When I was a little kid, my dad was a working musician playing most nights in smoky country Honky Tonks for line dancers. I saw firsthand how much hard work goes into music, with often very little return. Instead of seeking another avenue in life, I jumped right in as soon as I was old enough. Since then I’ve recorded and toured with several bands and am constantly seeking gratification through music. Where does this gratification come from, given the constant hardships encountered?
You are in your mid-twenties and you are on the road…
BUZZZ BUZZZZ! You poke your head out of the sleeping bag to discover your cell phone vibrating; it’s already 5:30am. Most of your three hour “sleep” was spent wrestling with your host’s Labrador on the living room’s shag carpet; apparently he isn’t into sharing his floor.
Much as Pandora is specifically an American radio service (at least for now), Thanksgiving is specifically an American holiday. It’s a day that celebrates the diplomatic gesture of peacemaking between cultures, and it reminds us that we’re all a part of something much larger than ourselves.
We all have reasons to be thankful: for our health, for our families and friends, for our jobs if we’re fortunate enough to be employed, and for any number of other blessings.
As Americans, however, we can also look at this day as an opportunity to be thankful for being Americans, and as a chance to thank those families who sacrifice on our behalf. Without military families — not just those in the armed forces, but also their relatives, who move from base to base with or without the servicemen and servicewomen they love — this grand American experiment in multicultural democracy and free speech simply wouldn’t work.
This week’s station is a party station, and it’s all about being Thankful. The station is based in soul and funk music; both are styles of music that Americans helped bring to the world. Turn it up, dish up some more stuffing, and let’s bring those troops home safely. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
If music be the food of love, play on —Shakespeare
Harmony is meant to correct any discord which may have arisen in the courses of the soul… rhythm too was given for the same reason… —Plato
It is by the Odes that a man’s mind is aroused, by the rules of ritual that his character is established, and by music that he is perfected. . . . —Confucius
The Culinary Metaphor Pt. 1: Music and Nutrition
In my previous post I wrote about using food metaphors as a kind of oblique strategy for discussing music. Let’s get more specific, to explore the method to this madness. Today’s angle: nutrition.
Music: Nourishment and Poison
The American Heritage Dictionary defines nutrition as “the process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissue.”
Plato and Confucius would have liked that. For them, music existed to guide and improve human beings, and the right and wrong musics created good and bad people, respectively. Medieval musical thinkers and composers avoided the tritone (the augmented fourth interval) because many thought it to be of Satanic and therefore dangerous origin. And in the 1980’s, Tipper Gore’s PMRC based their campaign to place parental warning labels on recordings on the idea that it is necessary to “protect” listeners from certain kinds of music.
This week’s station: “TGIF! – Thank Goodness It’s Friday!“.
It is important to celebrate the springboard of the weekend… Friday! Not only do Fridays complete our work week, they are manifestations of our own unique mini-vacations. From partying to relaxing, we all have our own way of enjoying our much deserved days off from reality.
In this mix you will find a range of songs that all have a common ground of inspiration. Connecting us with friends, love, good vibes and freedom, Friday is the universal day that we long for each and every week.
The goal is to keep you out late. Meet that someone special. Let loose on the dance floor. Reconnect with old friends and reminisce in the midst of creating new memories. Roll down your car windows and turn up the volume. Turn off the tube, put your feet up, and do your thing. Just make sure your weekend is memorable!
— Daniel J. Craig
(music operations, ripper)
2038…. 5ally, now a teenager, asks her mainframe to reveal the author of song she just heard on her earstream. It’s the only song she’s listened to today that she inquires about. Between who wrote it, or co-created it, or mixed it, or mashed it, or [add new thing here], it’s DJ #1 who finally wins her further attention — she buys a ticket to his next concert. It’s a swim-concert…
Are You In a Band? (Zzzzzzzz)
When doing a music presentation at a public school, I asked a group of fifth graders to write down their five favorite musicians or BANDS. One of the kids wrote “Pandora” on his list. Didn’t he know that Pandora isn’t a band? Perhaps he hadn’t yet grasped that, frequently, the songs he likes are created by an actual entity/cesspool/love affair of people, ideas and equipment. Among other things. I remember the day, in a RECORD store, when I had the epiphany that you could purchase a whole LP — with 10 or 12 songs on it — as opposed to a 45 rpm record. Big revelation! Perhaps the “band” epiphany hadn’t happened for this kid yet. But what if…. what if he just doesn’t CARE about who made the music he likes? Not a big revelation. It’s become fairly standard for people to digest music without knowing, or more significantly, caring who created it.
Is There an Animal in your Band Name?
Baile funk, aka funk carioca or bailes funk, is a good example of how dance music conventions can be — and often are — shaped by the people and for the people. The DJ doesn’t necessarily define the sound, but the DJ does nurture it, develop it and mash the sound up with the contributions of other cultures that share similar experiences. In this case, the Baile funk experience was using the spirit of music and dance to rise above the poverty and oppression of the ghetto.
The term baile funk was used originally to describe a type of dance party that started happening in the favelas (ghettos) of Rio in the 70’s. Funk, r&b, and soul music being produced by American artists like George Clinton, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes had a strong voice with the people who populated the favelas. This music not only had relevant social messages, but grooves that were explicitly crafted for dancing.
This week’s station: “Game On!“.
I think everyone should have a walk-up song (now batting…), even if it rarely gets used. I also like to think that if the right song is played at the right moment, it can actually influence the outcome of the game. While this is debatable, the significant role that music plays in the modern arena or coliseum is not… for better or worse.
This collection delivers all your standard coliseum anthems, along with a nice stack of other, relatively unknown gems. While the music represents a wide variety of musical styles — including rap, rock, punk, metal, funk, film score, and electronic/dance — they all have one thing in common: energy.
Recommended for play while: tailgating, applying paint to your face and/or body, getting pumped to deliver a presentation at work, entertaining during the holidays while sports are on TV, stuck in traffic trying to get to the game, in the locker room prior to a big matchup, performing a victory dance, clapping in unison, playing dunk hoops on a 6 foot rim, working off the calories from aforementioned tailgate, and any situation that requires an elevated state of personal or team mojo.
For best results, play at a high volume on big speakers.
(dance collection manager)