Have you ever played the board game ‘Risk’? It’s actually pretty fun. This game, invented by French film director Albert Lamorisse, was originally released as La Conquête du Monde in 1957, and it is one of the longest board game you will ever play. Monopoly might also take a pretty long time to finish, but I wouldn’t know.
(Seeing as I’ve never had the patience to finish a game.)
A simple Google search will show you how the list of the longest play time board games all circle around themes that have engulfed humanity for years, and we’ve yet to win the game. Namely, that of gaining power; as we can see in the war theme of Risk, or Axis and Allies, and the economic theme of Monopoly.
It’s been these struggles and flows that have pushed new forms in shaping us. We have the power to turn obstacles into feats.
The music of the world-music; our most creative form of self and collective expression-is hugely reflective of these pressures and radical shifts in our world’s being. I am particularly fond of music from the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The strange and beautiful complexities of a world soup with a flavor absolutely unique to it. Location and history have given development to music with Latin, European, African, and some Native influences. The recent task of organizing our world music collection brought with it the controversies and questions of…”what goes where?” Where can you make the separations so that it is accurately reflective of the music, and also easy to understand (without needing extensive knowledge of history and geography). The world then isn’t what the world is now. It’s always a “what if” world of possibilities. What if Columbus had better known what he was doing? What if the Taíno people of the Bahamas had a stronger population today? What myriad of styles would could be united? It’s just like when you consider who you are as a person. What if you weren’t ever bullied? What if you hadn’t gone through that “emo” phase? What if your parents had decided not to move into the city after all? What if you hadn’t taken the spontaneous decision to talk to that strange kid from your core class? What if you hadn’t gotten lost and discovered that beautiful park, or that awesome record store? You never know. You can just push through and continue to develop.
Today, the trend towards communication globalization and the spread of the internet means new information and advances can spread fast. “World Music” isn’t just music from different parts of the world, but the world exploring itself through music. Here at KZSC, we might receive music from a French Jazz artist who has been able to explore African and Latin aspects, fallen in love with this artist or style, – which she might not have ever been able to hear about in a different time- delve into the richness of it, and use it to influence her artistic work. And think of the worldwide society of different tinkerers throughout time! From Ben Franklin’s first work on electricity, russian inventor Leon Theremin’s instrument, and Daphne Oram’s new methods of composition… As well as creating a whole new genre of music, technology has led to interesting electronic takes on traditional folk music. And who takes credit for this? No one country can precisely claim the electronic movement.
Risk, with a world reflection reminiscent of that from George Orwell’s 1984, is a game where players attempt to grab,separate, and hold the world. The power of music seeks to stand tall in its original context, and yet be shared.
As the world changes and struggles; so too it can learn and grow.