Cultural Corner – O Fortuna, Hava Nageela, Mary Did You Know, and America x2

Still from the first video shown further below. Text graphics by MHProNews.

If videos and storytelling can move minds and hearts – and they are proven to do so – then music videos as a genre is something that affordable housing industry professionals should better understand.


Not long ago, for the 4th of July holiday, our publisher posted a video about Independence Day by Martina McBride. “Personal, economic, political, and religious freedom all go hand-in hand,” said L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. He also noted that, “Freedom is never free. It always comes at a price. It always requires effort and vigilance. But freedom is arguably worth the effort.”


America – the Story of US – Declaration of Independence – Masthead L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

Millions of Americans were taught or acquired a sanitized or weaponized view of American history. Even those of us who focused on history in high school and at university were to varying degrees tainted by the perspective of instructors, pop culture, or textbooks.


Almost a year ago, our publisher cited Equity LifeStyle Properties’ (ELS) the late Howard Walker, J.D., who gruffly, but jokingly, chided “Tony, how dare you bring culture to a manufactured housing event!”  Walker, it was said, loved classical music, and so much more.  We’ve periodically shared culture online before and since that jocular comment.


“How Dare You…!” ELS’ Howard Walker Blast at MH Industry Professional – Masthead L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

The late Howard Walker, longtime vice chairman of Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS), and prior Treasurer for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) had at times a brusque sense of humor. Often the best part of many association or corporate meetings are when networking and socializing occurs. In fairness, that statement applies to MHI too.

The song selection here is not entirely random, but there is a diversity of styles, as you will discover. MHProNews will reveal some of the thinking behind this periodic ‘cultural corner’ installment at a future date. Let’s note for now that to our knowledge, something like this is not found elsewhere in MHVille. You decide with your browsers and other feedback if this is bad, good, or meh.


O Fortuna!

We don’t claim to know if the late ELS Vice Chairman Walker would have loved “O Fortuna!(from Carmina Burana – Carl Orff) – André Rieu, or not, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did.  For those who enjoy this style of music, this piece is well known. The version below was published to YouTube by André Rieu on Feb 20, 2013. It has as of this time 7,144,071 views, with 72,000 thumbs up, and a mere 1,800 thumbs down.

Try to figure out what language this is in?  We won’t give that away today, and try to avoid the temptation to google it. O Fortuna! has been used in movies – such as Excalibur in a quasi-battle scene with knights on horseback.  It is dramatic.



That selection from Carmina Burana above builds to quite a crescendo and finale.  Imagine, if you watched it, the long hours of practice that one performance required?  Our publisher has noted that ‘practice’ is something sorely lacking in many parts of MHVille in terms of marketing and selling. But excellence in any endeavor comes from a combination of focused, disciplined desire to perform well plus practice, practice, practice.


Hava Nageela

This version of the song was performed by Harry Belafonte in his prime at Carnegie Hall. The Shira website says, hava nagila means “Come Let Us Be Glad!” Wikipedia says that it is “an Israeli folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations.” Our industry has numbers of Jewish adherents, and it is an upbeat song of rejoicing that can easily be learned and sung along with.


Here are the lyrics.

Hava nagila,
Hava nagila,
Hava nagila,
Venis mecha.

Hava nagila,
Hava nagila,
Hava nagila,
Venis mecha.

Hava neranena,
Hava neranena,
Hava neranena,
Venis mecha.

Hava neranena,
Hava neranena,
Hava neranena,
Venis mecha.

Uru, Uru achim,
Uru achim belev sameach,
Uru achim belev sameach,
Uru achim belev sameach,

Uru Achim
Uru Achim
Belev sameach.


Source: LyricFind, Songwriters: Abraham Z. Idelsohn, Hava Nageela lyrics © Tetra Music Corporation.


Mary, Did You Know?

The melody Mary, Did You Know? – by Pentatonix is all done a cappella, using human voices as the instruments.  This official video was published on YouTube on Nov 11, 2014.  As of this writing, it has had a stunning 208,381,374 views.  That’s over 208 million views. It’s a spectacular number that includes 1.4 million likes vs. only 38,000 ‘thumbs down.’ Let yourself go as you watch and listen.  If you do so, don’t be surprised if you feel your soul move.




Some commentary here on this Christian song is merited, as the lyrics – as beautiful as they are – may be taken by some as anti-Catholic. On the surface, it certainly has a more Protestant Christian tone. But there are several ways that this can be squared with Catholic thought on the question posed in the song of “Mary, did you know, that this child that you delivered, will soon deliver you?”

