The past year has seen no shortage of indexing projects. Between them the titles in need of indexes have offered plenty of variety. What if the titles could be put to music? Below is a selected sampling of how the titles in question might sound:
1. As in 2014, Egypt once again emerged as an indexable topic. In the past year, two titles dealing with pharaohs’ tombs came my way. As we contemplate the death of the old year, “Dead Egyptian Blues” provides food for thought to archaeologists and other listeners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgDoiE1ZA0c
2. In a decided contrast to indexing with an Egyptian flavor, a Hohokam title came my way. The Hohokam, a name given to certain Native Americans formerly residing in present-day southern Arizona, had their own beliefs concerning the afterlife and the proper steps to take to prepare the dead for what lay beyond the grave. Admittedly, it’s hard to know what songs they created and performed during their time. However, here’s a number entitled “Black Mountain,” sung by the Tohono O’Odham (formerly known as the Papago). The Tohono O’Odham are believed to be descendants of the Hohokam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nphpJ8xOes
3. In a change of pace, a Texas-based client contributed a title featuring essays that cover the Lone Star State during the Civil War. When it comes to music dealing with the Southern side in that conflict, “They Drove Old Dixie Down” is still sung and played today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnyeqyCiLdo
4. It seems wars have been much on the minds of plenty of people besides just Texans. Two volumes claiming my attention in the past year deal with the Great Northern War, fought 1700-1721. This conflict pitted Russia, Denmark, Poland and Saxony against Sweden. The latter country did not fare well in the war; she lost considerable territory, whereas Russia’s Peter the Great emerged as a leader to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, here is Sweden’s national anthem, a song traditionally played and sung throughout that country to ring in the new year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LiN57nfjFw
5. Another indexable title takes a retrospective look at past war patterns and what this might portend for the future. Having reviewed wars spanning the past several centuries, from the Renaissance to World War II, author Christopher Petitt notes that major transitions are typically accompanied by violence, often on a global scale. He does not hold out much hope that we will manage to avoid a future such conflict as we enter into our next transition. His analysis of what the future might hold is fascinating if a bit grim. Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers,” offering a glimpse at humanity’s warfaring side, seems a fitting piece to play under the circumstances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xZmlUV8muY
6. Meanwhile, what becomes of immigrants who come to the U.S. in search of a better life? Oscar Martinez, intimately acquainted with this question, explores the economic forces that have long led many Mexicans to make the trek across the border hoping to cash in on economic opportunities in short supply in their country of origin. His title offers a decided contrast between economic conditions in Mexico and those in the U.S., as well as an analysis of historic and current conditions that have held back Mexico’s economic progress.
A family caught up in these economic forces is the subject of Grupo Montez de Durango’s “Lágrimas del Corazón” (Tears of the Heart), featuring a father forced to leave behind his family in Mexico and search for a U.S. job in order to support them. Fortunately Martinez, a successful Arizona-residing university professor who still makes occasional visits to Mexico, didn’t have to endure the gut-wrenching family split described in the song; he and his family made their big move to the U.S. together in the 1950s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUX7EabkdQ0
7. No doubt about it, life — including the portion of it featured in indexes — offers no shortage of issues to trouble and perplex us. Grim news getting you down? Fear not; rescue is at hand. This year saw me busy indexing titles in a brand-new children’s literature series featuring comic strip superheroes. First to take center stage was Batman, whose theme song many listeners may recall from childhood. Listen up as he strikes a blow for justice and beats the bad guys. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSaDPc1Cs5U
And that wraps up a noteworthy year. May the coming year bring lots of opportunities to indexers and others alike.