In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year's Day). Island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_Eve
"The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)", known better by its shortened commercial title, "The Tide Is Turning" is the closing track from Roger Waters' second studio album, Radio K.A.O.S. It was released as the album's third single, in November 1987. A live version of the album was released as the second single from Waters' debut live album, The Wall – Live in Berlin in November 1990. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tide_Is_Turning
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. Throughout his life, Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and relationship trials. Denver's music appeared on a variety of charts, including country and western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him 12 gold and 4 platinum albums with his signature songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Annie's Song", "Rocky Mountain High", and "Sunshine on My Shoulders".
Denver further starred in films and several notable television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In the following decades, he continued to record, but also focused on calling attention to environmental issues, lent his vocal support to space exploration, and testified in front of Congress to protest against censorship in music. He was known for his love of the state of Colorado which he sang about numerous times. He lived in Aspen, Colorado, for much of his life, and influenced the governor to name him Poet Laureate of the state in 1974. The Colorado state legislature also adopted "Rocky Mountain High" as one of its state songs in 2007. Denver was an avid pilot, and died while flying his personal aircraft at the age of 53. Denver was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Denver
Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"), Just So Stories (1902) (1894), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888); and his poems, including "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The White Man's Burden" (1899) and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works are said to exhibit "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.
Kipling's subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century.George Orwell called him a "prophet of British imperialism". Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: "He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with." __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
Ellas Otha Bates (December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Ellas McDaniel), and rock and roll pioneer. He was also known as The Originator because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock, influencing a host of acts, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and George Michael, among others. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged electric guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs, along with African rhythms and a signature beat (a simple, five-accent rhythm) that remains a cornerstone of rock and pop. Accordingly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and a Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was known in particular for his technical innovations, including his trademark rectangular guitar. [...]
Bo Diddley was well known for the Bo Diddley beat, which is essentially the clave rhythm, and one of the most common bell patterns found in sub-Saharan African music traditions. Bo Diddley has given different accounts of the riff's origins. Sublette asserts: "In the context of the time, and especially those maracas [heard on the record], 'Bo Diddley' has to be understood as a Latin-tinged record. A rejected cut recorded at the same session was titled only 'Rhumba' on the track sheets." The Bo Diddley beat is similar to "hambone", a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes. Somewhat resembling "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm, Diddley came across it while trying to play Gene Autry's "(I've Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle". Three years before Bo's "Bo Diddley", a song similar syncopation "Hambone", was cut by Red Saunders' Orchestra with The Hambone Kids. In 1944, "Rum and Coca Cola", containing the Bo Diddley beat, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters and later Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" (1957) and Them's "Mystic Eyes" (1965) used the beat. In its simplest form, the Bo Diddley beat can be counted out as either an on-bar, or a two-bar phrase.
Other songs employing the Bo Diddley beat include "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" (1961) by Elvis Presley, "I Want Candy" by The Strangeloves, "1969" (1969) by The Stooges, "Panic in Detroit" (1973) by David Bowie, "Mr. Brownstone" (1987) by Guns N' Roses, "Hari Krsna" (lyrics are even sung to the tune of 'Hey Bo Diddley') by Hüsker Dü from their album Zen Arcade, "Faith (1987) by George Michael, "Desire" (1988) by U2, "Boa-Diddley" (1990) by Phillip Boa and the Voodooclub, "Movin' on Up" (1991) by Primal Scream, "Woodcutter's Son" (1995) by Paul Weller, and "Screwdriver" (1999) by The White Stripes. Other examples include "Magic Bus" by The Who, "Rudie Can't Fail" by The Clash, "Get Me to the World on Time" by The Electric Prunes, and "Party at the Leper Colony" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Some of the more subtle uses of the Biddley beat include "Hateful" (1979) by The Clash and "How Soon Is Now?" (1985) by The Smiths.__ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Diddley
Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong (born 25 December 1971), known as Dido, is an English singer-songwriter.
Dido attained international success with her debut album, No Angel (1999). The album sold in excess of 21 million copies worldwide, and won several awards; including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act, two NRJ Awards for Best New Act and Best Album, and two Brit Awards for Best British Female and Best Album. Her following album, Life for Rent (2003), continued her mainstream success with the help of popular singles "White Flag" and "Life for Rent".
