Song commemorates London Grenfell disaster

This video from London, England says about itself:

14 June 2018

Classical singer Nancy May sings “Over the Rainbow” at today’s #Grenfell memorial event

‪#GrenfellTowerFire #GrenfellTower #Grenfell


Brazil’s oldest mammal named after David Bowie

This 29 May 2018 video, in Portuguese, is about the newly discovered dinosaur age mammal Brasilestes stardusti from Brazil.

From the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil:

Discovery of the oldest mammal in Brazil pays tribute to David Bowie

June 11, 2018

Summary: Brasilestes stardusti lived around 70 million years ago and was named after Ziggy Stardust, the singer’s iconic persona. Description was based on a fossilized tooth. It’s the 1st indication that placental mammals and dinosaurs co-existed in South America. For scientists, fossil features showed similarities with another pre-historic mammal found in India, suggesting both shared a common ancestral native from the Gondwana supercontinent.

Brasilestes stardusti is the name given to the oldest known mammal found in Brazil. It lived in what is now the northwest of São Paulo State at the end of the Mesozoic Era between 87 million and 70 million years ago. It is the only Brazilian mammal known to have coexisted with the dinosaurs.

The discovery of Brasilestes was announced on May 30, 2018, by a team led by Max Langer, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (FFCLRP-USP). Langer’s team included colleagues at the Federal University of Goiás and the University of Campinas in Brazil, La Plata Museum in Argentina, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

Physically speaking, Brasilestes consists of a fossilized premolar tooth with a maximum crown length of 3.5 mm. “The tooth is small and incomplete: the roots are missing,” said paleontologist Mariela Cordeiro de Castro, first author of the paper recently published in Royal Society Open Science.

“Small but not tiny”, Castro continued. “Although it’s only 3.5 mm, the Brasilestes tooth is three times bigger than all known Mesozoic mammal teeth. In the age of the dinosaurs, most mammals were the size of mice. Brasilestes was far larger, about the size of an opossum.”

The name of the new species pays tribute to British rock star David Bowie, who died in January 2016, a month after the fossil was found. Brasilestes stardusti alludes to Ziggy Stardust, an extraterrestrial character created by Bowie for a 1972 album.

The research was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation — FAPESP as part of the thematic project “The origin and rise of dinosaurs in Gondwana (late Triassic-early Jurassic)”, for which Langer is principal investigator.

The fossilized tooth was found in a rocky outcrop of the Adamantina Formation in General Salgado, São Paulo State. The rocks are in a field on a ranch called Fazenda Buriti.

“We were visiting Mesozoic outcrops when Júlio Marsola [another member of the team], keen-sighted as a lynx, spotted a small tooth sticking up out of a rock”, said Castro, a professor at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG).

“The General Salgado deposits are well-known. Several Mesozoic crocodiles have come from them. The particular outcrop where I found Brasilestes is interesting, with dozens of fragments of Mesozoic crocodile eggshells. I bent down to look more closely at a small part of the outcrop to see if there were any eggshells and spotted the tooth. If it had stayed out in the open like that for a few more days, the rain would have swept it away.

“When I noticed what appeared to resemble the base of the tooth’s two roots [the roots themselves have broken off], I thought it must be a mammal. Laboratory analysis gave us the certainty that it is indeed from a mammal.”

A placental mammal in the Botucatu Desert

While a mere 3.5 mm tooth, especially an incomplete one, may seem insufficient to describe a new species of mammal, in actual, fact extinct mammals are frequently described on the basis of a single fossilized tooth.

This is because teeth are the most durable part of the mammalian skeleton. After all, they have to withstand the wear and tear of chewing for an entire lifetime. In contrast, many fish species and reptiles, for example, grow new teeth continually throughout their lives. Indeed, mammalian teeth are often the only skeletal remains that stay intact long enough to become fossilized.

The fact that a single premolar is all that is left of Brasilestes and that it is incomplete prevented the researchers from distinguishing with absolute confidence the group of mammals to which the species belonged. They know the tooth belonged to a therian, a member of a large subclass of Mammalia that includes marsupials and placentals.

