Tag Archives: Charles de Lint

[GUEST POST] Christopher Grano of Zahatar on Putting Charles de Lint’s Words to Music


ABOUT ZAHATAR: The term “Zahatar” refers to a timeless spice blend from the Middle East. The band Zahatar brings modern spice to timeless tunes. Zahatar arranges all of its own music, pulling themes from the Celtic tradition, Chinese and Spanish folk melodies, bluegrass, pop/rock, film soundtracks, ragtime, the Classical era, and more. Zahatar is currently comprised of Christopher Grano on violin/fiddle, Sarah Hoskins on cello/djembe, Scott Stewart on viola, ‘Cille Lutsch on flute/pennywhistle, Emily Smith on pedal and Celtic harps, and Shilo Stroman on percussion. Zahatar is currently crowd funding an acoustic album based on the lyrics from Charles de Lint’s The Little Country. Follow them on their website, Facebook, and on Twitter as @zahatar.

The Mysterious Nature of Music in Fantasy Fiction

by Christopher Grano

Some might say that my love of music and my love of fantasy fiction are merely complementary, but for me, they are a singular passion. Stories told through music speak to all of us. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated that music is the universal human language, while more than a hundred years later, Marilyn Manson would say that music is the strongest form of magic.

Music is a cornerstone of fantasy. The first songs told stories to explain the creation of the world, long before history benefitted from the written word, before the word “civilization” even existed. The human voice was the world’s first musical instrument; it required no tools to build. Music has always been a tradition of humankind, right along with storytelling.
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Short Fiction Friday: Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint

REVIEW SUMMARY: A revenge fantasy that misses its potential to reinvent the Robin Hood mythos and examine real problems.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Interesting use of the Robin Hood mythos; novella length allows for the fleshing out of some elements of the story; great cover and interior illustrations by Charles Vess, the book itself is a beautiful edition, typical of Subterranean Press’ standards.
CONS: Appears to espouse an overly simplistic and destructive redistribution of wealth ideology; plot line of destined lovers is jarring against a background of violence; shines a light on real problems without offering any real solutions; the fairy-tale wish-fulfillment ending is hard to stomach against the plight of mundane world characters.
BOTTOM LINE: Given my familiarity with Charles de Lint’s work and his long history of tackling difficult subjects like poverty and abuse and inequality with honesty, creativity and a sense of hope amidst despair, I was wholly unprepared for a story that exposed real issues in a cliched fashion while offering nothing in the way of hope, with the exception of characters who were not worthy of the hope they receive. In the end this felt like little more than a revenge fantasy built on a very thin mythical foundation. If it is meant to be an indictment on the Robin Hood mythos, it is incredibly successful. If it has another purpose, it falls well short of its aim.

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