Today In Fact, 21 June

World music day is celebrated on this day since 1981. Starting in Paris, the celebration in public of music in the streets and in the public square, is at once a reminder of how music forms an integral part of our human experience and a protest against the many parts of the world where music is restricted, abused and suppressed.

In my fanciful whimsy I imagine that there is a vast and vibrant mental city-state which I call “Musicland”. I have had the opportunity to closely observe musicians for decades now and it seems to me that a musician, when they play music, goes to that region of our collective consciousness which I have named; “Musicland”. It has its own time-zone and its own topographical features and buildings. Leonard Cohen, for example describes his residence in the “Tower of Song”. As a music listener and Sunday Church singer, I am just a day visitor or tourist to Musicland but musicians are full citizens.

Musicland is not a democracy but really a more or less strict meritocracy. The best musicians are highly regarded citizens of Musicland and there are composers, producers and various other forms of being in Musicland. There is though a large anti-meritocracy movement in Musicland politics which insists that citizens of Musicland should be valued for their engagement and efforts rather than their proficiency and talents.

Niccolo Machiavelli, who died today in 1527, would have understood my descriptions of Musicland as he wrote carnival songs and thus must have been a citizen of that vast country of our consciousness. It is though Machiavelli’s political philosophy for which he is most infamously known. In his job application, a book known today as “The Prince”, Macchiavelli set forth the importance of expediency, terror and power politics in the conduct of governance. Despite his political philosophy or his musical compositions, he failed to get the job and died a pauper in exile from his beloved Florence.

Jean-Paul Satre might have also been at least a tourist to Musicland and perhaps understood its politics. Born today in 1905, Satre developed a philosophy of Godless freedom that condemned humanity to our freedom. In his most famous book; “Nausea” Satre refers, I think to Musicland: “In another world, circles, bars of music keep. their pure and rigid lines. But existence is a deflection.

So today you may do worse than play the music you love, loudly and in public. Celebrate this most human experience and become more than just a day-tripper to that country of our soul: Musicland.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (