Wednesday, June 24, 2009

music = eat a food

It's cosmic. Or rather, it's timing - lots of people are apparently coming across Bruno Natal's lovely documentary Dub Echoes. (I think the first half is as close to perfect as I could imagine). And Rupture (from Word the Cat) reminded me today of a clip I had forgotten.

This is very similar to what many musicians I have spoken to here in Jamaica have said. Including the mention of church, often (though not always).

It may seem far-fetched to some, but when we are talking about places of extreme poverty.. when music's power to heal and feed is ONLY understood in terms of royalties, or even in terms of its money-generating ability more broadly.. we lose something important about its power, its meaning, and its value for the people who make it. If music is medicine or food, then what rights do we have to access it? This conversation can be depressing in the privatized US, but in places where rights to access medicine and food have been more supported by governments, maybe we can take this discussion a bit further?

Also, placing music in the church context makes me think about musical connections to larger concerns of the soul, and visions of music as not the product of individuals alone. Old territory for some (concerned with the political implications of "scenius" vs. "genius") - it's true that focusing on group creativity can serve to disempower individuals in the system. But I don't want to concede all to a system that focuses on individuals alone, this in itself destroys something valuable (if risky) about communities, movements, scenes, subcultures.. Especially when the people involved in music-making, members of these scenes, use this language I don't want to kick it aside.

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