Although there is not enough evidence to support the inclusion of Brasilestes in either infraclass, the researchers believe (but cannot categorically conclude) it was a placental mammal. If so, the fossil is unique.

Today, there are three major groups of mammals, namely, placentals, marsupials and monotremes. All three evolved during the Mesozoic Era. At that time, however, they were by no means the only groups of mammals. There were also multituberculates, which were common in the northern hemisphere, as well as groups typical of the southern hemisphere such as meridiolestids and gondwanatherians — named for Gondwana, the ancient southern supercontinent that gave rise to Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and India.

The first Mesozoic mammal fossils were found in Argentinian Patagonia in the early 1980s, and some 30 species are now known. Until the Brasilestes announcement, these were the only ones found in South America. None remotely resembles the little tooth found in Brazil.

“When I showed the Brasilestes fossil to Edgardo Ortiz-Jaureguizar, a paleontologist at La Plata Museum, he was very surprised. He said he’d never seen anything like it, and at once showed it to another specialist at the same institution, Francisco Goin, who had the same reaction. Goin said Brasilestes resembled no other Mesozoic mammal found in Argentina, hence in South America”, Castro recalled.

Among the 30-odd Argentinian species of Mesozoic mammals, there are meridiolestids, gondwanatherians, and even a few suspected multituberculates. There are no marsupials or placentals. The only fossils in these two groups found in South America date from after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago in an event that marks the end of the Mesozoic and the onset of the current geological era, the Cenozoic.

Until the discovery of Brasilestes, the only traces of Mesozoic mammals in Brazil were hundreds of tracks and footprints left by unknown creatures 130 million years ago as they traversed the dunes of the Botucatu Desert in what is now São Paulo State. The solidified surface of those dunes has been preserved as sandstone slabs on which the footprints can be seen.

In 1993, Reinaldo José Bertini , a professor at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Rio Claro, announced the discovery of a mammalian jawbone fragment with a single tooth far smaller than the Brasilestes premolar. However, Bertini did not publish a detailed study of the fossil and therefore could not name a new species.

“Brasilestes is not just the first Brazilian Mesozoic mammal to be described but also one of the few Mesozoic mammals found in more central regions of South America. The Argentinian fossils were found in geological formations in Patagonia, the southern tip of the continent”, Langer said.

“Furthermore, Brasilestes is different from everything found before, suggesting that possibly placental mammals inhabited South America between 87.8 million and 70 million years ago,” said the FAPESP thematic project coordinator.

New species possibly related to a mammal from India

Even more surprisingly, the Mesozoic mammal with premolars that most resemble the Brasilestes tooth lived on the other side of the world, in India, between 70 million and 66 million years ago. Its name is Deccanolestes. No other creature in the global fossil record is so similar to Brasilestes.

How could two members of the same lineage have lived so far apart in unconnected regions? Approximately 100 million years ago, when South America and Africa had only just been separated by the opening of the South Atlantic, India was breaking away from Gondwana and starting to wander through the Indian Ocean.

This implies that at least 100 million years ago, the ancestors of Brasilestes and Deccanolestes populated the Gondwana supercontinent. In other words, the lineage to which Brasilestes and Deccanolestes belong is far older than the ages of their fossils — between 87 million and 70 million years ago for Brasilestes, and between 70 million and 66 million for Deccanolestes.

“The discovery of Brasilestes raises many more questions than answers about the biogeography of South American Mesozoic mammals”, Langer said. “Thanks to Brasilestes, we’ve realized that the history of Gondwana’s mammals is more complex than we thought.”

Finding triggers speculation on xenarthrans’ origins

This could give rise to new hypotheses and new lines of investigation. Who knows, for example, whether future research inspired by the discovery of Brasilestes will reveal the origin of a typical South American group, the xenarthrans, the order of armadillos, anteaters and sloths? Castro’s main research interest, in fact, is the evolutionary history of the xenarthrans.

