Saturday, December 08, 2007

Music in culture

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend last night.... he is Egyptian and loves music, (although he is a Lawyer by occupation- ie so not personally involved in the music industry).

However he hates the numerous music channels we have here in Egypt- saying that they fill them with rubbishy pop, that is totally commercial and talent free. The fact that these channels exist actively, in his opinion, prevent talented artists from gaining the recognition they deserve. I think its the channels themselves he has the problem with- the idea behind music being made just to fill all these spaces on a channel... rather than because it is worth making. I could have the same conversation with many music lovers in the UK and the rest of the world. Indeed many people feel the same about programs like pop idols etc etc.

What stood out though was a comment he made.

'That the channel did not follow the mood of the Nation'

when pressed to explain he said that when 'we, the people' were sad the music being playing was still faceless, expression-free pop and when 'we, the people' were happy then the music really wasn't capturing it to the same degree. The music wasn't reflecting everyday life.

Think about that for a moment.

Have you ever heard of music being that important as a reflection of a Nation's feelings before? It overwhelmed me. That someone much the same age as me, could come out with a comment like that too made me realise how socially aware people, even young people here can understand the concept of 'the people' and 'the people's feelings' in a way that I have never even considered before!

This is exactly why artists like Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Om Kaltsoum and Abdel Halim Hafiz amoung others were so crucial to the history of Egypt- not just musically- but historicaly too- because they did exactly that- they represented and shaped, the political and emotional sentiments of 'the people' at the same time they were feeling them. There is so much more I could say about these artists and their role in reflecting and shaping the world around them that it deserves another blog entry in its own right- so watch this space!

I guess an equivelant would be something like punk in the UK when it 1st appreared, although that was more of a rebellion rather than a representaion of 'the peoples' feelings!

There are other issues re the 'pop' music today, for instance, it losing its identity which again need more time to discuss!!!!!!

a huge topic... so I'll come back to it another time!

No comments: