Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The 4-year-old (a/k/a Fingers Hilarity, a/k/a the kid, a/k/a Nat, formerly a/k/a numerous aliases) and I listened to a recording of the Gyuto Monks today, and, somewhat to my surprise, he liked it. I was thinking about the quest of Remy the rat-chef (in the film Ratatouille) for flavor combinations that have never been tasted, and how my appetite for music from elsewhere in the world is related. Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead -- who has done a lot to record, promote, and write about various musical practices from around the world -- has written about his goal of doing what he can to preserve traditional musical practices before they disappear.

I dig the sounds of the Gyuto Monks. I gather that they're singing sacred music of their religious tradition, which holds little meaning for me. Their system of patriarchal theological monarchy by prophetic election creeps me out (even though the present Dalai Lama seems like a good guy). The social practices with which their musical practices developed hold no attraction for me. But I dig the sonic flavor.

After the monks we listened to some Tuvan throat singing (the social context and meaning of which I know even less about than I do of the Monks), and then the University of Michigan Marching Band playing Sousa marches, as our neighbors were over for dinner semi-spontaneously, and their youngest recently graduated from high school, and we were talking about colleges, and I offered to put on some marching band music, and J.G. said sure as long as it was Sousa, because his dad, 55 years ago, when J.G. was a kid, would fix himself a scotch and blast Sousa on his homemade stereo system after work.

The kid dug all the music, but the marching band was his favorite of the evening -- he hopped around the room, beaming. I'm planning to go to a Michigan football game this fall, and the kid is upset that I'm not taking him to see the band. But the football game would bore him to bits, so no way.

* * *

I was writing about Nat and music tonight before I knew that my friend the highly esteemed journalist/activist Tim Harris posted on Nat and music on his blog tonight too. Take it away, Tim -- and thanks for a lovely dinner last night! (And, by the way, don't sweat the critics -- I think you're overestimating the harshness of your interlocutor's reaction.)

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