Saturday, August 02, 2008

"The Office" (workstation series) 105 (revolution edition)

Walking out, after tunes and free booze (in my parallel universe musicians drink for free), of the Friday evening pub session; a session I suspected might be heavy lifting, if only because (in an academic community) so many people are out of town for the summer, and there’s few players to be had. In the event, it was great: old friends to play with and for, cherished students in the house and at the table, few enough in the house that we could hear one another.

We’ve been playing together for so long, so often, that we really don’t have to think anymore—in fact, the best moments were when tunes came up that we hadn’t thought of in a long time, and we were reminded of just how much history we’ve got behind us. Lots of noise, but, as with the previous gig, the folks who were there making noise were there because we were there making noise. My admired boss walked in, at a loose end and hoping we were playing, and sat and listened to the Irish tunes. I would never have imagined that the director of a major conservatory would not only give me free rein to create a musicology program as I thought it should be shaped, but would also respect and admire the “folk” music that I played, and recall the impact that our “folk” music had had on his house guests four years ago. But he did.

In the event, a wonderful gig—and at the end I drank my traditional “one for the ditch” (Bushmill’s Black, three fingers), walked out, got in the car, turned on the radio, and the local NPR station was broadcasting program #100 of my radio show—whose individual theme for the week I had selected mark that centennial, the theme I thought most accurately reflected what I thought the music had to tell us in the current environment.

That centennial program, featuring Dick Gaughan’s great version of Hamish Henderson’s “Freedom Come-All-Ye,” Martin Carthy’s of Maggie Holland’s “Perfumes of Arabia,” and Richard Thompson’s “Jerusalem on the Jukebox,” was entitled Revolution.

I don’t know how I arrived at a place where I could chair a department, buy a house, write books, and preach revolution--peaceful, cultural, spiritual, not violent, but not compromising either. Actually, I do know how—I worked my ass off in the face of decades of intentional and unintentional sabotage, resistance, and abuse.

But I damned well better make the most of this opportunity.
Now playing: Moving Hearts - Downtown (inst)
via FoxyTunes

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