Usually I write about something in the news relating to art, music, dance or design, but that’s because I don’t regularly have interactions with those subjects. At least not in ways worth writing about.
However, I went to a small show for the musician Scott H. Biram on February 4 at a venue called The Social in Orlando, Fla., and was thrilled to have a topic to write about that I’d also been part of.
I knew nothing about this artist before going to the show, but was immediately drawn to his sound because of the way it mixed different genres. Changes in his voice, guitar rhythm and lyrics in general brought in a range of blues, country and rock.
Many artists incorporate other genres into their songs, and apparently the idea has famously been part of music since Aerosmith and Run-DMC composed “Walk This Way,” but recently more and more genres seem to be “mashed” together by more and more artists.
Sometimes the most unexpected pairings make pretty interesting sound. While rap and rock aren’t the most unexpected sounds to be mixed, and they are actually the genres that were mixed by Aerosmith and Run-DMC, listening to the two together still has a surprising freshness everytime I hear a new hit incorporating the two.
A mix that does catch me off guard every time I hear it, however, is rap and country, or similar to Biram’s sound, rock and country.
When you think about it though, most people, including artists, probably don’t listen to just one musical genre. A rising musician probably draws from multiple influences, and perhaps those influences are often from various, seemingly unconnected points on the musical spectrum.
American culture isn’t the only culture to mix music. In fact, much like we’ve begun to consider rap/rock it’s own genre, a music style called “world fusion” has been a phenomenon in different parts of the world for a while now.
World fusion is “cross-cultural musical collaborations that fuse Western pop with indigenous pop and folk traditions from around the world,” and has a pretty extensive history and brings together a wide array of music.
The New York Times wrote a review of a world fusion show that describes both the music and the atmosphere pretty well. With such worldwide popularity, it seems surprising that there aren’t more reviews of these shows and that most videos posted online are grainy and unrefined.
But maybe that’s the look and appeal to this type of music. It involves rustic musical influences, and perhaps the artists wish to keep that feel to the music as a whole.