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Music for America: Sountrack of the Transformation

     Music for America is a phenomenon to notice, improvising its own path into the Internet Age.  I hear it as “MeetUp, the Musical” with a young dancing pulse.  Or a sort of soundtrack to Jim Moore’s Second Superpower.  The idea of Music for America crystallized, as the Second Superpower did, around the worldwide protests last February 15 before the preemptive smashing of Baghdad.  “The amazing thing was that we didn’t make a dent in the media at the time,” said one of the MFA originals Franz Hartl, at the left, in conversation.  “There was non-coverage of the millions of people around the world who said: this is going to be a mistake.”  So they are back to haunt the people who ignored them.  “The idea of relying on the media to broadcast a message for you was not working any more,” Hartl said.  “We had to look for alternatives…  We’re trying to look at what comes after protest.”

     “The importance of the Web,” said his sidekick Dan Droller, at the right, “was that it provided a place where we could have the public sphere develop and coalesce.  I think John Dewey would say it’s the return of The Public, the idea that we actually can come together and form ideas in this common place.”

     Part One: This was a quick sobering up of kids attuned to parties, not politics.  “We’re talking to my friends,” Dan Droller went on, “like me.  Fat, dumb and happy in the sense that I just liked going to shows, hanging out with friends.  I voted, but that was all.”  The trigger to action was discovering that broadcast politics is failing young people above all.  “The gap between broadcast news and reality awakened us.” 

     Part Two: So Music for America has embraced a multiplicity of American musics–bluegrass, jazz, rock, hip-hop and electronica–to bring the language of youth, passion and fun into the civic square.  “You know, I’ve got some friends in bands,” said Dan Droller, distilling the spirit of MFA.  “Why don’t we throw some shows to get more people to know about…”  His issues list runs from the Iraq war and the drug war to music copyrights and file sharing, media consolidation, the environment and higher education.  Kid stuff, in short, of keen interest to a vast swath of citizens who normally stay home on election days.

     Why organize youth who don’t vote?  “Because old people died,” Franz Hartl said. 

     Dan Droller: “Our friends, our peers, know they’re hurting to pay rent or to get health insurance, and are just worried about that.  That’s a good thing that they already know about it.  We want to show them there’s this whole world that does affect them.”

     Their slogan is “Music and Other Social Causes.”  Their ideal is “open-source politics.”  Their goal is participation.  “It’s about the end of broadcast and control.”  Among their signal contributions so far is prompting me to lay a first musical bed under my blog conversation.   Special thanks here to the loop meister Ben Walker of “Your Radio Nightlight” for insinuating some free tracks from the MFA site around and between the words. Listen up to Parts One and Two.  And get down!


{ 18 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | December 5, 2003 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey, great blog! Just a small correction, though: The MfA slogan is “Music and other Social Causes.”


  2. Anonymous | December 5, 2003 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Oops. My post,and I, stand corrected. Thanks, Chris Lydon

  3. Anonymous | December 19, 2003 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Lydon,

    My Christmas gift to myself this year has been listening to your interviews.

    It was very heartening to listen to the music of Mr. Hartl and Mr. Droller. John Dewey was the father of many children, and in listening to this interview I came away with a very good sense that his progeny are alive and well. This spirit of participation and communication resonates, I think, with a real public that is really out there.


  4. Anonymous | January 5, 2005 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

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  5. Konstantinos | November 27, 2007 at 1:44 am | Permalink


  6. Adonis | January 16, 2008 at 7:54 am | Permalink


  7. Dion | February 2, 2008 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Sorry 🙁

  8. Guitar | December 17, 2008 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    For fantastic music My music blog

  9. RickVallen | March 13, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Nice post and blog
    Thanks for sharing

  10. Mariage Marocain | March 19, 2009 at 7:50 am | Permalink


  11. Derek McCrea | September 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Amazing collection of interviews. I listened to the first couple and I must agree with you. Great story.

  12. Kimo | July 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Super amazing collections there…. nice interviews… very nice stories.

    Niche for Newbies

  13. GUPI Tech Tips/New | October 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. Great casual readings all over this site.

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    Hi lydondev, good blog to read about “Sountrack of the Transformation by American Music…

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    Dan Droller: “Our friends, our peers, know they’re hurting to pay rent or to get health insurance, and are just worried about that. That’s a good thing that they already know about it. We want to show them there’s this whole world that does affect them.”

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