Berkeley, Sunday, March 15, 2020 1:15 AM
So happy that it finally rained today! It has been a very dry year so far. While I will not go into the statistics now, as those are normally simple essays on the fly, which might open the curiosity of the audience to read further. So that was the disclaimer.
To celebrate the rain. I just took my acoustic guitar to play some songs after a while. Well actually one ballad that I know by heart, another alternative rock, that I needed to go back to check the chords and lyrics, and then I spent some time listening and singing other songs that I know, though I do not know how to play.
Pasillos are such a beautiful music. Mainly because they have beautiful lyrics, but also beautiful acoustic composition.
I thought about the reason why there is music. I guess one OK explanation is joy, but the other is a beautiful way to convey a message.
Here I just released one of the many treasures that are in Ecuador, and one its music. I would say particularly in the Andean part, though the best artists often come from the coast Guayaquil and Manta, if they sing true music rather than noise.
Cuenca and Loja I think have the best lyric writers and music composers as well.
Anyways, those is a shallow analysis, I should go into deeper into the details of composers to being able to explain, even if I want to make geographic correlations.
But I did thought about why the beauty of music and those deep lyrics.
von Humboldt in his trip to South America, including, Ecuador about the years 1799 to 1804, noticed correctly that the Ecuadorian cheer up with sad music. Well perhaps that was his interpretation of the music composition. i guess one can say sometimes the same of chants. But it is not necessary just how it sounds, thought for me it’s beautiful, but it is their content what fill up oneself.
Even without understanding the lyrics from Hildegard von Bingen the lars from Alexander von Humboldt, but 6 centuries before him, it is impossible to not being captivated by the beauty of her music and voice.
Among many good things that old manuscript that is broadly available nowadays, I am glad that von Humboldt also captured the music back then.
I am grateful that the pasillos, albazos, and san juanitos have survived many generations. Thus, while the Spanish were trying to find gold, according to the popular legends, which actually they found. Perhaps not necessarily a dorado region itself, but plenty of mines, but more important they found the beauty of nature. Native Andean music, and acoustic Spanish music, with sometimes some afro music fusions, have fussed, capture some narratives of nature, or of feelings, or of life, which lyrics really captive even the insensible one.
Music is one of the many treasures that one can get from Ecuador. I would not say more. Otherwise, the treasures of discovering the lively experiences there might be missed.
California, Berkeley and other areas on it also have plenty of treasures.
Lively humans have been able to capture them. The great Malvina Reynolds, who actually graduated from Berkeley, is one of the examples. Little boxes that not illustrate the message here, but it is a wonderful song. Her personality, herself, and her lively music, illustrate the example.
The one song hit man, Scott Makenzie, was able to capture the vibes from San Francisco, of the time, very well. It seems, however, that he did not have another hit, but his song has transcend already one or more generations.
Oh I have to say that when I was singing the song that I know, two birds, perhaps Mockingbird?, I do not know their name or type, and while they were singing and other 8 little birds joined them in the tree in front of my window, they perhaps were actually mocking. i actually was amazed that ten little birds with come at that time to the window. They stayed for a while. So then I tried another song that I actually I do not know quite well. Obviously, they flew away.
My whole point is that music has transcend generations effectively. Beyond rise and collapse of civilizations. Perhaps, that is why I also do not like electric music. Music tells plenty of realities, stories, history and more. Last year, I was impressed by the group Ranky Tanky. It was my first exposure to Gullah music. Such a beauty. And beautiful and profound lyrics. Gullah music was a way of expressions and perhaps of communication as well of the early African slaves in the United States.
I know that the point of discussion can lead to an uncomfortable ground with the last sentence depended of the reader or critic point of view, but let me lead you back to my argument. There are treasures in life that are reveled to the so called more simple people, which are often in the also so called lower social classes. Well, if the term low social class applies, perhaps is a good denomination, because they might have more ground experience and so more connected to life.
It does not mean that they are the only ones, if the social stratification of life applies, which can be useful for descriptions. A person can be fully connected or disconnected to life, regardless its status.
They are other keys for that. Go and read Matthew 11, 25 for a hint.
Justice Antonin Scalia to who I admire very much, use to pray the prayer from Saint Thomas More, which was composed while awaiting his execution (Scalia, 2019). This also capture the treasures from Mt 11, 25, hidden from the wise.
I believe that Sir Frederick Law Olmsted, before becoming a servant of people through his service with the United States Sanitary Commission, providing a battlefield-relief outfit (Martin, 2011) during the Civil war, and before his main life’s practice, which was founding the Landscape Architecture Profession, he was able to also capture treasures that brought him to life during his travels to the American Slave States during 1853-1861, that he documented in his book The Cotton Kingdom.
Sources cited or referenced to within the text:
Martin, J., 2011. Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Da Capo Press.
Olmsted, F.L., 1861. The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller’s Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States 1853-1861. Mason Brothers [This is for reference and because I made an assumption in the text about it. I have not read this book.]
Scalia, A. On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer. Edited by Christopher J. Scalia and Edward Whelan. Crown Forum. Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
von Humboldt, Alexander. Personal narrative of travels to the equinoctial regions of the new continent during the years 1799-1804. G. Bell, 1877. [This is also for reference. Though, I have skimmed some parts of the book. The famous quote of von Humboldt, I think I got in the past for another sources, but not for his book. If it is somewhere, it should be in this book. Sorry for the disillusion, but rather I prefer to tell you the things as they are]