Friday, September 12, 2014

What's Up With J-Pop?

So I confess, I like Puffy Ami Yumi, that ever-so-cute J-pop duo that owns the charts in Japan and has a host of adoring fans in North and South America as well. I mean, everybody’s got a cartoon these days, right? And a video game. What’s up with that music video that features the pair singing to an image of Jimmy Hendrix? I totally don’t understand it, but I want it. Here's a sample of their music.

Perhaps the most famous of recent J-pop divas, Hikki Utada, has sold over 35,000,000 albums worldwide, according to her bio on Wikipedia. Fluent in both Japanese and English, she released her very first album, Cubic U, in the U.S. Other, J-pop girl bands of note include Morning Musume, SPEED and Perfume. Solo artists of note include Kyary Pamu Pamu and Namie Amuro, a Japanese R&B singer.  On my Jpop Youtube playlist, I've got some great examples of Jpop stars & groups. I'm also very fond of Shiina Ringo and the time she spent with Tokyo Jihen. She's my personal favorite, but alas, has just retired. This is her best tune with the band. Also been listening to a bunch of "Capsule" tunes, what I'd classify as Jpop "electronica." 

Regular listeners to J-pop begin, over time, to recognize a certain similarity to a lot of the tunes. The players also seem to be regularly refreshed. I think Morning Musume has had six or seven different line-ups. It’s what my favorite Japanese pop-culture blogging maven Neomarxisme calls “the template.” Though producing mega-Dollars (actually, mega-Yen) in Japan, the world’s second largest consumer of retail music to (you guessed it) the U.S., actual sales of new music in Japan have been trending down. That’s the logical product of digital music sharing and the highest CD prices on the planet. But in the U.S., musical explorers, gamers who love Japanese graphics and anime fans are driving a modest, but reliable market for J-pop.

I really admire the “whatever” confidence and the unbridled creativity of J-pop cute. Even if there is some “templating” involved. Though I can’t quite put my finger on the magic, it works. As the sales of gazillions of dollars of merchandise will attest. But there’s more to J-pop than cute. And more ways to explore and appreciate the sub-culture than music. Fashionistas will second that.

If you’ve got NetFlix or a Blockbuster account with a good foreign section close by, dial-up Kamikaze Girls, a contemporary Japanese “chick flick” that features an irresistibly cute heroine who is absolutely obsessed with Rococo fashion. That’s Rococo. Think Marie Antoinette. Our protagonist is completely oblivious to everything and everybody around her until she accidentally hooks-up with a biker chick with tats on a café racer. That’s what I’m talking about: cute with attitude. Here's the IMDB page.

For a serious dose of J-pop attitude, check out Fruits and Fresh Fruits by Shoichi Aoki, two volumes that explore the colorful, multi-layered teen fashion of Tokyo's Harajuku district in its heyday. No text, just image-after-image of creatively dressed teens pushing all the limits.

(First posted in 2007. Edited with updates and new links in 9/14)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Israel's Murder of Rachel Corrie - Ten Years On

It is ten years today since the brutal and unnecessary death of Rachel Corrie, an American student, at the hands of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). I am reposting this note from my blog World Impusle to mark the occasion, lest we forget. Rachel was just an idealistic girl, she could have been any of us or our children. This is the way our supposed friends treat our children. Recent reports also indicate that the Israeli authorities routinely abuse and imprison 700 Palestinian children between the age of 12 and 17 every year.

Recently, an Israeli court in Haifa found the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) innocent of any responsibility for the death of young, American peace activist Rachel Corrie. Corrie was run over and killed by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, just think about it... death by bulldozer, operated by a member of the IDF. According to eyewitnesses, there when it happened, she was clearly visible from the dozer. Well, not according to the IDF or the court.

It's a dark day for human rights and peace in the Middle East. Our hearts go out to the Corrie family, after their years of determined actions designed to gain some measure of closure and justice in this case. (Read more here).

I can't say I'm surprised, the IDF has a long history of finding its own members innocent of virtually every crime. Recently, an IDF participant in Operation Cast Lead - the war against the innocent in GAZA - received only 45 days of punishment for summarily executing a mother and daughter who were waving a white flag at the time (SOURCE).

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a happy new year. Hey 2012, called you cab... now be outta here by midnight. Good to see the old year off. Hoping it was a "bottom," and that things will look-up from here. But I'd be less than candid if I said that I had no doubts in that regard.

