I don’t have a lot by way of anecdotal evidence for this particular round of music, but today’s choice is Beirut. Everyone out there might be thinking this post would have been significant in 2005, but I like to let things linger with my music for at least 3 years, almost like a nice Port.

Beirut is a nice mix of gypsy, klezmer, festive, folkish type music with a relatively  broad vision. I always get the sense that the songwriter is swinging for the fences, delivering a Nobel Prize speech, or digging through the gutter. He fails as often as he succeeds, but the successes are worth the stretch.

[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/michaelgallagher/beirut-my-familys-role-in-the-world-rev” params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=008aff” width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

The above track * makes me want to wear a bowler hat, roll up my white Oxford sleeves, and get involved in a dust up circa, 1920. I want to fall on the sawdust floor, feel a boot in my ribs, and then come back a swinging pugilist style. Or kind of. At the very least, I want to attend a traditional Russian wedding and wing around on the floor.

[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/michaelgallagher/beirut-after-the-curtain” params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=008aff” width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

Now this track is what moves me a bit. I like to sit back and let it work its way into my head, let it induce an image or two and then write (or at least dream) about it. It is inspirational.

I suppose there is an anecdote to be told here. I had this on my iPod on my way back from Zambia. I was flying from Lusaka to Johannesburg to Dakar to New York. On the Johannesburg to Dakar leg, we might some mighty turbulence and all I could do was listen to this track and stare at the digital map on my screen in front of me. It showed us north of Luanda, Angola. I thought with this music, I wasn’t that scared of crawling my way out of Angola if I were lucky enough to survive the landing. But that didn’t happen. I ended up playing some video games with the Senegalese child next to me, my rudimentary French barely sufficient to get a game going. We laughed our way to Dakar and I listened to Beirut.

Zach Condon of Beirut.

* For those reading in an RSS reader, the player is visible if you make your way to my blog itself.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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