Many years ago, I spent a slightly surreal weekend on the Howqua River in north east Victoria, where, as luck would have it, there was both a mountain cattleman’s gathering and a big enclave of environmental activists holding campaign workshops. Our camps squeezed closer together as the crowds packed in along Sheepyard Flat, and the initial distrust dissolved on the second or third night as we found some common cause in shared music around the fire.
It was one of those nights to remember. I recall that we got on famously, that many songs were traded, and various social lubricants were consumed. What I most remember was the music.
Music is one of those things that defines culture. Any authentic culture has its own music, songs that grow from who its people are and how they live, and also the place they live in. There’s nothing wrong with playing other people’s songs, but almost everything I heard that night was from somewhere else.