Monday, October 10, 2011

We all got an old country...

I've been thinking more about the song I was referring to yesterday, "The Old Country".  I'm a Nancy Wilson nut.  She can sound so harsh and smooth at the same time.  I've been thinking about the song in a certain way.  Some background: I was teaching it to a group of students when I was the jazz vocal teacher at Maryland Summer Jazz Workshop this past July.  The students really didn't like the song that much and thought it was a downer, and couldn't really connect with it.  But I really love the song because I believe it's a story about our country: immigration.  With the exception of us black folks whose ancestors got off a different kind of boat, almost everyone else in this country has an "old country".  They look back at that place as either the place they are finally free of or a place of nostalgia where everything is beautiful.

This country has difficulty when people whose skins have color - - whether yellow, red, brown or black - - are perceived to be looking to share in a piece of the pie.  Unfortunately there are still some folks that just get truly pissed off at those of us with darker hues who happen to believe that America's streets are paved with gold and that perhaps we might want even just an earring or a hair clip or a few coins to help us and our progeny have a better life.  But that's what America's supposed to be all about, right?? 

This song is really more about some old guy looking back longingly at his life and the singer disdaining him and his life.  But it brings up the dichotomy between between the old and new: countries, technology, children... The last line is "you won't see your homeland except thru me".  Who is me?  Who has the control? Young people who are now in this country and don't want to leave because this is the only home they've known, border police who want to deport them, certain political parties who don't want them to come to the country in the first place, the media and how they portray their home country??...Or is it just a scorned lover whose just pissed like hell at this guy and has created the ultimate revenge of stripping this old man of all his humanity, ethnicity, pride...leaving only death as a solution.

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