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View Profile etherealwinds
Hey, I'm Jordi aka etherealwinds. I'm a vocalist, composer and Celtic harpist. I'm one half of the duo, Forest Elves (http://www.youtube.com/ForestElves). I'm also a serial procrastinator which means I don't make half as much music as I should.

Jordi Francis @etherealwinds

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Devon, England

Joined on 6/16/13

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Comments (9)

Like you said, there's valid points to be seen from both sides. Personally, I prefer separating the artist from the art because including it when it doesn't seem to have an effect reminds me a bit too much of American-Idol style sob-stories where their _background_ is supposed to make the art better. Not to say that it doesn't; there's some/quite a lot of cases where extra background adds quite a bit to the original piece, and provides new _perspective_ (pun intended). That being said, though, where to draw the line at "contributes to the art" or "needless" is a bit of a case-by-case basis.

If you ask me I'd be content with being represented always separately from the art I produce. I wouldn't want my other traits (being a "PoC" myself) being attached to them _unless_ it specifically had something to do with the final work.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, how many times is it that an artist has committed a crime (e.g. Tekashi69 for the most recent example in music, although there's many others in many other fields who are far less known whom I could talk about if you want) and their fans rush to their defence, claiming that the "art" should be separated from the "artist"?

And for good reason - would you want to subscribe to art that a criminal makes? Why should it matter? On the one hand, you could argue that being a criminal is something that anyone can choose to (not) be, whereas you can't say the same for things like belonging to a minority. On the other hand, you could argue that it provides unreasonable inconsistencies - you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Or I could just be talking out my ass. _shrug_

My opinion is there is no point mentioning race or sex.

This is an interesting post! Such headlines often irk me too. I think the extent to which an artist's identity influences their work is the sole factor one should use in determining whether to include that identity when talking about their art. If there's no significant connection, then I think one should forgo mentioning the "marginalized" identity, at least not as the first thing said about the person, because otherwise it might seem like the perpetrator is playing a demographics game rather than abiding by a meritocratic system.

Furthermore, I do think there are some very interesting stories out there about artists from poor backgrounds attaining success, but anyone can come from a poor background. I think focusing on disadvantaged people from specific backgrounds ignores the fact that there is still a lot of overlap between groups that are on opposite ends of the "privilege spectrum". Likewise, there are people from groups that are considered to be marginalized who have much more privilege than people from the most privileged groups.

If an article is ever written about my work, and it says anything about me being ethnically Jewish, I would probably be insulted, not because I have a problem with being a Jew, but because it has no significant connection to my work. I would think the author of such an article had an agenda that is not truly about celebrating or praising my work.

It doesn't have to be one or the other. There is always a time and a place to connect a work and its creator and there is a time and a place not to.

There are so many values at play here e.i. how much value people place in their own efforts, how much value one places in their personal identity, value in one's community, and of course, how willing one might be to devalue another's identity/community.

To make the case that race, gender, sexual orientation or any other aspect of a person's personal struggles should never be brought into context is erroneous for some things it absolutely matters and is informative toward having a complete understanding of the work in question.
On the opposite end to say that nothing can or should stand on its own merits is equally incorrect. I, and many others, surely can name a lot of good things of the top of my head, both creative and not, that can be taken as singular pieces of work and provide reasons for their goodness or meaning that are completely internal.

Unfortunately, there isn't a big broad strokes right or wrong answer to this one and there isn't even one that the world will completely agree is best because when it comes down to it what's best has a different meaning to everyone.
The best thing you can do is know where you want to fall along these lines and consume things and express yourself accordingly.

The "Wendy Carlos: Trans Woman, Kubrick Collaborator, and Synth-Music Pioneer" as you described it strikes me as something in the same vein as a musical biopic or one of those "behind the music" documentaries. This sort of thing happening really isn't new and while I generally don't have any interest in it I see why others would like to connect with another person through their life story. I've done it myself in other contexts.

The "Black female physicist pioneers technology that kills cancer cells with lasers" feels a little gratuitous to me but as far as whether mention her race and gender actually amount to any form of "marginalization" I can't say without anything to back it up. I'm hesitant to be dismissive of either side of the argument knowing there are a lot of lines drawn that are purely subjective based on things that I have no personal feeling for. I don't know, basically.

>Also, is there a difference in opinion between those that live a fairly privileged life, and those that have had to fight extra hard against marginalization to achieve their successes?
I don't doubt that there is a strong influence. Like I said earlier people place different values in different things and those values fundamentally have to be shaped in some way. Struggles is definitely a powerful influence. That's just how it goes.

>Should it not be a good thing for me to be free to express and celebrate that?
It's a great thing. When it comes down to art, and as an artist myself, I like to think of the things I make as something fully formed when I release it and if I've done my job it'll say the things I wanted it to say but at the end of the day it's all rooted in who I am as a person. But I have accepted that not all forms of expression are or have to be like that and for some, they simply can't be that way. The unfortunate part about that is that people won't always look at what we make from the same perspective. And that's just something we have to accept to.

I'll admit to not knowing where I stand on this, as a musician in general yes, but especially as a drummer.

Deep inside, if anyone should ever look up to me, I'd like to be a kind of person that all can draw inspiration from. Male, female or NB, cis or trans, whatever one's sexuality, ethnicity, religious belief or lack thereof, or life circumstances. So I feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, referring to myself as a "female drummer," because that term seems loaded, it seems to carry a stigma that somehow, I'm not qualified enough to match my male counterparts.

And yet, me being a woman and a minority, having endured what I have, carries with it a strength that needs talking about, that would help broaden other people's perspectives — because not many would think like us minorities do, for example — so it is a means of reaching out to our fellow man, hoping that some communication and empathy would result from this sharing.

