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Regis Auffray

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You Cannot Sing Our Songs
by Regis Auffray   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Posted: Tuesday, February 09, 2010

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A "dream" article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend. I for one do NOT agree with Sha'Tara that all "modern" music from our continent and the rest of the world is "crap."

"You cannot sing our songs because you have not shed our tears."

[a dream from      ~burning woman~      by Sha'Tara]

This amazing statement is a direct quote from a dream I had last night.  In this dream I walked upon a desert.  Not flat, but with very large dunes and protruding rocky outcroppings standing starkly out of the endless sands.  Rocks and sand were the same beige-brown shade.
As I walked in a north-westerly direction in what the lengthening shadows said to be late afternoon, I came upon a small group of tribal people. Even in the dream, I knew they were not "real" in the sense of having flesh.  They were ghosts.  Men, women, children, some animals, probably goats. A couple of dark brown camels. (I don't know, are camels always the same uniform color?)
They were below me in what is called a wadi.  As I approached, they turned to me and said these exact words: "You cannot sing our songs because you have not shed our tears."  And they added, as I looked around, "We are the people of the wadi." as if, somehow that explained everything.
As suddenly as it appeared, the vision vanished and I came awake from the dream. Then just as suddenly, I understood many things that had puzzled me for years. This has to do with songs and with music. 
Everywhere in the world, groups of people have created their particular songs.  Songs and music are tribal, ethnic expressions of collective feelings and emotions.  Quite often, too often, you can sense the suffering, the losses, the pain and sorrow of a people in their music and songs.  There are, of course, the happier ones: songs of love, songs for weddings and other happy celebrations.  There are religious hymns that also recall terrible times and horrible persecutions, as well as deep devotion to the god of that religion.  And there are the powerfully emotional, martial, savage, war-praising nationalistic songs.   
The wadi people I encountered were speaking of some great and terrible ordeal inflicted upon them in which they were all destroyed, their way of life wiped out.  One instance?  A million instances?  Long ago?  Today?  It does not matter, does it, for time neither forgives nor forgets.  Nor do the songs that recall the real laughter and real tears.
Such songs, such music, is no longer being created.  We live in a globalized world under the aegis of greedy bankers, overt corporate oppression and the commercialization of every creative act of Earthian humanity.  Everything has a price tag, an ISBN product code.  If it does not, it has no value.  If the market place says your product sells, it sells.  If it rejects it, file it, it may as well not exist.  No heart, no spirit, just dollars. 
And what kind of "music" do people produce today? 
Raucous, raunchy, shallow, contemptible in its paucity of message or feeling.  A gross hoax, perpetrated by screamers, squawkers and pounders, an artifice "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" to quote someone.  Meaningless, deafening commercial clanging of rock and roll padded by trite and whiny country and western style.  This is just as true of modern religious singing as the more offensive kind inflicted upon everyone by the prevalence of radio and television.
Modern music, especially the music of America and its clones, has no spirit.  It is a direct expression of the emptiness and shallowness of the society that produces it, and listens to it.  It is the musical noise of commuter-clogged freeways, of ATM's and drive-thrus, of carbon-copied sports events, of over-indulgence, coarse laughter and slovenliness of attire and general posture.  It is the expression of a people that has brought many to tears and sorrow world-wide but itself never having to bear same.  A spoiled, self-centered and basically pointless people; a people that will pass from history in a footnote.
Perhaps, many years hence, survivors of this people will have shed enough tears through the lost years that they too will create songs that no one else can sing.  Perhaps.  And it is going to be a very long and very pain filled passage of time.


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Reviewed by Pierre Ortega 2/22/2010
We as a people have sinned in atrocity against those who are less fortunate than us, we have even perpetrated evil doings where they are concerned. but not all of us individually have agreed with this and that is one of the beauties of our existence, We don't have to. Those of us who don't agree with this horror need to stand up and risk it all for what we believe in.

