Global Replay

Global Replay is inspired in part by Playback Theatre, which has an annual event called Global Playback.  More specifically and directly, this genre is inspired by songs of transformation, such as the Overture to Django Reinhardt's Mass, Anouman, and Manoir de mes Reves, John Coltrane's Alabama, and Lenny Breau's Vision and Ebony Queen.  Colin eyes the world through the lens of the harmonic triad, an aural icon of an attuned humanity.  This genre is a work in process.  The phrase What's wrong with this picture? is used to draw attention to the fact that a situation has something glaringly wrong with it.  Example: "The weatherman predicted sunshine today, but there are gale force winds outside.  What's wrong with this picture?"

"People from different nations and different times hear differently.  They also see differently.  And taste and smell differently." (The Third Ear: On Listening to the World, Joachim-Ernst Berendt, 65)  Frantz Fanon: "I embrace the world!  I am the world!  The white man has never understood this magical substitution.  The white man wants the world: he wants it for himself.  He discovers he is the predestined master of the world.  He enslaves it.  His relationship with the world is one of appropriation." (Black Skin, White Masks, 106)

"Successive generations should not be at the same level as previous ones.  There should be an overall upwards progression.  If there is not, then the reasons for this lack of mobility and actualization need to be analyzed, articulated and then annihilated.  To me, wasted Black potential takes away not only from our race, but from the prosperity and evolution of the entire human race."  Junetta Jamerson, a fifth-generation descendant of a Black-American family that settled in Wildwood, Alberta in 1911.

Coltrane's vision is suggested at 4:44 of Alabama, when he hits the only major third, corresponding, I think, to the word [new] day (of Luther King Jr.'s text), synonomous with major tonality, as night is synonomous with minor tonality in Coltrane's musical vision.  "He will remake us…He always has and He always will.  God breathes through us so completely…so gently we hardly feel it…yet, it is our everything.  ELATION – ELEGANCE – EXALTATION – All from God."

"As long as we remain among the whites, the Negro will believe that the devil is black and that he (the Negro) favors the devil, and that God is white and that he (the Negro) bears no resemblance to Him, and the effects of such a sentiment is contemptuous and degrading."  Bishop Henry M. Turner: "God is a Negro", 1898

LeRoi Jones, Blues People: "From the very beginning of Afro-American culture in North America, there have always been Negroes who thought that the best way for the black man to survive was to cease being black.  First, it was the stench, of Africa these aspirant Americans wanted to erase; then, the early history of the Negro in America....It was the growing black middle class who believed that the best way to survive in America would be to disappear completely, leaving no trace at all that there had ever been an Africa, or a slavery, or even, finally, a black man.  This was the only way, they thought, to be citizens." (Blues People, 124)  "The middle-class churches were always pushing for the complete assimilation of the Negro into white America.  Middle-class Baptist and Methodist churches strove with all their might to do away with any of the black appropriations of Christianity that rural Southern Negroes had affected.  A white Christianity was, after all, the reason for the existence of these churches, and their directors always kept this in their minds.  Many churches 'split' once they moved north because of conflicts that arose among the members as to whether they wanted the church 'black' or 'white.'  Many of the new emigrants had to set up churches of their own because they were not welcome in the black middle-class [125] churches of the North." (126)

Huey P. Newton: "The lower socio-economic Black male is a man of confusion.  He faces a hostile environment and is not sure that it is not his own sins that have attracted the hostilities of society.  All his life he has been taught (explicitly and implicitly) that he is an inferior approximation of humanity.  As a man, he finds himself void of those things that bring respect and a feeling of worthiness.  He looks around for something to blame for his situation, but because of negativistic parental and institutional teachings, he ultimately blames himself....It is a two-headed monster that haunts this man."  Newton defines this "monster" as an internal contradiction.  "First, his attitude is that he lacks the innate ability to cope with the socio-economic problems confronting him, and second, he tells himself that he has the abil[131]ity, but simply has not felt strongly enough to try to acquire the skills needed to manipulate his environment." (Newton Reader, 131-132)

"He is confused and in a constant state of rage, of shame, of doubt....This doubt begins at a very early age and continues throughout his life.  The parents pass it on to the child and the social system reinforces the fear, the shame, the doubt....With whom, with what, can he, a man, identify?  As a child he had no permanent male figure with whom to identify; as a man, he sees nothing in society with which he can identify as an extension of himself.  His life is built on mistrust, shame, doubt, guilt, inferiority, role confusion, isolation and despair.  He feels that he is something less than a man, and it is evident in his conversation: 'The White man is "THE MAN," he got everything, and he knows everything, and a nigger ain't [132] nothing.'....He is dependent on the White man ('THE MAN') to feed his family, to give him a job, educate his children, serve as the model that he tries to emulate.  He is dependent and he hates 'THE MAN' and he hates himself.  Who is he?  Is he a very old adolescent or is he the slave he used to be?  'What did he do to be so Black and blue?'"  (fear and doubt: May 15, 1967; from Newton Reader, 132-133)

"The Black Panther Party has chosen materialist assumptions on which to ground its ideology."  (181)  "The dialectical materialist believes that everything in existence has fundamental internal contradictions.  For example, the African gods south of the Sahara always had at least two heads, one for evil and one for good.  Now people create God in their own image...So the African said, in effect: I am both good and evil: good and evil are the two parts of the thing that is me.  This is an example of an internal contradiction.  Western societies, though, split up good and evil, placing God up in heaven and the Devil down in hell.  Good and evil fight for control over people in Western religions, but they are two entirely different entities.  This is an example of an external contradiction.  

