Sunday, October 16, 2005

Babylon everywhere...

Not many new blogs at the moment so, inspired by current favourite song (sample) thought I'd post about the strange permeation of ideas through writing, in unexpected ways.

That song is from "the green room" on the eco_nation album, a New Zealand production. The twelfth track on that album is Babylon Born. Now as far as I know, Aleon are not Babylon born per se. So why, you might wonder, would they do lyrics like that? Is it a political statement about current events you might ask. Well from what I can tell yes and also a statement about much older political events, wound up with religion. Gasp, the r word! Doesn't e just do subtle gallows humour and politics usually? Anyway, going back say about 200 years or so when christian missionaries arrive in nz, bringing with them of course the bible. Which was absorbed into local culture. But funnily enough, where as the missionaries who bought over the bible were largely european, and understood the bible replete with europeanised saints (not their fault, they were only reading it through the culture they knew) local prophets read the bible in a quite different way. Prophets you ask bewildered? Yes, nz has it's prophets but that's another story (one that I hinted at a few weeks ago but not sure anyone picked up on the clue nevermind). And what those prophets distilled from the text was perhaps quite a bit closer to, I won't say truth because all truths are coloured by personal experience, closer to the bible's land of origin one might say. At a time of local political upheaval and land warring, and in a culture with an eloquent oral tradition, biblical stories struck a cord. And while the world might have rocked in the twentieth century with the scandalous suggestion that jesus was a revolutionary, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in New Zealand the re-politisation of biblical adventures was more subtle and far less scandalous. Largely because the government that had installed itself was not really aware of what was going on, and how could they be, it was a subtle exchange of ideas transferred over a few thousand years and that's something that nobody really can stop. It's sort of something that history just does naturally all on its own when people interact. And so Babylon came to New Zealand, and even today there are a number of what you might call variant sects that have developed out of it. Anyway, this post might bore you and I'm no expert so I'll stop now. I expect there are some people more versed then I who might like to take issue with certain suggestions I am making and that's fine. Just filling in time I guess, between blogcounting.

More sample tracks from the album that inspired here (sorry, they're just samples but I didn't want my fingers slapped for handing out other people's work for free. I wish they would put up a whole song every once and a while though, especially seeing as how lots of the songs are about being un-money mongering).

What was the point of this post? Hmm, I think I was winding up to saying how some memories are preserved over thousands of years in mysterious ways and even war can't stop that. And I think I was going to say something about some music in New Zealand which mysteriously attributes roots to Babylon.

* Oh yes, one last off the topic fact, one of New Zealand's other names is Aotearoa.


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