Category Archives: Cultural Beacons

Cultural Beacons: Yo-Yo Ma plays an enchanting The Swan from Saint Saens as encore!

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-yo Ma, undoubtedly the reference in Cello playing for the past years together with the older genius Rostropovich delightfully interprets a deep and heartfelt version of Sain Saëns “The Swan” from the Carnival of the Animals in a Tokyo performance.

Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is a French American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Ma is regarded by some as the most famous cellist of the modern age.

Source: Wikipedia


If you like this video try watching Horowitz in his historic return to Moscow in 1986, or Pogorelic playing in the Chopin International Piano Competition

Watch Yo-Yo Ma playing The Swan, from Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals

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Cultural Beacons – Marshall McLuhan – ABC TV The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan - The Medium is the message

Marshall McLuhan - The Medium is the message

Marshall McLuhan the famous media theorist and scholar, very much revered by our current cultural icons such as Mark Zuckerberg, forecasted many years ago the social media revolution as well as the impact media would have in the fabric and dynamics of society. These thesis were synthesized in two terms “The Global Village” and “The Medium is the message“.

In this CBC interview McLuhan shares his revolutionary ideas in the 60s, they still are relevant and clearly shows McLuhan’s almost prescient views of the future.

Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian educator,philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist. McLuhan’s work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.

McLuhan is known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and “the global village” and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. Although he was a fixture in media discourse in the late 1960s, his influence started to wane in the early seventies. In the years after his death, he would continue to be a controversial figure in academic circles. With the arrival of the internet, however, there was renewed interest in his work and perspective.

Source: Wikipedia

Watch Marshall McLuhan’s interview video, The Medium is the Message

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Cultural Beacons: Shakira Singing Je L’aime a Mourir Live in Paris!

Shakira Live in Paris: Je L'aime a Mourir

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll; (born February 2, 1977), known mononymously as Shakira, is a Colombian singer-songwriter who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira began performing in school, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Arabic influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. Shakira is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks fluent English and Portuguese as well as some Italian, French, Catalan and Arabic.

Je l’aime à mourir” (English: I love her to death) is a French-language song written by Francis Cabrel. It is taken from his second hugely album Les Chemins de traverse released in 1979 that sold over 600,000 copies in France. The single “Je l’aime à mourir” became a hit single for Francis Cabrel in France,Quebec (Canada), Europe and internationally. In France the single sold 500,000 copies, making it to the top of the French Singles & Airplay Chart Reviews, staying at number one for five consecutive weeks (charts of 7, 14, 21 and 28 September and 6 October 1979). The single became the most sold Cabrel single ever.

Source: Wikipedia

Watch Shakira singing Je L’aime a Mourir Live in Paris in Spanish and French:

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Cultural Beacons – Richard Dawkins and the Selfish Gene

Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins - Author of the Selfish Gene and The God Delusion

In 1972, Britain was undergoing a series of power shortages. A young biologist, Richard Dawkins, not being able to work without power in his laboratory, gave himself to writing, and started drafting a book that would shatter the foundations of biology and evolutionist theories. The book was the Selfish Gene, to be published in 1976, it opened a tremendous debate between different scientific factions and philosophers in dealing with the basics of Darwinism and his survival of the fittest theories and its conciliation with altruism in species and ultimately human beings themselves.

Richard Dawkins, now a professor in Oxford, has published several books, including his best-selling last publication “The God Delusion”.


Meet Professor Dawkins in this BBC Documentary video

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Cultural Beacons: Zaha Hadid and the Guangzhou Opera House Documentary

Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House

Zaha Hadid, CBE (born 31 October 1950) is an Iraqi-British architect and winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004.

Guangzhou Opera House  is a newly constructed Chinese opera house in Guangzhou, Guangdong province,People’s Republic of China.

In April 2002 an International Architectural Competition attracted Coop Himmelb(l)au, Rem Koolhaas andZaha Hadid – each producing detailed designs.[2][3] In November 2002, Zaha Hadid’s “double pebble” was announced the winner and the groundbreaking ceremony was held early in 2005.

The theatre has become the biggest performing centre in southern China and is one of the three biggest theatres in the nation alongside Beijing’s National Grand Theatre and Shanghai’s Shanghai Grand Theatre. May 2010 saw American filmmaker Shahar Stroh direct the premiere production of the opera house: Puccini’s opera Turandot which had in previous years been a controversial opera in China.

The project cost 1.38 billion yuan (approx. US$200 million).

Source: Wikipedia

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Cultural Beacons: Vladimir Horowitz encore in Moscow. 1986. Schumann’s Traumerei

Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz

In 1986, the Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz gave a recital in Moscow after many years in exile. Gorbachev‘s Glasnost and Perestroika allowed for the visiting of major exiled intellectuals such as Solzhenitsyn or Horowitz.

In this historic performance, and specifically during his encore, the camera captures the deep russian nostalgia and the love of its people for beauty and music.

If you like this video, check out Yo-Yo Ma playing an enchanting The Swan from Saint SaensHow a Bach Canon works, or Ivo Pogorelic at the Chopin International competition when he became a legend!

Vladimir Horowitz in Moscow. 1986. Encore, Schumann’s Traumerei.

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Cultural Beacons: Queen and Freddy Mercury historic performance in Rock in Rio 1985 HD – Love of My Life

Queen's Freddy Mercury in Rock in Rio 1985

Historic performance of Queen in rock in Rio 1985 in Rio de Janeiro. What would eventually end up becoming one of the largest rock festivals in the world, now present in Madrid, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

In 2010, when Rock in Rio was being produced for Rio de Janeiro, Brian May said “I can still hear you sing” speaking about the 1985 performance, in which a crowd of million sang almost the whole song.

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Cultural Beacons: Ivo Pogorelic at the Chopin Competition – Scherzo No3, Op39

In 1980, a young Serbian pianistIvo Pogorelic amazed the world with astonishing performances at the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, allegedly the most influential piano contest in the world. His energy, technique and expression tantalized the audience.

Much to the surprise of many, he did not go beyond the third round. However, his performances were so compelling, that one of the judges, legendary pianist Martha Argerich, publicly declared him a genius, and left the competition given the unfairness with which she thought Pogorelic had been treated.

And so the legend of one of the most influential and revered pianists of the end of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of the Twenty First began.

This video is straight from one of his performances at the mentioned Chopin Competition. It has become a landmark of musical expression.

If you liked this video watch How a Bach Canon worksHorowitz’s encore in Moscow in 1986 playing Schumman’s Traumerei, or Yo-Yo Ma’s delightful interpretation of Saint Saens the Swan in Tokyo!

Watch Ivo Pogorelic at the Chopin International Piano Competition in 1980:

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Cultural Beacon: Norman Mailer on Ali vs Foreman

Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

Along with Truman CapoteJoan DidionHunter S. ThompsonJohn McPhee, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, which superimposes the style and devices of literary fiction onto fact-based journalism. He was awarded thePulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once. In 1955, Mailer, together with John Wilcock, Ed Fancher and Dan Wolf, first published The Village Voice, which began as an arts and politics oriented weekly newspaper distributed in Greenwich Village.

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Cultural Beacons: Woody Allen interviews reverend Billy Graham

1969 Tv interview featuring filmmaker and Academy Award winner Woody Allen and one of america’s most influential religious men, reverend Billy Graham!

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