This struggle between mutually exclusive opposing tendencies within everything that exists explains the observable fact that all things have motion and are in a constant state of transformation.  Things transform themselves because while one tendency or force is more dominating than another, change is nonetheless a constant, and at some point the balance will alter and there will be a new qualitative development."  (intercommunalism: February 1971; The Huey P. Newton Reader, 182)  Newton oversimplifies ethics in Western religions.

From an interview with Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panter Party: “Racism began when the Europeans met the Africans, and I have my own conclusions as to what happened during that time, some conclusions that I’ve drawn about it, and I think that it goes so deeply psychologically, it goes into the difference in the culture of the European and the culture of the African and particularly in how the European worships.  The European had this one god that he defined as all good.  He was created in the image of this god.  And, of course, god can do no wrong, and since he was like god, he could do no wrong.  As far as sexual drives and so forth, this had no place in god’s mind, so therefore it should have no place in the European’s mind.  But this was a [549] big deviation from human nature, discounting sex drives.  So he looked for witches and everything else to blame his own human nature on.  Since he couldn’t fall beneath the grace of god, he had to be able to say, No, I’m not causing this within myself, so someone else must be. 

Then you have the contact with Africans who always had a god who was both good and bad.  In Africa the religious system is called Dualism, in Europe you had Absolutism.  And in Africa South of the Sahara where most black people came from you had Dualism, where the god had two or more heads, one good head and one bad head, and the Africans were created in god’s own image.  When he was out of the grace of the good head, he would try to manipulate to get back in so that the bad head couldn’t do him any wrong.  But, the African recognized himself as both bad and good.  He had self acceptance.  He didn’t need to put his human drives off on other people.  When the European met the African this was a good person for him to say these people are vulgar, these people are pagan, and every other kind of derogatory word.  It had nothing to do at that present moment with anything economical, it was simply a difference of culture and a sick mentality in the Europeans.  And I think you have the European coming to America and creating the American colony and bringing this psychological sickness with him.  As far as an economic structure changing his sick mind, I doubt if this would happen.  He needs a psychiatrist or some mental therapy.” (Black Nationalism in America, 550)

"Why did Europeans choose the Africans South of the Sahara to enslave?  Now, some accounts I read by Basil Davidson and Melville J. Herskovits stated that the priests in Spain said don't enslave those Africans North of the Sahara because they worship one god.  But it's all right to ensalve Africans South of the Sahara because they are pagans and not human as they lack a soul.  So, what happened?  They needed this justification to condone their economic exploitation, but this sort of ran haywire.  Afterwards, it starts being imbedded so that the economic structure can go on and black people don't have souls and now you run into a problem where people who don't understand the economic situation still have been imbedded with the value system that black is bad, black is evil." (551)

Robert Bone: “The American Negro[‘s]…dark skin has come to be associated, at some buried level of the white psyche, with those forbidden impulses and hidden terrors which the white man is afraid to face.  The unremitting daily warfare of American race relations must be understood in these symbolic terms.  By projecting the ‘blackness’ of his own being upon the dark skin of his Negro victim, the white man hopes to exorcise the chaotic forces that threaten to destroy him from within.” (The Negro Novel in America, 229)

In an 1897 article, Strivings of the Negro People, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote: “[It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.]  One ever feels his two-ness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.  The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, - this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self.  In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost.  He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa.  He does not wish to bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he believes…that Negro blood has yet a message for the world.  He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon.” (xxv, Introduction, Black Nationalism in America)

Paul Gilroy on Du Boi's double consciousness: "Double consciousness emerges from the unhappy symbiosis between three modes of thinking, being, and seeing.  The first is racially particularisitic, the second nationalistic in that it derives from the nation state in which the ex-slaves but not-yet-citizens find themselves, rather than from their aspiration towards a nation state of their own.  The third is diasporic or hemispheriec, sometimes global and occasionally universalist." (Black Atlantic, 127)  

"The peculiar develpment of African culture in North America began with the loss of the drums.  The Protestant, and often Puritan, slave owners interfered much more radically with the personal life of their slaves than did their Catholic colleagues in the West Indies or in South America.  The slaves were allowed no human dignity and their cultural past was ignored; or else it was considered a humane task to educate them into being 'better' human beings, and this process was initiated by teaching them to be ashamed of their African heritage.  And to forbid the drums was to show a keen scent for the essential: for without the drums it was impossible to call the orishas, the ancestors were silent, and the proselytizers seemed to have a free hand.  The Baptists and Methodists, whose practical maxims and revivals were sympathetic to African religiosity quickly found masses of adherents." (Janheinz Jahn, Muntu, 217; from Bill Cole, John Coltrane, 24)

I think where I'm going with this is to explore metaphysical, ethical, and aesthetic values of musical structures.  Europeans have traditionally associated the cadence from the blues chord to the 'perfect' major chord of nature with a moral transition from evil to good, yet some Africans and Afro-Americans have identified with the blues chord and / or the minor pentatonic 'blues' scale, hence Jones' book, Blues People.  How do musicians manifest DuBois' double consciousness in their work?  Django, Coltrane, Breau, and other musicians deal with these issues in different ways.  To be continued.  (This topic is continued in the chapter, Breau's Polychordal Deity, on the webpage, The Last Gig of Lenny Breau.)