Music on the Orient Express: a Melodic Whodunit

"For me, the greater the melody, the greater the shalange.  And as always, I accept the shalange."  On that dubious note six-string Inspector Godbout begins to pluck tuneful clues to detect the composer of the greatest melody along the Orient Express route from Paris to Istanbul.  Have a bon voyage aboard his musical mystery tour as you decide whodunit.  The tour concludes with a Turkish medley featuring the wondrous whirling and delightful dancing of alumni of Asmira's School of Oriental Bellydance

"Godbout plays astoundingly adept arrangements of European composers’ works on guitar.  Transforming Beethoven into blues is no mean feat, and Godbout’s skill as a musician can easily rivet you for an hour."  Avenue Magazine, Calgary
Music on the Orient Express offers a pleasant evening of classical music.  Godbout is a superb musician.  He plays the coolest version of Strauss' Blue Danube that I've ever heard.  Godbout finishes his performance with some Turkish music accompanied by belly dancers.
"  Fast Forward Weekly, Calgary
"When Godbout is embracing his muse - his guitar - time holds no meaning.  When the melodies flow into the aether, even the angels in heaven may take notice."  B Channel News 

Calgary Fringe Festival, July 29 - Aug. 6, 7:30 - 8:30 pm nightly.  Jacqueline Suzanne's Bistro, 1219 9th Ave. Southeast.
Heraldbuzz   webuzz   webuzz2  SOLD OUT Sat., July 30, and some other nights as well.

Victoria Fringe Festival, /A\ Vancouver Island, Broad & Pandora, Aug. 25 - 28, Aug. 30 - Sept. 4, 7 - 8 pm.  review 

The first ever melodic whodunit features Beethoven's Flat Fifth (a blues arrangement of a symphonic theme, and why not, if Beethoven was black?) and Moonlight Soleá (a flamenco take on Moonlight Sonata, and why not, as Beethoven's grandfather was Flemish, which may be etymologically related to the word flamenco?), Brahms' Bossa (inspired by Santana's latinization), Blue Danube Dub (Jamaica meets Vienna in a reggae version of Strauss' waltz), Chopin's Samba in C#- (taking its cue from the Brazilian song Tristeza, which translates part of Chopin's waltz [1:06-1:46] to a samba rhythm), a flamenco version of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony theme, a gender bending dervish, and more.  Godbout's musical mystery tour is a comedic counterpart to Agatha Christie's murder mystery; melodies linger without any murder aboard his Orient Express.  Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman cultures cavort as Godbout's global guitar conjures a polyrhythmic rapture of Parisian ballerinas and Turkish belly dancers, of Viennese waltzers and whirling dervishes!

Speaker, speaker in my amp, who’s the decomposing champ?  A French Pole, a German Swiss, a pianist, or a Chopin Liszt?
Van Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, or Strauss?  Speaker, speaker heed my call: who’s the greatest of them all?

Does the answer lie in the following syllogism?  If ancient mystics were correct in perceiving the seven notes of a melodic scale as analogous to seven energy centers along the human spine, and if spinal centers culminate in a crown as a melodic scale is generated from the keynote, therefore, the greatest melody could conceivably be found in the shivers of a belly dancer, the ashes of a sultan, or the whirling of a dervish.  We are fearfully and wonderfully composed. 

Dom Ghawazi

Dom Ghawazi, gypsy belly dancer, sways as the beads hanging from her bedlah;
Bells on her toes, cymbals on her finger, accent the beat of the karsilama.

Allahu Akbar

A sultan, dead one thousand years, once from his harem fled in tears,
And had upon a Turkish gate inscripted, “Only God is great.”
Hung high above Istanbul’s noise, as accents of an angel’s voice,
The message from the barbican proclaimed to every caravan: “Allahu Akbar.”

The sultan’s gone, yet in a gust his ashes mingle with the dust
That settles on an ancient gate proclaiming, “Only God is great.”
Hung high above Istanbul’s noise, as accents of an angel’s voice,
The message from the barbican still testifies to mortal man: “Allahu Akbar.”

Whirling Dervish

Dervish whirling in God’s holy fire, as in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Step outside the fire, perne within a gyre, and be the dancing master of my soul;
Therefore I have sailed seven seas and come to the city of Byzantium.

Watch the whilring dervish spinning round on two feet that barely touch the ground;
See his gown of white soaring like a kite as the dervish dances in delight.
Watch the whirling dervish in a gyre, free from worldly wisdom and desire;
As his body whirls, whirls and faster whirls, who can tell the dervish from the dance?

In What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body author Barbara Conable describes the first among “Laws of the Spine: 

1) The head must lead spinal movement (as it does in all creatures). ...The spine is an ensemble. It plays all together with the head conducting.
"  Energy hogging brain cells account for about two percent of body weight and yet consume about twenty percent of the body's energy.  French philosopher and advocate of radical hope, Jacques Ellul, regards the brain and its corporeal limbs as analogous to Europe and its surrounding continents; however, Europeans account for twelve percent of global population and consume one third of global resources.  
Paul Valery, The Crisis of the Mind, 1919: “’Will Europe become what it is in reality – that is, a little promontory on the continent of Asia – or will it remain what it seems, that is, the elect portion of the terrestrial globe, the pearl of the sphere, the brain of a vast body?’” (from Cornell West, Prophetic Reflections, 115)  If the European Union is a Christian club, Islamic Turkey's relation to Europe is ambiguous.  Turkey has close ties to other Islamic nations, which would also like to exercise headship over surrounding lands.  In geopolitical terms two heads may not be better than one, for they may end up in a headbutt.  Will the Christian club prove to be a beastly head in imposing its melodic will on surrounding lands? 

The complex harmony of the Christian Trinity is manifest in the harmonic chord and cadential tonality of European classical music, and is expressed in the harmony of genders in European dances, such as the Vienesse waltz.  Musicologist and theologian Quentin Faulkner concludes that “the influence of metaphysical, speculative Christian theology accounts for the complex formal structures characteristic of Western polyphonic music.”  (Wiser Than Despair)  The simple unity of the Islamic deity is manifest in the monotonal key center of scales featured in Arabic and Middle Eastern music, and is expressed in the segregation of genders in Middle Eastern dances, such as those performed by whirling dervishes and bellydancers.  Are these aesthetic and metaphysical differences an indirect cause of war, and may they be surmounted in art?

On a personal note, I am becoming conscious of an ironic relation between the shalange mentioned at the top of this page and my Greatest Guitarist in the World show.  "Ellul 's life has continued to exemplify the manner in which the gospel frees us from convention and conformity and liberates us for a radical engagement with God and the world."  Ellul states: "What constantly marked the life of Jesus was...the choice not to use power."  I prefer Northrop Frye's notion that God only exercises power in the contexts of wisdom and love.  

Encore to Music on the Orient Express includes first video of Have a Tequila shot in B.C.

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