Thursday, February 28, 2008

HUM 221 (Friday): Trail(s) of tears

Following up on this week's video about the history and culture of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, we will visit websites today that tell more about the Trail of Tears. While we'll focus on the Cherokee people, most of whom were moved west under military escort in 1838, it is important to remember the Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Choctaw and Chickasaw nations also had their trails of tears as they were forced out of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee at the same time as the Cherokee. The National Park Service has several accounts of Cherokee removal at the website for Fort Smith, Ark., an important stop along the way for many of the Cherokee. Read about the roundup in Tennessee ... described like this by U.S. Army Private John G. Burnett:
I witnessed the the execution of the most brutal order in the history of American warfare. I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and headed for the West.
Read also the eyewitness account by Lucy Ames Butler, whose husband was a missionary with the Cherokee. He was later an instructor at the Cherokee Female Seminary in Tallequah, Okla. Now known as Northeastern State University, it is the oldest college in Oklahoma and one of the first institutions of higher education established west of the Mississippi River.

At the same time as the Trail of Tears, the Potawatami Indians of northern Indiana were removed by the U.S. Army to what is now Kansas. Be sure to read a letter from Father Benjamin Marie Petit, the Indians' parish priest, describing the march; and a diary kept by Jesse C. Douglas, enrolling agent under Gen. John Tipton, who conducted the forced removal. Follow the links to find out what the newspapers in Springfield and Quincy had to say about the march. (The Sangamo Journal, which is one of the papers you will read, is where the "Journal" in the State Journal-Register's name comes from, by the way.) The documents were compiled by "Mr. Foley" (whose first name I was unable to find), a middle school teacher in Urbana.

More Norwegian folk music

Another artist on Radio Norway this morning, a band called Over Stok og Steen (over hill and dale), a band from Hedemarken, a rural area north of Oslo and east of Lake Mjøsa. The song was "Nu vil jeg reise langt herfra" (Now will I travel far from here). Lyrics of the first verse in translation:
I now will travel far
Across to America
I hope God'll help me there
Though from you I must depart.
It's a ballad, a sad song, of love left behind. Norwegians seem to like sad songs. But aren't the old English ballads sad, too?

Definitely worth another look ... or listen.

Old Norwegian religious ballad singer

Heard on Radio Norway's streaming audio folk music channel "Alltid Folkemusikk," a singer named Bodil Haug performing a religious song called "Ved dig min Jesus bestandig jeg bliver." A cappella. Sounds modal, or minor. A lot of ornamentation. I want to hear more.

Haug graduated from the University of Bergen with a major (hovudfag) in ethnology. She took part in a seminar on "bevaring av autentisk tradisjon eller nyskaping" sponsored by the Norsk folkemusikklag og Ole Bull Akademiet på Voss, etnomusikologi og Arne Bjørndals samling ved Griegakademiet - Institutt for musikk, Universitetet i Bergen og kulturvitskap ved Institutt for kulturstudiar og kunsthistorie, Universitetet i Bergen. A Norwegian record label called Etnisk Musikklubb (Ethnic Music Club) has a brief bio in its blurb on Haug's CD "Snart lyset sig mon svinge" (scroll down till you see the title and click on the CD cover graphic):
Snart lyset sig mon svinge - Bodil Haug, Knut og Ole Aastad

- Traditional Folk Songs and Norwegian Langeleik
- Bodil Haug: Songs Ole & Knut Aastad Bråten: Langeleik, Lyra
- Her songs sound best in a light and bright voice. For the last ten years they have been among the foremost langeleik-players.

BODIL HAUG was born on January 29th, 1970, in Aal, Hallingdal. Little by little she developed her own style of singing and musical expression. As she grew older she became especially fond of religious songs used by lay people. Also many of the concerts at the Folkmusic Festival at Aal were important for the further development of Bodil’s musical interests. Her songs sound best in a light and bright voice. Bodil is very talented, a generous and positive woman. She sings her songs with respect and humour, and her musical expression can be both flirting and challenging. She possesses an analytic mind and a sharp tongue, and has many young admirers. Folkmusicians and folk singers are just simply musicians of our time, Bodil says. What else could they be?
Audio clips are available and mp3 files can be downloaded on the Music from Norway website, a joint venture between institutions in the Norwegian music business including Nordmanns Forbundet and the Music Information Centre of Norway.

