for SB of brunswick:
some, many, even perhaps most, seem to think of music as merely entertainment, something one listens to in order to escape, as a side track from what’s most important, work… that view has things entirely upside down. in utopia, work wouldn’t exist, and we’d spend all our time listening to music, looking at art, reading great literature, going to the theater. yes, of course, this view can be dismissed as merely utopian. an unattainable dream and fantasy. still, it’s not wrong. what would ‘art’ do in world free of capitalist enslavement of workers? wouldn’t it have no subjects? no, it wouldn’t. it would celebrate, what? it would celebrate ‘life’, the ‘life’ of the everyday, of everydayness, that aspect of life 99.9% percent of those living live and suffer. there would be no lack of material to sing about, in a utopian. only a demented and barren imaginary whose only ‘subject’ is the politics of capitalism and it’s intentionally manufactured suffering for the greatest number of people, could ‘imagine’ that humans evolved to be workers for the rich who spend their time, not working, but buying art to hang on the walls of their super-yachts and hire art historian consultants to give lessons to their crews so that they don’t use a scrubby to clean vomit off a picasso.
neither does life imitate art; nor art imitate life; art IS life; life IS art. those who don’t live art as life, and, life as art, are dead; today, those who don’t understand this are most exemplified by the ‘businessman’, the ‘accountant’, those for whom ‘value’ is ONLY conceived as monetary, as credits to their balance sheets at the cost of ALL workers, lives. capitalists are truly, barbarian animals who only ‘value’ their own pocketbooks and have no problem with slaughtering anyone, literally, anyone, who gets in the way of that.
sorry, back to the alternative possibility: pure joy as expressed by one of the most robust of the world’s oppressed populations: far more than jews in fact, the gypsies. whose skepticism, cynicism, distrust of others, dignity and resistance, has produced one of the world’s greatest bodies of musical joy of the greatest intelligence. personally, as a committed atheist, i’ve often imagined, if i were forced to chose a religion, what religion would i choose? i’ve often imagined that i would become a zen sufi. but i’ve realized that ‘zen’ and ‘sufi’ are redundant terms, theologically speaking. musically speaking, they are quite different. i don’t think zen has a dance tradition. and any culture that doesn’t dance is moribund. therefore, i would elect to be a sufi, for whom art and the imagination and the body are inextricably linked. for them, there is no ‘worship’ with dance, and therfore with a body. zen would be happy to do without the body, or, the mind. but in sufism, the body and the mind are so intertwined they are inseparable. but… if gypsy-ism were a theology, it would be my first choice. perhaps it might be conceived as a political-theology, and therefore, a practice, that is, a practice, a practice, of secular spirituality based entirely in/on/about, human being, existential being, as a self-conscious and self-reflective art, in practice. thus i’m a fan of the composer/muscian goran bregovic, a non-gypsie, who gained the respect of gypsies enough so that they would not only play with him, but absorbed his compositions into their own musical tranditions, as he did theirs. now, that, IS, living art as life and life as art, across boundaries. Bregovic is a paradigm of the sociopolitical artist for whom is life can become an artist practice, even utopian, in practice.
and no, i don’t intend to speak here of ‘style’ or ‘genre’. i intend to speak of an artistic practice that grabs hold of everyday life. of an artistic practice that remarkably ‘feels’ and ‘expresses’, human existence as it is, as exactly as possible, without a trace of the market’s demand for branding.
it’s not only the gypsies who do this, of course. though they may have been at it longer than most absorbed into the western musical canon… deep waters here. so i stop here. with armstrong’s ‘black face’ pose… and his great ‘gypsy’ music.