gathered through a laboratory experiment and from a series of surveys that involved 209 participants. The surveys included questions concerning each individual’s music listening habits, the frequency of experiencing earworms, and the quality of their sleep.

The laboratory experimental study, on the other hand, involved 50 participants, on whom the research team intentionally caused earworms by making listen to certain types of music.

To observe how the earworms affected sleep quality of the 50 participants, individual recordings of brain waves, breathing, heart rate, and etc., were documented while they were sleeping. The comprehensive test was performed using an instrument called polysomnography.

The conclusion that earworms do affect sleep negatively, was partly confirmed by participants’ responses to questionnaires. Some indicated that they normally wake up in the middle of the night, others say they have difficulty in catching asleep, while some others experience light stages of sleep for longer durations.

Professor Scullin said that the lab experiment revealed similar findings on the 50 participants. Those who experienced sleep earworm had more movement in brain activities while asleep, which is considered as a sign of memory reactivations. The gradual increase of slow back and forth movements in brain activities were found in the region associated with the primary auditory cortex. The latter is the same brain area, where earworms are processed when a person is awake.

Based on the results of the study, the Baylor University researchers recommend for people to take breaks if earworms are affecting you and the quality of your sleep. Moreover, they also mentioned the importance not listening to music before sleeping.

Lastly, one must take part in cognitive activity in order to effectively eliminate earworms, which can be achieved by completely focusing on a task that will divert the brain’s attention from the earworm.

Read More Baylor University Study Proved Earworms Occur Even During Sleep Periods

Tow Tributes : Making a Unified Call for Motorists to Respect Move Over Laws

Although predatory tow truck operators give the towing industry a bad rep, the majority of the general public think of tow truck drivers as unsung heroes. Apparently, they refer to the tow truck drivers who quickly respond to calls for roadside assistance, which could be a stressful and dangerous situation. During annual celebrations of the National Move Over Day in the month of October, tow truck drivers are among the group of first responders honored in recognition of the valuable services they provide to Americans.

Actually the annual celebrations also serves as reminders of the “Move Over” laws introduced several years ago. The laws requires motorists to slow down and change lanes as soon as they see the yellow arrows and flashing light warnings. The rules aim to provide emergency responders a safe space between them and oncoming motorists during emergency operations.

The need to codify the road rule became necessary because every year, a growing number of first responders working along highways are killed by motorists who do not slow down. Ignoring the laws endanger the lives of medical emergency crews, ambulances, firefighters, law enforcement officers and tow truck drivers while at work in emergency situations.

However, as it became apparent that many vehicle drivers are still not aware of such laws, part of the campaigns launched to raise the public’s awareness over the Move Over laws is the holding of the National Move Over Day.

In California, non-compliance with the state’s Mover Over law can result to payment of fines of up to $1,000 in addition to becoming a blight in the erring motorist’s driving record.

Tow Tributes for Fallen Truck Drivers

In many states, it is common for the towing industry to organize a separate tow tribute in paying final respect to fallen tow truck drivers. One of the most memorable tow tributes held in the history of America’s towing industry was the one held in Massachusetts in 2018.

The Massive Tow Tribute Held for a Tow Truck Driver in Massachusetts

In 2018, a massive tow tribute was held for tow truck driver Daniel Coady Jr., who was killed while rendering road assistance. Only 41 years old and a father of two young children, Coady was hit by a female DUI driver, while he was hooking up a car that became disabled while on the Interstate 495 in Andover.

After Coady’s funeral, more than 600 tow truck drivers, joined by a hundred others, including state troopers, police officers, firefighters, descended at the parking lot of North Andover Mall to pay tribute. Tow truck drivers present were from competitor towing companies of all sizes and types hauling, from small, to medium to heavy duty towing services. They all agree that when something happens to one of their own, they come together not as competitors but as brothers.

A representative of the state police reminded the people about the importance of slowing down once they see the yellow flashing lights at a far distance. However, some tow truck drivers say that some people do not find a need to slow down when they see tow truck drivers at work, simply because they do not respect the towing profession. Not a few shared experiences of getting hit by vehicles or of getting “skimmed” by motorists who insists on going by.

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July 4, 2021

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Research Study Reveals Music Recommendation Algorithms are Partial to Male Artists

A group of sound and computing experts performed a study of music streaming apps, which revealed that results generated by algorithms were not always fair. The study which was conducted in 2020, was presented in March 2021 at the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval held in Canberra ACT Australia. It presented evidence that most digital, AI supported music recommenders are partial to male artists.

According to study authors Xavier Serra, Andres Ferraro and Christine Bauer, 400 million people subscribed to one music streaming app in 2020. The technology used a recommendation algorithm that is inclined to pick and recommend music of male artists over female female artists. They said that such partiality also exists in music streaming services, where only a handful of female superstars have taken prominence among the most popular artists in the music industry.

Although the researchers acknowledge that the problem takes roots from beyond the industry, the algorithms of online music platforms known as recommenders can also have an influential role. Their testing of the algorithms revealed that on the average, the first six recommended tracks are those of male artists. Songs of female musicians are queued by the 7th or 8th song.

In conjunction, the research group analyzed the listening behaviour of about 330,000 users for the past nine years, from which they were able to extract data that users had listened to only 25% of female artists rated as popular.

About the Study Authors

The sound and computing experts who conducted the research study include Professor Xavier Serra of Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) Barcelona, who delves into research in the field of Sound and Music Computing. He is also the founder of UPF’s Music Technology Group.

Andres Ferraro is a UPF PhD student and doing research work at the university’s Department of Information and Communication Technologies Audio Signal Processing Lab.

Christine Bauer Christine Bauer is an assistant professor at the Human-Centred Computing group at the Department of Information and Computing Sciences at Netherland’s Utrecht University

Read More Research Study Reveals Music Recommendation Algorithms are Partial to Male Artists

Dolly Parton Says Times are Not Right for Bestowing Her w/ Honors

Revered American singer, country songwriter and philanthropist Dolly Parton has rejected Tennessee lawmakers’ proposal of installing a statue of her at the state Capitol. Ms. Parton had posted a tweet saying that doing so during times like these is inappropriate.

However, Ms. Parton’s humility has all the more convinced the people to push for a statue to honor her, in light of many contributions she made to help not only the people of Tennessee, especially during these trying times. Apparently, her Dollywood Foundation has attained global support, which enabled the charity group to contribute funds needed in the research and development of the Moderna vaccine.

Rejection of the Dolly Parton Capitol Statue is Not the First

Actually, this is not the first time Dolly Parton refused to receive any recognition, since during Trump’s term, she has reportedly declined to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom not only once, but twice.

Yet State Representative John Mark Windle still introduced the bill and was passed by the Congress of Tennessee last February 9. The bill was in support of an online petition last year, calling on the Tennessee State House to change the Confederate statues torn down during protest movements. However, even if the bill has been enacted, statue cannot be constructed without Ms. Parton’s consent. As it is, the iconic country singer asked lawmakers in a statement not to consider pursuing the bill.

Nonetheless, through her social media pages, Ms. Parton thanked the Tennessee legislature for their consideration of the bill, mentioning that she is humbled and honored by their objective. However, she has already requested the leaders of the state to take down the bill and not to include it among the state’s approved bills.

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February 26, 2021

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“The Foggy Dew”- The Irish Rebel Song that Became Popular as a UFC Walkout Song

When it comes to UFC walkout songs, Conor McGregor’s “The Foggy Dew” can effectively intimidate, as it is a reminder of the irish boxer’s indomitable nature. While the song is an old Irish rebel song chronicling the 1916 Easter Rising against Great Britain, the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion preferred to hear Sinead O’Connor’s rendition, every time he entered the UFC stadium.

The song also marked McGregor’s historic July 2014 UFC fight, the first time he used the music as his entrance song in the Dublin card. McGregor was already an intimidating figure when he waved to the legions of Celtic fans all fired up in hearing Sinead O’Connor’s powerful voice singing “The Foggy Dew” The raucous Dublin crowd all the more went into a frenzy as they watched the Irish boxer demolish Diego Brandão with a technical knockout in the first round; even before the Brazilian got the chance to use his Brazilian jiu jitsu (bjj) skills in warding off McGregor’s pummels.

In fact McGregor won a hefty $50,000 bonus in being named as the recipient of “Performance of the Night” award. Since then, the Irish fighter made “The Foggy Dew” his signature entrance song during his illustrious career as a UFC fighter.

The song also explains the rebellious character rooted in Conan McGregor’s personality, which he demonstrated in and out of the UFC combat sports arena.