2012, at least for this writer, was characterized by almost medieval tragedy. The mas murders, civil wars, governments killing their own people, imprisoning artists, musicians, feminists and free-thinkers. It was not what one would call a "progressive" year where we moved the human race forward in significant ways. Indeed, it is not even possible to say we stemmed the tide of negatives; slowed global warming; or made progress toward peace and justice. Shame, that. One wonders how many more "tries" we'll be given as a species.

But in spite of the depressing realities, it is my sincere hope that all can raise a glass tonight to life itself; to Mother Earth; to the many mysteries, still unsolved; and to the indomitable spirit of our kind. We may not be as smart, or as mature as we need to be to properly steward this great gift of a planet... but we have the moment, and each other to grasp and hold. Here's to that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It Is time To Let Israel Stand On Its Own

Editor's note:  this article was first posted in Feb. 2009 on "World Impulse," the author's foreign affairs blog. Regrettably, it is even more relevant today.

Today, Amnesty International called for the United States to end foreign aid to Israel. The Author concurs, it is time to let this wealthy, nuclear-armed nation stand on its own.

Amnesty specifically called for a US reappraisal following the extensive and disproportionate use of American weapons in the recent Gaza operation which killed and injured countless civilians. It is, in fact, very likely that American weapons were used in the commission of war crimes.  Read the article here.
The US has long been the largest arms supplier to Israel; under a current 10-year agreement negotiated by the Bush administration the US will provide $30bn (£21bn) in military aid to Israel.

"As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme director. "To a large extent, Israel's military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers' money."
The Author, however, is concerned with the over $80 billion of direct aid provided since 1949. It is important to acknowledge up-front that our national interests were well served by this support during the Cold War. Times have changed, and our continuing, one-sided support of Israel is costly in the region and the Muslim world. Further, Israel has not reciprocated our support like most loyal allies. It continues to authorize illegal settlements, conduct disproportionate military operations, collectively punish innocents and occupy disputed lands. The continuous flow of American taxpayer dollars have also not prevented Israel from spying on the U.S. on multiple occasions; attacking an American Naval vessel killing 34 (image above), and harboring terrorists accused of murdering American citizens.

That has been the subject of previous posts, it it not the focus of this one - which is to pose a single question.  Should the U.S. continue to pour taxpayer dollars into Israel? First some background.
According to an October 27 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, cumulative aid to Israel from 1949 through fiscal year (FY) 2000 was $81.38 billion. This number is too low because it omits "hidden" funds. While it includes the $1.2 billion promised to Israel in the Wye River Memorandum, the old Food for Peace program, and the current subsidy for "refugee resettlement," it omits money from the DOD budget on the grounds that those funds are for research and development projects that benefit both the United States and Israel-a questionable premise. The CRS total also excludes estimated interest on the early disbursement of aid.

The Congressional Research Service report states that from FY 1994 through FY 1998, Israel received $29 billion in waived loans. (source)
According to Wikipedia, the U.S. currently has increased its annual military aid to Israel to the whopping sum of over $3 billion. We give this to a wealthy country with nuclear weapons. Our unconditional support for Israel was cited, among several other grievances, as grounds for the 9/11 attacks. We need to protect ourselves from terrorists, but we sure need to have a smart foreign policy that demands sacrifice from our friends whom we've supported for decades and offers all parties an honest path to peace. Perhaps reassessing our military aid to the state of Israel would make that position clearer to all the players concerned.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wealth? What Wealth?

"In 2011, the six heirs to the Walmart empire commanded wealth of almost $70 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of US society. There has been no improvement in well-being for the typical American family for 20 years. On the other side, the top one percent of the population gets 40 percent more in one week than the bottom fifth receive in a full year. In short, we have become a divided society. America has created a marvelous economic machine, but most of the benefits have gone to the top." 

"...many of those in the financial sector got rich by economic manipulation, by deceptive and anti-competitive practices, by predatory lending. They took advantage of the poor and uninformed, as they made enormous amounts of money by preying upon these groups with predatory lending. They sold them costly mortgages and were hiding details of the fees in fine print."

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-prize winning economics professor at Columbia University. (Source: Der Spiegel)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wow. A newly released animated short created for Sigur Ros. That is all...

Seraph from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Sami People - Northern Europe's Indigenous Tribes

Music and ethno-musicology constitute about half of the content in this blog. The author has spent a lifetime exploring unique and often inaccessible musical traditions. From the Ladino music of former Spanish Jews, to the mysteries of Roma music and the joyous tunes of the Balkan states; a lot of ground, time and cultures are covered.

