Thursday, June 6, 2013

From the archives (July 17, 2012): As William Shakespeare once said...

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.”

It happens to be the opening line of Sonnet 116, but that is irrelevant for purposes of this post. Only English literature majors care.

As you are surely aware if you have read this blog for any length of time, I am always looking for interesting and unusual things to bring to your attention.

This time I just may have outdone myself.

Page 1 -- Thesis

There’s this guy named Béla Fleck (well, his full name is Béla Anton Leoš Fleck and according to Wikipedia he is named after Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and Czech composers Anton Dvorak and Leoš Janáček, which proves that anything is possible). He was born in 1958 and grew up to be, of all things,
a banjo player. Strangest of all, he was born not in Alabama but in New York City.

He formed a group called Béla Fleck and the Flecktones that has won Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Best Pop Instrumental Album.

This is Béla:

(Photo by tom m., 2007, on Flickr and used here in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

Page 2 -- Antithesis

Then there’s this other guy named Kongar-ol Ondar, a Tuvan throat singer who was born in 1962.

He is considered a living treasure by the Republic of Tuva and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (2:59).

I bet you didn’t even know there was a Republic of Tuva, and yes, I just split an infinitive. (Again, only English majors care.)

This is Kongar-ol:

(Photo by Bill Loewy, 1993, used here in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.)

Page 3 -- Synthesis

Apparently, banjo players and pseudo-banjo players, whatever their singing style, seek their own level. In the fulness of time and as luck would have it, Kongar-ol Ondar appeared with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones on albums called Outbound, Live at the Quick, and Jingle All the Way. He has also released an album of his own called Back Tuva Future.

Curiouser and curiouser.

You do know what’s coming next.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s “Ah Sho Dekio” featuring Kongar-ol Ondar with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (3:14). I urge you to watch it, as you may never see anything like it ever again.

Page 4

Finally, here’s every Alabaman’s idea of a dream date:

(Photo by Julianne Macie, 2010, used here in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

The girl is Abigail Washburn and Béla ended up marrying her. As Shakespeare also once said, “All’s well that ends well.”

And as Shakespeare never once said, Ah sho hope you liked this post.


  1. Well I enjoyed the clip - they were having fun and there was some good musicianship. Until I read this post, I must admit that I had never heard of Tuva. Did you know that the republic of Tuva contains some 8000 rivers?...You know, I think you ought to take up the banjo. It's never too late. You could sit on your porch strumming away as the sun goes down.."Well I come from Mansfield Texas with my banjo on my knee and I'm bound for Canton , Georgia my true love for to see..." etc.. The neighbours would love it.

  2. Yorkshire P., the great migration on this continent was from east to west, not west to east. Therefore, it would be counter-intuitive to come from Mansfield, Texas, with my banjo on my knee and wind up in Canton, Georgia, definitely a west-to-east trip. Tin Pan Alley would never buy the concept because no one would ever buy the record, er, CD. Also, my house doesn't have a porch.

  3. No porch? What, you just drop off into the yard like heathen?
    By the way, I didn't get it. Sounded like a camping trip we went on with my hubby's family - who all think they can play the guitar and Did I miss something? Sounded like a bunch of good ole boys who had too much punch at the 4th of July party or something ;-) Just sayin'....

  4. Eh? No porch RWP? I thought all southern gentlemen had porches and those swinging seats so that they could chew tobacco and survey their plantations before bedtime. Time to build one methinks...when you get back from the Mansfield trip I planned for you.

  5. Hilltopetc., our house is a "ranch" on a "slab" so when we leave our front door, it is one small step for a man, not one giant leap for mankind! About the Tuvan throat-singing, I never said I cared for it (I don't), but it is interesting to have experienced once in one's life. Only now, since I posted the same post last July, I have experienced it twice.

    Yorkshire Pudding, true southern gentlemen haven't had plantations in ages, and no one I know chews tobacco. There must be a market for it, however, as it is on the shelves in the markets.

  6. Enjoyed this post. Blogging is a great place to make sense of all things which may seem unrelated ~ but the universe is vast and we are all connected thanks to the Internet.

    Thank you Mr B, from Carol (visiting from Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia) ~ home to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest ~ oh and a ukelele festival each year :)

  7. Carol C., welcome to the rhymeswithplague blog. Not every post here is as exotic as Kongar-al Ondar, the Tuvan throat singer, but I hope you stay (or return) and explore the site to your heart's content. I am not as crazy as I may seem. Sometimes I am even crazier. I do have one regular visitor from Queensland: Helsie of Helsie's Happenings" who lives in Brisbane but lately has been traveling in Europe. You would enjoy the photographs on her blog if you like travel blogs (hers isn't really a travel blog, she just happens to be currently traveling in Europe and is a great photographer).

  8. Thanks Mr B ~ I am spending more time reading blogs than writing these days but enjoying discovering new places and new people all the same. One of my blogs is over at and I posted this morning about a fascinating exhibition of sculpture and a video of the people in the Torres Strait. I hope you enjoy too.