Mongrel Music

You can tell time is passing by the scene out your window and the music in your head.

Mongrel Music
In 1999, I began a music diary to record the soundtrack of my life unfolding. And because the Web was so shiny and new, I decided to keep it online. I began Mongrel Music (without benefit of blogging software, or the word blog) to share my enthusiasm for the burgeoning genre of world fusion. I hoped to hear from like-minded strangers and hear about more great new stuff.

Moving overseas made it hard to sustain, but for a few short years, it was great. I got tipped off to all sorts of wonderful new music and made a few far-flung friends; I got e-mail from a total stranger about his drive across the South African desert listening to some Serbia diva on the radio; I exchanged tapes with someone on the other side of the country who—weirdly—took the same sort of photos as well, and used the same quirky programming language I wrote about; I even got to go along on a virtual bird-watching expedition to see the spring migration over the Gulf of Finland. (Alas, a text-only experience. But what a day they had!) The thrill never wore off.

So here are the Mongrel Music archives. Should any of my quirky and eclectic tastes hit your spot, I'd love to hear from you. —Lauren

P.S. Sorry, no downloadable music here, just my writing about it. If you want anything, I'm sure you know how to get it.

introduction from1999:

why Mongrel Music?

An underappreciated consequence of six billion people on the planet is that more raw musical talent is now born daily than ever before. (After all, it's selected for.)

And thanks chiefly to two technologies of the late, unlamented twentieth—
  • accessible, ubiquitous commercial air travel
  • affordable, luggable, high-quality recording equipment
—the amount and variety of music available to us is unprecedented.

In this singular glorious way, we are richer than emperors.

Because of cheap air travel and digital boxes, music from anywhere is available nearly everywhere else. Listeners lap it up. Musicians get ideas, then airplane tickets:

They absorb each other's musical traditions. Young American musicians get curious about klezmer and gypsy; women from Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey blend their splendid and unique voices; the Red Star Army chorus sings rock & roll with a bunch of spiky-haired Finns.

Like the Florentine Renaissance, we're experiencing one of history's creative outbursts.

We live on one little segment of human history's long line. A lot's going wrong at the moment. It's awfully easy to focus on that. So don't forget: there's one good reason to love living right now.