Note: I'm switching in and out of English because I can't translate all the Norwegian without a dictionary, and want it where I can easily find it when I have time to read it more carefully. I hope the plagiarism police will understand I am not representing anybody else's ideas or words, especially those I don't understand yet, as my own.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stevie Wonder: 'Falling in Love with Jesus'

An amateur video of Stevie Wonder introducing Barack Obama and singing "Falling in Love With Jesus" at a church in April 2007. The video is b&w and shaky, but Stevie Wonder's voice ... wonderful! Here's another video, in which he testifies about the song and introduces it on harp. And here's Michelle Obama introduces him at a rally at UCLA before this month's California primary. He speaks of Obama in the spirit of the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday and the freedom of South Africa before singing "Obama" up and down the scale.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HUM 221: SE archaeology, & a book plug

Today we’re going to start looking at the Native American peoples of the Old Southwest (which now we think of as the Southeast, if you’re not confused enough already)! Read the autobiographical essay by Carroll Arnett (Gogisgi) in “Here First,” and be sure to come to class Friday and Monday while we screen a video produced by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation in North Carolina about their history, culture, heritage and plans for the future.

So today we’ll look at a couple of websites that suggest what archaeology can tell us about the prehistory of what is now Alabama. But first, the book plug: Our textbook "Native North America" is organized a very brief encyclopedia. If you don't read it, you'll be lost as we hop, skip and jump from Alaska one day (that would be Monday) to Alabama today. With nothing in between!

Well, the "in-between" is the chapters on the Woodland and Southeastern culture areas in "Native North America." They're very brief, and they'll help tie things together.

As we read about the archaic, Woodland and Mississippean cultures, remind yourself how much of this information is inferred from the things, the artifacts, that archaeologists find in the ground. And think about how very little it tells us. We know what the people did, for example. We can figure that out from the tools they left. But we don’t know who they were, what languages they spoke and how they thought. Language and thought don’t leave traces in the ground.

Or do they?

What do the rattlesnake pendants left by Mississippean Indians, for example, allow us to guess about their beliefs and ceremonies?

The second website is a project of the the Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee. It has a detailed, unbiased and very informative Outline of Prehistory and History of the Southeast that goes over the same material in greater detail.

Notice again how scientists infer what we know about the ancient cultures from the material culture they leave behind. For example, they can guess the following from a dig called Poverty Point in Louisiana:
Poverty Point sites in Louisiana and western Mississippi exhibit the first major residential settlements and monumental earthworks in the United States. Although the Poverty Point culture is not well understood in terms of social organization, it was involved in the transportation of nonlocal raw materials (for example, shell, stone, and copper) from throughout the eastern United States into the lower Mississippi River Valley to selected sites where the materials were worked into finished products and then traded. While specific information on Poverty Point subsistence, trade mechanisms, and other cultural aspects is still speculative, the sites nevertheless exhibit specific material culture, such as baked clay objects, magnetite plummets, steatite bowls, red-jasper lapidary work, fiber-tempered pottery, and microlithic stone tools.
In Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, fiber-tempered pottery from the 5,200 to 3,200 years ago (4,500 to 3,000 rcbp) period is not usually found. This area appears to have functioned as a transitional cultural area through which ceramic influences from the Ohio River Valley and the Middle Atlantic were introduced into the Deep South. For example, northern-inspired grit-tempered plain, fabric-impressed, and cord-marked Early Woodland pottery first appeared in central and eastern Kentucky around 3,200 to 2,600 years ago (3,000 to 2,800 rcbp), and, by the end of the Early Woodland period 2,600 years ago (2800 to 2500 rcbp), it had replaced fiber-tempered wares throughout the Southeast.
See how much of this is guesswork? How much of it is scientific reasoning, i.e. the formulation and testing of a hypothesis (actually a number of hypotheses) based on research?

