La Vida Es Un Carnivale :: In the Spirit of Mardi Gras

La Vida Es Un Carnivale :: In the Spirit of Mardi Gras

In the spirit of upcoming Mardi Gras, we celebrate with dance, music and costumes /  jewelry. I didn’t really want to write another post on the history of Mardi Gras, so you can go to an informative Mardi Gras site of your choice for that. I did however find the following interesting ideas that were very interesting when combined with the art, music, and spiritually of the season.

As taken from the Mardi Gras New Orleans site here :

”The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.”

Fatted calf…hmm, where have we heard this. The Bible! If you are a fan. The verse coming from the story of the prodigal son in Luke as seen below.

LUKE 15:23

And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” Another celebration. Mardi Gras Masks

Comparison of celebration is evident, as well as color.  A trio of color. King of Carnival, Rex, was invented in 1872 to preside over the carnival’s daytime parade. I honor of the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the businessmen introduced Romanoff’s family colors of purple, green , and gold as the official Carnival colors.

 

Purple: Justice

Gold : Power

Green : Faith

Official Tune : “If I Ever Cease to Love” (The Duke was fond of it)

 

Now my favorite parts. Costumes. I had no idea that the costumes were in influence of the Native Americans and their historical assistance from slavery during the time. See here. The masks may be dying out due to cost, but the feathers and colors that come around during this time of year are so exciting. Artists and dancers may see comparison to birds, Brazilian Carnivale, or dance styles. I express visually, so just see my photos in this post to tell where my brain may be going on this!

 

 

And birds. ParrotLet’s not forget the birds and the fashion inspired by them. Oh my goodness at the beauty in the colors and feathers. Think Rio, the movie.Parrot Costume

 

Last but not least, I always think of a certain song by famous artist Celia Cruz. La Vida Es Un Carnivale. The first time I ever heard it was at a salsa event. I was hooked from that moment on ; ballroom dance, Latin dance, culture, everything. Imagine the excitement when she came to perform in Atlanta and I got to dance to the song I loved so much.

 

 

 

May as well add my handmade jewelry here.Mardi Gras Owl Shameless plug. One of my favorite dance instructors and personalities is from Louisiana, as well as some of my family on my father’s side, and it so seems that Carnivale is somewhat in the blood. My mother being a costume designer and musician too, I find the connection to fashion, music, dance, nature, and much more so inspiring. So many choices I can’t decide what to draw, or make, or listen too! Just heaven on earth if you can see it.

Alexander McQueen

 

 

 

I hope this translates some visual energy in your direction. That’s what beauty is all about. Remember : La Vida Es Un Carnivale…So enjoy!

 

 

 

 

~ McGlamorous

 

 

 

 

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird
Yellow Bird Necklace by McGlamorous

It’s time for a brighter post to thaw the cold. Let’s talk about “Yellow Bird”, originally a “Choucoune”, or lyrical poem that praises the beauty of a Haitian woman with the same nickname. It became a popular merengue lente (slow merengue) in Haiti,and was played prominently during celebrations at Port-Au-Prince in 1949.

It is one of Haitian poet Oswald Durand’s’ most famous works. There is a great in depth article here that tells the story of the poem and links to the original. Michel Mauleart Morton, an America-born pianist with a Haitian father and American mother, composed music for the poem in 1893. Naturally, it combines some French and Caribbean fragments to create a tune, but the lyrics for YB have no connection with the narrative of the poem. It became a minor hit on Billboard Hot 100 for the Mills Brothers in 1959, and continues to be popularly associated with Calypso and the Caribbean. It is often performed by steel-pan bands, but some versions  such as Chris Isaacks show a Hawaiian influence.

 

 

American Lyrics ::

Yellow bird, up high in banana tree.
Yellow bird, you sit all alone like me.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
I also had a pretty girl, she’s not with me today.
They’re all the same those pretty girls.
Take tenderness, then they fly away.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
Wish that I were a yellow bird, I’d fly away with you.
But I am not a yellow bird, so here I sit.
Nothing I can do.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.