I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Aziz Ibrahim today; I played drums and he played guitar. His circumstances are, to some extent, not far off from mine — and he describes an anger, a fire burning in him that he channelled into this musical, positive energy. And I think that is the case with those of us who have had to fight X amount of times as hard as other counterparts to get our skills noticed. I share that same passion, that same desire, that same anger, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear many more outpourings from others who do.

Personally, I don't care for all the rampant labeling that seems to be so prolific in society. It often goes beyond individualism, and ends up drawing lines in the sand, creating unnecessary schisms, and can even incite discrimination in those who fear what they do not or will not understand.

I also feel that other current cultural norms are to blame, namely the inherent tension that bubbles just beneath the surface of so much human interaction these days. Differing opinions tend to cause tempers to flare more often than not, and the parties involved ultimately end up as either the offensive or offended.
Oddly enough, these two roles go back and forth in a ridiculous game of "MY opinion is THE opinion," all the while escalating until they ultimately degrade into personal attacks and mindless cruelty. Social media often seems to be the worst venue for this kind of behavior, but - like most things - it is merely a tool, and neither good nor bad, inherently.

Both sides of the equation need to ease up, quite frankly. Once we get to the point where every little thing becomes a springboard for enmity, common sense goes out the window. The runaway freight train of labels is just as bad. Things have been coming to a head for a while now, but one can really only wait and watch. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

@ambivalentinquire A nice, succinct opinion. While I personally agree wholeheartedly, the problem stems from the fact that there will always be people or groups that will choose to take umbrage at what gets left out.
Failing to mention that the physicist is black or female in the headline will make some just as frustrated as those who are upset over such affiliations that, ultimately, have nothing to do with the importance of the article itself. Similarly, others could be upset that there was no mention of the physicist's sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc.

I guess, in the end, it just boils down to the fact that you can never please everybody. It's simply impossible, because everyone wants something different. Even putting the physicist's name in the headline wouldn't be enough for some because it doesn't speak to the fullness of her character.

The thing I'm most intrigued by is how lengthy some headlines end up being. The idea of a headline has always been to pique the interest without too much information; keep it short and sweet, in other words. Something simpler, like "Physicist Kills Cancer Cells with Lasers" would be much better at grabbing the reader's attention, without detracting from the story with unnecessary information that should, instead, exist within the body of the article.

You really know how to write an interesting commentary.

I was actually surprised to read about Wendy Carlos, and I'm happy that Wendy is getting more recognition. I didn't know that Wendy is trans when I posted about her music here: https://phonometrologist.newgrounds.com/news/post/932440
Does it make any difference to me knowing her personal life? No, but I am happy that her music gets a bit more press albeit with a bit of a controversial tinge for the reasons why. It would be better to read an article highlighting why Wendy wrote interesting music where the focus is on the music, but considering the point of the article it is merely a celebration.

This debate reminds me of a similar article where the writer's main point was the desire to be treated equal, and celebrating/highlighting sexual orientation does the opposite of that: https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/25/refuse-attend-colleges-lgbt-graduation-ceremony/
I suppose it will be based on the perspective of the individual. Some will certainly want to celebrate their identity, whereas others will desire to be viewed as the same in society by not having special ceremonies. Maybe it's a debate between the introverted and extroverted that both identify within the LGBT community? I really don't know enough about the sociological movements and the conscious narratives within each one.

OH no, I'm reaching the point of TL;DR psychosis, but there are so many facets to this interesting topic that I want to touch on.

I'm under the philosophy that music reveals truth in you, but it very much has no obligation to you. It is meant to be discovered, and our experiences/identity will shape how we listen. When I listen to someone's composition, I'm more interested in how the music is treated. Does the composer treat each note with love and purpose? As much as how beautiful a note can make a melody, can it really be meaningful while having full disregard for the notes that precede or follow it? Moreover, if the music has a voice, it elevates the interpreter to it's level and not by descending to the hubris of man or woman.

If I were to present to you a piece of music written by Hildegard of Bingen, I would not first describe the music by describing the composer. I would have you listen, and if the music speaks to you, you might find it interesting that this revered, historical composer was female. You may appreciate that fact more merely because women were not considered equals throughout history as composers. However, the music ought to come first, as there are many male composers that I really don't care to listen to.

You mention that "as a musician, I find that I always endeavour to wear my heart on my sleeve and my projects are always laced with as much of my experience of being alive, including my heartaches, my struggles, and that which makes me different. Should it not be a good thing for me to be free to express and celebrate that? “

As you should, but know that the differences that make you leads to experiences that are truly human. Hence, when your music is laced with heartache and struggle for being alive, know that is why your music ought to reach others that have also experienced what it means to be human. Express your individualism in your music, and speak it in a way that it could be heard by another. Once that happens, people will be drawn to your music as if it were discovered once again from generations ago. Because these same experiences that were buried for centuries were also found hidden within them.

Damn, I never expected someone mentioned about this.

Anyway, I'll keep it short.

It does matter about their identity. Music industry is predominantly hetero culture and white. Pointing out that certain minorities who achieved success, is very important. These individuals will never get their recognition they deserve as long as the industry shunned them from who they are. There is a reason women composers like Germaine Franco and Tori Letzler must do film composer's concert like The Future Is Female, due to the critically under-appreciated and under-support in film music industry.

For someone like Germaine Franco, a Latino women of color, to be where she is now, is impossible 10 years ago. Germaine Franco has been around for long time, and yet she did not get the recognition that her fellow male composers received.

As a queer person of color, as someone who went head first at the hetero culture of music industry, I can get any gig in the industry as long as I stop identifying as who I am. You and LSD probably felt this if you guys went in it and at the same time, telling them that you are LGBTQ. Thus why identifying as who you are and being capable of doing what you do, being able to prove it regardless of your identity, is very important.