Mudcat Café message #909037 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57624   Message #909037
Posted By: John P
13-Mar-03 - 09:48 AM
Thread Name: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
Here's a concept: those who think it's hypocritical to sings songs one doesn't believe are being hypocritical when they sing songs they don't believe. Those who doen't think it's hypocritical to sing songs one doesn't believe aren't being hypocritical when they do so.

I have to say that one of my major peeves is people telling what I should and shouldn't play and how I should or shouldn't play it. I've been listening to the folk police for years telling me in a reproving manner that I'm not playing traditional music traditionally (as if I was trying to!). Lately I've been hearing the message police tell me that many old traditional songs are inappropriate for modern, ethically advanced audiences. In particular, songs about violence against women and Christian songs sung by non-Christians seem to bring out the policeperson in many of us.

Obviously a song has to move me in some way or I don't even consider it. But I am moved more often by a great melody or an unusually poetic set of lyrics than by any "message" the song has. I agree with what Fred Miller said earlier in this discussion: "I generally don't care too much for the aspect of art that is all about delivering messages." I'm much more interested in art that delivers art.

My wife and I did a Christmas album a few years ago. It was all old traditional and early music, and it was all music that completely thrilled us in one way or another. The "messages" of most of the songs strike me as far-fetched to say the least. The words and music used to deliver the messages were glorious, and as such drew me to perform them. I just can't find any problem with a non-Christian singing a Christian folk song in a folk music setting. Note to Christians: if you don't want people singing your songs, stop writing them. One of the great things about music is that it gets out of boxes and goes flying around, peering into nooks and crannies, grabbing people and being grabbed. It just won't politely be what you think it should be, or stay where you put it.

John Peekstok