Is music in its ethnic form drawing closer to Chicago mainstream?
If you haven’t noticed yet, there appears to be a disconnect between the title of this piece and the lead text. This is intentional and clarity will be brought to fore as this topic develops.
Just like the rest of God’s creation, Christians, denominations nothwithstanding, sing and listen to the same holiday music, composed by music artists who optimize the use of the entire range of chords, even with somewhat dissimilar delivery styles indigenuous to their native air. The obvious differences are in the language used, instrumentation and to a small degree, thematic angles.
Focus for a moment on the thought of how our advent celebrations might be perceived by non-believers or atheists. Do our cohabitants on earth, “homo terrigenas” (Latin) or “convivientes de la tierra” (Spanish) need to be drawn closer, not so much in faith as in our music, perhaps by “cleansing” the lyrics with any direct references to Christian, Jewish or some other faith? Based on this writer’s association with young, scholarly friends, close enough to be considered a part of family, the need to reach out to them is so moot it is almost laughable and deserves no place in any discussion panel. That they do not identify with any religion has not stopped them from chiming in with us, watching some of our faith-based shows that their open mind considers cultural. Their friendship is not diminished by the sight of the Lights of Menorrah or Christmas tree adorned with images of angels, stars or such. Heartwarming it truly is to see them participate in the spirit of our ways with the level of mirth that we don’t even see from some members of the faith community and with the confidence that they do not alter their beliefs (or non-belief) by “getting with the program.”
The above digression sells the point that our differences from one another, outside of skin color, looks (not between good or bad, as the next cad in my jovial circle will jump in on cue), and the way we communicate orally are just skin-deep and no more than a shallow characterization. Chicago music landscape in the main has integrated ethnic forms of music long before one realizes it and peoples of all faith and persuasions have embraced them earlier than we think. (Note: The disconnect earlier mentioned is bridged here).
One may concede, for the sake of argument, that deeper nuances of culture do exist. Wouldn’t you consider in this concession that the centuries that elapsed as the earth’s geophysical makeup evolved and shifted over time, might have taken a heavy toll on people who once lived in one contiguous land (like Indonesia and the Philippines) but mountains and oceans got literally in their way. Brilliant minds and talents that used to belong to the same culture, and who by the accident of sheer physical separation, had dispersed to various parts of the globe have resurfaced as Germany’s Stille Nacht (Silent Night) and Payapang Daigdig (A World in Peace), a Filipino hymn that exhorts peace on earth, an instance in the direction of people’s likeness vis-a-vis dissimilarities.
In his miniscule way, this examiner pens this piece of prose to demonstrate that if the globe were like a basketball in a court of humanity, the ball is in your court and those fellows on the playing arena and on the sidelines are your brothers and sisters who are not any different from you. They are willing to share in the joys of the our Advent season and, if we let them be, would hold hands with us in our hymns of praise, even just to hum.
A very Merry Christmas to my fellow Christians, and to others a good day!