Keldáq and Keldáqimon

An significant aspect of Zurvár music is a form of harmony singing called keldáq (‘balance singing’). Keldáq has existed among the Zurvár for as long as their histories record and in addition to being a form of entertainment has a notable ceremonial aspect.

A full, traditional keldáqimon (‘balance singing group’) consists of five vocalists with no musical accompaniment,

1 Keldit Fodim (‘front singer’) – The fodim provides the main melody that the rest of the group follows.
1 Keldit Lârim (‘top singer’) – The lârim sings in a high falsetto, prefiguring and and echoing the lyrics sung by the fodim.
1 Keldit Burmá (anchor singer) – The burmá provides a rhythm by producing non-verbal sounds in a deep bass, interspersed with occasional echoes of the fodim‘s lyrics.
2 Keldit Nìad (back singers) – The mon nìad sing a counterpoint to the fodim and each other with a mix of echoed lyrics and non-verbal sounds. This is considered the most demanding role in the group.

A number of variations of keldáq exist. While many involve assigning additional singers to the roles, the most common is a simplified form called keldáq rèd (‘short keldáq‘), which uses only the fodim, lârim and one nìad. Use of instruments is more common in keldáq rèd than in full keldáq.

The most important ceremonial use of keldáq is on the sûln cârálân (‘day of the departed’). Held every five traditional years this is a commemoration of the community’s deceased and begins with the assembly of the population at the local cremation ground before dawn. As the sun rises a full keldáqimon perform the kelkârâ, a lengthy keldáq song sung in Old Zurvár. Properly timed, this should finish just as the sun clears the horizon. Being chosen to perform the kelkârâ is considered a major honor for a keldáqimon and in the larger settlements on Zurvár Arèáná there is fierce competition to be selected.

Keldáq is also used ceremonially at weddings and funerals, and any Zurvár party worth the name will feature some keldáq singing – if only at the hands of drunken attendees.

Excuses, Excuses…

I know I promised a review of The Hobbit, but we’re currently on the sixth day in a row with temperatures exceeding 37 degrees, so brain no working good so much not yus.

In the meantime here’s some Lord of the Rings content to tide you over…

With Apologies to Mitchell and Webb…

Thorin and Company are trapped at the top of a bunch of burning pine trees, surrounded by Goblins and Wargs…

Thorin Oakenshield: Right! This is a bad situation, but I have a plan! On my word, everyone leap down, weapons drawn, on the nearest warg. Go for the throats first, then turn your axes on the goblins. Not all of us will make it, but we’ll make a damn good accounting for ourselves!

Gandalf: Yes… yes… Or I could just summon a flock of giant eagles to come to our rescue..?

Thorin Oakenshield: ……ok.


Gandalf and Legolas have been trapped on the highest pinnacle of Orthanc by Saruman the white wizard…

Legolas: Alright! We’ll wait until the next time Saruman comes up to gloat at us. I’ll climb up on the statuary and loose a rain of arrows upon him, while you blind him with a sorcerous flash. Then we’ll take the stairs and fight our way down, grabbing the palantir on the way out!

Gandalf: Yes… very good… Or I could just summon a flock of giant eagles to come to our rescue..?

Legolas: ……ok.


The army of Gondor stands before the Black Gate. The forces of Sauron are in disarray, the ground shakes and ash falls from the sky as the One Ring is consumed in the fires of Orodruin…

Aragorn: The Ringbearer has completed his quest! The power of Sauron is broken forever! Assemble the most skilled riders and the fastest horses – if there is any hope that Frodo and Sam yet survive, we must ride for Mount Doom with haste!

Gandalf: That would work… Or I could just summon a flock of giant eagles to fly to the mountain and rescue them..?

Aragorn: ……ok.


(Saw The Hobbit last night. I’ll post my thoughts later but in the meantime I couldn’t get this ridiculous parody out of my head :))

Let the Games Begin!

It occurred to me today that The Hunger Games trilogy makes a lot more sense considered thusly…

The Hunger Games – A true account of Katniss and Peeta’s participation and eventual victory in the 74th Hunger Games.

Catching Fire – A broadly true account of the run up to the 75th Hunger Games, followed by a confused and self serving fantasy in which Katniss recounts the fabricated story of an uprising, her escape and Peeta’s capture – rather than the true story in which she saved her own skin and won the games by cold-bloodedly killing Peeta.

Mockingjay – Katniss’s Mary-Sue fantasy about leading the rebellion, rescuing Peeta and overthrowing President Snow. Written while she sits alone in her house in the Victor’s Village of District 12.

Think about it. It all makes sense!

The Number of the J’s shall be Three

As the Earth continues its perpetual round about the sun we come once again to the Christmas season, which can only mean one thing – it’s Triple J Hottest 100 time!

(What, you thought I was going to talk about peace on Earth or something?)

While I’m increasingly too old and decrepit to comfortably fit into the Js’ target demographic, I continue to stubbornly cling to my now distant youth by voting for my favourite ten songs of the year. After all, what would Australia Day be without the Hottest 100 countdown, and the associated wailing and gnashing of teeth as yet again only two or three of my chosen songs make it in and some lugubrious piece of crap takes out the number one spot? It’s practically a tradition! So I have once again traipsed over to the Triple J website and put my vote in for ten notable audio recordings, which I present below, in no particular order, so you may mock my musical taste at your leisure.

Icona Pop – I Love It: I do love it, although I can’t quite figure out why. Perhaps it’s because I am in fact from the 70’s? (Can’t say I know any 90’s bitches though…)

Regina Spektor – All The Rowboats: Dark, spooky and thoughtful like all of Regina’s best work (apart from her best work that’s sweet, bright and catchy, obviously).