“An interesting feature of the Brasilestes premolar is its superthin enamel, which is only 20 micrometers thick. The Brasilestes enamel is the thinnest of any Cretaceous mammal in the fossil record. Most Mesozoic mammals have enamel in the range of 100 to 300 micrometers”, Castro said.

“Tens of known species of xenarthrans are alive now. Hundreds are extinct. Only three have enamel. The microstructure of Brasilestes’ premolar enamel is very similar to that of the nine-banded armadillo“, said the FAPESP-supported researcher.

According to Castro, “molecular clock evidence suggests the xenarthran lineage started at least 85 million years ago. However, the oldest armadillo fossils, found in Rio de Janeiro, are about 50 million years old.”

While it is intriguing to imagine Brasilestes as an ancient xenarthran, it is far too soon for any such affirmation.

“The age and provenance of Brasilestes do match molecular hypotheses for the origin of the xenarthrans, but it would be premature to infer taxonomic affinity in light of the morphological differences between the Brasilestes tooth and armadillo teeth”, Castro said.

Langer agreed. “We have only one Brasilestes fossil. That’s nowhere near enough to extract conclusions from the fossil record”, he said.

The fact that no Mesozoic mammal fossils were found in Brazil before Brasilestes could mean such fossils are rare or too fragile to be preserved. “Who knows, one day we may find new Brasilestes fossils that help us understand its history better. It could take decades”, Langer said.

Anti-nazi Till Eulenspiegel opera on stage

This 2018 classical music video says about itself:

Jan van Gilse – Thijl (1940)

Jan Pieter Hendrik van Gilse (Rotterdam, 1881 – Oegstgeest, 1944)

Thijl, dramatic legend in a prologue, three acts and an epilogue on a libretto by Hendrik Lindt (1940)

This summer (2018), a new performance of Thijl is staged in Soest, the Netherlands. For more information, see


Overture (0:00)
Act I (1:27)
Act II (1:02:43)
Act III (2:00:45)
Epilogue (2:45:49)

Recording of the World Premiere on June 5, 1980 at the Circustheater, Scheveningen (as part of the Holland Festival)

After that first time, the opera would not be on stage again. Until this year. It is said to be the biggest Dutch opera ever written.


John Bröcheler – Thijl
Guus Hoekman – Lamme Goedzak
Thea van der Putten – Nele
Peter van der Bilt – De Uil [the owl, symbol of jester/freedom fighter Thijl]/ Balladezanger
Amsterdams Philharmonisch Orkest Nederlands Operakoor
Conductor: Anton Kersjes


I have included images relating to Van Gilse’s life, and the tropes that underlie this opera (aside from the story of Thijl Uilenspiegel, obviously). The first act contains photographs from the places where Van Gilse lived and worked: Berlin, Utrecht, and Leiden (Oegstgeest). The second act shows scenes from the conquest of Den Briel by the Watergeuzen, a band of marine marauders in the service of the Dutch uprising against the Spanish in the 16th Century, a motive often exploited in the name of Dutch nationalism. The third act and epilogue, finally, illustrates the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, a strong undercurrent in Van Gilse’s final works (Thijl and the “Rotterdam” cantata).

The hero of this opera is Till Eulenspiegel, a ‘fool‘/jester known from 16th century German stories. Under the 16th century Dutch name Thyl Ulenspiegel (modern Dutch: Tijl Uilenspiegel), 19th century Belgian author Charles De Coster made him famous as a freedom fighter against 16th century Spanish absolute monarchical rule in the Low Countries, born in Damme town.

20th century Belgian author Hugo Claus wrote a theatre play based on De Coster’s Ulenspiegel book. Van Gilse’s opera is based on De Coster’s book as well.

Translated from the site about the 2018 performance of Thijl:

Thijl takes place at the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War. Thijl emerges as an enthusiastic but naive idealist. In an exuberant mood, Thijl sings on the Damme market a satirical song in which he ridicules the Spanish ruler Philip II and the pope. A collaborator betrays him, hoping to claim Thijl’s legacy share as a reward. Thijl escapes, but his father is caught instead.

The execution of his father drives Thijl towards resistance ….

