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Type Bee: Tut Tut

3 November 2009



Last month a visit to the museum created a time warp, taking me back nearly 3400 years when Egypt was ruled by a boy-king. At the age of nine Tutankhamun began his reign, which ended suddenly at his death ten years later.

Tut Mania Redux

tutI’m so glad that I saw the boy–king’s solid gold funeral mask at the “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibition in 1979. That mask will never leave Egypt again. Today it resides at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but soon it and the other 5,000 artifacts from Tut’s tomb, including his solid-gold inner coffin, will be moved to a new museum. The Grand Egyptian Museum, being built by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities alongside the pyramids in Giza, should be completed by 2013 at a cost of $US 550M. The current exhibition, “The Golden Age of The Pharaohs,” will raise money for the Giza museum. If you live near San Francisco, Denver, or Toronto, try to see it.

Photo Credit: Egypt Archive copyright free

King Tut Song and Dance

On the April 22, 1978 edition of Saturday Night Live, comedian Steve Martin entertained the nation with his “King Tut” song and dance. I saw him LIVE during his “white-suit” concert tour. So what does any of this have to do with David Archuleta, you ask? Well, it’s like the six degrees of separation. The last time Steve Martin guest-hosted Saturday Night Live in January 2009, the musical guest was Jason Mraz, a musical artist greatly admired by David Archuleta. And Mr. Mraz played at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, Scotland on June 8, 2003. So that’s my excuse for rambling on about King Tut, the original.

Watch Steve Martin’s performance of the song “King Tut” which he wrote and recorded on his album A Wild and Crazy Guy. I read that the backup singers were called “Toot Uncommons” and were actually members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

SOURCE: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/king-tut/976141/

Buzz Word

The sound of music from ancient Egypt is lost forever. Although Egyptians were among the first humans to invent a written language, no musical notations survive from their early civilization. From their tomb paintings and other art, we know they had harps, flutes, lutes, lyres, clarinets, and percussion instruments, but we’ll never know how their music sounded.

The child god Ihy (Ahy, Ehy, Ahi), son of Hathor, was protector of music and musicians. He claimed that playing music for a god was as important as food and incense in a worship ritual. Ihy’s name means “sistrum-player” or “musician” and he personified the jubilation experienced while playing Hathor’s divine musical instruments.

sistrum (plural: sistrums, sistra) is a musical instrument of the percussion family, chiefly associated with ancient Egypt. It consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame, made of brass or bronze and between 76 and 30 cm in width. (sacred musical rattle)

SOURCE: More about sistrums, including pictures


Dateline: Mesopotamia, 3500 B.C. That’s when the multi-faceted sounds we call music got its humble beginnings. It seems clappers were sent out in the fields to scare evil spirits away. These clappers started getting into the beat of their duty and, bingo, you got drums. From there, horns, strings, reeds, the whole orchestral gestalt. So, born in staving off death, music continues to nourish us in a variety of forms as different as the colors of the spectrum.

– Jeffrey Vlaming, Northern Exposure, Heroes, 1992

Creating Sweet Buzz for David Archuleta

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This Post has earned 6 Buzzes.

6 responses so far ↓

  • Judith (unregistered) | 3rd November 2009 at 7:03 am |

    What a fabulous article! I was lucky enough to see the Tut Exhibit in 1979 too. And how I loved Steve Martin’s wacky song!! This was a wonderful surprise to read before I dash off to work.

    I am betting David would enjoy your blog as he seems to love going to museums and learning about ancient cultures. Wonder if he has ever seen the Steve Martin video….if so..can you hear him laughing?

    “music continues to nourish us.”

    Thanks Minja!

  • minja | 1 | 3rd November 2009 at 10:02 am |

    hey Judith, thanks for supporting my digression! I worried that I was getting off-subject, but had waited till the last minute to write my column this week and found that Tut was the only thing on my mind. haha! I’ll get back to another famous teenager next week!

    Funny thing about Steve Martin’s “King Tut” — I couldn’t help but imagine David singing it. That would be hysterical!

  • 3cota | 2 | 3rd November 2009 at 1:29 pm |

    Oh that’s the first thing I thought when I started reading about Museums… that I wish David could read this. So, really your digression wasn’t that far off from the ‘main’ famous teenager. haha. Enjoyed your newsy post!

  • topazjazz | 3 | 4th November 2009 at 5:03 pm |

    Enjoyed your interesting, humorous buzz. Both David’s music and laughter tie in with Steve Martin’s comic relief. Classic stuff!

  • pikepss | 4 | 4th November 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    This is so funny, this is my favorite Steve Martin routine. I actually have this video in my archive of favorites. Great post Minna! Thanks!

  • Type Bee: Giving Thanks (unregistered) | 10th November 2009 at 1:18 am |

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