A comment at el camino real this morning prompts my thoughts this morning. Country music is discussed here.
Country music, (it seems to me), is a hybrid between popular music and folk music. As such, theologically, (to use the term loosely), country music is a higher form of music than popular music, but a lower form than folk music. What do I mean?
In its highest form, music praises God and is about God. [A diversion: modern hymns from the 'Gather' book are always more about "ME" than about God, and are thus deficient. Traditional hymns praise God and His works]. When we sing praise to God we join the Angelic choir. We preview what we will be doing in Heaven, (Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus). Even when we sing our song of praise 'by ourself', we are in reality not alone - we sing with the angels and the saints.
Folk music celebrates culture. It is not about "ME", but it is about "US", our community, our customs, our traditions. Often these songs tell stories. Even if the story is about an individual, it is in reality about a people. Even if the folk song is a 'love song'; a deeper listen will reveal it is not really about two people in love, but again, about a people and a culture. Thus folk music lends itself to be sung in community. Folk music celebrates culture, and sometimes mourns its loss.
Popular Music tends to be centered on personal relationships - usually love. As such, these songs are most often about "ME", (my lonesomeness, my heartbreak, my joy, my love, my ...). These songs are usually not sung in community, but sung by oneself or to one other person.
At all levels, it seems to me that the singing of songs is a very intimate endeavor. We open our heart and ourselves (almost) entirely to others when we sing with and for them. It is a loss for our society that we do not sing much together in community. When we celebrate together, how often is it that that celebrations have song as a fundamental component? Birthdays seem to be the last remnant of those celebrations in which the general community is willing to sing together without prodding or musical directors. [It has been said that Catholics (and men especially) don't sing in Church.] This is a loss of our vocation. If we don't spend our time on earth practicing and enjoying the things we will do in Heaven - perhaps Heaven is not a place where we will be happy?
In the country where interdependence takes on a greater importance; and because of the isolation and lack of endless (and sometimes mindless) entertainment which can be found in urban areas; folk music and community celebrations where music is part, have survived better than in the cities.
The thoughts above are dedicated to the Nyikos family - who have taught me much and enriched the Curley family's celebrations with music and song.
From the smalling in Bethune...
Elizabeth of Hungary, ora pro nobis!
Oremus pro invicem!