Happy New Year, folks! I hope its a standout year for everyone. I hope you learn something world-changing, play gigs that make you fall in love with music all over again and that your family lives are blissful and your jobs become meaningful and rewarding. And I hope you get a raise and find that gear you didn’t even know you wanted – for cheap too!
This is an amazing speech given by T Bone Burnett at AmericanaFest – the Americana Music Festival & Conference – on Thursday, September 22, 2016. I saw it posted on The Dutch Luthier‘s blog, and he, in turn, found it on The Americana Music Association‘s web page.
I don’t quite believe in the art vs. technology idea that he speaks about, but his call for freedom of expression and pushing boundaries rings true to me. There is possibly truth to the idea that people are becoming more homogenous through technology and social engineering, however. (If any of you are old-school tabletop RPG players, this might also come across as a Technocracy vs. Tradition speech, from the mouth of a Cult of Ecstasy practitioner.)
“Technology is turning over every ten years. Their technologies don’t and won’t last. Our art, if we do it right, will.” – T Bone Burnett
I have come here today first to bring you love. I have come here to express my deep gratitude to you for your love of music and of each other. And, I have come here to talk about the value of the artist, and the value of art.
When Michaelangelo was painting the great fresco The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, he came under intense criticism from various members of the church, particularly the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies- a man named Cesena- who accused him of obscenity. Michaelangelo’s response was to paint Cesena into the fresco in the lowest circle of hell with donkey ears and a serpent coiled around him devouring, and covering, his nether regions, so to speak.
Cesena was incensed and went to the Pope demanding he censor Michaelangelo for this outrage, and the Pope said, “Well, let’s go have a look at it. ”So, they went down to the chapel, and when the Pope stood in front of the fresco, he said to Cesena, “You know, that doesn’t look like you at all.”
A friend of mine shared this article on FB tonight and I wanted to share it a little more. Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are two legendary jazzers. They’ve played with Miles Davis and are musical icons in their own right. Hancock is a pianist and Shorter is a saxophonist. They revolutionized multiple styles of jazz from the 1950s and on. But that’s not the focus of their open letter to new artists. Its about breaking boundaries, empowerment and humanity. Its about ideas and expression creating a better world. Read it.