Sunday, January 02, 2011

Gungor on the Christian Music Category

After listening to Gungor (as mentioned in the previous post) Amanda did some browsing around and discovered their blog. She read their most recent post out loud to me and I just thought it was too thought provoking not to share. It's called "Why the Christians music category shouldn't exist." I've heard similar thoughts expressed before but seldom have I found them so well articulated and even more seldom have I heard them from the mind of someone who's in the "Christian music category."
"There is no other music that is labeled by the lifestyle choices of the artist or the philosophical or religious content of its lyrics. There is no “atheist” music section. There is no “hopeful agnostic” industry. You don’t walk in looking for the newest Rufus Wainwright cd, only to be pointed to the “gay section in the back.” That would be ridiculous and offensive. Why categorize someone’s music by whether that person is gay or straight, republican or democrat, optimistic or pessimistic, or whether or not he or she believes in intelligent life on other planets? Is it not just as ridiculous to categorize someone’s music by whether they believed that Jesus rose from the dead or not?"
And why does it matter?...
"this categorization hurts the art. Because this category exists, it comes with baggage. Imagine if you were a Republican, and you really believed Republican values, but you found out that if you wanted to make a record that it would be placed in the small Republican Music section in the back of the store. That might effect how you make the music…"
It's really worth reading the entire post. I just had to share it with you. What they're making must be more than just "Christian music" if they're thinking about their work with this kind of depth.

4 comments:

Danny Kam said...

his arguments are interesting, but my only caveat would be that we label music by the type of person who writes it all the time (i.e., if an Irish person writes music with Irish influence we call it Irish Music).

Also, to add on to his point, it is surprising how many musicians like Lady Gaga and others hire people specifically for image. I was surprised to find that a large amount of money is paid towards a publicist to, in a sense, "control" the image protrayed by the artist. It is very interesting business indeed.

WES ELLIS said...

snow Patrol is from Ireland and I've never referred to their music as "Irish Music." Irish music is a style... Christian music is lots of styles. I think that makes it unique.

Danny Kam said...

That's what I meant by "with Irish influence," sorry for the miscommunication. What I mean to say was those who write in the tradition of Irish music and in the Irish style are called "Irish Singers." They are labeled by where they come from. I just felt that his references to Rufus Wainwright and what-not where a little bit of a straw man. I guess other examples would Indian Music or music made in the style and tradition of India are called Indian music in the same way that Arabic pop is always called Arabic pop because of where it comes from. In the same way, Christian music is called Christian music because of "where it comes from." I don't know if that makes sense.

WES ELLIS said...

Ok. I don't quite understand your argument but I think that what Gungor is talking about is on a different level. Christian music is multi-stylistic, multi-cultural, and multi-traditional. I don't think it's fair for music to be called "Christian." But I think I'm just repeating Gungor's argument.