These guys, the other day, were talking about music. Well, not music, but something to do with music. The words coming up often were Bhangra, Sirtaki, Kolbasti. The discussion started with music, and went on to the nature of music.
Laurel was talking about how some new music he had heard and how he thought it was brilliant. To which, Hardy opined that probably the more important aspect of music isnt brilliance but the way it can uplift us, the way it brings vitality to our lives. And this is where they went at each other again. Laurel was of the opinion that musical brilliance is one of the epitomes of cultural sophistication, that the heights of cultural achievement of any civilization can be defined by the brilliance of its art. Hardy, though, was of the opinion that the more important aspect of music is its earthy nature. One thing led to another, and soon they were talking about classical and folk music.
Now, these two are very different from each other, and the purists seldom look upon folk music as the pure form of music. Having said that, there is some quality of folk music which endears it to people. There must be something because of which people, centuries after centuries, have not just been attracted to folk music and dance, but have been participating in them. In fact, it is this quality of the folk form of music and dance which endears them to people. There is, in folk music, no distinction between the performer and the audience. In fact, the performer is the audience.
Folk music from different parts of the world has one common aspect … It brings a certain joy, a certain vigour, vitality to life.
Heres a video of the Zorba dance (Sirtaki) where you will see people spontaneously joining in the dance. The point of folk music is this: it is a celebration, of life, of all the things God gives us. And this is why people tend to spontaneously get attracted to the simple, earthy charm of folk music. You dont necessarily need to know the culture, the language, to feel the vibrant spirit of folk music.
The dance isnt synchronized, people are not always in step with each other, but thats exactly the point … this isnt necessarily about musical brilliance, but about that something which spontaneously gets you clapping, and draws you.
Now look at this dance, from a country which the Greeks have traditionally not been too friendly with. This is the Kolbasti dance, and this comes from Turkey.
You will see similarities in the dance movements and the music, but those could be ascribed to geographical proximity.
Heres the Bhangra … one of the many dance forms of the Punjab. This video is from India.
And this one from Pakistan.
So not just does it get you clapping, this vitality of folk music can also get people together!