”The Foggy Dew,” a Lamentation of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

“The Foggy Dew” narrates the story of the irish Republican’s rejection of the British rule and sovereign power over Ireland. The main reason is that back then, the British Empire called on most of its colonial subjects, particularly the young adult males to serve in the battlefield and protect the United Kingdom’s interest and sovereignty. During the period, the Gallipoli Campaign in the Middle East was the conflict, to which the British Empire had sent thousands of young Irishmen, Welshmen, Australians, New Zealnders and Indians to their deaths.

During the 1914 Easter Rising, irish patriots awoke the feelings of many of their country men on why they should fight for wars that are not of interest to the irish people. Rather than do so, why not just fight for Ireland’s freedom instead; a sentiment expressed in the “The Foggy Dew” via the line “Twas far better to die ‘neath an Irish sky, Than at Suvla or Sud el Bar.” Suvia being the battlefield of the Gallipoli Campaign where as many as 3,000 middle class Irishmen perished.

The Rising though led to the execution of the leaders, which as a result, caused further animosity toward the British Rule. To make short a long story about a long period of conflict and violence that transpired thereafter, 28 of Ireland’s 32 counties subsequently seceded in 1922 and formed the Free irish State, as agreed upon in the Anglo-irish Treaty.

In 1937, the Free irish State finally became the Republic of ireland while the pro-British irish citizens or “the Unionists” who favored staying under British rule, were left to occupy the Northern Ireland territory.

Read More “The Foggy Dew”- The Irish Rebel Song that Became Popular as a UFC Walkout Song

JLo’s Performance at the AMA Criticized as a Beyonce Copycat Version

Jennifer Lopez performed a special number with Maluma to the soundtrack of a new movie called “Marry Me,” at the American Music Awards presentation last Sunday. However, people took notice that everything looked familiar, claiming that the stage, JenLo’s wet & wild looks and dance moves were all copycat versions of Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love” performance with Jay-Z during the 2014 Grammy Awards.

The controversy blew up on Twitter exploding with tweets pointing out the similarities between JLo’s AMA 2020 production number and Beyonce’s 2014 Grammy performance. Both women wore black body suits and flaunted short, wet-looking locks in their respective stage presentation. Some others mentioned that even the choice of lighting and use of chairs as props were very much alike.

What Tweets in Defense of Jlo Are Saying

One member of the production staff explained the similarity as due to the fact that the source of inspiration for the two women’s performance was the the Cell Block Tango dance feature of the musical “Chicago.” Still, JLo fans defended their idol by saying that Lopez’s performance was intended to pay homage to Beyonce’s performance instead of viewing it as an act of stealing Beyonce’s idea or concept.

Two or three defended their 51-year old icon’s performance by mentioning that Beyonce also met with the same issue when as a performing artist, many also took notice that her number was similar to past performances of other artists. They cited Beyonce’s music videos for “The Lion King: The Gift” she released last year, as the latest example.

Some defended JLo by simply saying that Beyonce did not invent the wet-hair look and that it’s only right that JLo wore an outfit that is similar to the one she wore in the movie’s music video soundtrack.

Read More JLo’s Performance at the AMA Criticized as a Beyonce Copycat Version

Katy Perry’s Daisy Dove Arrives, Two Days Before Release of “Smile”

Katy Perry gave birth to her and Orlando Bloom’s Daisy Dove on Aug. 26, just two days before the release of Katy’s new album “Smile.” Although the celebrity couple are beside themselves with joy and appreciation for the safe and healthy arrival of their baby girl, they are not forgetting that many in communities across the globe are not as lucky as they are.

As both Katy and Orlando are Ambassadors of Goodwill for UNICEF, the couple have also expressed awareness that not everyone go through a birthing experience experience as peaceful as theirs. It pains the new parents to think that while they are currently floating with love and joy over their baby girl’s arrival, other parents struggle due to healthcare and medicine shortage and simple necessities like soap and water. More so now that the COVID-19 pandemic puts many lives at risk.

Earlier this month, Katy announced that the release date for her forthcoming album entitled “Smile,” falls on August 28, 2020. Recorded under the Capitol Records label, “Smile” is Katy’s 5th studio album, or sixth when counting her live 2009 album “MTV Unplugged.”

About Katy Perry’s Forthcoming Album “Smile”

“Smile” which includes the certified-gold hit single “Never Really Over,” will have fans smiling, relieved that their favorite songstress is now musing about daisies, rainbows, hearts and stars. The new track assures them that their idol has safely recovered from the mental struggles she went through in 2017, as it had driven her to thoughts of committing suicide.