The musical creator of Thijl was an idealist in heart and soul. Just like Thijl, he opposed injustice and unfreedom wherever he could. Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) started his musical career in Germany, but in the Netherlands he became conductor of the Utrechts Stedelijk Orkest and director of the Utrecht conservatory. …

Thijl’s theme can not be seen separately from Jan van Gilse’s personal struggle for free speech and against the intolerant society that the Nazis aimed at. Van Gilse left Germany in 1933, following the election victory of Hitler. When the war broke out in the Netherlands and the Germans took over the government, Van Gilse took the lead in resistance. …

Van Gilse, who had not appeared in public since the 1941 general ban on Jews visiting public places, had to go into hiding. From his hiding addresses he remained one of the leaders of the artists’ resistance, and together with his son Janric set up the resistance magazine De Vrije Kunstenaar, which appeared in a monthly edition of 3,000 copies. Both sons of Van Gilse were executed for their resistance, and Van Gilse did not survive the war either. He died in 1944. …

The opera Thijl was Van Gilse’s last work. He completed it in 1941, and dedicated it to “To the fighters for justice and freedom.” He took the handwritten score with him to all his hiding addresses. Shortly before his death, his wife Ada van Gilse added at his request: “.. and to my boys who lost their lives for this justice”.

This 2017 music video shows a performance in Utrecht city of the song from Thijl ‘Slaet op den Trommele’.

Free rapper Ezhel from Turkish dictatorship

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Against the Turkish rapper Ezhel ten years imprisonment was demanded because he rapped about marihuana.

Ten years imprisonment. Turkish dictatorship-loving President Erdogan is emulating, even surpassing Spanish dictatorship-loving ex-Prime Minister Rajoy who had rapper Valtónyc convicted to 3,5 years in prison for criticizing the king.

Erdogan and Rajoy are also both corrupt.

The Rajoy regime last year helped the Erdogan regime by arresting a Turkish German author.

Fortunately, Rajoy was sacked recently. That should happen to Erdogan as well, as soon as possible.

The rapper, whose real name is Ömer Sercan Ipekçioglu, encourages drug use according to the Turkish authorities.

The 28-year-old rapper was arrested in Istanbul last month. The public prosecutor will provide a photograph that has been placed on social media as proof. On it, the rapper can be seen with a cannabis plant. Also the video below of his song Geceler, in which he raps that light under the influence of marijuana looks fiercer, was a pretext for the rapper be arrested.

This Turkish music video is called Ezhel – Geceler (Official Video) 2018.

“In Turkey Ezhel is a big name”, says NOS correspondent Melvyn Ingleby to NOS Radio 1 News. “His videos are viewed millions of times.”

According to Ingleby, he was not arrested because of drugs, but for the comments that the rapper made on the government. “He has been making music about drugs for years, as many other Turkish rappers do.” Ezhel also has many political texts in his music. “Eg, he rapped that there is no future in Turkey, that the newspapers are full of lies and that if someone writes the truth, then that person wil go to jail.”

If the rapper is found guilty, then he can get a prison sentence of five to ten years. Amnesty International calls for the release of Ezhel. On Twitter, the human rights organization writes that the arrest of the rapper is a violation of the freedom of expression.

In the Netherlands the rapper is popular among Turkish and Moroccan youths. In April, Ezhel gave his first performance in the Netherlands in TivoliVredenburg. The hashtag #FreeEzhel is used on social media to draw attention to Ezhel. There is also an online petition, which has now been signed more than 125,000 times.

Ramones, Ramonas, Ramonettes, female tribute bands

This music video series is It’s Alive: The Rainbow Theatre Full Concert in London, England in 1977, by the Ramones from the USA.

The Ramones were very influential on the rise of punk rock in the late 1970s. They inspired bands like the Dead Kennedys, the Dead Boys, Green Day and many others in the USA; the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Slits etc. in Britain.

Very unfortunately, now all four original members of the Ramones are dead.

But their songs survive. Many bands play cover versions of them.

