Even as musicians, enveloped and tangled in our own little artistic bubble of aspirations, inspirations and exasperations, it is impossible to ignore the feeling that our beloved little world is quite nearing its point of ‘absolutely loosing it’.
It seems that wherever we went, thought of going, or even heard of or seen on TV this year, has deteriorated to one disaster or another.. Africa is plagued, the middle east is on fire, Russia and Ukraine can’t come to terms with the third millenium, and even much of Asia is becoming less and less accessible.
John Mayer wrote brilliantly “we keep on waiting for the world to change”..
The changes of this year are definitely not those that we envisioned and prayed for.
So what are we as musicians and artists to do? stay safe in our jams and clubs, live the studio life, and remain “comfortably numb”? Or rather join the nearest militia, or the next dispatch of MSF (or even create the competing Musiciens Sans Frontiers)?
I saw a stunning video of a Syrian pianist and his small youth choir singing in the middle of a Damascus refugee camp, surrounded by bombarded buildings, and general devastation.. I have never heard a detuned piano sound so perfectly exact, and unsync-ed voices sound so together. This, for me is what we as musicians are called to do- not take arms, but also not seal our ears and blind our eyes. Not seek danger, but not avoid conflict. We should just sing and play- but in the rubbel, in the plague, with all the misfortunate and displaced.
That is where the music will happen, and will be set free to do all it was intended and created to. As Dylan Thomas wrote “Light breaks where no sun shines”.