Volume 21, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 30 - February 5, 2009
Letters to the Editor
A turning point
To The Editor: There were many reasons to rejoice last Tuesday, Inauguration Day. For many, an almost giddy undaunted hope permeated the capital. For others, the feeling was of a spirit of watchful anticipation for something, anything better than the last eight years.
After Barack Obama’s speech, though, there was almost a sense of resignation, as though we have now won this battle but there are so many more to fight to win the war. And we’re not just talking about the two overseas, but the struggles on many fronts that are affecting our population at every turn.
The hope is for a turning point in history, a new beginning, a return to the premises upon which this country was founded. But also there is the pride we have never experienced as a nation, that we could and did elect a black man.
Today it seems that, indeed, everything is possible. Some I spoke to, thought that meant, finally, we can now be a country of the people, for the people, by the people.
I spoke to many people as I wandered the streets of D.C., looking for a spot to even just see the screen. Finally, my friend and I went to a restaurant and watched the speech on TV, like every other American who also felt this excitement generated through a TV monitor, listening to the electric words of a youthful, dynamic, charismatic leader. The packed room was warm and very quiet as our commander in chief did command our attention, giving us a glimpse of how we are going to get out of this mess!
As one beautiful African-American lady said to me that day, the wonderful words have been spoken and now let’s see what happens. Sharon Woolums
Sing like the folks
To The Editor:
I note that the greatest operatic stars of today have been heard singing pop, jazz, and even folk music besides their wonderful classical arias. Music impresarios consider it an attraction as well as an honor to feature a great singer on their programs. Nonetheless, I find that folk music, particularly, by its very nature, should never call for embellishment, nor any techniques that are out of character with the music. Simply said, song should make for a pleasant experience for everybody. When singers do a lot of embellishment, much of the song’s essence is lost.
Listening recently to a group of folk songs, I was startled to hear a rendition of one of my favorites, “Shenandoah,” that sounded more like an aria. The beautiful simplicity of this song was lost. It’s the same with lullabies, which call for the utmost simplicity; virtuosity will tend to keep the little one awake.
It’s good to hear a sweet voice delivering the stories and narratives which are at the root of folk music without showing off virtuosity. Comedians will always have a field day when mocking musical affectation — whether it’s the Marx Brothers or Victor Borge — but folk music should not be “affected” by the fashions of the day.
Let’s leave folk music in its pure state and not tamper with it to show off somebody’s vocal facility. Geraldine Lipschutz
Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.