Thursday, August 29, 2013

Musing on the Rapper Sword Dance


So, in researching things for my books, sometimes I come across something really interesting. In this case, it's the Tyneside tradition of sword dancing. Specifically the 'short sword dance' or 'rapper sword dance.' The best origin that can be gleaned is that it comes from the mining villages in Northumberland and Durham. Originally performed with rigid swords, it's unknown why they were replaced with the flexible rapper swords, although it's theorized that it was a necessity. It's uncertain what function the rapper swords had previously.

So, yeah, these guys dance with swords. Five people take hold of the handles on the ends of the swords and without letting go, perform a fast, complex dance (and provide the percussion with their feet). While it may have originally been accompanied by hornpipes, now 75% of performers use a jig (probably incorporated from Irish immigrants).

Anyway, enough talking, you can read more here and now the videos I want to share:

I love this one because of the close quarters of the pub:

Here's a talented co-ed group (I have to link because the video doesn't allow embedding)

An all-lass group:

And while it's rarely performed to a band, the Demon Barbers don't seem to care much for that tradition (or the tradition of wearing kits). This one's one of my favorites, although they start out a little slow:

I hope you've enjoyed!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Music Monday: Favorite Covers

So, today I bring you Music Monday. Song covers. I love them. They're a sign of respect, in my opinion. You love a song so much that you have to do it in tribute. Some of my favorite songs in general are covers. So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite covers.

Song: Blue Monday
Cover Band: Orgy
Original Band: New Order

Song: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)
Cover Band: Marilyn Manson
Original Band: Eurythmics

Song: Live and Let Die
Cover Band: Guns N' Roses
Original Band: Wings (Paul McCartney)

Song: Send Me An Angel
Cover Band: Zeromancer
Original Band: Real Life

Song: Lake of Fire
Cover Band: Nirvana
Original Band: Meat Puppets

Song: Jolene
Cover Band: The White Stripes
Original Band: Dolly Parton

Song: Imagine
Cover Band: A Perfect Circle
Original Band: John Lennon

Song: Darling Nikki
Cover Band: Foo Fighters
Original Band: Prince

Song: Creep
Cover Band: Seether
Original Band: Stone Temple Pilots

While there are many more I could list, I think this should conclude this post. What are some of your favorite covers?