The song is by believers, and in a sense, for believers. Informed believers know that God is perfect, immutable, thus timeless, and never changing. The venerable Fulton Sheen, the late Catholic prelate, explained that Mary was saved in anticipation of her fall’ from grace, but before a complete fall into sin occurred. But saving someone from stumbling and falling is salvation just the same.  Then Archbishop Sheen explained it by saying that sin is like a pit that almost everyone has fallen into.  Mary, by virtue of special graces from God, had her free will infused in a manner that kept her from falling into the pit of sin in the first place. Still, Mary had free will the entire time. Hmmm, interesting thoughts.

Speaking about this Mary, did you know?” song, the son of a manufactured housing professional who worked for Fleetwood and Palm Harbor told us Saturday that when one sees Jesus as the second person of the trinitarian God, God in a certain sense ‘delivers’ us all in to existence. That same professional told us that this entire song is done without instruments.  That conversation helped inspire our selection for today.

But if you’ve you have already listened to the music video, what are those sounds?  If it is all done with voice only, then what are those sounds that seem to be instruments in the background?

The Vashi Visuals website says this about Pentatonix, “they are an a cappella group that use no instruments besides their voices.” WBUR News said that the group won NBC’s a cappella competition, adding, “you wouldn’t even know there weren’t instruments being played.” This song, “Mary did you know?” is the “sixth track on Pentatonix‘s second Christmas album, “That’s Christmas to Me,” according to Wikipedia.

LyricFind provided the words to the song, below. They cited the songwriters as: Buddy Greene/Mark Lowry. Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group.


Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Oh

Mary did you know?


Beautiful, different, and refreshing, isn’t it?  Can’t we benefit from more inspirational and beautiful elements in our lives? Won’t personal joy radiate into better professional performance?


America, by Steppenwolf

After the above, it may seem odd to select this song, but it is evocative of many themes taught in schools and reflects a view held by millions. Indeed, the rock ballad America tells a tale that while dark, has specific elements of historicity to it.  Keep the principle of wheat and chaff in mind.

You don’t have to agree with every element of the lyrics to grasp the message being conveyed. While the video is older, it is a precursor to more modern music videos.

Monster” is the title track from Steppenwolf’s 1969 album, Monster, featuring John Kay (vocals), Larry Byrom (guitar), Nick St. Nicholas (bass), Goldy McJohn (organ), and Jerry Edmonton (drums). The live footage in this video comes from their 1970 Randall’s Island Pop Festival performance, featuring St. Nicholas’s replacement, George Biondo.


Monster / America


Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And ’til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end
While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it’s share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey

The spirit was freedom and justice
And it’s keepers seem generous and kind
It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won’t pay it no mind
‘Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told
Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin’

Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner
We can’t pay the cost
‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching

America where are you now?
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster


Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jerry Edmonton / John Kay
Monster / Suicide / America lyrics © BMG Rights Management


America the Beautiful

This last selection this morning is far more traditional, and in several ways, far more inspirational.  This version of America the Beautiful is performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Jefferson Memorial. There are picturesque scenes from Washington, D.C. and other parts of the country, from ‘sea to shining sea.’


The lyrics per the LDS website are as follows.


  1. Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.


  1. Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet,

Whose stern, impassioned stress

A thoroughfare of freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine ev’ry flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law.


  1. Oh, beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refine,

Till all success be nobleness,

And ev’ry gain divine.


  1. Oh, beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Text: Katherine Lee Bates, 1859–1929

Music: Samuel A. Ward, 1848–1903


Part of the glory of this song is that it acknowledges America’s flaws, but prays that those faults be mended, while celebrating the good that is America.

As our publisher has noted previously the obvious point that there is no nation on earth that has a perfect heritage.  Slavery, war, conquest, and oppression are found throughout the centuries around the world.  America, set in that historic context, is a noble experiment that aims to escape the darker forces that dominated societies past and present.

So, as we examine day-by-day the challenges as well as the opportunities in manufactured housing, let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture.

As a footnote, we will soon ‘fire back up’ the Inspiration and Words of Wisdom blogs. While we were rebuilding and redesigning this new version of MHProNews, those had to be put on hold for a time. Our industry, as do so many others, arguably needs more inspirational, analytical, and ‘can do’ thinking. Watch for the announcement.

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All of the above are HUD Code manufactured homes, built years before the Clayton-MHI backed so-called ‘new class of homes.’ Newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

That’s this Monday morning periodic cultural corner look to get your work week started at your home for “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, periodic cultural/historic items, and commentary.)

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach for
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.

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