Today, the smile on Katy and Orlando’s faces reflect the love and happiness they nearly missed experiencing, had they not reconciled in February 2019. In one of her recent radio interviews Katy said

I have been depressed, I have been anxious, I have been overwhelmed, I’ve been happy. I have been all of it.”

Read More Katy Perry’s Daisy Dove Arrives, Two Days Before Release of “Smile”
August 27, 2020

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Twitch Posts Biggest Growth as Result of COVID-19 Lockdown

The Twitch streaming platform is seeing tremendous growth in its music category, as millions of locked down viewers spend hours tuned to music videos.

Actually, the COVID-19 lockdown has spurred an increase in Twitch viewership across all categories. Whereas before the pandemic crisis, gaming was the most widely viewed category at Twitch, the lockdown made the Music & Performing Arts channels the biggest growth contributor to the live streaming platform. According to data provider Quartz, the category grew from 92,000 viewership hours in March 08, 2020 to 574, 000 hours in March 22, 2020.

As of this writing (May 15, 2020), viewer hours for contents streamed by Insomniac has reached 1,544,457, putting the electronic music promoter’s channel at the number 1 spot of the Most Watched LIst in the category. Lostlands, follows as the second most watched with 1,102,665 viewer hours. Beatport Official completes the top three most watched list by coming in third with 740,710 viewer hours.

Twitch “Just Chatting” also contributed as many as 134 million viewing hours. A good turnout for the streaming platform and its efforts to grow non-gaming channels. StreamElements CEO Donor Nir said the “Just Chatting” category has consistently maintained an upward trend since launching last year, posting a growth rate of 36%.

Riot Games Boosted the Twitch Game Channel with Valorant Promo

Still, the gaming channels at Twitch have seen a lot of activities. Thanks to Riot Games and its “drop ticket” promotional invites, which gave Rioters a chance to participate in the closed beta testing of Riot’s forthcoming Valorant. Viewing any of the games live-streamed by the Valorant beta gamers for at least 2 hours, is tantamount to dropping 1 raffle ticket that can increase a Riot- linked account’s chances of receiving an invite to participate in Valorant’s beta testing.

As expected millions flocked to watch live-streamed videos at the Valorant channel, which according to Twitch broke all records of “single-day hours watched” when as many as 34 million hours were recorded. Moreover, the game peaked at a concurrent 1.7 million in viewer total, a record seconding the hit made by the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.

Read More Twitch Posts Biggest Growth as Result of COVID-19 Lockdown

Billie Eilish : Pop Icon of Generation Z

Billie Eilish is undoubtedly the pop icon of the Z Generation, this despite the teen singer-songwriter’s counter-pop-star image. Her young fans catapulted her to Number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart since August 2019; to which her award-winning “Bad Guy” locked-in for 48 weeks. So far, she has been in the Hot 100 for 79 weeks, with 18 of her songs making it to the chart.

What Makes Billie Eilish Adorable to the Young Generation?

There are several reasons why someone as unconventional as Billie Eilish can make it to the top spot of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and stay in long enough to release more. Even the music industry’s award-giving body, the Grammy, found a lot of things delightful about Billie’s music despite the antithetic themes.

Apparently, Billie Eilish epitomizes what millions of the Generation Z population wants to see, hear and do. Projecting a cool, “couldn’t-care-less” and “this-is-me” personality by wearing loose, baggy outfits, layers and layers of chunky silver necklaces, loud graphic T-Shirts and hair that went from platinum to blue-gray to fluorescent slime-green.

Some think her fashion statement is weird, coming for a pop icon; but it’s just the kind image that kind of matches the creepy stuff one hears in her music.

Billie Eilish’s style of singing is a contradiction, since she almost always whispers her lyrics with a mellowness that soothes rather than hurts the ears. In fact the softness of her voice makes listeners want to watch her weird, enigmatic music videos as well. Doing so enables them to visualize their idol’s train of thoughts when singing “Bad Guy;” or something as delightfully spooky as “Bury Your Friend” and engagingly satirical as “Wish You Were Gay.”

