At dawn the beach of Oostduinkerke is abandoned, the seas calm. There is little wind, but the air is cool. The only sounds are the soft, distant creak of wagon wheels and the gentle lapping of the ocean. The shrimp fishermen are perched with slipshod ease, riding across the sand on the edge of …
There’s a place in Mexico City that’s filled with thousands of musical instruments from all over Latin America — some of them more than 100 years old. It’s not a museum or music school. It’s an apartment. Actually, the collection’s grown so much, it now fills two apartments. It’s the result of a lifelong passion for the instruments and their history, as well as a determination to share them.
Guillermo Contreras is a brawny 63-year-old with gray hair and a beard, wearing blue jeans and a black dress shirt, but when he opens the door, you barely notice him. There are instruments everywhere. It’s more than any museum collection I’ve ever seen.
“No, I’ve filled one museum with 300 pieces,” Contreras says. “I can tell you, there are more than 4,000 instruments here.”
He’s got Jaranas, vihuelas, guitarrones, bajo quintos — all Mexican offspring of the Spanish guitar, which was brought here during the colonial period. There are also violins and harps of every size, marimbas, dozens of percussion instruments, and wind instruments of every shape, length and sound.
He pulls out a reed flute and says it was played by the Aztecs. The instrument is still played in a region of northeastern Mexico.
Munich’s Kunsthalle is currently showing selected pieces from Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s Samurai Collection in Dallas, Texas. The selection includes armor and weapons as well as household items, but I was most impressed by the numerous helmets. Their design is often unique and highly elaborate, much …
The Sound Recordings catalog comprises over 17,400 digital audio files, beginning with Lomax’s first recordings onto (newly invented) tape in 1946 and tracing his career into the 1990s. In addition to a wide spectrum of musical performances from around the world, it includes stories, jokes, …
Artist Debra Rapoport finds all sorts of recycled, discarded, found and unusual materials and gives them a brilliant second life as high fashion couture. No items or material of any origin are out of consideration for her “Gifted and Thrifted” unique creations, all of which fetch quite a pretty penny. …
Saudi Arabia – In Jizan and Asir, Saudi Arabia’s southern provinces, live the reclusive Flower Men.
For centuries, these descendants of the ancient Tihama and Asir tribes have been known for wearing colourful flower garlands on their head.
They lived completely isolated until 20 years ago; their villages had no electricity or paved roads and they lived according to traditional tribal law.
Even today, the Flower Men were reluctant to have their photos taken or even meet strangers.
They enjoy their peaceful way of life and the margin of autonomy they are given.
They are the only tribes in Saudi Arabia who are allowed to grow and consume khat, a stimulant drug. Possession of drugs is punishable by the death penalty in the kingdom.
The Flower Men also hold strongly to their tradition of floral decorations as a peaceful way of setting them apart.
The community spreads across the border into Yemen, a country the Saudi-led coalition is targeting in air raids.