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Hard Sell

Wheels of Cheese #55 – Karl Jenkins, The Peacemakers

peacemakersWell.

This is dreadful.

I did try to listen to this work with an open mind – there is no reason that populist classical music shouldn’t exist, and an infinite number of monkeys hammering away at ms paper wouldn’t only come up with the works of Schoenberg. But there are limits to one’s tolerance. Ten seconds into the first track I reached mine.

The cd is based on the idea that peace is good, which seems difficult to argue against, and therefore rather pointless to argue for. Jenkins presents for our consideration all the good folk who have become empty signifiers of peace – Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, you know the ones. The piece on Gandhi, as Jenkins points out in the liner notes, features an Indian flute and tabla. Nelson Mandela has, um, ‘African’ percussion (equivalent to saying ‘European’ guitar). Temple bells? That’d be the Dalai Lama then. And ‘echoes of the deep south’ for Martin Luther King. No ‘efnik’ music for Anne Frank – I guess neither Germany nor Judaism has a particularly significant folk musical heritage. Or is it, maybe, that Frank, is ‘one of us’?

Anyway, for almost two hours the choir hammers away, mostly in unison, at this idea that peace is good. And that peace, man, that was all that these people wanted. As Karl Jenkins says in the liner notes, quoting Rumi, ‘All religions, all singing one song: Peace be with you’.

Where to start?

 

 

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