". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, September 7, 2007

requiem for katrina

ATale of God's Will (a requiem for katrina), on the jazz label, Blue Note, is mostly composed, conducted, produced by trumpeter-composer, Terrence Blanchard. This album is an expansion of the music he wrote for Spike Lee's HBO series, When the Levees Broke. He includes new material on this expansion of the sound track by members of his band. It's been what we've been listening to most since the end of August, i.e. the anniversary of the breaking of the New Orleans's levees, sometimes several times in a single day.

This is a difficult period. It's now the interregnum between the two great catastrophe-disasters of our entwined lives, between August 29th and September 11, both of which changed our lives and those of the people we are most close to, for the rest of our days. Both of these disasters, if not exactly caused by the current political regime, were made infinitely worse by their actions and non-actions both.

These are the watershed for us: before we were still young; after, we no longer were.

So then it seems appropriate that this album is just a bit more movie score-ish in places than we would normally like. The music of our lives, our national lives, as heard by a movie composer.

The cuts:

Ghost of Congo Square
Wading Through
In Time of Need
Ghost of Betsy
The Water
Mantra Intro
Over There
Ghost of 1927
Funeral Dirge
Dear Mom

There is a great deal of history embedded in these titles, if you know New Orleans and the Mississippi River history. For example, "Ghost of 1927" refers to the great floods of 1927 and 1928 when the entire Mississippi drainage system, from the Missouri Platt on down over-topped the banks and levees, concluding with the deliberate dynamiting of the levees that drowned (black) thousands in the lower parishes of Louisiana, to save the property of the capitalists.


Graeme said...

I remember when the whole thing happened, people up here were talking about the difference between how people reacted in Grand Forks' flood and New Orleans'. It stunk of racism, the two weren't even close in scale.

Many of the people that lost their homes were working people. This country doesn't want to admit their is a class of working poor.

Graeme said...

damn it!

"there is a class of working poor" I mean