Monday, February 18, 2008

HUM 221: Tlingit totem pole link (and midterm HINT)

Here's a link to the website on totem poles we visited in class today. It's written by Pat Kramer, who describes herself as a "transplant to the Pacific Northwest." She has studied and photographed totem poles erected by all the Northwest Coast peoples, and her website offers a good overview of artistic motifs, meaning and other information about totem poles. Remember the question I asked at the end of class today: How can we find something to latch onto in the art of another person's culture? (Remember also the other question: Wouldn't this make a good 25-point question on the midterm?) Reading websites like Kramer's is a good way to answer both questions.

The midterm, by the way, is an open-book essay exam. It will be in class Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And finally -- here's McCain!

I didn't think I'd be able to find it, but YouTube has clips of Republican presidential candidate John McCain singing "bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of the old Beach Boys' standard "Barbara Ann." It was clearly a joke, but McCain's opponents were horrified. Whether they were just waiting to be horrified, by anything he said or did, is a question I will leave to others.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

GOP candidate's band -- more equal time

Since we've got links on my blogs now to music by two Democratic presidential candidates, I decided I'd better find a YouTube clip of former Arkansas Gov. and GOP candidate Mike Huckabee's band "Capitol Offense." Huckabee was governor, and thus working in the state Capitol, at the time he formed the band. It performs mostly 1960s and 70s covers. The clip shows him playing the Lynard Skynard hit "Freebird" at a rally in New Hampshire.

Huckabee plays bass guitar, and he clearly enjoys it. I think he deserves credit for playing at all, given his schedule. Here he is sitting in with a high school jazz band in Concord, N.H., and with Mama Kicks, a local band in Londonderry, N.H. Both sound like they've had more time to practice than Capitol Offense. But then their bass players aren't running for president.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Equal time -- a Hillary Clinton ad

I've been waiting for this, ever since I posted a link to the video by promoting Barack Obama's presidential campaign -- it's a chance to link to a video promoting his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's campaign. It comes via "The Caucus," the New York Times' political blog. Tacked onto the end of a report on negative TV ads is this snippet:
And then, just a funny riff from the Clinton campaign. You know, she might as well have that Guitar Hero game. So we’re leaving you on a lighter note … maybe just because it’s Friday.
Though, sorry, it is so not T.G.I.F. It keeps going on, as you know. And maybe it’s her counter to the “Yes, We Can” video for Obama featuring of the Black-Eyed Peas. Or hey, everybody has their air-guitar, even Physical Phil on “October Road,” who just played “Rock All Night” with a tennis racket. And uh, Fleetwood Mac, didn’t have that air game.
I offer this without comment; either I'm clueless, the New York Times is clueless or we're both clueless. The YouTube clip is embedded in the story, which also has a link to the the blog's story on the Obama video.

So far I haven't seen any musical videos for Republican front-runner John McCain, but I'll keep my eyes open. And GOP challenger Mike Huckaby, I understand, plays bass in a band called "Capitol Offense." I'll keep my eyes open for some of his stuff, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HUM 221: Native cultures in the news

Australia's parliament opened today with an traditional Aboriginal welcome as "Didgeridoo-playing Aborigines overturned hundreds of years of British tradition by marking the official opening of the session in their own way." BBC News reports:
Aboriginal elder Matilda House, wearing a coat of animal skins, delivered a traditional message stick to [Prime Minister Kevin] Rudd, and spoke of "the hope of a united nation through reconciliation".

"Today we begin with one small step to set right the wrongs of the past," Mr Rudd said.

The first act of parliament will be to apologise to the Stolen Generations - young Aboriginal children taken from their parents in a policy of assimilation which lasted from the 19th Century to the late 1960s.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd proposed a motion to acknowledge the "profound grief, suffering and loss" as well as the "indignity and degradation" caused to the Aboriginal community by previous policies.

"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry," the text of the motion says.

The motion is due to be put to a vote on Wednesday, and is certain to pass because it has the support of both the government and the main opposition parties.
The Aborigines are Australia's indigenous or native people, and at times their experience has paralleled that of American Indians. One has been the way indigenous children were adopted by to white families. Another is the dying out of native languages in Australia and North America.

Download link -- "Deadheads for Obama"

Are you kind?