Eg, there were/are at least two [UPDATE: at least five] female Ramones tribute bands; or were/are they tribute bands? And were/are they all female all of the time?

This March 2016 music video from Britain says about itself:

The RamonasRamona [originally by the Ramones] (live)

The Ramonas are an all female tribute to the iconic New York punk rock band Ramones.

Originally conceived back in 2004 with multiple different lineups, The Ramonas have evolved into a fully fledged, razor-sharp live band in their own right!

Touring, Touring is never boring and these girls are guaranteed to play high energy, full throttle one hour shows that’ll leave you buzzing for more of that 1976 spirit.

These four lovable cretins rarely even stop for a quick sip of water and a hello.. It’s 1234 and they’re onto the next hit, and the great thing is that they do it all in their own unique way.. wherever they play, from the UK to Europe to the USA!

Some say playing the Ramones tunes is easy, but capturing the vibe and essence of such a well-loved band mixed with the required speed, stamina and endurance is no mean feat..

Cloey, Pee Pee, Margy and Rohnny are definitely here to stay! Gabba Gabba HEY!!!

Vocals –Cloey Ramona (Lisa Breyer)
Guitar – Rohnny Ramona (Zoe Waugh)
Bass – Pee Pee Ramona (Victoria Smith)
Drums – Margy Ramona (Kate Wilkinson)

Ramonas loga

This is the Ramonas logo. Inspired by the Ramones logo (which is a parody of the United States presidential seal). Like in the Ramones logo, the eagle holds a baseball bat.

This 2017 music video from England is called The Ramonas live at Rebellion Festival 2017. Playing Ramones songs Blitzkrieg Bop and Pinhead.

This 2017 music video recorded in Germany is called The Ramonas – Pinhead live in Mannheim. Another Ramones song.

The Ramonas write some of the songs themselves now; like the ones on this album.

Some of their lyrics comment on social or political issues:

Nothing shocks us anymore. The rich get rich, the poor stay poor. Money holds the power. Look down from their tower.

From 1987-1994, in the Netherlands there was another all women band with almost the same name: Ramona’s. Just a bit different name, as the Dutch plural requires an ‘ before the s.

The band’s members:

Jolan – background vocals, bass
Sammy – drums (1991-1994)
Mirjam – guitar (1991-1994)
Marguerite Melchers – guitaar, vocals
Mo – background vocals, drums (1987-1991)

When the band started they played cover versions of Iggy Pop, The Clash, X-Ray Spex, and Nancy Sinatra (strangely enough not of The Ramones). They wrote songs themselves later.


This is a 1994 Ramona’s photo.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Ramonas-Betty’s Dead

Bio By She Rox, All Female Bands: The Ramonas who hail from San Francisco, California, are the original “Ramonas” not to be confused with the all female U.K Ramones cover band or the Australian all female cover band; both are named The Ramonas. San Francisco Ramonas was not a cover band of the Ramones, all though the Ramones influence may seem evident in style. The band performed original songs. The Ramonas were at the forefront of the underground punk rock movement that was beginning in the late 1980’s early 1990’s when hair metal dominated the music industry. The Ramonas were one of the very few all female bands at this time that rivaled their male counterparts like early Green Day, and Dinosaur Jr and although they only released one full length album in 1990, “Out Of The Basement”, they helped pave the way for bands like The Lunachicks and L7. Suzee-Guitar, Kitze-Vocals, Shelly-Drums, Patty-Bass.

San Francisco Ramonas logo

I did not find anything about the Australian Ramonas. I did find something about Australian tribute band The Ramonettes; including guitarist Suzy Ramone (to which she changed her name in 1979; three years after buying her first Ramones record).

This 28 April 2014 video is called Ramonettes Live in Montpellier: Suzy is a Headbanger & Let’s Dance. Australian Ramones tribute.

This is a 2013 Ramonettes video.

The Ramonettes started in 2001.

And let us not forget the Argentine Ramonas; founded in 2009. 4 female, 1 male, at least in this 2012 video showing one of their songs (not a Ramones song). At other times, 2 male, 2 female. Their Facebook page is here.