Saturday, January 9, 2010

a tribe

I’ve always felt oddly protective of my musical preferences.

Perhaps it stems from the fact that I grew up listening to country music, while living in Los Angeles. It didn’t take a whole lot of sophistication to realize I would be even more noticeably the odd girl out if my peers knew I could sing along to Helen Reddy, Johnny Cash, or Conway Twitty. But sing alone I did, and I loved it. All through my childhood, on long car trips to my grandparent’s home in Northern California, or camp ground hopping in the summers, I sang with twang. When I discovered rock, in the late 80’s, I felt more evolved. I kept the other stuff quiet.

But even now, with musical tastes that are fairly diverse, focused on solid lyrics, poetic themes, and whatever sounds accompany that also rock my soul, I feel protective. blue-go-round

I always thought how odd it was, in high school, that music choices could completely define who we were, what group we belonged to. In my school, if you listened to rap you were a banger (and probably some other things that I didn’t have much insight into). If you listened to mainstream alternative or pop you were a football player, cheerleader, on student government, or generally a conforming, well rounded, balanced kid. If you listened to heavy metal you were a pot-head looser. If you listened to punk or goth, you were, well, punk or goth. It was simple.

midnight in the garden

I always wondered… why music? Why was it music the was the defining feature, the badge we wore, the club we in which we enlisted ?

Then I read this quote (from A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith):

“Didn’t he realize I believed music to be the intuitive mirror of the human soul? That entire civilizations, from the smallest tribe to the mightiest kingdom, spoke in the unique rhythms of their songs? And that to listen to the music of [his] choosing would give secret and viable insights into his psyche?”

We must all realize this to some degree and align ourselves, at least when we are young, with like souls. If our musical choices were windows into our souls, we’d need to be amongst our own tribe in order to feel safe and understood. I kept and keep my eclectic musical choices under cover, perhaps knowing in advance of being discovered, that I was a tribe unto myself.

back of box spring with hole 

At any rate, I’ve been very into music lately (I go through phases), feeling more passionate about than I have for a while, and far far less self conscious. In celebration of that, I’ve added a new section in the bar there to the side, sharing my latest musical influences.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

There was a time - not that long ago - when I was at odds with everything in my life. Despondent, depressed, unhealthy, unhappy. What saved me then and continues to enrich my life? Music. Music woke me, lifted me up and helped me find my way back. You totally touched my soul here, Rachel. We are "one" in our thoughts about music!

Victoria Bennett Beyer said...

I never thought about aligning with my 'tribe' based on music, but you're right - there is some serious urge to share an artistic taste/vision with the folks around you, and what's more accessible than music?

Chiqui*Kat said...,la,la! Where do I begin? Music. My Ultimate Savior In Curse-form. HA. Short version, my tribe sister is this: I loved it, it loved me back a hundredfold, I misused, abused, abandoned it, then my soul died; then the day came when I slowly started breathing again and longed so fiercely to live out loud but not without a challenge seemingly so insurmountable in the form of a life partner (!), i thought i was going to die again...and as those who tend to the soul are known to do, they (I!) revived me in my early 40s stronger than ever. Love is love no matter the what, when, why and where. Be it country in the cathedral, rap in the white house or opera in the outhouse! I'm just so grateful that our Loves never ever really leave US.