Dido's first two albums, No Angel and Life for Rent, are among the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and both are in the top 10 best-selling albums of the 2000s in the UK. Her third and latest studio album, Safe Trip Home (2008), received critical praise to help maintain her success. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the song "If I Rise". Dido has been ranked #98 of Billboard 200 based on the success of her music in the first decade of the 21st century. __http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dido_(singer)
Ann "Annie" Lennox, OBE (born 25 December 1954) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving minor success in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave band The Tourists, she and fellow musician David A. Stewart went on to achieve major international success in the 1980s as Eurythmics. Lennox is the most recognized female artist at the Brit Awards, winning a total of eight awards. She has also been named the "Brits Champion of Champions".
Lennox embarked on a solo career in the 1990s with her debut album, Diva (1992), which produced several hit singles including "Why" and "Walking on Broken Glass". To date, she has released five solo studio albums and a compilation album, The Annie Lennox Collection (2009). She is the recipient of eight Brit Awards, four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2002, Lennox received a Billboard Century Award; the highest accolade from Billboard Magazine. In 2004, she won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Into the West", written for the soundtrack to the feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
In addition to her career as a musician, Lennox is also a political and social activist, notable for raising money and awareness for HIV charities in Africa. She also objected to the unauthorised use of the 1999 Eurythmics song "I Saved the World Today" in an election broadcast for Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in 2009. In 2011, Lennox was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her "tireless charity campaigns and championing of humanitarian causes". On 4 June 2012, Lennox performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Lennox
The Christmas truce was a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into "no man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another.
The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history. It was not ubiquitous; in some regions of the front, fighting continued throughout the day, while in others, little more than an arrangement to recover bodies was made. The following year, a few units again arranged ceasefires with their opponents over Christmas, but the truces were not nearly as widespread as in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting such fraternization. In 1916, after the unprecedentedly bloody battles of the Somme and Verdun, and the beginning of widespread poison gas use, soldiers on both sides increasingly viewed the other side as less than human, and no more Christmas truces were sought.
In the early months of immobile trench warfare, the truces were not unique to the Christmas period, and reflected a growing mood of "live and let live", where infantry units in close proximity to each other would stop overtly aggressive behavior, and often engage in small-scale fraternization, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. In some sectors, there would be occasional ceasefires to allow soldiers to go between the lines and recover wounded or dead comrades, while in others, there would be a tacit agreement not to shoot while men rested, exercised, or worked in full view of the enemy. The Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation – even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce
Johnny Gruelle (December 24, 1880 – January 9, 1938) was an American artist, political cartoonist, children's book author and illustrator (and even songwriter). He is known as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. He had such confidence in his design that often he would create the final ink work without first sketching in pencil. [...]
Gruelle gave his daughter Marcella a dusty, faceless rag doll which she found in the attic. He drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Marcella played with the doll so much, Gruelle figured other children would like the doll too. Gruelle's Raggedy Ann doll U.S. Patent D47,789 was dated September 7, 1915. In 1918, the PF Volland Company published Raggedy Ann Stories. Gruelle then created a series of popular Raggedy Ann books and dolls. These became Volland's major source of revenue.
Marcella Gruelle, after being vaccinated at her school for smallpox, was given an unidentified second shot without parental consent. She soon contracted diphtheria and died at the age of 13. After this blow, family friends described Gruelle as "possessed, with a heavy countenance, and ... with the only thing he would bear to have near him as a reminder of Marcella a rag doll." __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Gruelle
Victoria Williams (born December 23, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter and musician, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, although she has resided in Southern California throughout her musical career. She is noted for her descriptive songwriting talent, which she has used to immerse the listener of her songs into a vivid feeling of small-town, rural Southern upbringing and life. Her best-known songs include "Crazy Mary", and "Century Plant". Finding inspiration in nature, ("Weeds", "Century Plant," "Why Look at the Moon"), everyday objects ("Shoes," "Frying Pan") and the unseen, as in "Holy Spirit". __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Williams
Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen, Jr. (born December 23, 1940) is an American blues, folk, and rock guitarist, best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Born in Washington, D.C. as the son of Beatrice Love (née Levine) and Jorma Ludwig Kaukonen, Jorma Kaukonen had Finnish paternal grandparents and Russian Jewish ancestry on his mother's side. Kaukonen was a founding member of the popular psychedelic San Francisco-based band Jefferson Airplane, which scored two Top 10 radio hits in 1967 with "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit."
