Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buy Local? Slow Food and Slow Music

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to exercise my new-found free-lance portability by joining Alaska on a business trip to Sweden. (Why not? I have an Android. They have the internet. I'm in business!)

As I was strolling through Ă–stermalmshallen Market, admiring the labyrinth of Swedish delights—locally grown turnips, house-made lingonberry tarts, Arctic Charr—I noticed a funny juxtaposition. One that I've been meaning to write about for a while: American music.

Exclusively. Everywhere.

Beyoncé in the cafes, Katy Perry (ok, I admit it: she's smokin' hot) in the stores, Taylor Dayne blaring from the speakers of some strange advertising truck (?). In six full days I can't say that I heard a single Swedish (or any non-American) artist. Not even ABBA?, you might ask. Nope, not even ABBA.

Huh. America's #1 export? Behind debt, quite possibly.

I was thinking about this last season (concert season that is, because I measure years September – May) and tweeted about it then. There's this whole Slow Food movement, dedicated to growing, preparing, eating, and enjoying real local food. Shunning the exotic "gas-guzzling" bananas, as Barbara Kingsolver calls them in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Here's a blurb from the "About Us" on Slow Food International's website:

A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.

I can't help but wonder how this might apply to music. What about the disappearance of local music traditions? What about people's dwindling interest in musicians who don't come pre-prepared and famous? Are we addicted to processed, packaged music? Are we sacrificing the health of home-cooked music-making by importing exotic "gas-guzzling" artists from large urban areas around the world, instead of nurturing those in our own selves, homes, and communities? What would that look like?

Does anyone see a case for, as Timo Andres called it in response to my original tweet, "Slow Music"?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I think you totally have something here. Maybe the challenge would be in this case--not to wean people off the oh so palatable bananas, i.e., Beyonce--but to expand their palate to include some tart local apples. Part of the problem when so much glitz and glamor is available on TV is that the local community hall looks awfully dull by comparison. Lots of issues, but worth exploring.