I’m told that J.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy has permeated the very fabric of our society. It’s not clear what that says about me since I’ve neither read nor watched the products of Tolkien’s fantastical fantasies (I have a feeling, though, that it says good things). With that foundation, it was clear to me that my direction would be to send readers on a musical journey that was as indirectly related to the actual topic as I could muster, and to follow that up with a clip that would sufficiently poke fun at the brotherhood of Hobbitville. While selections from the Flight of the Conchords were tempting, they were too obvious, and too relevant.
Instead, I’ll use the character “Bilbo Baggins” from the Hobbit and LOTR to get me where I need to go, which is to the banjo-powered populist world of Pete Seeger. Seeger’s 1946 admonition, “Listen, Mr. Bilbo,” lets Theodore G. Bilbo, then Senator from Mississippi, know how he feels about his racist ways. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Lord of the Rings, but it’s a delightful song that may still have relevance in certain parts of our country today.
To please the Iron Clef, however, I’ve also located this lovely video that sufficiently characterizes my stereotypes of the LOTR community, all the while teaching us the history of nuclear physics. It also makes the strong connection between Michael Flatley and Lord of the Rings that I was desperate to make when this contest started. And it made me giggle a bit.
“Then Illuvatar said to them: Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.” – The Silmarillion
This week’s theme is Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien loved music. Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Illuvatar, the Father of All (Tolkien also loved names and titles) creates the world through song. Everybody’s singing in Tolkien: Tom Bombadil sings a tree into submission in the Fellowship (good job there Tom), dwarves kick up a chorus line after eating a fantastic brunch, bunches of bar songs, and page after page of chants about long dead characters gadding about and getting it on.
My thoughts and devices turned to a party at the vegetarian-themed Co-op ‘Lothlorien’ in Berkeley, CA. A room was turned into “Ravendell:” people dressed as elves with glow sticks and danced to this techno-remix of LotR music. Showing the same modesty as Bilbo did in Rivendell (Book II of the Fellowship, Chapter 1 “Many Meetings”), the creator Bunnynoser stated:
“The funny thing is, I think that song is terrible. I made it as a joke for a Lord of the Rings/Rave party but everyone seems to love it. I suppose the Information Age is really just the Age of Fleeting Novelty.” Oddly enough, that’s exactly what Tolkien called the Fourth Age. Now sit and hearken, and be glad that great beauty has been wakened into song.
Nightwish – Ever Dream [tribute video]
The relationship between the Lord of the Rings(LoTR) epic and world of music has quite a history. While itself taking admirable inspiration from the Wagnerian opera Des Ring der Nibelungen (a.k.a. the Ring Cycle) LoTR has in turn been a source of abysmal inspiration to music artists (esp. of the popular culture) for the past four decades. Its early influences are quite evident in works of bands like Led Zeppelin (Battle of Evermore, Misty Mountain Hop, etc…) and have been rejuvenated recently by the advent of the movie trilogy with artists spanning cultures from electronica through metal each showcasing their appreciation of the epic with the flavors and aromas of their niche music genre. The question about what could be the best musical representation/inspiration/tribute/accompaniment/experience for LoTR is bound to spur out diverse (and sometimes conflicting opinions). The sophisticated classical listener, for instance, might argue that Wagnerian pieces such as Ride of the Valkyries are the most appropriate, the timid classic rock enthusiast would point bands like Led Zeppelin (Battle of Evermore / Led Zeppelin II), the energetic modern rock devotee would allude to groups like Arcana XXII (Mordor / Fallen From Grace), while the complacent admirer of new age music would hint to artists like Enya (May It Be / LoTR OST).
But among all this hodge-podge of genres and loyalties another species of admirer lays completely ignored and unrepresented. The development of sites like youtube and of advanced multimedia editing software have seen the rise of a new form of artist – the tribute fan (aka the fan). Modern day fans have become adept at exhibiting their appreciation for movies, music and video games by combining elements of all three forms of media into an audio/video medley that collectively enhances the experience as a whole. But unlike the more popular artists, these aficionados are generally anonymous (and unanimous) in identity and get little or no limelight.
The track that I have chosen for this weeks post is one such fan tribute. What makes this particular track amazing is that it is not just a tribute to LoTR. This track is a combined tribute to Lord of the rings (LoTR), Legend of Zelda(LoZ) – Twilight Princess and the symphonic powerhouse metal band Night Wish (song Ever Dream (released as a single)). A juxtaposition of memorable scenes and events from an epic movie and an epic video game, strung together by a music made by the fabric of a genre that brings together the compositional sophistication of Wagnerian music, the energy and aggression of metal and hints of reinvigorating sounds of new age – a pastiche that would hopefully find its way to the taste buds of everyones palates.
If you think you would like symphonic powerhouse metal then you might also want to check out the more popular group Rhapsody of Fire.
Holy Fucking Shit! Now you can
December 10, 2007 · 7:31 pm