Music for Shifting Times

by Kerry Dexter / Oct 15, 2018 /
Kerry Dexter's picture

Writers, artists, musicians, actors, creative people of all sorts, often ask the best questions, questions which have to do with real values, fundamental choices, important relationships.  As is true with any sort of art, these questions may at times be framed in poetic and indirect ways. Directly or indirectly, these works of creation help with reflection on such matters.

Music for Shifting Times

As acrimony and division surrounding the Brexit campaigns and the US elections rose, I knew I wanted to write about music in a way that addressed these circumstances.

I made a very distinct and purposeful choice not to write about, or to call what I was writing about, protest music, though.

I had several reasons for that choice. Among them was the knowledge that anger only gets you so far – it may be necessary at times but it's not a building block. Also, I wanted to write in a way that that might open up the ideas inherent in the music to those who might not share my concerns or perspectives on the political situations referenced above. Given the acrimony of those and other situations, I also did not want to paint a target on any artist's back by calling him or her a writer or singer of protest songs. I wanted to write in a way that would invite connection and reflection andI hopeoutlast the current divisions, as well.

The stories in this series are meant to be reflections themselves. The music I choose, and what I choose to say about it in context of what is happening in the world, are personal choices informed by decades of being involved in listening to, and writing about music. A good portion of that time has been and still is spent in the music of Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and the many strands which make up the folk music of the United States. Other strands come in as well, though, as I have also worked in, written about, researched, or presented classical music, mainstream country and blues. music of the Caribbean, South America, and Spain, and North America's First Peoples. I've also written about various related subjects such as songwriting, creativity, theater, dance, and travel – all this with an academic background in history, the visual arts, and languages.

That could help explain the range of material you may encounter in these stories.Among those you will encounter are a woman who has been recognized as Irish voice of the decade, a bluegrass vocalist of the year, a MacArthur Grant award winner, a Grammy winning banjo player and composer, an Americana songwriter who has been invited to share her music across India, a Scottish style fiddle player who has taught in China... and many others.

The focus of the articles is my own. I do not speak for any of these artists. It is my intention and hope that their music will speak to you, however. For listener, creator, and performer, music is both a solitary art and one created in communion with others.

Music is about connection, communication, reflection, creativity, and community. All of those are things called for in the shifting times in which we live.

It seemed time to gather the stories in this series so far in one place. A look back at where we've been as we prepare to go on, if you will. I hope you will revisit some of these articles (or perhaps find ones new to you). I invite you to stay with us as this journey in music continues.

 

Other stories in this series....

Music for a Winter's Day

Music for a Winter's Day

Music for a Winter's Night

Music for a Winter's Night

Three Feet or So: Music and Creating Positive Change in the World

Three Feet or So: Music and Creating Positive Change in the World

Geography of Hope: Music of Immigrants and Refugees

Geography of Hope: Music of Immigrants and Refugees

Autumn: Music of Harvest and Home

Autumn: Music of Harvest and Home

Music for Reflection

Music for Reflection

Music for a Winter's Eve

Music for a Winter's Eve

Music for Winter's Changes

Music for Winter's Changes

Music: Listening for Community

Music: Listening for Community

Music of resilience

Music of Resilience

Music: A Path to Community and Connection

Music: A Path to Community and Connection

Music: Songs of Hope and Respect

Music: Songs of Hope and Respect

Story and Place in Music

Story and Place in Music

Journeys Through Landscape in Music

Journeys Through Landscape in Music

Asking Questions, Telling Stories: Music for Times of Change

Asking Questions, Telling Stories: Music for Times of Change

Living the Questions: Music for the Journey

Living the Questions: Music for the Journey

Songs of Courage

Songs of Courage

Music for Unsettling Times: Conversations and Questions

Music for Unsettling Times: Conversations and Questions

Music: The Power of Connection

Music: The Power of Connection

Songs of Hope

Songs of Hope

Songs of Hope, Gracias a La Vida

Songs of Hope, Gracias a La Vida

Songs of Friendship

Songs of Friendship

Music in Times of Change

Music in Times of Change

 

 

Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.

 

 

Share