Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Little Musical Humor

A couple of days ago my Sister-In-Law posted on her blog a youtube link that's lately been making the rounds, of a male vocal ensemble from Indiana University, making a glorious hash of The 12 Days of Christmas (and many other worthy things). She commented that these guys could be distant cousins of the Power Family boys. Her commenters (who know my brothers and me reasonably well) concurred.

Well, as we enter the final stretch of the Marathon and wearily wheeze our way toward the Christmas finish line, we all tend to get a little punchy about the whole season. It's a little difficult to maintain an air of subdued expectation concerning the Birth of Christ, for a full month starting with the day after Thanksgiving, all the way until the twenty-fifth of December. For me, the wonder of the season frequently wears off about the second weekend of December. That is, if it ever gets started in the first place. These last several years I've been the music director for my church's Christmas Musical Annual Extravaganza™; and by the time December rolls around, we've been working on Christmas music for two months, and I want to slap everyone silly, and the singers all want to do the same to me, and can't we just get the season over with finally, for Baby Jesus' sake? So about this time, I tend to enjoy musical parodies of great songs of the Christmas Season much more than the originals:
  • Chest Hairs Roasting On An Open Fire....
  • Walking 'Round In Women's Underwear....
  • Jingle Bells, Batman Smells....
  • Joy To The World, The School Burned Down....
  • Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer....
Then of course, there are all the songs where the words don't change, and the music doesn't change, but the humor is in the way you sing it. The phrase "Don we now our gay apparel" followed by a blithe flurry of Falalalalalalalalas can actually be quite silly, don'tcha know--especially if you can drape a lavender boa around you when you do it. (Although you better not try to strike my harp, or I'll strike you right back.) And the song "Here We Come A'Wassailing" is a mother-lode of silliness, which is even better because everyone knows the silliness is coming:
God bless the master of this house,
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table goo...
Not to mention that the verse that goes:
Dear master and mistress,
As you sit by the fire,
Please think of us poor children
That wander in the mire.... best when followed by squishy-sounding vocal/labial effects demonstrating what wandering in the mire actually sounds like.

(For those of you who know my brother Rick, ask him to make his "Mud-Man" impression sometime. That's precisely what I'm referring to here.)


I don't have much in the way of Christmas musical humor to share with you tonight, but my brother and sister-in-law did introduce us recently to the team of Igudesman & Joo. These guys are musical comedians, in the mold of the late Victor Borge or of Dudley Moore. We looked them up on youtube, and....

Well, see for yourself:

Here are some other segments of their routine:

Try to guess the song in this next one before they get to the lyrics.

Now, a few years back, one of my brothers and I came up with the musical monstrosity we called "Peter Gunn and the Wolf," in which one of us would sing the "Peter" theme from Prokofiev's work, and the other would sing the theme music to the old Peter Gunn TV show. We actually got the two themes to work together. (And, of course, in the story of Peter Gunn and the Wolf, Peter usually gets eaten about the time we get bored of singing, which doesn't generally take too long.) Well, it appears that my brothers and I aren't the only ones that possess this kind of humor:

I'm in the process of teaching my eldest daughter to play piano now. She doesn't always appreciate it. Given this fact, I'm not going to show her this:

One last one, just for kicks:

Hope you enjoy.

I looked at their website, and I'm not seeing any plans on their part to tour the US anytime soon, which is a serious bummer. But in the unlikely event I have any readers in Sweden, make sure you take the opportunity to see these guys.


Wendy Power said...
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Wendy Power said...

Tim, your distain for Christmas-all-month-long go-go-go-go makes baby Jesus cry. On his birthday.