May 21, 2016

Folk Music That Binds and Frees

Tomoko considers folk music as the soul of a culture, and a musical inspiration for composers.

Music comes form humans, and human emotion – like spirit – is the same over the ages. “The most important thing is the performers’ emotional communication with the audience,” Tomoko asserts. She recalls attending a balalaika concert, where the audience was so swept away, that they called for an encore. Tomoko remarks, “I felt sorry for the performers, forcing them to do more. They had poured out their emotions in their concert.”

“Real music is everywhere,” says Tomoko. In France the churches hold concerts. “These events promote community, and people think about the after life,” says Tomoko. Music brings a community together as a common emotional language. With music and dance a community celebrates traditions that reflect and unify them’ “People experience heightened feelings, and the music follows.” Tomoko adds, “And music can bring all ages together.” She says,“I remember attending a music festival, and a 95-year woman sitting next to me said how much she loved music.”

Much of folk music is carried on from generation to generation vocally and through instrumental performance. Composers draw upon those tunes to capture cultural and values. Both Chopin and Bartok based compositions on homeland dances, and shared their musical heritages with other nations. Tomoko points out, “The folk inspiration fostered music that came from the heart, and yet how the composers built upon that folk music helped them express their own individuality.”

Folk music brings about a feeling of belonging, and helps share our identity.  It both binds people together, and frees them to be themselves.

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