Same friend, different question – This time, it’s “Why is your music valuable to your community?” Are we writing a manifesto or what?
I have both witnessed and experienced the transformative power of music and art; the power to deepen, soften, steady, make still or spark the heart; the power to create compassion and healing, inspiration and movement, curiosity and awe, recognition, appreciation and most of all, love – all according to the needs of the moment. These things, this influence, rarely if ever measured tangibly (if that were even possible), does effortlessly transcend the political, yet it shapes our thoughts, decisions, behavior and identity, both individual and collective. Simply, it makes us better humans. And the word value, though commonly associated with money, limits the scope of this influence. As an agent for change, as a bridge between the current depth and evolution of our humanity, and what it will grow into, it is not valuable – it is invaluable.
Now, I’ve heard somewhere that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (not this beholder). May be true. You and only you can be the judge for what you find in our music. If you’re here, you’ve likely heard a Featherburn tune or two. You’re invited to hear more. Renowned choreographer Martha Graham said:
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
We’re here simply doing our best to create art that’s true. At the core, it’s not for me to decide if or how my art is valuable. Just to keep working diligently. And even if you totally dig it, it’s absolutely reasonable to come back with “Dude, it’s just a bunch of songs. I like them, don’t get me wrong, but come on – the transformative power of music?”. And I say, go ahead with that. Dance, tap, sing; eat, drink, cook; work, play, make love to the songs – do a lot of it, whatever the music holds for you. Enjoy it. Revel. My experience and understanding is that the transformation and growth is taking place, whether we recognize or acknowledge it or not. My hope for you (and everyone) is that one day, you might find your Biko (see previous post) too; and when that happens, you see the act of generosity and joy you’re inspired to carry out, and witness it reverberate and multiply before you so loud and powerful that it comes back again flips you over like the great, profound omelet of love, passion and faith in humanity that you are, without busting you all over the pan into scrambled egg hash, which is also delicious.
Also, not either altogether related or unrelated, one of my favorites from Thoreau:
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.”