In The New York Times today, Lori Gottlieb, a bestselling author, practicisng psychotherapist and contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthlyworries, "Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on a middle-class family’s well-being?"
At the beginning of this year, I had a grand ambition to explore world music and write about it. I got off to a pretty good start and then my year took a turn. For me, music is a happy experience and I haven’t had a particularly happy year. As a results, I’ve had almost zero interest in listening even to my favorites, let alone exploring new musical styles.
But 2009 is ending on a bit of a high note. I’m about to make a big change and in honor of that change, I’m resurrecting the world music series with a post in honor of my soon-to-be new home: Jakarta.
When you think about music and Argentina, do you immediately think tango?
You’re not alone. Argentina is known for unleashing the sexy style on the world in the early twentieth century. Over almost a hundred years, the tango has been an obsession of many, even leading to an explosion of tango-themed vacation tours.
It’s not surprising that few acts out of Papua New Guinea have found international recognition. The country is largely rural and connections are made difficult by the mountains and rainforests. Television is only readily available in the capital of Port Moresby and most of PNG is connected to the outside world only through government radio.
I’m not quite ready to let the inauguration of President Barack Obama be in the past, so this week, I’ve been looking into the music of Kenya, home of Obama’s father.
First up: Ken wa Maria, headliner of the Yatta Orchestra International Band, a popular Kamba act. wa Maria seems to be a bit larger than life, attracting as much attention for his controversial lyrics and his will-he-or-won’t-he-run political ambitions as for his music.
In honor of the 44th President, this week I went looking for some songs about the good ole US of A. There’s actually a current ranking of patriotic songs, which I must admit seems a little bizarre. But people listen to the nose flute, so who am I to judge?
Our resident Czech, Codegen86, tells me that I should spend several weeks sampling Czech music before reaching any sort of general conclusion, and I think he is probably right. But I just don't have that kind of time! I've at least been able to identify what I would consider three different broad categories of modern Czech music, though I'm sure I'm leaving many out.
My New Year’s resolution for 2009 is to keep myself entertained. And, I ask you, what could be more entertaining than launching a worldwide exploration of music together? We’ll be starting our tour in South America—specifically Brazil, because I have a special place in my heart for all things Brazilian.
Befitting such a large and geographically diverse country, the musical styles of Brazil run the gamut from Bossa Nova to Rap to Metal. But my favorite style, not just of Brazil, but of any music anywhere, is Samba.
Unemployment? Yes, 2 or 3 percent of the working-age population has dropped out of the labor force, but the headline unemployment rate is 5 percent. Wages? They've been stagnant since the turn of the century, but the average family still makes close to $70,000, more than nearly any other country in the world. Health care? Our system is a mess, but 90 percent of the country has insurance coverage. Dissatisfaction with the system? According to Gallup, even among those with incomes under $30,000, only 27 percent are dissatisfied with their personal lives. Like it or not, you don't build a revolution on top of an economy like this. Period.