Having The Weavers as a musical blueprint meant that from the beginning I got the message - however subconsciously - that music was about cultural exchange, internationalist interpretation, and radical politics. The Weavers were white, English-speaking, highly educated Americans, and yet some of their songs were in Spanish and Hebrew, some of their songs were written by Latin American revolutionaries, South African poets, and African American laborers. They identified as “American folksingers” and yet their America was different from McCarthy’s, different from Jim Crow’s and different from suburbia. Their America was a provisional, ideal America where racial difference did not mean racial persecution, where rights and social welfare were not selective, where, as their partner-in-folk-crime Woody Guthrie would sing, the land belonged to everyone, from the Native Americans it was taken from to the poor black, white and Mexican farmers who now worked its fields.
This idea of being a stranger among sounds immediately seemed a fitting way to understand how identity and listening work and, especially in the context of “American” music and “American” culture, a fitting way to approach the study of music’s relationship to the production of listening subjects, citizens of pop music’s myriad republics of sound. Popular music has always been my refuge because it is the refuge of strangers; because in the world of popular music, we are all strangers among sounds made by others."
— These are two excerpts from the introduction of Audiotopia by Josh Kun… It’s a ton of information to digest, but so far Kun’s goal of exploring race and America through music has been incredibly fascinating. I highly recommend picking up the book if you feel like learning something new from a unique, socially conscious perspective.