The 17-year old singer-songwriter had no qualms in admitting her struggle with “Tourette Syndrome.” Her condition only made it clear to the young generation that they can aspire to be what they want to be, regardless of what they are going through.
Even her birth name seems non-traditional, “Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell.’ Nonetheless, Billie is of irish-descent, and Pirate is something folks in Ireland would name their baby girls because it’s the irish version of Elizabeth. Born December 18, 2001, she also made record as the first 21st Century-born artist to make it to Billboard’s Top Charts, and the youngest music artist to win four major Grammy awards in a single year.

If being born under a lucky star has anything to do with her success, Billie is a Saggitarian; Saggitarius being one of the star signs under which many highly revered musicians were born: Tina Turner, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, just to name a few.

BIllie Eilish’s music captured her generation by storm without intending to at age 14, when she uploaded “Ocean Eyes” at SoundCloud. Although she made the video just to impress her dance teacher with her songwriting ability, her fresh style of singing and her originality hit the right chord. Her music career launched that day, as “Ocean Eyes” went viral overnight at the streaming site.

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Marcelito Pomoy : Will this Duet-Soloist be Crowned as AGT Champions 2 Winner?

Marcelito Pomoy, the Filipino singing sensation who sings a duet all by himself made it as a finalist of America’s Got Talent Champions (AGT) Season 2.

AGT fans and the four judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Alesha Dixon and Howie Mandell are quite taken by Marcelito’s unique talent of effortlessly shifting voices to deliver the soprano (female) and tenor (male) vocals of a duet.

Winner of The Pilipinas Got Talent Champion in 2011, Marcelito still has to battle it out with five (5) AGT Champions 2 finalists namely: Duo Transcend (trapeze artists), Tyler Butler-Figueroa (12-year-old violinist), Sandou Russian Trio Bar (acrobats), Alexa Lauenburger (dog trainer) and Hans (cabaret performer) and four (4) Golden Buzzer recipients: Angelina Jordan (singer), Boogie Storm (dance group), V. Unbeatable (dance-acrobat group) and Silhouettes (dance group).

Although Howie Mandell remarked that Marcelito has the best shot of winning the Season 2 AGT Champions title; whilst predicting that the Filipino talent will win, the final outcome still depends on who gets the majority of the votes cast by the so-called “superfans” and all four (4) AGT judges.

Actually, all episodes of the second season of AGT Champions have already been pre-recorded last October, 2019. That means all votes have been cast and the results merely waiting to be revealed in the final episode on Monday, February 10, 2020. If leaks about the results are true, another foreign act stole the crown that many had hoped would go to Marcelito.

This makes us wonder, just who the mysterious “AGT superfans” are and how did they get to earn the exclusive right to take part as judges in the AGT Champions edition?

Who are the AGT Superfans and How Where They Selected

The oft mentioned judges known as the “superfans” comprise 50 individuals representing each of the 50 states of America. They are a group of people who were selected from the many who submitted applications online to become an AGT Champion 2 superfan. The most important criteria to being a superfan is to be physically present during the show’s full taping at the Pasadena Civic Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Sending an application does not guarantee inclusion as a member of the AGT superfan panel. Each applicant still has to pass the AGT producer’s selection process and criteris. An applicant must be at least 18 years old and must have the best reason why he or she should be selected as a superfan-judge in the AGT Champions Season 2 edition.

During the taping, all superfan judges are placed in a separate section and are not allowed to discuss and deliberate over contestants. This denotes that every superfan vote for the AGT Champions 2 was based on independent decision.

Read More Marcelito Pomoy : Will this Duet-Soloist be Crowned as AGT Champions 2 Winner?
February 7, 2020

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Kanye West Says “Follow God” in Jesus is King Album Yet Takes Pride in Following Donald Trump

Kanyes West finally released his “Jesus is King” album last October 25, 2019 but so far, the track included songs that freaked out fans and nearly everyone who never developed a liking for Kanye as a person.

One song, “Follow God” in particular seems not to be genuinely coming from Kanye’s heart if he truly meant following Jesus. Through the song, Kanye tries to convey struggles in living the life of a public figure and of trying to stay in the right path by following what his “Father” tells him as Christ-like.

Yet, Kanye beseeching with the intro line “Father, I stretch, stretch my hands to you,” lacks sincerity.

What Kanye Actually Says, Wants or Follows are Not Exactly “Christ-like.”

It is quite difficult to reconcile the rapper’s desire to truly follow God when matched with his plans and views.

