MUSIC KEEPS ME GOING

MUSIC KEEPS ME GOING
          Look, I frequently see this world through music. It is an elemental art form, and I deal in art forms. It is a basic part of all human cultures, sunk deep in our DNA. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of being humsn.
          That means that I love music - all kinds - music well-done, creatively done. I occasionally play some of it myself, purely for satisfaction and enjoyment. I have strong memories of the good fun of playing music with others. It is a fundamental kind of communication that can erase distances between strangers.
          I can listen to music every day. I can do so when I am engaged in other activities, like listening to the Blues while I am composing this. When I hear bad, overly-maudlin or archaic music, ill-applied, (as in TV commercials, for example,) it is disruptive and upsetting. It is an argument I don't wish to get into right now, nor the attendant thought about how subversive advertising itself is to American culture. That's another, different rant.
          Somew music I like is international, like Portuguese Fado and Gypsy Flamenco, or other national folk styles. France has its chansons, Brazil has Choro. Mexico has some very pretty folk music, and I've had great times in the past singing Canadian Voyageur songs. I like the sound of bag-pipes, and the Zulu stomp of South Africa, which also has beautiful choral ensembles. How about authentic Hawaiian music? Big-dollar Pop Music threatens to erase these forms, allowing younger generations to let them fade away. Pop music wants the pocket money of the unsophisticated youth, the biggest market in the world.
          For this reason I fear for the excistence of these forms under the turn our country has taken. In the grip of corporate mandate, I fear that our culture will let many of our American forms fade and disappear, not to mention forms from elsewhere.
          Maybe I should recognize and acknowledge that culture, like the culture creates it, evolves over time. And maybe it's a natural thing that some forms disappear. I should enjoy what I enjoy, and not get all bent out of shape.
          Music that's entering the popular arena today seems to be wretched and badly done, aiming at the big market. That's business, and that's not hows real stuff happens. Such marketed crap is either a symptom of coming cultural chaos, or else it is cutting edge stuff, obscure to my sedentary senior citizen sensibilities. My folks hated rock n' roll, yet the world's still here.
          The good news is, as always, that talent and art don't go away. Block people one way, and they will emerge elsewhere with another way. There is never a shortage of talent out there, Gerri says. Many will rise to the challenge. I refuse to give up hope, in the strangling environment of our commerce-driven life that something good will arise out of the wrinkled, unfriendly future.
          Let me say: if you're in the neighborhood, got your ax in the back seat, drop in and we can trade some licks. We got a piano, an amp, and attitude. Let's create our oswn stuff. We're music-friendly here.