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Saturday 3 November 2007

When the Fairy Godmother Sings... Mary Black

I knew about this Celtic folk singer Mary Black back in 1989 with her release of the hit album called No Frontiers in the fraternity of high-end audio. This CD was almost a 'must listen' disc in any hi-fi shop in Singapore or Hong Kong then. If any pair of speakers; a CD player; or an amplifier could not produce the sweet voice of Mary Black, that piece of equipment would be stroke of the list of an audiophile looking for an upgrade. I wasn't looking for any equipment upgrade when I was listening to No Frontiers, but I was attracted by her mesmerising voice and the Celtic mood that she portrayed. The music in this disc is just so out of this world, especially the main track and the other two named 'Columbus' and 'Vanities.'

The follow-up album riding on her success of No Frontiers was the 1991 album of Babes in the Wood with the same style of music.

Since I was so impressed by her music which can be categorised as Celtic traditional, folk or world genre, I immediately acquired her 1994 album The Holy Ground. I love the song 'Paper Friends' for the tune and the lyrics in this album.

She changed her direction from Celtic traditional music to pop music in her 1995 release of The Circus. Although I was not as impressed as I was with the three earlier albums, I still pulled out the banknotes from my wallet to pay the girl at the cashier and walked out of the CD shop with this album in my haversack; as an attempt for my devotion to her music. There is still a more traditional song in this album called 'Free as Stone.'

Her evolution from traditional music to pop music was complete in the 1997 release of Shine. As I was not so pleased with her pop music, I still appreciated her and bought the CD. I'm not saying that her pop music is not good, it is still a notch or two above the average pop singers. But I was so mesmerised in her Celtic mood earlier that it was hard for me to adept to her pop music.

I think she realised that she's losing some of her audience in her traditional music. So she threw back some traditional elements into her 1999 album Speaking with the Angel. Since then, she turned inactive in the music scene, with just some releases of 'The Best of...' and 'The Collection of...' albums thereafter.

After years of collecting her albums, I managed to trace back her music older than No Frontiers. This is the tune from her 1987 album By the Time It Gets Dark.

This is yet another older album of her released back in 1985, Without the Fanfare. All the songs are great, especially this track called 'The Crow on the Cradle.'

In fact, all her albums come with top notch recording and sound quality. Her music has accompanied me through the years and I'll continue to play these albums in my collection over the many months and moons to come in my life. It has been part of my life.

Thursday 1 November 2007

The White Dream in Mykonos: With a Little Bit of Red

As much as I like the tone in a photo to see the form of a single-colour object, I pretty much like a little of flavouring colours to make the subject even more outstanding. If a white subject is filled in with some primary colours, like what I've shown in the stairways and gates and doors shots, the photos are more pleasing to the eyes.

The robot figure built from recycled materials is just so cute!

Mykonos is just a haven for the single-colour object photography as almost all the houses are painted white. With a little flavouring red colour from the bougainvilleas and other type of red flowers, they form a very interesting subject for photography.

The adorning red bougainvillea on the whitewashed wall forms a very good foreground for the white subject behind.

The overhanging red bougainvillea frames the top of the whitewashed building nicely.

The red flowers of the potted plants add some flavour to the all white scene.

A single red potted plant stands out from the other white-colour objects.

Some decorative red bougainvillea in front of the whitewashed cube buildings provides the colour contrast very well.

Red bougainvillea adorning the whitewashed building on the roof.

Shade provided by the overhanging red bougainvillea.

If you would like to read more of my travelogues on Greece, here are the links:-

1. Athens – The Homeland of the Gods

2. The White Dream in Mykonos

3. Santorini – Almost Heaven

4. Miscellaneous

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Wordless Wednesday – The Happiest Day of Trish & Steve on May 19th, 2007

Tuesday 30 October 2007

The White Dream in Mykonos: Wind Riders

The windmills are probably the most recognisable landmarks in Mykonos. They have been in existence since the 16th century.

The region of Ano Meria has most of the Upper Mills of Hora. Together with those that operated in other parts of the island, they once served the residents of their local area and the countryside; whilst the Lower Mills of Hora were, according to tradition, mainly involved with the grinding of grain for areas outside the island.

The Lower Mills of Hora are the signature landmarks in postcards on Mykonos.

The closer view of he Lower Mills of Hora from one of the Upper Mills of Hora is just so spectacular.

The windmills do not operate by solid propellers but with sails on yards. When the windmills are not in operation, the sails are all rolled up on the yards. Once the sails are unrolled, they will ride on the wind. Therefore, if there is an unbalanced and unequal pressure of the wind on certain one-piece sails, the yards would break and the whole rotating mechanism would be destroyed. For this reason, it was forbidden to build near a mill and or quite a distance around it because the buildings nearby would cause swirling wind passing on to the windmills.

The Lower Mills of Hora as viewed from Little Venice.

The windmills are basically whitewashed cylinders with conical wooden roof covered with straws. However, the simple architecture is just so pleasing to the eyes. They are just so cute.

The basic geometrical forms of cylinders and cones.

The whole roll of wind riders.

The same roll of windmills from a lower viewing angle.

The sails are all rolled up on the yards when they are not in operation.

This is one of the Upper Mills of Hora where the sails are partly unrolled to ride on the wind.

If you would like to read more of my travelogues on Greece, here are the links:-

1. Athens – The Homeland of the Gods

2. The White Dream in Mykonos

3. Santorini – Almost Heaven

4. Miscellaneous

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