A concert tape of Phil Lesh's "Deadheads for Obama" concert Feb. 4 in San Francisco is available for download on the Internet Archive. Here are the particulars, copied and pasted [but without formatting] from the website:
Collection: PhilLeshandFriends
Band/Artist: Phil Lesh and Friends
Date: February 4, 2008 (check for other copies)
Venue: The Warfield
Location: San Francisco, CA USA

Source: Schoeps mk41>kc5>cmc6>lunatec v2>sound devices 722
Lineage: 722>soundforge 6.0 (fades, edits)>Wav>Flac
Taped by: Ian Stone
Transferred by: Ian Stone (
Keywords: Phil & Friends; Dead; Deadheads; Obama; Benefit
And here's the playlist:
Deadheads For Obama
Featuring Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Friends
The Warfield Thtr.
San Francisco, CA

Taped & Seeded by: Ian Stone (
Source: Schoeps mk41>kc5>cmc6>lunatec v2>sound devices 722 @24/48 at taper's section, right of center.

Set I.
Disc 1
1. intro
2. Playing in the Band*>
3. Brown-Eyed Women†,
4. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo†>
5. New Minglewood Blues*,
6. Come Together*
7. Phil's Campaign Speech
Set II. (Acoustic)
8. Deep Elem Blues,
9. Friend of the Devil,
10. Deal,
11. Ripple

Set III.
Disc 2
1. China Cat Sunflower*†>
2. The Wheel*†>
3. The Other One*>
4. Sugaree*

Disc 3 (set 3 cont'd)
1. Eyes of the World*†>
2. Throwin' Stones*>
3. Iko Iko>
4. Jam*†>
5. Playing reprise*†
6. Crowd Noise/Phil Speaks

7. Encore: U.S. Blues*†%

Bob Weir, guitar and vocals;
Phil Lesh, bass and vocals;
Mickey Hart, drums and vocals;
John Molo, drums;
Jackie Greene, guitar, keyboards and vocals;
Steve Molitz, keyboards and vocals.

* with Mark Karan, guitar;
†with Barry Sless, pedal steel guitar;
%with Hippie Bill, flag

Sunday, February 10, 2008

HUM 221: Tlingit language and culture

In class today (Monday) we will look at efforts by Nora Marks Dauenhauer and others to preserve the language and traditional culture of the Tlingit (pronounced "klink-it") people of southeastern Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada.

First, some questions based on your reading in "Here First" over the weekend: (1) What was Dauenhauer doing in the boys' bathroom when she was a schoolgirl? If you know, email me for 50 extra credit points. (2) What did she learn from her grandparents? (2) What did she learn in church? (3) What did she learn in school? (4) From the popular culture? How do the cultural influences conflict and/or blend together? Compare: What did you learn from your grandparents? Church? School? Popular culture? How do the influences conflict and/or blend together? Post your answers as comments to this blog.

We will read Dauenhauer's poem "How to Make Good Baked Salmon from the River." Is it about how to cook fish, or is it about how to live life? Or both? How does the poem reflect the conflict that comes with trying to maintain a traditional lifestyle in modern society?

We will also read a story in The Juneau Empire about Tlingit language classes taught by Dauenhauer and others trying to preserve the culture. And we'll watch some clips of Tlingit music and dance:
  • Tlingit dancers demonstrate traditional Tlingit dance on a ferryboat in southeast Alaska.

  • Gene Tagaban, a Tlingit storyteller and jazz musician, plays the Native flute and tells a story of how Raven brought fire to the people. While the cedar flute was originally Lakota, it has spread widely and become part of the common heritage of American Indians throughout North America. The Raven story is traditional Tlingit.

  • First Peoples Performance, a traditional group across the Canadian border in Carcross, Yukon Territory, performs the Tlingit National Anthem. The anthem was composed in the 1980s and given to the Tlingit people.

The Taglish First Nation of Carcross has a government website listing its services and giving information about the local Taglish and Tlingit culture. Read the Elder's Statement explaining in Tlingit and English their sense of the past and their vision for the future.