As readers may have learned, I am fascinated by traditional music performed by powerful women. Lately I've found some amazing tunes, and uncovered a fascinating bit of history and ethno-musicology in the process. Here's how it all got started.

I was fleshing-out the "Metal playlist" on my YouTube channel, which has ended up with primarily Scandinavian bands. That just kind of happened, and looking interest was piqued. Just what was it about this music that appealed? I drilled down and realized that a lot of the music I found appealing contained elements of traditional, even folk music. In a Pagan kind of way, which made it even better.

YouTube has the added value and convenience of suggesting videos based on prior user choices. I like that and have found some awesome material by experimenting with those suggested links. I recently stumbled on Sami traditional folk music. And discovered Yoiking.

The Sami people are northern Europe's indigenous tribes. They are physically located in the northern/arctic regions of four countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. They speak a unique language that has dialects based on tribe and geography. Sometimes called Laplanders, the Sami people were largely nomadic for centuries. They herd Raindeer.

They live in temporary, rustic dwellings - including Teepees. They are, in some ways, similar to indigenous peoples everywhere - including native Americans. They speak of "brother Bear" and "brother Eagle," they focus on the land and the seasons, live in harmony with nature and the animals. They have a long, Shamanic tradition and the power of the "northern Witches" is the subject of legends.

Back to Yoiking. Like some native american chants, Sami Yoiks are very special musical compositions - designed to "be" the thing or person that is their core subject. Yoiks are often creative vocalizations, and not words per se. A singer would not Yoik about a river, he/she would Yoik the river. So the resulting tunes are sometimes unfamiliar to modern ears, and it is necessary to get one's head around the representational nature of the art. The impact of a Yoik is not in the meaning of the lyrics, there often aren't any, it is in the IMPACT of the performance - which should take listeners to another place.  This post, from a University of Texas School of Music blog, is very detailed and definitive. A great article for those who want to dig deeper and know more.  And now, without further ado...Sofia Jannok of Sweden.

The ethereal sound of Mari Boine...

And the music of Elle Márjá Eira

You might also like:

AfroPop Music

Portugal's Fado

Spain's Musical Regions

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Corruption - It's A New Plague

I came across this point-on video recently and deemed it totally worth sharing. We need to escalate the urgency of this conversation - as we grapple with increasing evidence of endemic corruption at every level of our private and public institutions.

Are Your Politicians For Sale? from Political Prostitution on Vimeo.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Is The NSA Spying On American Citizens?

Just a few days ago, the proverbial feces hit the fan. Wired Magazine, in a stellar piece of investigative reporting, revealed a treasure-trove of information regarding the NSA's new Utah spy center, and the agency's secretive agreements with shadowy firms to spy on US Citizens. Uh-huh. That's right. We should all be concerned.

The story hit hard, and spread. TV News reports from small local stations all the way to national news programs highlighted the story. The US Army General responsible for the NSA felt compelled to go public with a denial. Of course, it didn't hurt that concerned congressional representative started asking direct questions. Read the Wired article. And read the General's denials here. Take note that he says quite specifically: We don't do we have sub-contracted that task out to trusted foreign allies like Israel and Singapore.that here. "Here" is the operative word. I submit that means the agency does not spy on US Citizens from US territory. Thus, the "here." In fact, there is evidence that

There are many who are quite skeptical about the General's denials. After all, it's not like the NSA has a long record of honesty when addressing Congress or the American public. It's a spy thing. So we have to rely on the judgments of others in that regard. Read what ComputerWorld had to say about the denials in this article.

Now, read about how we've outsourced the invasion of our privacy to foreign firms in this BUSINESS INSIDER article.

The Author is connected to this story, in a peripheral sort of way. During the 80's I had a chance to meet and chat with Admiral John Poindexter, the US Governments uber-geek programmer, and the conceptual architect of the TIAA (Total Information Awarness & Analysis) program that was deemed so unconstitutional by Congress that they de-funded it and sent it away. Problem is, it never really disappeared. It just went underground. I first wrote about my conversation with the Admiral years ago in THIS POST.

So you can see that in addition to Israeli firms, Singapore is also involved. Investigations reveal that THIS MAN is part of the Singaporean effort. He's an old associate of Poindexter's by the way. You remember Poindexter's TIAA, well in Singapore it's called RAHS: Risk Assessment Horizon Scanning. Snowden is an integral part of a firm called Cognitive Edge that is the architect of RAHS. From the firm's website, this vague but tantalizing description of the program.