First off, Kanye recently proclaimed himself in an interview as

“unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time,”

Apparently, Kanye has no qualms about narcissism or vanity just like his counterculture demigod, Donald Trump. In fact he takes pride in being a follower of a leader who heralds himself as “the most successful president in the history of America.” Regardless of what Trump and Kanye have achieved, both are obviously not aware that vanity is not at all Christ-like.

Kanye scoffs at those who criticize him for supporting Trump by saying his endorsement is a delivery of a “divine “joke” on the democrats.

Secondly, Kanye West envisions himself as the next U.S. president by year 2024; hardly the best plan for one who dislikes being a public figure. Still, he is sure it will happen, since he prophetically told DJ Pharris of Chicago’s Power 92 radio station that “If I decide to do it, it will be done.” The rapper asserts that he is not going to try since he is 100 percent sure that it would happen in 2024.

Although Kanye says he will be a centrist by also adhering to Bernie Sanders’ policies, he contradicts himself by saying that once he becomes the president, he will make sure that the medical industry will flourish.

Seriously, in listening to Kanye’s “Follow God”, one cannot help but wonder who Kanye is referring to as the father or god he intends to follow.

Read More Kanye West Says “Follow God” in Jesus is King Album Yet Takes Pride in Following Donald Trump
October 26, 2019

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Youth Music Study Presents Proof that Modern Music Ed Can Encourage School Attendance Among Hard-to-Reach Youths

Youth Music, a national charity in the UK that invests in music-making projects to bring opportunities for learning new musical genres to children of towns in want of such initiatives, has been calling on schools to overhaul their music lessons. The organization recommends the inclusion of hip hop, electronic music and other contemporary musical genre, as a means to encourage attendance among hard-to-reach youths.

In order to prove this point, Youth Music conducted a 4-year study collaborated with Birmingham University to show how schools that fail to include modern musical categories tend to discourage young people from taking part in the school’s music curriculum even at the onset of programs.

The study involved setting up partnerships between secondary schools and contemporary community music organisations, as a means of examining the impact of including modern music lessons in the school’s curriculum.

In encouraging nearly 1,000 pupils aged between 11-15 years old, to take part in programmes delving on modern music, the research study was able to reach young people who would have otherwise excluded themselves right at the onset. The study concluded to show that programme attendance was maintained at high levels, by as much as 95% throughout the entire set of sessions.

Even those who had already been excluded, attested that the new music programme inspired them to return to mainstream school. Moreover, researchers noted that participants in the new music programme showed improved performance in English and math lessons; proving related studies that engagement in lessons for learning music can positively impact student performance in other subjects.

The chief executive of Youth Music, Matt Griffiths said that they were able to provide evidence that young people’s personal and social development can be greatly influenced through modern music-making curriculum. He remarked of hearing consistent comments coming from young people that existing music programmes in schools, the one place where they can access music education, do not reflect their musical passion and lives.

 

Unfortunately, the sad reality in the UK is that access to music education in general, has become limited because school music departments are currently disappearing.

Youth Music Calls on Government to Ensure Schools Include Music in their Curriculum

In light of those findings, Youth Music is calling on the government to protect music education in schools by making certain all pupils receive at least one hour of music lesson per week. The national charity further suggests for schools to give less focus on attainment, and instead give attention to creative music-making.

In line with the Youth Music’s recommendation, the organisation met with the Department for Education to present a 21st-century music curriculum, which draws on existing musical tastes, music interests and listening habits of young people. The modern curriculum also supported previous calls for schools not to be rated as “good” or “outstanding” based on Ofsted judgment. Not unless the school professes a strong commitment to teaching arts and culture.

In response, a Dept. for Education representative said

“We (DfE) wants all students to have the opportunity to learn music at school – that is why we have made music education for students ranging in ages between five to 14, compulsory in the national curriculum.”…”Also, we are currently working with music practitioners and various groups to refresh the national plan for music education, in order to develop a high-quality model music curriculum.”

Read More Youth Music Study Presents Proof that Modern Music Ed Can Encourage School Attendance Among Hard-to-Reach Youths

Study Shows Musical Training Contributes Greatly in the Improvement of Human Attentional System

A recent examination about the effects of years of musical training among professional musicians revealed that when compared to non-musicians, their musical training created notable differences in the improvement of attentional systems.

Conducted by David Medina, BMEd of the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, and Paulo Barraza, PhD, Center for Advanced Research in Education, University of Chile, both in Santiago, Chile, it is the first of its kind study that provides information useful in the development of cognitive abilities in the educational and medical fields.