Kaukonen learned to play guitar as a teenager in Washington, D.C., but before moving to the D.C. area, Jorma and family lived in the Philippines and other locales as he followed his father's career from assignment to assignment before returning to the place of his birth. As a teenager in Washington he and future Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady (who at the time played six-string guitar) formed a band named The Triumphs. Kaukonen departed Washington for studies at Antioch College where friend Ian Buchanan taught him fingerstyle guitar playing. Buchanan also introduced Kaukonen to the music of Reverend Gary Davis, whose songs have remained important parts of Kaukonen's repertoire throughout his career.
In 1962, Kaukonen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and enrolled at Santa Clara University. During this time he taught guitar lessons at Benner Music Company in San Jose. As a self-described blues purist, Kaukonen never had any ambition to play in a rock band. He played as a solo act in coffee houses and can be heard accompanying a young Janis Joplin on acoustic guitar on an historic 1964 recording (known as "The Typewriter Tapes" because of the obtrusive sound of Kaukonen's first wife Margareta typing in the background). Invited to attend a Jefferson Airplane rehearsal by founding member Paul Kantner, Kaukonen found his imagination excited by the arsenal of effects available to electric guitar and later said, "I was sucked in by technology." __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorma_Kaukonen
The winter solstice is the solstice that occurs in winter. It is the time at which the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year. [...]
The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun.
The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common in winter between January and April, also known as "the famine months". In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.
Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also reversal is yet another usual theme as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice
Owain Phyfe (1949-2012) was a vocalist, instrumentalist, composer, and the founder of Nightwatch Recording, which concentrates on Renaissance and Medieval music. He lived in Berkley, Mich., often playing at O'Mara's Restaurant when he wasn't traveling the Renaissance circuit. He died from pancreatic cancer on September 5, 2012. The following day performers and fans held an all night wake in his honor. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Phyfe
1. All hail to the days that merit more praise Than all the rest of the year, And welcome the nights that double delights As well for the poor as the peer! Good fortune attend each merry man's friend, That doth but the best that he may; Forgetting old wrongs, with carols and songs, To drive the cold winter away.
2. Let Misery pack, with a whip at his back, To the deep Tantalian flood; In Lethe profound let envy be drown'd, That pines at another man's good; Let Sorrow's expense be banded from hence, All payments have greater delay, We'll spend the long nights in cheerful delights To drive the cold winter away.
3. 'Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined To think of small injuries now; If wrath be to seek do not lend her thy cheek Nor let her inhabit thy brow. Cross out of thy books malevolent looks, Both beauty and youth's decay, And wholly consort with mirth and with sport To drive the cold winter away.
4. The court in all state now opens her gate And gives a free welcome to most; The city likewise, tho' somewhat precise, Doth willingly part with her roast: But yet by report from city and court The country will e'er gain the day; More liquor is spent and with better content To drive the cold winter away.
5. Our good gentry there for costs do not spare, The yeomanry fast not till Lent; The farmers and such think nothing too much, If they keep but to pay for their rent. The poorest of all now do merrily call, When at a fit place they can stay, For a song or a tale or a cup of good ale To drive the cold winter away.
6. Thus none will allow of solitude now But merrily greets the time, To make it appear of all the whole year That this is accounted the prime: December is seen apparel's in green, And January fresh as May Comes dancing along with a cup and a song To drive the cold winter away.
The Second Part
7. This time of the year is spent in good cheer, And neighbours together do meet To sit by the fire, with friendly desire, Each other in love to greet; Old grudges forgot are put in the pot, All sorrows aside they lay; The old and the young doth carol this song To drive the cold winter away.
8. Sisley and Nanny, more jocund than any, As blithe as the month of June, Do carol and sing like birds of the spring, No nightingale sweeter in tune; To bring in content, when summer is spend, In pleasant delight and play, With mirth and good cheer to end the whole year, And drive the cold winter away.
9. The shepherd, the swain do highly disdain To waste out their time in care, And Clim of the Clough2 hath plenty enough If he but a penny can spare To spend at the night, in joy and delight, Now after his labour all day; For better than lands is the help of his hands To drive the cold winter away.
10. To mask and to mum kind neighbours will come With wassails of nut-brown ale, To drink and carouse to all in the house As merry as bucks in the dale; Where cake, bread, and cheese is brought for your fees To make you the longer stay; At the fire to warm 'twill do you no harm, To drive the cold winter away.
11. When Christmas's tide come in like a bride With holly and ivy clad, Twelve days in the year much mirth and good cheer In every household is had; The country guise is then to devise Some gambols of Christmas play, Whereat the young men do best that they can To drive the cold winter away.