Friday, February 08, 2008

HUM 221: In class Friday

Let's start by writing something. You can post your thoughts as a comment to this blog post --

Read or re-read: (1) the Christian Science Monitor story on the Thanksgiving myth; (2) the handout from Blue Cloud Abbey on Lakota cultural values linked below; and (3) the Anchorage Daily News on Thanksgiving in an Eskimo village. Then answer these questions:

A. What differences do you find between the way people in the general American majority (European-American) culture and American Indians/Alaska Natives look at Thanksgiving? What specific Lakota cultural values are similar to or the same as the values expressed by Wampanoag Indians interviewed for the Christian Science Monitor article?

B. The Eskimo traditions for sharing the meat from a successful whale hunt are very old. How do they reflect the cultural values of the people there? Compare the ADN article to the list of Alaska Native Values and Iñupiaq Cultural Values available on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network website.

C. How do the Lakota, Wampanoag and Alaska Native values expressed in these readings compare to our own values? Which seem to you to specifically reflect Native culture? Which seem to be common human values shared by everyone?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

HUM 221: Ceremonies, giving thanks

In-class journal. Write a page on this question: Does time move in a straight line or does it move in a circle?

Today we'll look at the American national myth of Thanksgiving, and what it tells us about our culture(s). But first we'll take note of a more immediate reason for giving thanks, at least for the families of 150 members of the Alaska Army National Guard.

In Bethel, in western Alaska, Guardsmen returning from deployment in Iraq will be honored with a traditional Yup'ik ceremony incorporating a "purification rite to cleanse the soldiers of the pressures of war,"according to today's Anchorage Daily News.
"We wanted to put more cultural relevance in this event so there could be a connection with the people we are honoring, so they could feel they are truly home," Agatha John-Shields, administrator of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, a Yup'ik immersion school, told the ADN.

The deployment left scores of families without their primary hunters of walrus, seal, geese and other crucial subsistence foods. Some families moved to larger communities like Bethel, population 6,000. Others relied on younger family members to do the hunting while some turned to the time-honored tradition of their villages taking care of them.

"These guys, when they left, there was a big hole in their communities," Shields said. "They are the ones who hunt and fish for their subsistence. Those left behind, even the young kids, had to grow up fast and do it. We want to show how much we appreciate them."
Note the difference between military ceremonies, which can be very moving, and Native ceremonies.

There's a broad difference in the way Native cultures think about ceremony and the way many of the rest of us do, at least as Americans. The Webster-Merricam Dictionary defines ceremony as "a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention." Often it has spiritual or religious significance. To generalize perhaps way too much, Native people tend to act out their religion or spiritual beliefs in daily life more than do Europeans or Americans of European heritage. In contrast, Euro-Americans tend to set aside ceremonies for special occasions.

To see how this plays out in the cultures we're studying this semester, let's start by reading a story in The Christian Science Monitor on the First Thanksgiving myth. Pay special attention whhen the Monitor says, "In the culture of the Wampanoag Indians, who inhabited the area around Cape Cod, 'thanksgiving' was an everyday activity." As you read, look for similarities and differences in the way descendants of the Pilgrims and descendants of the Wampanoag people who were at the "First Thanksgiving" think about the event ... and ceremonies like eating turkey and cranberry sauce, and watching the Macy's parade on television.

Another definition, and this one is important. Our Thanksgiving story is a myth, which Webster-Merriam defines as "a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon" or as " a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society." Both definitions fit here.

A myth is simply a story that tells us who we are, how we got here and what we believe in. When we dressed up as "pilgrims" and "Indians" in elementary school, complete with tall hats and feathers cut out of construction paper, we were learning a myth of origin. We will read others.

For some background on the way different people look at Thanksgiving, read the webpage comparing Lakota and Euro-American cultural values put up by Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota. Note especially the difference between "natural time" and "clock time," and "Religion = Way of Life . . . Sacramental, Symbolic" and "Religion = Segment of Life . . . Intellectual, Gnostic." What does that mean?

Blue Cloud Abbey also has a webpage comparing European and Indian concepts of "Time as Communiction." How do cultural values affect these concepts?

