Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brother Sun

Yesterday I received the new Brother Sun CD, Some Part of the Truth, and had a chance to listen to most of it on the way to work this morning.  It is another wonderful recording by Pat Wictor, Greg Greenway, and Joe Jencks!  Brother Sun brings together all of the threads of folk music in a seamless whole - the worker movement, social justice concerns, the confessional troubadour, Americana, a dream of a better world...  If folk music is truly the music of the people, this trio takes their role very seriously as they sing the tears, laughter, and hopes of the people as private as the human heart and as big as a country struggling to remember its identity.

Here they are performing In the Name of Love from the new CD.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Mother Teresa et. al.

I've been reading lots of online posts from atheists condemning religion as the cause of almost every atrocity in history and arguing that systems of ethics formulated without reference to any idea of the divine are by definition more humane.  I do not question that there are ethical atheists and that there may even be ethical systems based in an atheistic understanding of the universe that are positive.  I also have no illusions about the history of religion and know that many atrocities have been and continue to be committed in the name of just about any religion you can think of. 

So, here's my question... if atheism can produce the same or higher quality of person as a religious system why is it that we see no atheist Mother Teresa's, Gandhi's, or the like?  Granted the list of such folk coming from religious backgrounds is not a huge one, but it does exist and includes many less famous folk who have given themselves to make the world a better place.  I'm not aware of any atheists who have made similar ethical impact in the world.  On the other hand, we can find atheist leaders who have committed the same kinds of horrific violence that has been attributed to religious folk.

What do you think?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Musicians and Money

I book a small concert series - Cambridge Drive Concerts - and we've been blessed to present scores of amazing musicians, both touring folk and locals.  I'd be hard pressed to pick favorites.  We do our money more or less like a house concert, have no guarantee, and frankly the musicians don't walk away with very much.  We have a small but very appreciative listening audience, excellent equipment, and the sound is as good as you'll hear anywhere.  And I try to be as hospitable as I can.  All that said, I've had musicians with reputations who should never play a venue that small and others who simply could not afford to book our venue given the above parameters.  I certainly understand their position.  They are out there on the road sharing their music and trying to make a living.

On the other hand, I do struggle philosophically with the idea of being a "professional artist" or even owning one's "product" as a musician or painter or whatever.

Here's a TED talk by Amanda Palmer that addresses some of my struggles in an interesting way... What do you all think of what she has to say?