The RAHS system is a strategic risk assessment and analysis tool, which aims to provide early alerts on potential threats to national security by building a network that links various independent government agencies throughout the Singapore government. Through the RAHS project, the government aims to identify early indicators of change, detect signals and analyze potential threat patterns which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Finally, here's a video piece from Amy Goodman's Democracy Today covering the story.

Update:  This just in. Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system powered by Abraxas technology. Abraxas founder Richard “Hollis” Helms said his signature product“can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.” He calls it “a proprietary technology designed to protect critical national infrastructure from a terrorist attack by detecting the pre-attack activities of the terrorist and enabling law enforcement to investigate and engage the terrorist long before an attack is executed,” and that, “The beauty of it is that we can protect an infinite number of facilities just as efficiently as we can one and we push information out to local law authorities automatically.”  The author has nothing against predictive analytics or the notion of horizon-scanning for threat detection. However I personally hold the belief that these kinds of culture-impacting decisions should be taken with full public involvement, discussion and debate. I'm not seeing that happening in this case.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hiromi Uehara - A Musical Wonder

Recently, I've been listening a lot to Hiromi Uehara and her band. The jazz world has a new piano master, and she's really a lot of fun. Born in Japan in 1979, Uehara began her musical education at age 6 and was first introduced to jazz at age eight.  She had an opportunity to meet and perform with Chick Corea at 17, then moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music. There, she met colleagues and made friends that still play with her now.  And play she does. Lots of high-profile concert appearances these days, complimented by a ton of international exposure. So what's the story with this young woman? What's the buzz all about? Just listen.

And this, with her mentor Chick Corea...

Friday, March 30, 2012

The President's Message to Planned Parenthood

I am the father of two daughters, a former RN, and a long-time feminist. I have had the privilege of serving on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood Health Services of Southwest Oregon; Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon; and, as a founding member of the Planned Parenthood Oregon PAC. During that same period, I was also a member of the state board of directors at Oregon NARAL.

One-in-four women will use the services of Planned Parenthood during the course of their lives, for all kinds of reasons related to reproductive health. Planned Parenthood counselors help millions of American women plan their families, and tend to their personal health. They provide advice, STD prevention, pregnancy testing, access to contraception, physical examinations, breast exams; and, access to safe pregnancy termination if that is the express desire of the patient.

It is important to note that almost all of Planned Parenthood's mission and programs are designed to minimize the incidence of abortion.  Huge budgets are devoted to appropriate sex education and community outreach. Education programs help kids and young adults build successful, honest relationships, avoid STDs, and deal with difficult issues like body image and peer pressure. Adult education programs teach about birth control, general healthcare, pregnancy and family planning. Planned Parenthood health centers are a safe place for candid, accurate advice on sex and sexuality. The Organization has been providing these services for over 95 years through 75 locally governed affiliates that run 800 health care centers nationwide.  More than 90 percent of care provided in these health centers is preventative, primary care - a fact that is lost on those who inaccurately characterize Planned Parenthood as an "abortion provider." The local affiliate that I helped govern, for example, did not even provide abortion services - as there were adequate resources in this medical community to address that need.

It is, however, important that when women decide to terminate a pregnancy  there are provisions made for a safe and sanitary clinical procedure conducted by a qualified physician. Especially in areas where there is a lack of service providers. History teaches us one thing. Women will take the matter into their own hands under desperate circumstances, and put their own health and well-being at risk to manage family planning. Given that certain knowledge, it is nothing short of crass, politically-driven malpractice to deny this population control over their own bodies, access to safe clinics, and the right to chose their own course based on their own values.

I have a well-known position on access to health care and patient rights, gleaned from my years in the health care delivery system. And I have a sense of what it was like before women were handed control over their own reproductive systems. A dear friend of mine suffered through a back-ally, motel-based abortion before the procedure was legal. It was a horrifying experience for her and those of us who loved and supported her. I vowed then to work to ensure that kind of often injurious illicit procedure would go away so future generations of young women wouldn't be subject to such an unnecessary, intrusive, and out-of-line experience.

I am, therefore, very gratified to hear this kind of unequivocal statement from the President of the United States. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Call for Women to Rise Up

Laurie Penny writes in England's "The Independent" newspaper:
With women under attack financially, socially and sexually across the developed and developing world, with assaults on jobs, welfare, childcare, contraception and the right to choose, the time for polite conversation is over. It's time for anger. It's time for daring, direct action, big demands, big dreams. The men who still run the world from boardrooms and government offices have become too used to not being afraid of what women will do if we are attacked, used and exploited. We must make them afraid.
Intrigued? It's a great opinion piece that surely reflects the frustration of many. Read the article.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Farmer Who Beat Monsanto

I rarely include audio programs as part of this blog, but I'm making an exception for this one. It's worth a listen to hear the story of the only farmer who has actually prevailed over mega agri-giant Monsanto in a court of law.
Listen to internet radio with The Organic View on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, December 19, 2011

SAAB Automobiles RIP | 1950 - 2011

Famously born from jet fighter planes, one of the quirkiest, most geeky car companies ever gave it up today. And it was a sad thing.

Sweden's SAAB Automobiles was not, after much time and effort, capable of sustaining its business model nor putting together the kind of deal to keep the company afloat in hard times. Management was in talks with potential Chinese white knights until the last possible moment. Then it all collapsed and the world lost a great and storied auto maker.

The author adored the 1976, red turbo 99 that graced more than one driveway for almost a decade. That was one wonderful car, one of the first to deploy a turbocharger, and a joy to drive and to look at.

So sure-footed on any kind of terrain. So nimble in the turns. So freaking much fun to drive. I can't tell you how many times that car got me out of nasty, slushy snow; or how it could virtually ford small streams. When on a skiing trip to Vail, Colorado, it was not surprising to find the local constabulary equipped with SAAB police cruisers. Uh-huh. That's right.

The best SAAB memory that remains with me these many years later, is driving all day through the southern Oregon forest and finding ourselves at dusk on an unmarked timber road.  But hey, we had the SAAB. No problem.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Celtic Classics

This is the music of my ancestors. Celtic Song. From my personal Youtube channel, this playlist represents my favorites from Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the USA.

The very best place to hear true, roots Celtic music in the Western Hemisphere is at the annual Celtic Colours festival held every Oct. on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island.

A previous series of posts, here and here, document the author's last visit to the festival. The opening video of this playlist features the Beaton Sisters, from a legendary, Cape Breton Island family. It's families like the Beaton's the Rankin's, the MacMasters and the MacGillivray's that are keeping the sound alive and updated.

The Beaton Sisters' Celtic Colours performance below was conducted sometime after midnight on the stage of the Nova Scotia's Gaelic College - the only Gaelic-language college in the Western Hemisphere. It is traditional for most of the musicians who've performed on any day of the week-long festival to cap-off the day with a rousing late-night appearance at the College.  The second video features the very exciting 13 year old Kathleen Gorey-MacSorley. Natalie MacMaster, also from Cape Breton Island, better watch out!

In addition to selections from Celtic Colours, this extensive playlist features a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional Celtic music artists. Young Scot, Julie Fowlis and Irish diva Cara Dillion get special attention and a number of videos each - as they are personal favorites.  But traditionalists won't be disappointed with the likes of Paul Brady, Dougie MacLean, Sean Keane and others. There is no shortage of Jigs, Reels, Strathpeys and waltzes in this, 70-clip playlist. So if you love fiddle, strings, pipes and Sharon Shannon's Concertina, this is the place for you. Comments are encouraged.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just What Is SteamPunk?

The author's latest passion is for all things "steampunk." Movies, animations, books, music and fashion - all now have steampunk sub-genres. If you love science fiction, brass, leather, fine-wood and all things mechanical, it's like being a kid in a candy store.

There have been a number of attempts to properly define the movement, and many have fallen short. Just what is steampunk?  And where did it come from?   What's up with the whole "Victorian" thing? The video below is one of the best explanations to date.

So Steampunk is a movement loosely organized around retro-science fiction and fantasy expressed through the style, materials and craftsmanship of the Victorian era. Nowhere has that fantasy world been better captured than in the radical MASKS associated with the genre.


Ukrainian artist Bob Basset is the most celebrated.  The author's favorite blog, Boing Boing, has done a fine job of covering Basset's work here and here.

Steampunk has definitely had an impact on fashion. The melding of fantasy Victorian with modern-day technologies - as the Victorians would have implemented them - creates an irresistible science fiction palate that is well-exploited by contemporary fashionistas.


One of the best media for Steampunk themed storytelling is animation. And the seminal animated short film in that regard (author's opinion) is "The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello." A personal favorite, included below.

"A Gentleman's Duel" is another, outstanding animation - recently voted to the YouTube "recommended" list.

Finallly, Steampunk has had a profound affect on music that we're likely to see more of as this movement continues to catch on. Abney Park is the Author's personal favorite Steampunk band. They're the whole package.