Finally, we'll complete a circle by reading in the Anchorage Daily News about another Thanksgiving ceremony. This one is a village feast on Thanksgiving Day in an Inupiat Eskimo village near the Arctic Ocean. What stands out as being about the same as Thanksgiving in the "lower 48" states? What is different? (Hint: Do you eat whale blubber for Thanksgiving?) How do some of the Eskimo attitudes expressed here compare to the Wampanoag Indians interviewed for the story about the "First Thanksgiving" in Massachusetts and the Lakota values outlined in the Blue Cloud webpages in South Dakota? How do they compare to our own attitudes, values, ceremonies and myths?

Monday, February 04, 2008

HUM 221: In class Monday

Please note: Industrial-strength midterm and research paper hint follows.

We'll be blogging some more today on Joy Harjo --

Scroll down to last Thursday's post, the one that begins "Friday (weather permitting), we'll ..."

Well, weather didn't permit.


But the assignment's still there. Anyway, read it. Blog it. We'll talk about it some in class. The purpose of this exercise is to get you thinking about how artistic expression communicates across cultures. How much of what Joy Harjo is writing about here appears to be specific to her own Native American culture? How of it is common to the wider American culture? How much do you think is universal -- in other words human nature that's common to people of all cultures? Ask yourself the three questions at the bottom of Thursday's blog (recycled for today). They're designed to help you get started thinking in terms of cultures.

Oh, and remember what we're doing here today. I'll make sure you have an opportunity later to write at more length about today's questions. Who knows? Perhaps on the midterm. Perhaps on a documented research paper. Perhaps both. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Streaming audio link: 'Dead Heads for Obama'

This is not an endorsement.

Just a link ...

... to what many will consider yesterday's music, anyway.

Monday at 7:30 p.m. PST (which is 9:30 our time), Greateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart (drummer Bill Kreutzmann is out of town) will play a (GOTV) Get Out The Vote concert for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in San Francisco. Drummer John Molo, keyboardist Steve Molitz, and guitarist Jackie Greene –- all of whom play with Lesh -– round out the lineup, according to Relix magazine, which started out as a Dead Heads' fan magazine and now covers the jamband scene.

The video website Iclips will stream a live simulcast via the Internet on Monday night. Link here for information.

Later: For something perhaps a little more contemporary, link here to "Yes We Can" ... an Obama speech set to music by of Black Eyed Peas ... and here for kind of a lame ABC News interview with and Jesse Dylan, who directed the video.

Grieg: Peer Gynt, 'norsknorskhet' and cowpies

So I learned a new word this weekend. Picked up a copy of Classic FM, a British magazine I buy partly for its articles on classical music but just as much -- or more -- for the free CDs. So this month's CD was "Carnival of the Animals: Highlights from Saint Saens's Popular Work and other Children's Classics." One of them was Edvard Greig's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" (I Dovregubbens hall in Norwegian), the famous snippet from his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt. The magazine's CD blurb admirably set the tone for what follows:
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) is to Norway what Washington is to America and Shakespeare to England -- his country's most celebrated human icon. In a letter written in 1874, Grieg declared, "Ive done something about the "Hall ofthe Old Man of Dovre" and I literally can't bear to listen to it, it is so full of cow-turds and Norse-Norsehood!"
I hadn't heard that before, and, naturally, I loved it.

A full text of Grieg's comment is available on line in the Norwegian-language edition of Wikipedia (which also has an alphabetical list of pop covers from Apocalyptica and Big Brother and the Holding Company to a 1970s-vintage British novelty band called the Wombles). It reads:
Og så har jeg gjort noe til Dovregubbens hall, som jeg bokstavelig ikke kan tåle å høre på, således klinger det av kukaker, av norsknorskhet og segselvnokhet! -- Edvard Grieg i brev av 27. august 1874 til vennen Franz Beyer
A rough translation (some of it mine but most of it available elsewhere): "And so I have done something with 'The Hall of the Mountain King,' which I literally cannot bear to listen to, it's so full of cow cakes, Norwegian-Norwegian-ism and self-sufficiency."

(Norwegians have just about the same cultural attitudes we do about self-sufficiency, rugged individualism ... and cattle manure. Kind of like John Wayne with lutefisk.)

Want to hear it? YouTube has an Israeli television screen grab (complete with Hebrew subtitles!) of the Jerusalem Orchestra playing the piece. And a verson by the Finnish heavy metal cover band Apocalyptia in the background of a film student's class project.