Monday, March 17, 2008

The Creative Act: Where do songs come from?

Blogger Ronald Roybal is a Native American flutist and guitarist living in Santa Fe, NM. He has a blog where he being "a pro-musician balancing creativity with the independent music business" jots down his thoughts.

He wrote this piece I excerpt from (he has more to say very relevant) on where songs come from and more:
"I have this vision in my head that my songs are like spirit horses from the spirit world. They are living beings looking to make their way into the natural world to fulfill their purpose. Their purpose is to bring sustenance, joy and hope to human beings. They seek song carriers who are worthy of riding them. When they find a human who is worthy, they let the song carrier bring them into the natural world where they then offer themselves to human beings. After being ridden, the songs go back to the spirit world where they tell other songs about the song carrier. If the song has been treated well by the song carrier, that song will encourage other songs to trust the carrier. In time, many songs seek out the carrier because it is through this person that these songs can fulfill their purpose."
The metaphorical treatment can also be a fit summary to many creative works in our own cultures, and perhaps cultures everywhere, deep in recognizing that "good" "song carriers" are rewarded to continue to receive the "songs."

The implication of the "song carrier" view is that cultures that respect "good" "song carriers" are also rewarded to continue to receive the "songs."

In transferring this "invisble hand" of creation, this is something to think about as we in Canada have to come to grips with the battles to come over how we respect the "song carriers" - the artists - in our midst, and their expressions in all forms, that we have the luxury to physically own and have presence in our "wealth."

The respect we show the "good" artists, comes back to us

Something to think about as many ideas are present in Canadian cyberspace about respecting artists, are getting mixed in with respect for say publishers, the associations of publishers acting in consort, the "collectives" where the artists and publishers get together, and the coalitions for this that or the other cause.

Separately and distinctly we may have to reconsider the validity of this entire structure "coolly" as the Digital Age is dawning and old business models are clinging to life perhaps undeserved in this age where new opportunities present themselves to the artists themselves.

But no where should it be confused the artist, the "song carrier" is due anything less that unwavering reverence and respect, particular to the "good" ones. If the native American message is right, our respect for them, comes back to us, in better "songs" - all artistic forms.

At the same token, we must be on guard for where the "artist" is put out front speaking for other "artists"as fronts for other agenda's such as the non-adapting. I hope without confidence that this will be done fairly to the "coolness" we will need to work this all through, in the long term best interest particularly of Canada, but elsewhere too.

In this line of thinking, the Smithean "invisible hand" is suggested in metaphor by Ronald Roybal, for those who think in those classical economic models, as I do as I am sure economists everywhere can relate who study "free market" economics. The result of such analysis shows that art creation has been anything but respected in a creative process and likely of no lingering relevance amidst a "corporate" aggregation particularly in oligopoly -competition amongst the few- answerable but to investment market criterion, in a mistaken notion of aggregating "content as king" and marketing it with out respect (celebrity, looks, association with company, ...). The destruction of many labels in the music business with a reduction in output and diversity at each merger and acquisition, has almost destroyed the "good" "song carriers" amidst the "chosen" "song carriers" by the concentrated industry.

Thankfully, the apt delays of a restrictive, rules laden, code driven, Canadian Copyright law that could shackle artists otherwise, that was proferred to serve us well in the Digital Age by our own legal talent in 1995, has continued. Our law has not let us down to date, though some may claim otherwise, in pressing for reform absent in my opinion the apparent wisdom to the "invisible hand" present in artistic markets and the necessary conditions for it to function well.

Timely to this, we shall see tomorrow whether the smaller more productive "Indies" that bring greater Canadian content to our attention in a diverse fashion, will be reported on, that our Statistics Canada discontinued to study in 2007. We are watching closely.

Something to think about.

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