What’s On Your iPod: Instructor of Music Donna DiBella

Donna DiBella

1. “Drjanovska Racenica”

A Bulgarian folk song in the dorian mode. This is performed in three part close female harmony with the lowest voice going all the way down to a low C! And, best of all, it’s in 7/8. I know a dance that goes to it, and have actually taught the dance to a student group at Björklunden.

2. “Rustemul”

Another folk tune, this one in 6/8 from Romania performed by a Romanian instrumental ensemble with authentic folk instruments. When my office is freezing in the winter I like to warm up by dancing to this one. It’s an aerobic dance that doesn’t require too much space and I can do it in the sightsinging room.

3. Alex Theory, “Molecule 7”

One of 12 Molecules on the album titled “Water / Full Spectrun Sound Healing.” Using specially designed “water chimes,” these tracks are really otherworldly sounding and profoundly relaxing.

4. Leonard Bernstein, “Maria”

From the 1961 movie version of Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”….because you gotta love that tritone, and because I actually remember going to see the movie in the theater when it first came out. And because Berstein was such an amazing orchestrator.

5. Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”

From the 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash album. Because I love that close harmony, and the endless rambling of the Suite, and because I’m such a child of the 60’s.

6. John Lennon, “Imagine”

Because I really do believe that we can imagine a better world into existence.

7. Appleton North High School Choir, “Hope, Faith, Life, Love”

An a cappella choral piece by Eric Whitacre whose use of dissonance is oddly soothing and at the same time powerful. Best of all, this particular recording is of my daughter’s awesome Appleton North High School choir.

8. David Hykes with the Harmonic Choir, “Harmonic Meditations”

This is overtone singing — the technique of being able to sing two pitches at once — at its best, performed in an incredibly reverberant cistern under the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle. Sounds like male-voiced angels echoing through the cosmos and piercing your soul.

9. George Noory, “Coast to Coast AM”

Interviews with fascinating people on views of reality that are not what you hear in the mainstream media.

10. Linda Ronstadt and Roy Orbison, “Blue Bayou”

The harmony for this song, ably made obvious by the bass player, is basically I and V, so when that V7 of IV comes along, it’s really exciting. Predictably, the secondary chord is indeed followed by the IV chord, but then, quirkily enough, mutates to the minor iv. Good stuff. Best of all is Ronstadt’s rocketing yodel at the end. 

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