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The Miraculous

The Miraculous: Music

51. Early 20th Century, Tucumán, Argentina

“When I was a boy at school,” recalls an elderly musician who has written nearly a thousand songs and performed them on stages throughout the world, “on the first days of winter we went out to the playground, in the sunlight, and sang Sur le pont d’Avignon, on y danse, on y danse.”

The Miraculous: Music

52. 1950s, before and after; Tryon, North Carolina; Philadelphia; New York City; Carry-le-Rouet, France

Born during the Great Depression in a small North Carolina town in the Blue Ridge Mountains where she shares a three-room clapboard house with her parents and seven siblings, a six-year-old girl impresses everyone when she accompanies a church choir (her mother is a Methodist preacher) on the piano. Friends convince her mother to have her daughter take piano lessons.

The Miraculous: Music

53. 1960s and later, Panama City, New York City

On weekends, a law student in Panama has fun and makes extra money by singing at private parties with a band called Los Salvajes del Ritmo. This arrangement comes to a stop when one of his professors witnesses one of his performances and reports him to the school’s dean, who insists that he must choose between music and law school.

The Miraculous: Music

54. 1957, Liverpool, England

It’s the late 1950s at an art school in the north of England and a teacher in the metalwork department has just dragged one of his first-year students out of the classroom to berate him for his shameless lack of effort. One of the student’s friends who happens to witness this encounter notices how his pal, who is only 17, has plunged his hands into his pants pockets, very likely in order to prevent himself from punching the fulminating teacher in the nose.

The Miraculous: Music

55. 1966-1979, Houston, Texas; New York City; London; Leeds

Two students at a Catholic university in Houston, Texas, start a band that eventually records one of the most experimental albums of the psychedelic era. After the band breaks up, one of the founders moves first to New York to work as the assistant of a famous artist, then to London, where he teams up with a highly politicized art collective with whom he makes audio and video recordings featuring the artists awkwardly chanting political tracts to a basic rock backing.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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