Concerts | Featured

The Moonshine Jungle Tour – Bruno Mars in Vienna

By on October 26, 2013

The Moonshine Jungle Tour

For months, we’ve been counting the days we can finally get seated at Vienna’s Stadthalle for this particular day: Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour Vienna Leg. And our long wait is all worth it…even the hour-long opening by Mayer Hawthorne was not to be set aside.

We wanna see y’all moving, we wanna see y’all dancing… maybe, just maybe, put your camera phones down and get into it!

In his trademark fedora, aloha shirt (uhhmm, sort of), matched by his awesome ‘Hooligans’ and dancing along the tunes of “Moonshine” and “Natalie” at the beginning of the show. As early as that, the crowd was on their feet dancing and singing along.

So when Mars commanded the crowd to the tune of “Treasure” – everyone, basically, was swinging to a beat. The set list for his October 26 performance at Vienna’s Stadthalle was completed with the following:

Money (That’s What I Want) / Billionaire
Show Me
Candy Rain (cover)
Our First Time / Pony
Marry You
Runaway Baby
The Lazy Song
When I Was Your Man
Grenade
Just the Way You Are

Encore:

Locked Out of Heaven
Gorilla

(Or at least, that’s how I remember…)

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Mars and the Hooligans

 

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lazy song…I think

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Featured | Street Performances

The Beauty of Encountering Music Unexpectedly

By on October 18, 2013

 

Being in the European Music Centre that is Vienna is like always walking at a park serenaded by Mozart and company. Musicians abound and would play as though they are on a stage in front of a large audience – skillfully and with all the emotions, you can’t help but be mesmerized. It has become habitual, yes, but I still always take time to listen, clip a film and give my due – which is actually just a bonus on their part.

So when I’m out of town or country, I’d stop, look, and listen to them buskers as I’ve always had. They can be musicians, dancers, jugglers, clowns, mimes, sketchers and what-have-you on the streets. All about street act in the hope that you’ll give them your attention and be able to entertain as you pass along them. My favorite of them would be musicians, no matter what instrument. And because I walk a lot whichever city I go, it kinda makes my day happier just to encounter good music unexpectedly at street corners or any given plaza!

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Glass Water, Venice

In Vienna, many hardly notice the soulful voice of the blind man serenading passers-by going to the train station, probably because like the rest of the population, they’re in a rush. Most of the time, tourists are the ones who would always listen. And so it is when I’m out of town; I’d stop, look and listen – just as tourists would. It’s probably because I heard that some popular singers sometimes disguise as buskers. To name a few, there was Joshua Bell, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Sting, Tom Jones and even Bruce Springsteen when he was young. And actually, some were discovered from street busking such as musicians Rod Stewart, Violent Femmes, and Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil theatrical company. Have you noticed any of them?

Unknown to many, busking is quite a complex endeavor. Depending on the city, performers need permits and must conform to regulations and laws. Most of the time, they are the targets of robbery. Artists as they are, one thing’s for sure though – it’s the love of performing that keeps them going.

So during our trip to Italy, the home of the piano and the violin, I’ve seen how there is no shortage of talented musicians who took to the streets. In Venice for example, finding our way back the serpentine roads and after many detours we chanced upon a water glass (glass harp/verrilion) player. Didn’t really mind stopping to listen, it’s no wonder that though called with many names, this instrument fits the description “angelic organ”. It was a delightful surprise despite getting lost.

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Rome, playing 50’s music

While roaming alone in Rome, lost in between thoughts and expectations, I stumbled upon a builder of time machines (slash) rock musician. (His witty sign alone will make you stop!) He was playing his version of Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman, sort of invites you to just pull a partner, dance around not minding the crowd building up around him. I regret not having to! Maybe I should build a time machine myself and go back there to do that? Nah, a trip back to Rome would definitely be more practical, I just hope he hasn’t gone back to the 50’s by then!

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Rome, playing and singing Italian

I agreed to a rendezvous with hubby by the pantheon and I lost track of time listening to this lady. I was lost too to the lyrics of her song (the only Italian song I know by heart is Zucchero’s Hai Scelto Me and I still haven’t learned its English counterpart in full) blending so well with her awesome guitar skills. I was so engrossed, I listened to two of her songs before I went on to look for hubby…saw him and a mime clown. But, that’s another story.

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Florence, classics on violin

Then, there’s this young performer at the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, by the side of the Basilica di Santa Maria del FioreWhile many went on to learn what the fuss about the carabinieri in front of the Il Duomo was that particular night, she continued playing her violin, undisturbed in front of a crowd. She did Mozart and Bach. There was a younger girl watching her intently the whole time…I somehow felt like – that was how I might have appeared to others when caught up to beautiful music I chance upon for being the itchyfeet that I am.

There are many more performances I heard and saw while in Italy (I have to look for the videos :/ gott). For all those, I’m really grateful. You know, the one good thing about music that I like is, when it hits you, you feel no pain. Right, I borrowed that quote from someone famous but it’s true. That is why, when you’re out, it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate the performances out in the open. Stop, listen, be engulfed, let it hit you! You will never know, years from now, maybe the next time you hear/see that performer is  during his/her concert on the big stage!