12. When white-bearded frost hath threatened his worse, And fallen from branch and briar, Then time away calls from husbandry halls And from the good countryman's fire, Together to go, to plough and to sow To get us both food and array, And thus will content the time we have spend To drive the cold winter away.
International Migrants Day is an international day observed on December 18 as International Migrants Day appointed by the General Assembly of United Nations on December 4, 2000 taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world. On December 18, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families (resolution 45/158).
This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental political freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants.
In 1997, Filipino and other Asian migrant organizations began celebrating and promoting December 18 as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. This date was chosen because it was on December 18, 1990 that the UN adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families.
Building on this initiative, December 18 with support from Migrant Rights International and the Steering Committee for the Global Campaign for Ratification of the International Convention on Migrants' Rights and many other organizations – began late 1999 campaigning online for the official UN designation of an International Migrant's Day, which was finally proclaimed on December 4, 2000.
The UN proclamation of the International Migrants' Day is an important step, offering a rallying point for everyone across the world who is concerned with the protection of migrants. The UN invited all UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of migrants.
The International Migrants Day is seen firstly as an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries, and secondly to promote respect for their basic human rights. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Migrants_Day
Wright Brothers Day (December 17) is a United States national observation. It is codified in the US Code, and commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane, that were made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_Brothers_Day
Michael Alden Hedges (December 31, 1953 – December 2, 1997) was an American composer, Acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter.
Hedges attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, studying classical guitar. It was here that he studied under his compositional mentor, E. J. Ulrich. Subsequently Hedges was a composition major at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland who applied his classically-trained musical background in combination with various unusual techniques to the steel-string acoustic guitar. He covered a wide range of musical styles and was considered an extremely dynamic performer in concert. Michael made ends meet playing and singing in pubs and restaurants in the Baltimore Metro area during his tenure at Peabody. In 1980, he made plans to move to California to study music at Stanford University. Hedges' performances were first recorded by The New Varsity Theater manager, videographer and friend Randy Lutge, who made and has archived many video recordings of Michael's earliest performances at The New Varsity; busking, in the ticket line, upstairs and on the main stage at The New Varsity Theater. For years Hedges played The New Varsity Theater regularly where he met and played with many great musicians, sharing the stage with Tuck & Patti Andress, John Fahey, Preston Reed and many more, further honing his live performance. Hedges was contracted in February 1981 by William Ackerman who heard Hedges performing at The Varsity Theater in Palo Alto and immediately (using a napkin from The New Varsity) signed Hedges to a recording contract on the Windham Hill label. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hedges
Odetta Holmes (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008), known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential to many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. Time included her song "Take This Hammer" on its list of the All-Time 100 Songs, stating that "Rosa Parks was her No. 1 fan, and Martin Luther King Jr. called her the queen of American folk music." __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odetta
John Cowan Hartford (December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001) was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore. Hartford performed with a variety of ensembles throughout his career, and is perhaps best known for his solo performances where he would interchange the guitar, banjo, and fiddle from song to song. He also invented his own shuffle tap dance move, and clogged on an amplified piece of plywood while he played and sang. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hartford
The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála) on the LakotaPine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. It was the last battle of the American Indian war. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk's band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them five miles westward (8 km) to Wounded Knee Creek where they made camp.
The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment arrived led by Colonel James Forsyth and surrounded the encampment supported by four Hotchkiss guns.
On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over Black Coyote's rifle escalated and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry's opening fire indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow troopers. Those few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.
By the time it was over, at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux had been killed and 51 wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five troopers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded would later die).It is believed that many were the victims of friendly fire, as the shooting took place at close range in chaotic conditions. [...]
The Army awarded twenty Medals of Honor, its highest award, for the action. Native American activists have urged the medals be withdrawn, as they say they were "Medals of Dishonor". According to Lakota tribesman William Thunder Hawk, "The Medal of Honor is meant to reward soldiers who act heroically. But at Wounded Knee, they didn't show heroism; they showed cruelty."
In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions that condemned the Medals of Honor awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them. Historian Will G. Robinson noted that in contrast, only three Medals of Honor were awarded among the 64,000 South Dakotans who fought for four years of World War II. Some of the citations on the medals awarded to the troopers at Wounded Knee state that they went in pursuit of Lakota who were trying to escape or hide. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre
Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (born 25 December 1957) is an Irish musician and singer, best known as the original singer and songwriter of The Pogues.
MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Pembury, Kent, England in 1957, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London.
MacGowan's mother, Therese, was a singer and traditional Irish dancer, and had worked as a model in Dublin. In 1971, after attending Holmewood House School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, MacGowan earned a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School, a renowned English public school close to the Houses of Parliament. He was found in possession of drugs and was expelled in his second year.
MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a concert by English punk band The Clash, when his earlobe was damaged by Jane Crockford, later to be a member of The Mo-dettes. A photographer snapped a picture of him covered in blood and it made the papers, with the headline "Cannibalism At Clash Gig". Shortly after this, he formed his own punk rock band, The Nipple Erectors, later renamed "The Nips".
MacGowan drew upon his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues and changed his early "punk" voice for a more authentic sound with tutoring from his extended family. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the United States, and London life in general. These influences are documented in the biography, Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences.
Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote what is perhaps his best-known song, "Fairytale of New York", which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. In the coming years MacGowan and The Pogues released several albums successfully. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shane_MacGowan
James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American singer–songwriter, author, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett has recorded hit songs including "Margaritaville" (ranked 234th on the Recording Industry Association of America's list of "Songs of the Century") and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads". __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Buffett
The Italian Hall Disaster (sometimes referred to as the 1913 Massacre) is a tragedy that occurred on December 24, 1913 in Calumet, Michigan. Seventy-three men, women, and children, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were crushed to death in a stampede when someone falsely yelled "fire" at a crowded Christmas party.
On Christmas Eve many of the striking miners and their families had gathered for a Christmas party sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners. It is estimated that there were over five hundred people at the party, which was held on the second floor of Calumet's Italian Hall. A steep stairway was the only way to the second floor, although there was a poorly-marked fire escape on one side of the building and ladders down the back of the building which could only be reached by climbing through the windows.
The tragedy began when someone yelled "Fire!"; there was none. However, people panicked and rushed for the stairs. In the ensuing melee, seventy-three people (including fifty-nine children) were killed. To date there has been much debate about who cried "fire" and why. The most common theory is that "fire" was called out by an anti-union ally of mine management in order to disrupt the party. [...]
Karine Polwart (born 23 December 1970) is a Scottish singer-songwriter. She writes and performs music with a strong folk and roots feel, her songs dealing with a variety of issues from alcoholism to genocide. She has been most recognised for her solo career, winning three awards at the BBC Folk Awards in 2005, and was previously a member of Malinky and Battlefield Band. Polwart is currently a member of The Burns Unit, and collaborated with The Fruit Tree Foundation on its debut album, First Edition. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karine_Polwart
Harry Julius Shearer (born December 23, 1943) is an American actor, humorist, writer, voice artist, musician, author, radio host and filmmaker. He is known for his long-running roles on The Simpsons, his work on Saturday Night Live, the comedy band Spinal Tap and his radio program Le Show. Born in Los Angeles, California, Shearer began his career as a child actor, appearing in The Jack Benny Program, as well as the 1953 films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and The Robe. In 1957, Shearer played the precursor to the Eddie Haskell character in the pilot episode for the television series Leave It to Beaver, but his parents decided not to let him continue in the role so that he could have a normal childhood. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Shearer
The winter solstice is the solstice that occurs in winter. It is the time at which the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice
The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, "Winter" is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas "Summer" evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often dubbed "Storm." __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivaldi_four_seasons
Philip David Ochs (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and distinctive voice. He wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960s and released eight albums in his lifetime.
Ochs performed at many political events, including anti-Vietnam War and civil rights rallies, student events, and organized labor events over the course of his career, in addition to many concert appearances at such venues as New York City's Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. Politically, Ochs described himself as a "left social democrat" who became an "early revolutionary" after the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago led to a police riot, which had a profound effect on his state of mind.
After years of prolific writing in the 1960s, Ochs's mental stability declined in the 1970s. He eventually succumbed to a number of problems including bipolar disorder and alcoholism, and took his own life in 1976.
Some of Ochs's major influences were Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Bob Gibson, Faron Young, Merle Haggard, John Wayne, and John F. Kennedy. His best-known songs include "I Ain't Marching Anymore", "Changes", "Crucifixion", "Draft Dodger Rag", "Love Me, I'm a Liberal", "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends", "Power and the Glory", "There but for Fortune", and "The War Is Over". __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ochs
Wright Brothers Day (December 17) is a United States national observation. It is codified in the US Code, and commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane, that were made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_Brothers_Day
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