Over a few glasses of red wine and with a fire crackling in the fireplace, an old friend and I had an interesting conversation about music the other night. His taste in music is somewhat to the left of mine, in the sense that he likes heavy metal and rock. I also love certain types of rock music, but I can equally well enjoy a brilliant piece of classical music.
As the hours went by the conversation drifted on to how certain types of music could withstand the test of time and how others simply faded away over the years. While many people of my age still enjoy the music of the Beetles, Pink Floyd, Queen and Abba, the music created by the generation before them seems to have disappeared from the airwaves.
I might be wrong, perhaps there are still people listening to Jim Reeves and Bing Cosby, but I don’t know any of them.
I remember my grandma used to listen to these tear-jerker old 78s telling stories of lost love, pain and melancholy. That’s what I remember of the music of that generation: it was filled with sadness and grief. Maybe it’s because they lived through the suffering of a World War, something which I hope we never have to endure.
Next we reminisced about a holiday we spent together in South Africa two years ago, where we came into contact with what the people there call ‘Boeremusiek’ – melancholy tunes created using a concertina and one or more guitars. At its very core it’s folk music carried from generation to generation by a dedicated group of followers.
We put on a CD we bought at one of those performances and sat listening to the strangely emotional sounds deep into the night.