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A note to the rest of the world

July 16, 2013

Our approach to music is so fully a part of the way we live our lives that is difficult to convey all dimensions simply through recordings, although we hope listeners react with a certain positive je ne sais quoi when they hear us.  Live performances are always more effective because the listener is more readily drawn into what we call our “bubble” and pulled along with other active participants in the give-and-take that is an authentic musical experience.

We approach our music as an extension of our values, which admittedly lean towards an appreciation for the ‘unremembered kindnesses’, a readiness to see the humor in the absurdities of life, and a spiritual awareness that defines the sort of integrated lives that our ancestors surely lived.

While we, both as human beings and as performers, are not likely to lose our particular values anytime soon, we are forced to acknowledge that the cultural milieu that once enabled us to present our music to receptive listeners has changed dramatically.  Rampant commercialism, competitiveness, and a pervasive acquisitiveness seem to have become default settings for l’homme public, and these unfortunate traits have seeped into our culture in a way that colors the intuitive humanity of nearly every interaction.   Somehow, the sad result in our country is the suppression of an inherently generous spirit which seems to have been replaced by a meanspiritedness, particularly evident in our leadership here in the US.

At a recent house concert, one of our favorite modes of performance, it was interesting to note that nearly all members of the audience were persons not originally from the US: We see time and again that Europeans and Asians simply have a deeper appreciation and respect for the arts.  We see this same phenomenon in the number of international readers who regularly visit this blog, which far and away outstrips the number of US readers.  To add to our puzzlement, we experience a certain lack of cooperativeness, civility and collegiality from some in the US early music community, from which we can only infer that our musical efforts are less than welcome.

We would like to state to our international readers that we begin to understand from personal experience how the stereotyped ‘Ugly American’ image took root and still thrives, and we ask that you please not tar us all with the same brush.  Some of us here are just as mystified as you are by the unpleasantness that characterizes our national identity.  We do our personal best to encourage kindness and collegiality, and we are embarrassed by the crassness we see around us and which projects out towards the rest of the planet.

We wish we could change the attitude that emanates from our bellicose leaders but our best efforts simply seem to have no effect: While there are ample funds available for listening in on every single electronic communication on the planet, there seems to be very little interest in the installation of a Congressional voice and lute duo.  We apologize for the dishonorable actions of our leaders, who appear to be merely manipulative, power-hungry and completely driven by commercial interests.  Maybe if they listen to us for a while, our music will change them.  We wish.

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