 

 

 

Yellow bird was a dream
The dream came to be
Bright and beautiful
Caged not and free
He sang on his branches
He danced in the rain
The rays of the sunshine
Caused him no pain
His song now is lovely
Hopeful and true
He speaks of the ocean
Skies of bright blue
Sunshine sweet sunshine
Please come to me
Just like my Yellow Bird
I want to be free
~ Alison M.
P.S. My Mother plays this as a Tango for ballet barre and I wrote my own poem above. Thanks for reading and please share!
~ McGlamorous

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Birds

For the Birds

I love birds. We love birds. Let me explain.

My Grandmother loves birds. Ever since I was a little one we were careful and curious about examining her collections when we visited her house for sleep-overs. “No jumping!” I can hear it now as my two boy cousins and I ran around the sleeping bags on a Friday night. We were careful no to wake Grandma by shaking the den floor or the figurines representing her collection.

Many were gifts and I suppose milestone markers for special occasions, but they always perched in the case and held a special memory, especially now. I never knew I liked them so much until now, being around the artifacts in the house. Binoculars are always in reach for new species spotted on the feeder or bath, that is if the squirrels don’t leave a mess after their wild garden parties. When a visitor is spotted we can always run to the closet and find some Audubon reference for advice.

Perhaps the best thing about them is their song. Their appearance can brighten the dullest of days and their voices bring more sunshine into the yard. Caged or free, they adapt and set a good example of faith and spirit.

Many a poem or song has been given to them or inspired by them, art and jewelry being no exception. This post is not “for the birds”, but instead “FOR THE BIRDS”.

 

Art, Literature, Music and Poetry Inspired by Birds

Psalm 55:6,7

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? Copyright © 1983 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)
Bird on the Wire

Leonard Cohen

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you
For like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Songwriters: Leonard Cohen
Bird on the Wire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Flee as a Bird

Flee as a bird to your mountain
Thou who art weary with sin
Go to the clear flowing fountain
Where you may wash and be clean
Fly, for the avenger is near thee
Call and the Savior will hear thee
He on his bosom will bear thee
Thou who art weary of sin, oh
Thou who art weary of sin
He will protect thee forever
Wipe every falling tear
He will forsake thee, oh, never
Sheltered so tenderly there
Haste now, the hours are flying
Spend not the moments in sighing
Cease from your sorrow and crying
The Savior will wipe every tear, oh
Haste now, the hours are flying
Spend not the moments in sighing
Cease from your sorrow and crying
The Savior will wipe every tear, oh
The Savior will wipe every tear
~ McGlamorous
Pastel Art

Pastel Art

 

 

After several requests from family to list examples of my pastel art, here they are. As you can see I enjoy drawing birds. As explained in a earlier post, the colors and textures they provide are a perfect playground for the senses. Medium used here is pastel. Brands that I enjoy are Sennelier, Rembrandt, Canson, NuPastel, among others.

Saffron Toucanet

Male Indigo Bunting

 

Indian Ringneck

 

Rainbowbird

Cardinal

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

 

RainbowbirdIf you asked most artists what inspires them to draw, or create anything, what would you figure to be the most popular subjects? After shyly joining a pastel artist Facebook group last week, I have been pleasantly surprised at the knowledge gained in such a short period of time. One post addressed the question of what three subjects you like to paint the most. There were several replies, animals being very popular, probably to no one’s surprise. Flowers were the list as well as portraits, and of course one of my favorites……birds.

Indian Plum Headed Parakeet

It seems as though the beauty of the feathers and color variations create a great challenge for the artist. A very large artist create them in the first place. I guess we just like to see if we can come close to interpreting that! Overall, it’s fun.

Male Indigo BuntingWhat do you like to draw and why? I am posting a few of my favorite pieces that have been exciting challenges to work on, with a little caption info about each bird. Leave your comments below if you like. Love to hear from you!

~Alison