Monday, April 14, 2014

The Practice--Musical Treasure Hunt

Finnish Kalevala, Wikipedia
Excerpt from Whole Music (Soul Food for the Mind Body Soul)

Musical Treasure Hunt

I started out as a folk-rock musician, but over the years, I have reviewed just about every kind of music on the planet.  For me my introduction to world music began when a music librarian in Seattle introduced me to nuevo (new) tango by the Argentine bandoneon (small accordion), player Astor Piazzolla and an owner of an independent music store introduced me to the Portuguese vocal tradition, fado.  Both tango and fado expanded my music consciousness, and eventually sent me on a quest exploring the world’s music traditions.

Similar to treasure hunts from our childhood, I’m going to send you on a music treasure hunt in which the pleasures are many. Pretend that you are a song catcher visiting other cultures where you collect new sounds.

While I mentioned sound healers earlier, another important player with music preservation are ethnomusicologists who combine cultural anthropology with music preservation.  Two famous song catchers are the late Alan Lomax, and the world beat drummer Mickey Hart.  I recommend learning more about these song catchers through books, and documentaries.

1) Step One--Head over to YouTube, and look up the following music traditions:

·                     Aboriginal Didgeridoo

·                     Finnish Runo-Songs (Traditional singer)

·                     Gregorian Chant

·                     Griot Music of Mali (Acoustic, not pop music)

·                     Sanskrit Chants Sung by Hindu Indians in Context (AKA Kirtans)


Step Two--After you have watched or sampled videos for each of the genres mentioned above, head to a public library and check out Rough Guide to World Music and Rough Guide music compilations.  You can also check out field recordings on Rounder Records, Smithsonian Folkways, and other labels that specialize in field recordings.

Step Three--Start a music journal so you can track your physical, mental, and emotional reactions to the various genres.

Do this process for several weeks or continue for years.  You will find that your passion for music grows as does your interest in other cultures.  Welcome to the new frontier.

Finnish Runo Song

Gregorian Chant

Dogon Tribal Music