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Same Love: If I hear that Thrift Shop song one more time I think I’ll stab forks through my tympanic membranes, but Same Love is a magnificent and moving political statement that I wholeheartedly support.

Santigold (blegh!) – The Keepers: Every time you mention Santigold (blegh!) you have to add “blegh!” which is (of course) the sound of someone throwing up glitter. In addition to being a commentary on American culture, this is a well constructed, catchy tune, with no glitter vomit to be seen.

360 – Run Alone: It wouldn’t be the Hottest 100 without some Aussie Hip Hop. Here’s the best example from the whole year.

The Rubens – My Gun: A bluesy, countryish song that sounds like something Shivaree would record. Good stuff!

Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks: Hey! A really catchy folk-country-rock type song – hey! – that out-Munford-and-Sons Mumford and Sons. Hey! It also has possibly the best video clip of the year. Hey!

Lisa Mitchell – Spiritus: Lisa Mitchell doing the thing she does best – being small and cute and doing repetitive things to a piano.

Skrillex – Bangarang: All right, I’m going to out myself. For all the fun I poke at Skrillex and his electronically babbling kin, I actually really enjoy dubstep. There’s something about the mechanised, mathematical nature of its sound collages that meshes with my brain in a way that I’ve only previously encountered in the works of Bach and Black Francis (that stupid farming video didn’t hurt either). Mock me all you like, but I’ll take some salsa on my ball boys – sweet rowdy!

Loreen – Euphoria: I don’t know if the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is even eligible for the Hottest 100 (it’s not on the official list) but I’m voting for it anyway. Loreen’s vocals on the song are just incredible, and lift it far above the Inception horns and silly popping noises that make up the rest of the track.

So that’s my ten. Runners up included…

Ben Folds Five – Draw A Crowd
Dappled Cities – Born At The Right Time
Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger
Killers – The Runaways
Metric – Breathing Underwater
Ladyhawke – Black, White And Blue
Lupe Fiasco – Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)
Purity Ring – Fineshrine
Missy Higgins – Hearts A Mess

Right, I’m off to buy orange juice and super glue…

Death of Journalism, 2012 Edition

Attention journalists of the world (those from Fairfax and Channel 10 in particular).

Nostradamus did not say anything about calm mornings, dancing horses and “the number of circles” being nine. The quote that’s doing the rounds was made up on 9gag a few weeks ago, as a mere two minutes research online would show.

You know, research? Investigating things? The stuff that journalists are paid for?

Seriously – you people disgust me.

(To clarify – I have no problem with reports including the supposed quote, they should just also include the fact that it’s a fake)


The delightful Helen Killer (AKA April Winchell, who’s probably done voices for something you’ve watched at some point) has once again put her collection of awful, awful holiday music up on Regretsy for you to share and enjoy. Among the files ready to find a new, permanent home on your hard drive is this, which I have just decided is the best Christmas song ever recorded (to quote April, make sure the cat is outside).

God bless us, every one!


So, tomorrow is the end of the world! Woo-hoo!

I can tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow – nothing. That is to say plenty will happen, but none of it will be any different to any other day on planet Earth. Sure, a cycle in a calender is coming to an end, but so what? Someone’s calendar is always ticking over. What makes the Mayans so damn special?

B’ak’tun come and go – after all they only last 394 years. Did the world end in 1617? Was human consciousness lifted to a new level in 1223? All evidence points to no. I ain’t holding my breath this time around.

And sure, you can claim that the end of the 13th b’ak’tun is special. That each ‘world’ lasts 13 b’ak’tun and then ends. The problem with that is that it’s an entirely modern idea based on fundamental misinterpretations of Mayan thought. There are only two Mayan inscriptions that even mention the end of b’ak’tun 13 – one of them merely notes that it’ll happen one day, the other says it’s the festival of an almost completely unknown minor god. That’s it. No prophecies, no predictions, absolutely nothing to suggest that the commencement of b’ak’tun 14 will be any different to any other point in human existence.

The end of the 13th b’ak’tun is upon us. The world won’t end, or be transformed, the human race won’t be wiped out or redeemed, and things will carry on into the 14th b’ak’tun just the same as it ever was – except that new age con-men will need to find some other way to sell books to the gullible (I’m guessing something to do with Nibiru).

I’m still going to take the opportunity to post this though…

I Have Some Complaints

The old depression is absolutely killing me at the moment. I’m dragging myself into work, but spend a lot of the day just dully staring at the screen trying to remember what I’m meant to be doing. Not good, not good at all.

In any case, I have some complaints…

Westpac – it’s pretty impressive that you were able to find, let alone hire Bonnie Tyler for your latest ad, but seriously, what kind of maniac would play Total Eclipse of the Heart at a wedding? It’s a song about a relationship crashing and burning! You might as well play Deutschland über Alles at a Bar Mitzvah!

Treechange – I hate that word. I don’t know why I hate it, I just do. With a passion. If you ask me, Sigrid Thornton has a lot to answer for.

All over the news this morning is an artist in Queensland who’s using roadkill and maggots to make paintings. Any fool who thinks this is newsworthy has obviously never hung out with artists.

The Twelfth of the Twelfth Twenty-Twelve – Oh woop-de-do. Some numbers have lined up. Let’s all strip naked in the street and party. If we used base 8 or something this would be a day like any other.

That’s it. Maybe some caffeine will cheer me up.

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