Thank you very much to the 62 people who have followed this blog over the past 16 months of its existence. It’s good to know I’ve not been talking/writing to myself 🙂
Sadly, as my translation work is growing, I have decided to reduce and refocus my blogging activities. Much as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and researching for this blog, I must put this one on hold for now and may add to it as and when I find something inspiring to share. In the meantime, I have started a new blog (with fewer posts) on translation, which some of you may like to follow too: http://linguisticalchemy.wordpress.com.
Wishing you all a gloriously sunny summer!
Last April, I finally visited the Tanks at Tate Modern and came back enthralled. When some thought that the ubiquitous plain white cubic space of art galleries could not be stripped down to a more minimalist decor, Tate tears the plaster-and-paint flesh from the walls, exposing the bare stout bones of its foundations.
In spite of the desolate and austere visual quality of the surrounding, with small flights of stairs going from an inaccessible overhanging platform to cemented doorways, there is an aura of dignity and welcoming warmth, as if those stern walls and pillars watched over you from the height of their old age and wisdom. While these structures are certainly imposing, there is nothing intimidating about the place. Indeed, the quiet atmosphere leaves you with a feeling of peace.
Although the appreciation of concrete as the final material in its own right is nothing new, other raw pieces of architecture such as Le Corbusier’s or the Arche de la défense (the foundations of which can also be visited) rarely give such a mighty aura, especially on such a small scale.
Anda Union, a band of musicians from Mongolian grassland, “are on a mission to stimulate their culture and reengage young Mongols, many of whom no longer speak their own language” (cf their website). They are also breath-taking performers.
The group plays its beautiful instruments with frantic energy, the coordination and synchronisation is flawless, the music catchy, the rhythms lively, and the costumes – albeit fairly plain – are stunning (amusingly combined with jeans and trainers in some cases). Throat singing is impressive to witness, with visible tension and concentration on the singer’s face, and surprisingly melodious. The range of sounds from whistling and other vocal effects as well as from their two-string instruments is also beyond expectations.
Similarly to Far East languages, Mongolian seems to require some constriction of the throat muscles, giving a nasal resonance to most sounds. At the end of the performance I attended, there were CDs for sale and the band was available to sign them. It is interesting to notice the striking individual movement in each signature that makes their personal handwriting identifiable even to the non-initiate’s eye.
If you have the opportunity to see them live, be sure to go and expect to be amazed!
Photo: CD cover with signatures
I have finally joined the Association of Art Historians (AAH) as an independent member.
Being an MCIL (Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists) and an Associate of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders shows professional commitment in what I do as a linguist, but one cannot stand out in a crowd of peers. Being an independent member of the AAH will bring my linguistic skills closer to the industry I work with the most and highlight my specialism and expertise.