I ordered a classic CD by Umm Khaltum (or Oum Kaltoum–transliterating Arabic into English is an inexact science at best) from an Amazon Marketplace store the other day. It arrived today. I had been wanting to hear what she sounded like for a long time. I still remember reading about how three million people went berserk at her funeral.
Arabic music is an acquired taste for Westerners, but I can definitely see why people were so in love with her voice. I’ll have to listen to the CD again through headphones sometime when I can really sit and pay attention to it.
The accounts of her funeral mentioned that she was famous for singing quarter-tones better than anyone. We don’t, apparently, have those in westernized music, as a general rule. That led me to wonder whose recording of the song “These Days” I used to listen to when I was a disk jockey (remembering the line “These days I sit on cornerstones, and count the time in quarter-tones to tell”). I thought it was by Tom Rush, but apparently not.
I liked being a disk jockey. I just wish I hadn’t done my best work in the years when it was perfectly acceptable to say “We’re not hiring women for that job.” I did a lot better (doing alternative-rock shows on public radio) than a lot of the men who had jobs in commercial radio in that area and at that time, but nobody wanted women on the air except as news people. I was offered a job as a news person at one of the commercial stations, through the good graces of someone I knew there, but I turned it down because they wouldn’t agree to try me as a disk jockey. One of my good friends accepted the news job, and they kept her just long enough for the ratings to come out and laid her off. So I felt that I’d made the right decision, but who knows? Water under the bridge.
Wouldn’t it be neat if we could review our lives and change one thing at a time and see how life would have been if that had happened to begin with? And then choose the life to live that turned out best?Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.