What do you call real music, played on real instruments (perhaps for real people !! ) With the failure to find a single word mostly it seems we resort to a list: acoustic; blues; folk; roots; world; Cajun; trad jazz; Americana, etc. Somehow instinctively people sense they are bound in someway. Well they are! They are all ‘artisan’ and as such they sing, sound and beat to what it is to be human.
Millennia ago, by the side of a now dried up lake in the middle of the Sahara desert a paleolithic man sat, making tiny arrowheads out of black flint, perhaps for spearing fish. The one being worked on somehow disappointed him despite being sharp, clean and fine. He dropped at the water’s edge and picking up a big crude lump started chipping away to create another one.
I know this to be true because 10,000 years later I found it.
The impetus to take the Earth’s truculent materials and see in them something worthy and then to nurture the skills to release that is as old as we are. More than that – it is who we are!
This is the Artisan in us. Whoever said anything was 10 or even 1% inspiration and 90 or even 99 % perspiration was just plain wrong. Perspiration stinks of sweat and not much else. No the 90% is wisdom, dexterity, experience, intimacy, learning, awareness, touch, feel passion, excitement and connectedness. And often somewhere in there a soul, a spirit or a shaman is involved. And in some sense it is always music
It is essentially human and we recognise it and we cherish it. And interestingly as the world becomes more mass produced and 3-D printed increasingly we value that which is not. It probably started off with bread. Or round our way pies. It then spread to cheese, beer and furniture. Apparently all over the world there is a resurgence of the craftsman and woman, hand making, using hard won skills, things formed from stubbornly raw materials
And could Artisan also be about to follow as our need for things human becomes more acute? Artisan Music might be diverse but it would NEVER be virtually sampled, musician-less, over-processed modified stuff produced by musical conglomerates desperate to make some money somewhere.
Artisan Musicians of the world unite!
Artisan Music is a music from the stories and spirit of the exuberant, downtrodden, uprising, unfashionable genius of common folk
Artisan music shall be music played on instruments made of wood wire, gut, brass, steel, skin*
Artisan Music is a love affair with a moody, temperamental, giving and receiving, changeable magical partner pathetically called ‘an instrument’. (If it can’t go out of tune it isn’t Artisan!)
Artisan musicians work at it. It’s a kind of madness to find a truer voice.
Artisan Music manages to looks back and forward and stays present all at the same time!
*Thanks to my friend John Atkin, electric keyboards are allowed acknowledging that lugging a piano around is rarely desirable. I note though dragging around and playing Hammond organ with its ridiculous massive revolving speakers and dusty sticky keys is what a surprising number of people do!
Steve Bonham 2016