 

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Concerts | Featured

Alicia Keys Sets Vienna on Fire

By on June 14, 2013

 

There used to be glow sticks being waved by fans in concerts -nowadays, that’s your cell phone…especially if Alicia Keys ask the audience to do so, it turned the whole concert hall into an illusion of starry skies. It was easy to see how the singer-pianist could set a city on fire; when she sits at the piano and starts to tip them keys and belt her songs there’s nothing to do but be in awe.

At the Wiener Stadhalle via http://aliciakeysmedia.com/

Two hours long of soulful singing with a minimal set, Keys’ Set the World on Fire Tour Vienna Leg  featured her greatest hits starting off with the Jay-Z collab-feature Empire State of Mind and an elaborate cityscape of New York on a giant screen.

Grammy nominated American artist, known by the mononym Miguel, opened the concert for Keys singing a selection of his own songs. It was a very good performance (although I was turned off by his assumption that the Viennese population don’t speak English that much, lol).

 

 

Often she’d be on the piano skillfully playing as she sings. Which is what we love about her.

There was just one costume change for Ms. Keys. Clad in a tight-hugging trousers that showed off her curves, she paired it with a old rose or something to that shade-top, looking all too graceful as she moves a bit to the tune of her jazz-y songs. She changed into into a killer lila dress for the Empire State of Mind finale (yes, twice… but this time with a video intro of Jay-Z on the big screen, we thought he’d actually be there) sending the audience to their feet.

(Watch on youtube to see more.)

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I regret not having brought the bulky camera… 😀
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🙂
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doing what she does best

 

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Featured | Music Sheets | Piano

Piano Lessons this Semester

By on September 23, 2012

 

I’ve spent precious time browsing online musical scores today, been looking for easy piano pieces that my little boy  (Daniel) could practice on. Yep, for my little boy.

I heard the piano being played the other day while my daughter (Alexie) was showing me her homework. She’s the only one among the three who learned to play so I was baffled at who could be at it then. I went to the living room to check and saw my little boy happily tapping on the keys. He was  playing the simplified version of Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy). It wasn’t as polished as his sister would play but still, I was impressed that he learned the piece without proper piano lessons….Well, turns out Alexie has been teaching him bit by bit and kept it a secret to surprise me….and I was. ^_^

My daughter told me she has shown Daniel almost every piece on her beginner’s piano book. Daniel would follow her lead without really considering the notes, sometimes singing along too (he’s always been a singer). I had planned to enroll the boys this semester to Karate or Taekwondo but I’m now having second thoughts; perhaps a piano lesson would benefit Daniel too.

My daughter’s piano teacher from last semester would be a good choice since he knows the boys as well, they tag along during Alexie’s Thursday piano sessions. She learned a great deal from those half-hour a week lessons. She can play a lot of pieces now and can easily read notes. It has also helped her a lot when it comes to being confident. I bet it’s because of the dedication and willingness to learn and because her teacher has only kind words to say. It has also helped Alexie concentrate. Imagine reading the notes and rhythm,  translating it into hand movements on the keyboard and going on to the next note doing the same, it needs a lot of focus. Focus – What Daniel needs to have now that he has started schooling.

Now that Daniel knows the basic, I’m thinking of getting him some Elton John sheet music with his favorite songs from The Lion King or perhaps Phil Collin’s with songs from Brother Bear. I haven’t told Daniel yet about the lessons because he was busy listening and singing to a tune with his earphones plugged. I wouldn’t want to bother my little musician.

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Concerts | Featured | Mozart

A Mozart Story

By on March 2, 2012

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Some time last week we went to a concert showcasing the life of Mozart. An ensemble would play Mozart pieces as a storyteller dressed as Mozart would give bits and pieces of the composer’s life. It was a wonderful piece of history musically presented to be enjoyed by young viewers…adults as well. There were a lot of his pieces played, would list them one by one – upload them on youtube to feature here.

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart is, even at this age, regarded as a music prodigy par none. He started composing at the age of 5 and played before European royalty as he grew up. It is still regretful that although he had sons, they weren’t able to bear children to continue his legacy.

stage, concert, mozart story vienna

Pardon my video-recording skills, I was too slow to record from the start and my hands are so unsteady..,anyway, here’s part of Eine kleine Nachtmusik. (Please lower your speaker volume.)

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Featured | Piano

Piano keys

By on June 14, 2011
piano
eager learner

They say when you play piano your fingers get longer and slender. 🙂 Can’t prove that but I do know that playing the piano makes my daughter happy. 😀

This is her in one of her piano sessions last semester. Surprisingly (or not), she was able to learn some pieces in a short period of time. Thanks to the patience of her teacher (he always says anyway that she is easy to teach) and also her willingness to learn, we can listen at home to what she usually would.

I truly need to take photos and videos of her again as she plays.

She’s wearing a white chiffon top over white longsleeved shirt as it was still cold then.

 

 

Sharing whites:

 

 

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