Thought provoking,
Reviewed by Michelle Schaeffer 2/12/2010
I think your rejection of modern music, is not rejection of "music" at all, - It is merely a voice and a sound that simply amplifies the conditions of LIFE in modern society. As for not being able to sing the songs by simple relation or compassion, is just inhuman! It is through our voices, our written words and our "music," that we gave a voice to the one's who would otherwise be FORGOTTEN! Not everyone has to cry the actual tears to FEEL the actual PAIN. Which brings me to a song i recently wrote for Haiti. Its here on my site (atleast to poetic format). It's called "I am the Heart of Haiti." It will hopfully raise MONEY to help in their time of need, it will hopfully remind them their not ALONE and lastly it is a "voice," a "SONG" that will help all of us to never forget them!
Music is the chain, the voice and the one commonality we all share.
It's unique by it's variations of colors yet without this contrast that you reject, well, there wouldn't be one, - we would all look the same.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Price 2/11/2010
I can't go with the absolute all modern music is crap. Some of it is but it's also a matter of taste and what tears each has shed. So your opinion is appreciated but I think I will judge my crap that I cry for by myself. Loved it anyway. Liz
Reviewed by LadyJtalks LadyJzTalkZone (Reader) 2/10/2010
It's good to know how you feel and there is heart felt music always being written and song, perhaps just making top dollar and many don't hear them. I liked Georg's comment. LadyJ
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 2/10/2010
Paganini violin concert or Janis Joplin asking God for a Mercedes Benz?
Marley Wailers or Bizet with bulls, matadores and sweet Carmen?
Mozart's chorus Lacrimosa or Queens "We will Rock You"?
Sha'Tara, perhaps that's you the one that cannot sing because you haven shed our tears...


Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 2/9/2010
There has been a bit of a creative rut from my perspective as demonstrated by the "Who" last Sunday. A shaddow of their past former huge greatness. Patrick
Reviewed by L. Figgins 2/9/2010
Canned, over-produced, cloned music--yes. But like Regis, I do not agree that ALL modern music is "crap". Tribal music? Does that include the Negro Spirituals that were the basis for most of our modern music? Or Delta Blues? Appalachian Blue Grass? Cajun? Folk? Soul? Latino? Cuban? Native American? Celtic? You need to qualify exactly what you mean by "modern music". Our American legacy of music is rich, varied, soulful and representative of the melting pot that is our country. Rock powered change. Blues raised a people up. Music may just be the one thing that SAVES this lost world--by uniting it. No longer being created? Well if you only listen to popular radio, I can understand why you'd think this. This is a well-written article, however untrue. But you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
Reviewed by Susan de Vegter 2/9/2010
I understand and agree Regis . Thanks for this insightful pen. "If we aren't careful the material will come to own us." I heard this one day from a very dear Sage. I gave away half of everything I owned afterwards. Now everything I have is a treasure.
Blessings and love,
Reviewed by Jon Willey 2/9/2010
Regis, this is very reminiscent of the old Joe South song, "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" -- and the adage, "you not only have to talk the talk,you have to walk the walk" -- I guess Ron Hull probably best summarized it -- peace and love to you my friend -- JM
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 2/9/2010
Yup, it was the Beatles and Elvis that done it.... or, maybe Bob Dylan... Michael Jackson?

The cream rises to the top. The rest gets its minute of play and thankfully goes away.

Reviewed by Mary Coe 2/9/2010
A powerful dream. I love your interpretation of the dream.
Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER 2/9/2010
I do agree with the general ghist of your dessertation, but then you are talking to those that cannot hear or see, still in all this cacaphony there shines a light here and there, that beams through any of the cracks not yet filled by the industry and the common masses. One consolation that rings large among all those varied peoples, that music, as Schiller said in Beethovens ninth's Alle Menschen werden Brueder wo Dein sanfter Fluegel weilt, loosely translated, all men become brothers in music, for it needs no interpretation, Yet at the very beginning of the symphony, you hear from the tenors the call, not these tones dear friends, but let us sing those others more deep and meaningful,(freudenvollere) loosely translated of course. In more atuned times, the west, especialy Amerika has producd wonderful beautiful music, from Jazz, Blues, spirituals, Gerwhin, Copeland, etc, I wouldn't never want to miss. But as a whole, I agree with you as I said, in 86 I paid a visit overseas to Europe, and what did I hear most on every station excactly what you described, and wandering the old remembered woods, not one song from school children, as we did, not even the lilt of some lieder by Schubert.

There is just no replacement for deeply inspired and meaningful music, that speaks to the soul, no matter from the Orient, the East, Africa, Europe, or Amerika. As always you raise issues that need to be, and make it enjoyable reading. Bless you! Jasmin Horst
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