viernes, 7 de marzo de 2008

Americans in Pyongyang (and everywhere else)

What a funny feeling it is, being home for the whole month, writing practically just one piece of music (well, in fact, I interrupted my opera once with writing a short choral work based on dang-dut rhythm-- see some entries below). But I am enjoying it immensely, and I start to appreciate my nice and big garden, my cactus trees and the already blossoming spring flowers -- and thanx to global warming, the nice spring weather in February! And my house ! At last I have been to all the corners of my house.

Around the time of the Oscar ceremony, another event happened, this time I consider really sickening if not immoral. The New York Philharmonic went to perform in North Korea. Certainly everybody has been talking about how bad they played under Lorin Maazel, but this is not the issue I am gonna talk about here.

According to the American newspapers, this visit " is a late postlude to a long- planned Asia tour, organized with the backing of the U.S. State Department'' and that they had put in a request that “the concert would be open to the average citizen.'' Now, let's google North Korea and Kim Il Jung, and I found this :
Human-rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, estimate that some two million North Koreans out of a population of 23.3 million have died of hunger; officials admit to 250,000.

I saw about 20 minutes of the concert on TV, and saw that it was packed by the officials of the government, many of them with bored faces (sorry for the subjective opinion). Frankly speaking, I am unable to differentiate those from the “average citizens”, if any. Anyway, a broadcast of the event around the world already means a victory for the regimes (I mean both regimes, of Kim Il Jung and of G.W. Bush), and an insult to the democracy. Honestly, all this americani-- sorry, globalization-- business is making me sick. It was fortunate for countries like Japan, New Zealand or Australia and the Latin-American countries to have been able to develop their own high quality and character of classical music before this “global”-ization era. They had managed to establish their own composers, with their own voices, and produce great musicians. But countries like Indonesia is lacking behind – and we are not able to climb up from the trap we have fallen into. Indonesian audience still flock to any concerts of white-skinned musicians (or any white skin, musicians or not), and the local musicians wouldn't even think of the existence of –let alone trying to establish-- Indonesian classical music. They only want to perform music by white-skinned (and even better, dead) composers. The “global” guys have managed to convince us that they are better, they are superior, and we have to give them our money. It's not worth spending money to listen to our local musicians : classical music is not our culture, therefore we know nothing of it. The message is too clear : just trust the global guys, that's where classical music comes from, and let's spend our money to support them.

Music is the loser in this battle, and unfortunately its biggest enemy is its own troops : the musicians.