Thursday, March 29, 2012

shiny happy tuneage

The fall of 2006, I'd moved home and was underemployed and profoundly depressed, and would spend my days off riding the bus around Clevelandia, hanging out in the library, loitering in the arcade with piles of paperbacks about other climes and eating falafel trying to figure out how to start life over with no car, no income, and no friends. I spent most of my nights hanging out in the basement with a boombox painting and drawing.

I took a break from all the heavy tunes for awhile, being at home and too depressed to even attempt catharsis, and I discovered the world music section, which was a treasure trove of unheard tunes from parts untraveled. Mali in particular, with the sparkling koras, the guitar lines and chord progressions still so strangely familiar, the seamless weaving of joy and wistful melancholy, a musical history long and rich.

This is the kind of thing best seen live, and I highly doubt they'll come through Clevelandia any time soon (though I have had the good fortune of seeing Tinariwen in a small club and Bassekou Kouyate with Bela Fleck). In some ways I think it's hard to make joyful music without it sounding saccharine or contrived, and even the most blissful moments are shot through with some just a little bit deeper.

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