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6 Weeks to Go!

South American Music

View South America on St Martins's travel map.

Not long to go now, and I'm a bit bored, so I thought I'd start off the blog with a bit about the music out there- which is a big part of why I (James) want to go.

Well, in all the articles and books I have read on SA, music is always mentioned at being at the forefront of life and activity. 'Turn it off and the continent would simply grind to a halt' says Lonely Planet. I think I told a bunch of people that I wanted to 'study' music out there, but thats rubbish- I dont want to study it, I want to listen to it, and absorb influences and inspiration, without dissecting it- which always seems to take so much away from the music.
Western music at the moment is a bit silly, two years of music business has shown me how music is treated as a commodity these days- which sucks. Its just a way to make money, new artists seem to be signed on the basis that they sound a bit like someone else who is doing really well. They dont seem to pay a lot of attention to talent, and tend to shun gifted artists because theyre niche 'products'. Music isnt merchandise! Hopefully, South America will expose me/us to a continent that is just as rich in music culture as the west, but without the obsession for profit. I say hopefully, cause I dont know if it is, but it would be nice if it was- I dont get the impression that they have loads of money to buy loads of CDs out there.
Im also really interested in being able to hear the evolution of the music, from what I gather- travelling round SA gives you a bit of a history lesson in their music- the remote indiginous people still play 'musica folklorica' which is where it all started, and then as you go to more populated areas, you hear the same sort of music but with spanish influences and that from the spanish colonization of the continent. Interesting stuff.
Also, its going to be pretty cool to just get away from western theory. Ive been doing western theory for nearly 10 years now, so its difficult for me to grasp other musical systems, and im really looking forward to being able to listen to and learn from indigenous musicians who play under completely different musical rules, which have been passed down from elder to tutor over hundreds of years. These people are basically musically illiterate in terms of western theory, but they have their own systems based on who knows what, and they can play really well.
All this music stuff is alright, but its not the main reason were going out there- the chance to explore freezing mountains, cactus-dotted deserts, ancient Incan temples, and dense Amazonian rainforest attracted us like flies to a huge, huge pile of really tasty shit.


Posted by St Martins 13:48 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation

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