When I was a boy, my father was a devoted deep-sea fisherman. He had an all-wood construction fishing boat that slept four. Among his collection of nautical instruments, he had one of those great metal and glass compasses in a wooden box with metal screws. It was mounted inside on it's own cool frame and the top of the box was lined with purple silk inscribed in gold thread. It made quiet an impression on me. He also had one of those bulky but very cool wrist compasses, with a weathered, leather strap. Steampunk makes me feel like I did then, handling his mechanical treasures. Just like I did the first time I saw Captain Nemo's fantastic ship in the early 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea film; or, watched the original Dune.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trilobyte's RUMI Project

The Poetry of
Jalaluddin Rumi

An appBooktm
Trilobyte Games, LLC


September 30 is the anniversary of the birth of Rumi, one of the great spiritual poets of all history and the best selling poet in the United States. Born in what is modern-day Afghanistan, Rumi fled through Persia to Turkey ahead of the Mongol hoards that later conquered all of Central Asia. Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi is credited as being the greatist dervish of all.
Sufi dervishes use sacred dance and meditation to connect with and to channel the love of God.


Recently, Turkey and Central Asia, where Dervishes continue to whirl in meditative dance to the sacred music of the region, declared 2007 the "Year of Rumi." (image: Rumi's Tomb, Turkey) But most of us know Rumi from his poems, which often focus on love and always reflect insight and an appreciation for great beauty.  This proposed appBook from Trilobyte Games will be our homage to the great poet, to nature, and to love itself. 

go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies
if you touch their hearts
what do you think will happen?
Ghazal 838

appBook design notes....

Since Rumi is the best selling poet in the US market virtually every year, there is no shortage of print volumes of his work. Thus, this iDevice appBook will enhance the user experience by combining stunning design; rich media including audio, video & animation; and, technology-driven tools like bookmarks, narration on demand, search and annotation as indicated and appropriate.  For a look at what we have in mind, check out this demo of the "Annotated Alice in Wonderland" that our team developed for W. W. Norton Publishing.

Popular Persian (based in Toronto) band, Niyaz, has agreed to compose original music for the appBook. Fronted by the educated, young & multilingual Azam Ali, Niyaz is very popular on the “worldbeat” scene, as well as with key target audiences for this title/product.  As with many poets (Scottish bard Bobby Burns comes to mind), Rumi’s work has been used as song lyrics for centuries. The addition of Niyaz (Wikipedia) to the equation will make this appBook really pop. It will be a real differentiator, and will drive sales on its own merit.

Other “enhancements” include the presentation of representative pieces of historic, “silk road” artists....some of which are depicted in this document. There is a wealth of fabulous, public domain art available to producers in that regard.

We are currently reaching out to two, highly credentialed academics who specialize in the poetry of Rumi. One in the USA, one in Turkey. We intend to evaluate the value added by collaborating with these recognized experts, and the potential to have them narrate and interpret the material for our users. Both are capable of narrating in at least two languages.


You who are not kept anxiously awake for love's sake, sleep on.
In restless search for that river, we hurry along;
  you whose heart such anxiety has not disturbed, sleep on.

Love's place is out beyond the many separate sects;
  since you love choosing and excluding, sleep on.

Love's dawn cup is our sunrise, his dusk our supper;
  you whose longing is for sweets and whose passion

 is for supper, sleep on.

In search of the philosopher's stone, we are melting like copper;
  you whose philosopher's stone is cushion and pillow, sleep on.

I have abandoned hope for my brain and head; you who wish for
  a clear head and fresh brain, sleep on.

I have torn speech like a tattered robe and let words go;
  you who are still dressed in your clothes, sleep on.

Ghazal 314
Translated by Jack Marshall

Coffeehouse Press, October 1986

If I was not so pitifully in love
I wouldn't then be standing at your door.
Don't say, "Go away, don't stand at my door!"
I wouldn't exist, my dear, if I didn't stand here.
God forbid I'd compare the moon to your face
Or the tall cypress to your stature and grace.
Where in the moon are ruby sweet lips to be found?
What cypress sways with the luminous grace of your ways?

Ah, what was there in the light-giving candle that it set fire to the heart; and snatched the heart away?
You who have set fire to my heart, I am consumed, O friend; come quickly, quickly!
The form of the heart is not a created form, for the beauty of God manifested itself from the cheek of the heart.
I have no succour save in his  sugar, I have no profit save in his lips.
Remember him who one dawn released the heart of mine from the chain of your trees.
My soul, the first time I saw you my soul heard something from your soul.
When my heart drank water from your fountain it drowned in you, and the torrent snatched me away.