Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Accordions and accordions increasing awesome
Last Sunday there was an openair concert in Helsinki at the Esplanad's park. What made this concert particularly awesome was that the players were a collection of romanian street musicians that had been reqruited for this special occasion from their normal posts all around the town. That is, they're immigrants from Romania who fled here, because they were evicted from their homes in their "own country" without notice and without any sort of government support to keep them from living on the streets and starving to death. Their government just doesn't do that sort of thing. "Own country" in quotations since treating your citizens like that makes you suspect of actually deserving to have citizens and also because I don't want to promote the distinction of us and them. There's no us and them, there's only ever us. (Thank you, John Green)
For a mildly chilly Sunday evening, there were surprisingly many people attending and even more surprisingly, people were moving to the rhythm of the music. This does not happen in Finland, people. Like, ever. Not without cupious amounts of booze. And yet it did. There was polite aplauding when familiar Finnish tunes were played, but what got people really going was when the musicians were asked to perform their own music, to display their culture. There was actual dancing in the audience.
I could not even make this up. Reality just suckerpunched me with a giant wad of roses.
So what were we left with from this concert? That when you run into a street musician, ask them to play something. Talk to them and if they're so inclined, ask them to play things that are dear to them and not to you because you can't imagine the emotion they pour into a song like that. Ask them where they're from and address them accordingly (or better yet, address them by their given name) because calling someone a gypsy just because they're a traveller and assuming that that's their culture and personality is almost as bad as using that N-word. There are travelers and nomads all over the world, and they have their own names and customs that might or might not have similarities.There's also the bit where you realise that instead of trying to beat people into getting a job they would get on their own if they spoke the language but can't get now because they don't, we might want to concentrate on figuring out how to solve the communication issue because most people would still rather contribute to any society than waste away their life.
Oh and I also learned that there are different kinds of accordions. Which I should know considering that grandpa used to play one and we're in the heartland of depressing accordion music. Well, maybe not the heartland. Kind of a little to the left and down from the actual hearland. But close enough.