School programs, seeking to further the development of cognitive abilities may implement conscious and intentional practice of music as a method. In the clinical field, encouraging deliberate practice of music in patients with ADHD can be applied as a means of strengthening their ability to manage attention distractions.

Paulo Barraza, leader of the investigating team said their analysis has brought them to the conclusion that professional musicians have quicker and more accurate ability to respond, by knowing immediately what is important to the performance of tasks. Mainly because compared to non-musicians, professional musicians have developed the ability to filter out irrelevant and incompatible stimuli.

Facts about the Human Attentional System

The human attentional system is said to consist of three (3) subsystems brought about by different neural networks, namely the executive control, alerting, and orienting networks.

 

Alerting Networks have functions related to the ability of humans to maintain readiness for action.

The function of the Orienting Networks is linked to the selection of information received by the senses, which could bring about changes in attentional focus.

The Executive Control functions to suppress distracting and incompatible stimuli to the system that manages and control actions.

Findings of the Study of the Effects of Musical Training in the Improvement of Attentional Systems

In the study conducted by Barraza and Medina, the results of their attentional networks tests on 36 individuals presented evidence that there is a correlation between the orienting and alerting networks in musicians. The reflected relationship was attributed to the deliberate practice of music by musicians, a premise that is not true to non-musicians.

Of the 36 individuals who took the attentional network tests, 18 are professional pianists and 18 was a matched group of adults not at all engaged in music as a profession. The group of musicians are a mix of full-time conservatory of students and graduates from the Universidad Mayor de Chile, Conservatories of the Universidad de Chile, and the Universidad Austral de Chile, all with an average of 12 years or more musical practice.

The other half of the group of testers, were also a mixed group of students and graduates, but without education in music lessons, nor have the ability to read or play music.

All participants are right-handed, with normal hearing capability, and native Spanish speakers. Moreover, none of the participants had any history of psychiatric or neurological conditions.

Other points of interest included findings that showed improvements in the efficiency of the executive control system among those with years of musical training. The results of the attentional network test also revealed that in the case of musicians, there was evidence that the efficiency of the orienting and alerting systems can potentially extend to the inhibitory executive control system.

The test results showed that with non-musicians, the three (3) attentional networks functioned independently.

Read More Study Shows Musical Training Contributes Greatly in the Improvement of Human Attentional System

Learning How to Play a Musical Instrument Yields Academic Benefits, But…

Students taking up music courses in high school, manage to achieve better scores in English, Math and Science examinations. This was the findings gathered by a group of researchers at the University of British Columbia, when they conducted a population-level analysis of the links between academic achievements and participation in school musical activities. Results of the analysis were published recently in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

Peter Gouzouasis who headed the academic investigation said, their analyses revealed that students who were into at least one musical instrument from elementary to high school, not only managed to score higher. The musically inclined students were also able to finish academics ahead by one year than their non-musical counterparts.

However, when associating this population study with a 2012 European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of medical research about music students on Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD), it appears that the drawback to such an achievement is a predictive susceptibility to musculoskeletal dysfunctions.

About the UBC Study on Musician Students as Better Academic Achievers than Non-Musician Students

UBC Professors Peter Gouzouasis, Martin Guhn, and Scott D. Emerson MSc at the university’s School of Population and Public Health, gathered data related to 112,000 high school students in all British Columbia public schools, who completed Grade 12 Level between 2012 and 2015. Learners classified as music students are those who elected to study a music course on at least one instrument.

Better academic performance was measured through exam grades, regardless of ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic background, and prior learning experience in math and English.

According to Prof. Gouzouasis, the revelations of their predictive analysis proved public school administrators wrong. The latter group held the belief that musically inclined students, who spend more time studying music, will likely underperform in the main academic subjects.

Prof. Martin Guhn, who co-investigated in the study said their findings suggest that skills acquired by students in learning a musical instrument, expands quite broadly to academic learning. Their analysis is that skills are developed because of the demands imposed on students when learning to play an instrument. Such demands include, knowing how to read music notation, as well as keen development of eye-hand-and-mind coordination, listening skills, team skills and discipline for practice.

All of which, play an important role in enhancing a musician-student’s cognitive capabilities, ability to plan, organize and finish tasks, motivation for learning and belief in one’s abilities.

Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD) Among Music Students

This medical study was collaborated on by the Department for Musculoskeletal and Pain Medicine at the Institute for Musician’s Medicine in Berlin, Brandenburg and the Sana Kliniken Sommerfeld in Kremmen, Germany.

Findings delved on the prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) developed by professional musicians and music students associated with playing instruments; otherwise known as Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorder (PRMD). Analysis showed that the disorder is common to musicians; to which 80% of professional musicians suffer from PRMD while the prevalence rate among music students is said to be higher.

PRMDs relate to the pain or injuries experienced in the joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and structures of supporting limbs, neck and back of the musculoskeletal system. The most common underlying causes are degenerative discs and facet joints, which can cause secondary pain in the muscles and nerves of the spine and extremities. Sufferers generally experience low-back pain, although they can be prevented or alleviated by early treatment.

To learn more about low-back pain as a result of degenerative discs and facet joints disorders associated with PRMD, comprehensive information is available at the website of the Central Texas Spine Institute in Austin.

Read More Learning How to Play a Musical Instrument Yields Academic Benefits, But…
June 26, 2019

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Previous and Current Studies Show that Women are Attracted to Musically Inclined Men

In May 2012, researchers at Israel’s Ruppin Academic Center conducted a Facebook experiment to determine if there is truth to a popular mate selection theory related to music. A year later, Université de Bretagne-Sud researchers conducted a similar experiment. The French researchers’ focus, was to find out if there is truth to the notion that musical ability, makes a man attractive to women in the context of real-life courtship.

Years later, In September 2017, a similar study was conducted by researchers from 2 universities in Austria. This time, their goal was to test whether or not Charles Darwin’s hypothesis is true, which was premised on theory that music directionally points to a person’s biological, rather than physical attractiveness.

Ruppin Academic Center’s Facebook Experiment

Israeli researchers Sigal Tifferet, Ofir Gaziel, and Yoav Baram created two Facebook accounts for an attractive young man, but using a different profile picture for each FB account. One profile pic showed the gorgeous guy holding a guitar, while in the other pic, Mr. Gorgeous was not holding anything.

On each account, the researchers then sent out 50 “Friend Requests” to 100 different female FB users listed as single. The supposedly guitar-playing good looker gained 14 new female friends. In contrast, only 5 accepted the 50 “Friend Requests” sent out via the FB account with a guitarless profile pic.

On a different angle, the same FB experiment was conducted, but this time using a femme fatale as friend requester. The researchers found out that with or without a guitar, both had no direct effect in having the female’s “Friend Request” accepted.

Based on those results, the Israeli researchers concluded that as far as enhancing one’s attractiveness is concerned, an indication of musical ability works only for men.

Université de Bretagne-Sud Sexual Selection Experiment

French researchers Jacques Fischer-Lokou, Nicolas Guéguen and Sébastien Meineri employed a different technique in conducting their experiment. A true-to-life good-looking young man was asked to approach 300 young women on the streets. He played out 3 scenarios, in which he approached 100 women to tell each girl that she is pretty and then ask for their phone number. In each scenario, the young man had either a guitar, a gym bag or nothing at all in his hand.

The results for each were tabulated, showing that 31 percent of the women approached via the guitar-in-hand scenario gave their phone number; the gym-bag-in-hand technique worked only on 9 percent of the women approached. The nothing-at-all fared better, as the technique worked on 14 percent of the women. The experiment concluded that more women are inclined to prefer men with musical ability.

Austrian Universities Conduct a Study to Test Darwin’s Biological Attractiveness Theory

A team of researchers coming from the University of Innsbruck and University of Vienna in Austria worked on a hypothesis posed by Charles Darwin, premised on the theory that music can influence a person’s perception of attractiveness when choosing a potential mate. Sixty-four women and 32 men, all heterosexuals were presented photographs of the opposite sex, whilst exposed to different musical instruments as stimulus.

Based on the results, Dr. Manuela Marin from the University of Innsbruck who carries out researches on Cognitive Psychology, Experimental Psychology and Emotion, and who was leader of the research team, concluded that arousal transfers can occur if 2 types of stimuli are processed one after another. The first stimulus creates internal arousal, which can influence the second stimulus.

“This mostly unconscious mechanism can then influence our actions, in this case, the choice of a partner.”

Read More Previous and Current Studies Show that Women are Attracted to Musically Inclined Men
May 10, 2019