27 January 2012

Leaving for Ohayocon. Let me play my harp for you!

Scan of my Ohayocon badge.
Art (c) Dan Hess.
Tonight I head to the Hyatt in Columbus to pick up my badge for Ohayocon, which starts Friday morning and runs to Sunday. Over 13,000 people are expected to attend this convention. I am excited and nervous about it; I've never been to a convention this huge, let alone an anime/manga/Japanese culture convention!

I'm definitely looking forward to connecting with my fellow Fullmetal Alchemist fans. Since the new FMA movie just came out (read my review!) I hope to see a lot of people wearing FMA cosplay (like Zanesville Anime Group)! Maybe I'll take a running photo tally of all the Edward Elrics running around. Should be fun!

And just in time for Ohayocon, I'm going to leave you with the ultimate demonstration of my fangirl devotion to Fullmetal Alchemist.


For the uninitiated, here's the history of the song: Brothers is the main theme from the 2003 anime series of Fullmetal Alchemist, scored by the talented Michiru Oshima. I first fell in love with the song during Ed's "Gods and Humans" speech, but the vocal version, Bratja, sung entirely in Russian, is probably the most famous version. I went ahead and recorded that version with full lyrics in Russian (with English translation). Since I don't know Russian, I got these lyrics from JustSomeLyrics and posted the words so they flash across the screen as they are sung. So, kids, you too can learn to sing in Russian if you wish!!

For the song to make any sense, you need to know: The entire basis for the series hinges on one tragic event. Edward and Alphonse Elric's father walked out on them when they very young, leaving their mother to raise them on her own. Unfortunately sickness took her life, leaving the two boys orphaned. In a fit of desperation, the boys turn to the arcane science of alchemy to try and bring their mother back from the dead, with horrific results. All the lyrics to Bratja concern this specific plot point.

And now, some words about my harp: This is a 29-string, 4-octave Celtic Rosewood Minstrel Harp, designed for beginners. I like this harp just fine, but professionals don't seem to recommend it, and often you can find this harp in catalogs labeled as a "decor piece" as opposed to it being used as an actual performance harp for the serious musician. So, there are clear limitations to this particular instrument, but I still highly recommend it for beginners and self-taught harpists anyway.

Brothers was written for an orchestral harp, which my harp clearly is not. Although there are sharping levers for playing accidentals on my harp, they are intended for pre-setting only...meaning, you can't flip them up and down in the middle of the song, so no major key changes or switching between naturals and accidentals is even possible. Plus, a lot of the levers on my harp are broken and had to be removed (I'm too cheap to get it fixed). So, with apologies to Michiru Oshima, I cannot play F#, C#, or A#, which I'm pretty sure all appear in the song (I learned this one by ear, so I'm not 100% certain). Also, I simply do not have enough strings to hit the low notes as written in the score.
Despite the tweaks I've made to the song, it's actually pretty close to the original, and I'm proud of my hard work...took me quite a few months to learn it, and I learn sloooooowly. I hope you enjoy it!!! I had to do some funky formatting to get it to load, so I apologize for the less-than-stellar visuals. Nevertheless, enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Music (c) Michiru Oshima


  1. Wow, Kristina! I'm impressed! That's a beautiful and haunting song, and I love the line, "There is no cure for death." Thanks for sharing!

  2. KRISTINA: Absolutely love...big fan of yours! I hope you have a blast at the con...text me a photo or two, will you?! Hugs!

  3. Where the hell did my post go? Aaaaahhhhh!

  4. PS: I may write a sf book where the aliens are named after captcha words. This time it was 'pounca'.

  5. Jennifer Della'ZannaFebruary 1, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    So beautiful, Kristina!

  6. Thanks to all of you for hopping over and listening to me play. It really means a lot!

  7. Oh, and thank you for the compliments, too!


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