by Frank French
What is Terra Verde? || Why Terra Verde? || The Secrets of Terra Verde
Terra Verde is a music and a movement that must rise out of the wreckage of exploitation. Today art and music critics seem dismayed that the scene before them seems so shallow and so stagnant. Witness a recent article by Steven Winn in the San Francisco Chronicle (Thursday January 9, 2003). It stands to reason that people who have used all their energy to get into the media spotlight hardly have any energy left over to create anything. Why should critics be surprised that the art and music scene seems so vacuous?
The creative artist finds it increasingly difficult to operate within the confines of such a scene, and this message has been rendered before. To some it may sound like Europe on the eve of World War I: a culturally exhausted and spent society looking for a conflict arising out of boredom.
Two important ingredients that can help change this cultural malaise are creativity and participation. The solo instrumental idiom that has thus far dominated music known as Terra Verde may find its voice in individual reflection and contemplation. Still, to flourish and be appreciated it needs involvement of people to manifest the conditions for it to be heard. Eventually it must expand into the realm of ensemble music as well in order to involve more musicians.
Producing a festival to celebrate music provides one focal point for expression and appreciation, for creation and re-creation with respect to Terra Verde music. To galvanize a group of people into action so that such an event might come about seems to present a formidable challenge, especially in the current cultural climate fostered largely by mass media. Such a media promotes fear, isolation, dissension, violence and destructive behavior.
Any movement contrary to the present status-quo must be considered as counter-cultural. Certainly significant changes for the better have to be brought about in the culture of a group, a nation, or a planet. If you feel renewed after attending a musical event featuring Terra Verde Music, than you probably have a different feeling than you might get from a sports event, a Hollywood movie, or watching television. If the feeling of renewal is valuable to you, then you should do what you can to attain it on a more regular basis. This is the nature of art. It doesn't need any special status to be conferred on it by the kind of media that leaves you with an empty feeling. There can be no substitute for the kind of interaction that takes place when people gather together to hear and appreciate this music. The formulation of a focal point, be it a concert, a festival, or some other kind of musical event, becomes in itself an act of creation. It requires time and effort, and makes for a very intense social environment. Anyone who has ever had such close and intense experience in connection with this music does not need to be reminded of its importance or significance.
The composers and performers who offer this music can't operate in a vacuum. Outside forces always affect the ability to create, spark the imagination, inspire the creator. Also, the individual creator may become attuned to a kind of super-consciousness that affects a group so in tune with an imaginative force. When these forces act together, as they have in the past and will in the future, humanity is on the brink of a great age in art. Ideas seem to float in the air, into the mind of the creator and then out into the world entering the general consciousness in this case through the ears.
Right now, however let us recognize where we are, and think about where we would like to be. I submit that the super-culture surrounding us is in a state of decline, largely fed by over consumption, a proliferation of cheap ideas and cheap entertainment, and a general state of excess. The music floating on top of this mass of rubbish is trite and forgettable. People are finding it difficult can sustain such shoddy merchandise as witnessed by the disastrous recent "holiday shopping season" in which people refused to buy all the junk that was presented to them.
The Terra Verde awakening must find a way out of this scrap heap of industrial non-musical waste and align itself with the consciousness of the future, which is necessarily based in survival and sustainablity. These are concrete concepts and a substantive music goes along with the arousal of the spirit. Why else would composers look to the empty spaces uncluttered by civilization for inspiration? As a perfect example you might take Scott Kirby's Charboneau, a piece of music conceived in a ghost town.
Now, let the involvement start. The creation of the Terra Verde Website and newsletter provides a forum for dialogue, views, and potentially, action.