23 Jun

Voice Over Sydney: Fijian Language

Voice Over Sydney: When the earliest inhabitants of Fiji arrived 3500 years ago, they brought with them the language of the homeland they had set sail from – an island in Vanuatu, or possibly the Solomons (but certainly not Africa!)

That language has changed and splintered over the years into a multitude of different ‘communalects’ now numbering more than 300. This is because language divides naturally as people spread out, and there may have been some additional input from more recent immigrants from other islands lying to the west.

Voice Over Sydney: Fijian Communalects

The Fijian ‘communalects’ belong to the enormous Austronesian language family, which means they are related to thousands of other languages spanning the globe from Malagasy in the west to Rapanui (Easter Island) in the east, from Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the south to Hawaii and Taiwan in the north. The family includes such important national languages as Tagalog (Philippines) and Malay. After Fiji had been settled, the flow of population continued north and east. The languages of Polynesia (such as Maori, Tahitian, Tongan, Samoan and Hawaiian), the language of the tiny island of Rotuma to the north of Fiji, and of course their speakers, all originated in Fiji more than 3000 years ago. These relationships can be clearly seen in the following table of selected words.

The early missionaries had a keen appreciation of the importance of using local language in their work, and by 1840 had already devised an excellent spelling system for Fijian as well as published a number of books in different ‘communalects’. When the need for a standard language became apparent, they selected the language of Bau, the tiny island off the south-east coast of Viti Levu which was, and in some ways still is, the seat of the major power in Fijian politics. Nowadays the spoken Fijian of the towns and the Fijian used in books and newspapers are both known as ‘Bauan’, even though neither is quite the same as the language of the island of Bau.

While many of its Pacific relatives, such as Hawaiian and Maori, have been struggling for survival, Fijian has never been in serious danger of extinction, even though it was ignored for a long time in schools. The vast majority of Fijians have always used it as their everyday language, and most Indians understand at least some. In rural communities like Levuka, Taveuni and Savusavu, the Indians all speak Fijian fluently. In general, however, English is the lingua franca in Fiji.

Voice Over Sydney Fijian Language

22 Jun

Recording Studio: Bluegrass

Recording Studio: The people who migrated to America in the 1600s from Ireland, Scotland, and England brought with them the basic styles of music that are generally considered to be the roots of bluegrass music as it is known today. As the Jamestown settlers began to move out into North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, they wrote songs about day-to-day life in the new land. Since most of these people lived in remote areas, the songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills. This type of music was called “mountain music” or “country music.” The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this music out of the mountains and into the homes of people all over the United States.

Recording Studio: Bluegrass – Monroe Brothers

The Monroe Brothers were one of the most popular recording studio acts of the 1920s and 1930s. Charlie Monroe played the guitar, Bill played the mandolin, and they sang in harmony. When the brothers split in 1938, both went on to form their own bands. Bill was a native of Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, so he decided to call his band “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys,” and this band started a new form of “traditional” country music.

Bill Monroe and his “Blue Grass Boys” first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1939 and soon became one of the most popular touring bands to emerge from Nashville’s WSM studios. Bill’s band was different from other traditional recording studio country bands because of its hard-driving and powerful sound that used traditional acoustic instruments and featured distinctive vocal harmonies. The music incorporated songs and rhythms from string band, gospel (black and white), black laborer work song, country, and blues music repertoires. Vocal selections included duet, trio, and quartet harmony singing in addition to Bill’s powerful “high lonesome” solo lead singing. After experimenting with various instrumental combinations, Bill settled on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bass as the format for his band.

recording studio bluegrass

21 Jun

Audiobook: ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ by J.K. Rowling

What Audiobook Are We Listening To?

This week at Crash Symphony Productions, we’re listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the audiobook as read by Stephen Fry. I found these audiobook adaptations to be a really easy way to get back into Harry Potter without having to pick up my old hard copies which are falling apart by now and probably couldn’t handle another read-through. There is no one better to narrate these books than Stephen Fry, whose personality, history, intelligence and sense of humour are at the level where they can do adequate credit to the intelligence, history, humour and personality possessed by the books themselves.

Audiobook: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Audiobook: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In this fifth book, dark forces are gathering and Harry finds he has to grow up fast just to keep up with them. In this book, Harry faces challenges at school from those students who don’t believe him, along with the building pressure of Voldemort’s growing power and accumulating forces.

Publisher’s Summary

“‘You are sharing the Dark Lord’s thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.'”

Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort’s savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time….

Audiobook Details




16 Jun

Voice over sydney: Zulu Language

Voice over sydney: Zulu (isiZulu) is a southern Bantoid language spoken in the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa (formerly called Zululand). The Zulu people are thought to have migrated to this area along the east coast of Africa and through central Africa before the 16th century. When they came into contact with Khoisan-speaking people, the Zulus adopted some of the vocabulary, and the click consonants of the Khoisan languages. The first grammar of Zulu was published In 1859.

Voice over Sydney: Zulu Relatives

Zulu is closely related to Xhosa, Swati, and Ndebele. The three are mutually intelligible but are considered to be separate languages for political and cultural reasons. In fact, Zulu and Xhosa are similar enough linguistically to be considered dialects of one language, but the Zulu and Xhosa people consider themselves to be different people who speak different languages.

Voice over Sydney: Zulu and South Africa

Zulu, is one of the 11 official languages of the Republic of South Africa where it is spoken by 11.7 6 million speakers as a first language and by an estimated 15.7 million speakers as a second language. Zulu is also spoken in Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Mozambique. The population total for all countries is estimated at 27.7 million people (Ethnologue). Since Zulu is easily understood by speakers of Xhosa, Swati and Ndebele it is used as a lingua franca from Natal to Zimbabwe, often in its pidginized form called Fanagalo, a trade language that is widely used in towns and mining areas of South Africa.

