Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Music as a Literacy Event: Exploration Three - Matthew George

Words are words: black markings indicating a message encoded into language. So how is it then that a person is able to implant into one's mind the experience of sight, sound, and feeling of a place they have never visited? This is the triumph Dave Marsh achieves in his essay "Fortunate Son" through the expansive descriptive details of his setting and the entities that inhabit it. Although words may only be words, how he uses them conveys the world(s) he saw with his eyes at a young age. I use the term "world(s)" based on his experience with the Smokey Robinson song "You Really Got a Hold on Me", specifically the lines "These singers spoke  for me as well as to me, and that what they felt and were able to cope with, the deep sorrow, remorse, anger, lust and compassion that bubbled beneath the music, I would also be able to feel and contain. This intimate revelation was what I gleaned from those three minutes of music, and when they were finished and I climbed out of that bunk and walked out the door, the world looked different." The ability to describe how life changing as something as simple as a single song could be is the point where his writing truly excels. Because this is life changing this is admittedly one of-if not-the most significant event to occur in the entire span of his life even beyond when he first heard this song to today, it is at this point that Dave Marsh is writing about what many other figures would call their divine intervention, the moment that defines their lives even beyond their deaths and into the records of history. The significance of the event is the reasoning behind why his writing transcends the rest of the essay at this point: He is trying to explain this part because this is not only the most important part of his essay but also his life.

If you were to name the genres of music that exist, there would be a genre most people would gloss over-that is if they haven't forgotten it. This is a genre that has little purpose in our world beyond a certain point in our lives, but is far more powerful than many songs we may ever listen to after that turning point. This genre is the Lullaby, and no other artist excels in this field that the melancholic yet tranquil magic of Itoki Hana. Itoki is a Japanese college student achieving a degree in music, born in 1993, she could be easily compared to any college student attending OSU or any other college. If she can be so easily compared than how is it that she is able to construct, as an architect of sound, music that surpasses an infinite number of other artists simply because their songs are trite, existing in some format already identical to one another with their lyrics, beats, and messages? Years ago during a Public Speaking class assignment to talk about a song that struck a cord with you, I used Itoki Hana's "Shadow" (The first original song she ever uploaded to the internet, as her previous works were lullaby remixes of already existing songs), claiming that it was the lullaby that could tame even the most wild and violent of beasts, To this day I still believe that original idea. Like the three minutes that forever changed Dave Marsh's world, the 3 minutes and 33 seconds of this song forever changed my view of the world. It proved to me that even in our hectic, hate and anger favoring, speed and convenience riddled Makai, there is still a place for slow and tranquil to exist.

Here's a link to the song for those interested in listening to it.
The cover art for "Shadow" created by her friend Pekosola. The image is a perfect representation of how her songs are: The candle representing tranquility against the cold empty vastness of  infinite space.

Footnote: Makai is the Buddhist depiction of Hell, however unlike our typical depiction where suffering is infinite, Makai acts more like a prison where one is allowed to transcend after they have served their sentence. I often refer to our world as Makai with our eventual deaths being the end of our imprisonment.


  1. I like the introduction of the music genre, it is very engaging. I think the music you are interested in is really cool and different in a good way.

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