Saturday, September 20, 2008
Gypsy music, West African music
This is way awesome - gypsy way to party, straight from back home. A great contribution of E. Europe! Also notice the playfulness of the players - again contribution of E. Europe, where people had plenty of opportunity to develop some finer inner qualities - partly genetics, and partly because there was little going on externally.
Notice that the music speeds up as the "musicians" get more and more into it - typically, many gypsy songs start with something like: "life is miserable, she left me..." and then speed up into: "heck, life is still good, lets' party!" and then it ends in total crescendo.
Now, that is often the problem with E. European music etc - it is kinda bipolar :) First, it is very complex emotionally; it expresses a very very wide range of rather complex emotions, both on the uplifting and dragging down sides. Second, it goes from great melancholy all the way to total exaltation, and it stirs emotions big time. Once you start flying like that, it takes great skill to come back down to Earth and calm down those adrenal glands that went hyper.
E. European music can have a self destructive emotional quality, because a lot of it was sung, and still is, for bars and drinking parties. So, the songs can often encourage living it all up tonight and forgetting that tomorrow will come for sure and we will have to pay.
Also, come to think of it, E. European music is typically for adult entertaining only. It is used for country fairs, where traditionally young men and women go to dance to meet possible mates, also for weddings, and for bars and parties. All mentioned involves great deal of alcohol, and typically some rather sexually explicit female singer. There is also some dancing "as sport", i.e. one can go to a dance class in "YMCA"-like environment and dance there, and even perform. So, unfortunately, the music and dance could be used much more productively in daily life.
After playing West African music for about ... 4 yrs now, I tend to prefer it. Why? Because it makes me feel good, it grounds me.
West African music is very different than what I grew up with because the emotion is neutral, and music only contains positive, celebrative vibe. It is totally grounded, even if it calls for flying. It is very tenacious in terms of staying on the beat, so there is discipline in it that transfers to the audience, combined with creativity and playfulness. And total unpredictability - West African music is all "groovey" and impossible to participate in unless one is totally relaxed yet completely alert.
Thus, dancing or playing African music is extremely healing and soothing, and gives clarity. It seems more designed for survival, i.e. as if it is designed only for having positive effect on people. I suppose because it is played for the entire community, for families, children, etc. and it is designed to help people live better together in harmony, achieve health, happiness, accomplish goals like farming, etc. and for a long time, through generations. There are even dating dances etc but it is all very well regulated by elders. In short, it is clean good fun, and that is what makes it very healing.
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