Voice over Sydney: Zulu status

The status of Zulu, like all other African languages in the Republic of South Africa, is complex. Zulu is used in primary schools up to the second grade and is studied as a subject in both primary and secondary schools up to the tenth grade. At the secondary level, instruction in schools serving Zulu-speaking students is in English. All education at the university level is in English or Afrikaans.

Voice over Sydney: Zulu growth

There has been a steady growth of Zulu publications since 1930. The South African Broadcasting Corporation has domestic television and radio in Zulu. A number of newspapers and magazines are published in either Zulu, or in a combination of Zulu and English.

Voice over Sydney Zulu

Recording Studio: Music of Senegal

Recording Studio: “The base of all music in Senegal is traditional,” says Baaba Maal, one of the finest contemporary musical artists in Africa; and, traditional Senegalese music may be the foundation for much of the music of the Western world. Aficionados of country blues, calypso, reggae, beguine, and rap, whether or not they recognise it, hear echoes of the musical rhythms of the land of Teranga, the gateway to Africa

Recording Studio: Yela

Existing traditional Senegalese rhythms, such as the Yela, which come from the old Empire and predate all colonialization of Senegal, still resound thanks to musicians such as Baaba Maal. Senegalese kings used Yela to call the people of the Empire together so that they could listen to important events.

Yela is the music of women, as it mimics the sound they made when pounding grain. When performing the Yela, some women would hit the stressed third beat on their calabashes, while others carried the weaker first beat by clapping their hands. It is the Yela Jimmy Cliff heard when he visited Dakar; and it is reputed to be the primary influence for the development of reggae in the Caribbean.

Recording Studio: Senegalese Musical Instruments

Some of the traditional musical instruments still being used to make music in Senegal are the twenty-one stringed kora, the violin-like riti, the hoddu and the seven-stringed African guitar.
Asly Fouta, a group of seventy musicians, is, according to Baaba Maal, “a university for the traditional African music” being central to the education of many great music makers. It is with this group that many have learnt to play most or all of the traditional instruments.

Recording Studio: Senegalese Songs

Today, the Pekan songs of the northern fisherman, the Gumbala chants of ancient warriors, the Dilere ditties of weavers plaiting their threads, and Yela sung by women, can still be heard, beautifully integrated with the modern musical rhythms. Music in Senegal carries the country’s art, history, and dance all wrapped up in one. To know Senegal, and to understand some of it’s impact on the rest of the world, listen to its beautiful music.

Recording Studio Music of Senegal

15 Jun

Audiobook: ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ by J.K. Rowling

What Audiobook Are We Listening To?

This week at Crash Symphony Productions, we’re listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the audiobook as read by Stephen Fry. I found these audiobook adaptations to be a really easy way to get back into Harry Potter without having to pick up my old hard copies which are falling apart by now and probably couldn’t handle another read-through. There is no one better to narrate these books than Stephen Fry, whose personality, history, intelligence and sense of humour are at the level where they can do adequate credit to the intelligence, history, humour and personality possessed by the books themselves.

Audiobook: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Audiobook: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In this fourth book, Harry returns to Hogwarts only to find out someone has put his name in the Goblet of Fire. This is the first move in a plan that will bring Harry face to face with Voldemort once again and start the plunge into the dark side of the Harry Potter universe.

Publisher’s Summary

“‘There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways…their magical prowess – their daring – their powers of deduction – and, of course, their ability to cope with danger.'”

The Triwizard Tournament is to be held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter – but that doesn’t stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe’en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons and Dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through – alive!

Audiobook Details

14 Jun

Recording Studio: Moroccan Music

Recording Studio Moroccan Music: From the ancient folk pieces of the Berber mountain communities, to the Arab-Andalusian music of the cities, to the roots-fusion that you’ll hear blaring from taxi radios and café ghetto blasters, music is the ultimate expression of Morocco’s culture.

Recording Studio: Berber Music

The Berber are the first known inhabitants of Africa’s north-western corner. Over centuries they
monopolised the Saharan trade in salt, gold and slaves and spread their culture throughout the region.There are three main categories of Berber music; village, ritual and professional music.

In a typical scene of village music-making, an entire community may gather in the open air to sing and dance in a large ring around an ensemble of drum (bendir) and flute (nair). The best-know dances are the ahouache and the ahidus. Over the past twenty years several masters of bumzdi and ahouache have become very well know nationwide.

Recording Studio: Berber ritual music often features drums and rhythmic handclapping. It is used in the rites of the agricultural calendar – such as moussems – as well as on occassions such as marriage. Ritual music is also performed to help deal with evil spirits.

In the Atlas Mountains professions troupes of musicians, called imdyazn, travel during summer and perform in village squares and at weekly souks. A leader improvises poems telling of current affairs.Drum, rabab and clarinet accompany the singer. The clarinettist also acts as the ensembles’ clown.

Recording Studio: Rwais

Rwais are Cheuh Berber musicians from the Sous valley who perform ancient musical theatre involving poetry, fine clothes, jewels and elaborate rwais. Groups consist of single-string rabab, one or two lotars (lutes), sometimes nakous (cymbals), and a number of singers. They play for every celebration and produce their own repertoire (again, commenting on current affairs) and improvisations. Female ensembles are called raysat.

Recording Studio Moroccan Music