Holidays Music

The Black Country

Surprise! I’m back and ready to reveal all… within reason.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful and intensive tour of Ethiopia, which means: the black people. It’s an amazing country, full of archaeology and history, volcanoes and lava, camels, donkeys and birds of many sorts, religion and tribes, music, dancing, paintings and much more. Although we were busy every single day of the nineteen, I’m sure there’s plenty we didn’t see. In fact, there were two things we expected to see and didn’t. More about that later.


This is the notebook (given to me by my friend, Marallyn) in which I recorded activities, impressions, etc. Some of my scribblings are legible, I think. Some of them can probably only be deciphered by me. They were written while bouncing around in a jeep in the Dannakil Desert.


There’s even some music.


I plan to find a way of using it all – after writing everything else I have planned. In the meantime, when we’ve sorted out the photos, I’ll post some of them here.

What didn’t we see? The lava at Erta Ale as shown on YouTube. That’s because there was an eruption on the day we visited. (The previous eruption, we were told, was in 2005, although Wikipedia says 2009.) We climbed all the way up, but weren’t allowed to get near enough to see bubbling lava, although we watched the eruption from afar. We also weren’t allowed to sleep at the top, as planned, and had to walk down again the same night. We were lucky, though, because groups arriving after us weren’t allowed up there at all.

We also didn’t see a regular ceremony that includes bull jumping (that doesn’t harm animals, we were told) and dancing. The ceremony didn’t take place that week.

But the trip was amazing and I’ll definitely write more about it. Stay tuned…


My Desert Island Discs

“So, Miriam Drori,” says Kirsty Young and I’m thinking: why isn’t Roy Plomley here? because his is the name I associate with this radio programme. “As a lover of music, you must have had a hard time choosing just eight pieces.”

“I certainly did,” I answer confidently, because of course this is all made up, so I might as well make myself and my communication abilities up, too.

“How did you narrow your choices down to just eight?”

“I chose pieces connected to my life,” I say, because it’s what they all say and it happens to be true. Turntable-floating-view

I continue to answer Kirsty’s questions with ease and to explain why I chose these particular pieces of music.

  • Ledavid mizmor… (the prayer): The synagogue played an important part in my childhood, and my father often led the services there. I particularly remember this tune, for a prayer that is said only on special occasions. Most of the members of the congregation didn’t know the tune and so my father’s beautiful tenor voice easily rose over the rest. (I listened to several Youtube videos but couldn’t find the tune I know.)
  • Ma Nishtana: The seder night – the first night of the festival of Passover – was a specially fun time in our family. I enjoyed my moment of fame with this song, traditionally sung by the youngest person present. I was always the youngest.

  • Beatles – Here Comes the Sun: I grew up with the Beatles. I had to include them in my list. So I chose one that’s lively and good to dance to. I expect I’ll do plenty of dancing on the desert island.
  • Bach’s Double Violin Concerto: This is one of the pieces I studied at school, and it’s one that I love.
  • Paul Simon – Something So Right: I’ve always felt this song is about me. “They got a wall in China. It’s a thousand miles long. To keep out the foreigners they made it strong. And I got a wall around me that you can’t even see. It took a little time to get next to me.”
  • Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar: At university, this was the song I loved dancing to the most. I had no idea what it was about; I just loved it.
  • Back Street Boys – I Want It That Way: My daughter was just six when this song was popular. But she heard it a lot because her big brother liked to play it. So she learned it – words and all. No wonder she became a singer!
  • Vatikach Miriam: I had to include a song from the many I’ve danced to at Israeli folk dancing sessions. And why not one that’s lively and includes my name!

“Thank you, Miriam Drori, for letting us hear your Desert Island Discs.”

“Thank you for inviting me,” I reply. “I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”


Author of the Day

Stella Hervey Birrell knows about being concise and keeping to rules. All the posts on her blog are exactly 140 words long. She also draws simple pictures to accompany the posts. When I submitted a guest post for her blog, I managed the first but not the second, and was delighted with Stella’s rendering of Neither Here Nor There. Stella writes women’s fiction and is the author of How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? – a novel I enjoyed and recommend.


Musical Surprise

Was it coincidence or fate? On Sunday, I came across several references to music.

  • Bracha Bogot shared:



  • And I wondered which pieces of music could become my ear worm. A different one each day, I think. And then I returned to a question I’ve been wondering for some time. Which eight pieces of music would I take if I were to be marooned on a desert island? I often wonder that when I listen to BBC Radio 4’s, Desert Island Discs… not that I expect to ever be invited onto the programme. I haven’t come up with a list yet, but it would be an interesting exercise for another post.
  • I also thought about music in my novels. There is one – probably the next to be completed – that contains quite a lot of references to classical music. I would love to see that one in print, and not just because of the music.


Author of the Day

Kathy Sharp writes not-quite-real fiction in the Larus Trilogy of novels. She also writes excellent short stories that appear on her Goodreads blog. And she writes song lyrics.