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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

Ear Bliss #3

Relax and take a well-deserved aural vacation listening to these five specially chosen selections that will help you escape a dreary or hectic week.

1. Sounds of an 18,000-year-old Conch. Discovered in a cave in France in 1931, this 18,000-year-old conch shell was thought to be a ceremonial drinking cup. It sat in the Natural History Museum of Toulouse, France, until researchers re-examined it recently and discovered it had actually been originally used as a wind instrument. Scientists enlisted the help of a horn player, who managed to produce three sounds close to the notes C, C-sharp and D. The ancient instrument is now known as the Masroulas Conch after the name of the cave where it was discovered. It is the earliest known conch shell horn in the world and the only prehistoric one.

2. “Brazil Blues” by Herbie Mann. If summer weekends had a musical score playing in the background, it would be bop flutist Herbie Mann's 1961-62 group performing African-, Cuban-, and Brazilian-influenced jazz on this ultra-cool LP. With guitarist Billy Bean, vibraphonist Hagood Hardy, Dave Pike on marimba, Carlos Valdez on conga, Willie Bobo on drums, Bill Salter on bass, José de Paula on tambourine, and Carmen Costa on maracas. United Artists Records (1972).

3. “No Volvere” by Antonio Bribiesca. Antonio Bribiesca (1905-1980) was a masterful classical guitarist from Mexico City whose style was simple but inimitable. His renditions of traditional Mexican ballads and melodies represent the cultural fabric of Mexico with a poet’s heart and soul. This enchanting performance of the melancholic country song, “No volveré”/“I won’t come back” will make you an instant Bribiesca fan. From “La guitarra mexicana de Antonio Bribiesca” (1963).

4. “Sounds of My City: The Stories, Music and Sounds of the People of New York” by Tony Schwartz. In the 1940s and ‘50s, New York art director Tony Schwartz (1923-2008) spent his weekends and days-off as a “sound hobbyist,” roaming the city and recording on tape the everyday life of the street – neighbors’ conversations, lively music, songs, street vendor jingles, car horns, and rainstorms. He eventually produced and hosted “Adventures in Sound,” a weekly segment of street recordings and interviews that aired on WNYC Radio for over 30 years. His priceless sound recordings of the real life of New York City are now archived in the Library of Congress.

This two-part selection originally aired as one special program on WNYC (1956 Folkways Records).

5. "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy." The Complete Six-Episode, 25-part series (198 min.)

Get ready to discover (or gleefully re-discover) the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything! Long before “Men In Black,” “Spaceballs,” and even the 2005 movie starring Martin Freeman, there was the original BBC Radio series. “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” is a sci-fi comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams that follows the adventures of hapless Englishman Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect, an alien who writes for “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” a pan-galactic encyclopedia and travel guide.

Starring Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Mark Wing-Davey, Stephen Moore, and Susan Sheridan, John le Mesurier, Joanna Lumley, Christian Slater, Jackie Mason, Sandra Dickinson, Rula Lenska, Griff Rhys Jones, and Jonathan Pryce. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 March 1978-June 2005.

Click here to queue up the full series of the original radio broadcast episodes of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from SciFiGroup on YouTube: HGTTG Full Series

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