As we searched for cover artwork for this issue on music, I began, as I often do, by entering a search term into Google and looking at the images that came up. I typed “making music.” One or two images showed someone actually playing a real instrument or singing. But the vast majority feature digital editing of prerecorded sound. If there were any humans in the picture at all, there typically was only one.
While sound mixing is one aspect of a process that brings music to our lives, the story we wanted to tell with this issue is so much larger. Spontaneous music-making that is not done for applause or pay, but as a means of expressing what is deep within. Not something that elevates the artist, but something that draws others to join in the experience. Music that speaks heart to heart without the barrage of filters and mixers. Interaction over isolation, participation over professionalism. The way that a child begins to dance when the music comes on. The way that people gather around when someone pulls out the guitar, hoping it’s “Country Roads” so they can sing along. Music that is made together.
The paintings of Ghanaian artist Betty Acquah perfectly capture the spirit of this – people coming together to create music that flows from the heart, engages the whole body, and impels the observer to respond. Acquah lives in Accra, Ghana.
Marta Zamarska is an artist from Ustroń in southern Poland. She studied painting, batik, and art theory at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 2008.
Music is an endowment and a gift of God, not a human gift. It drives away the devil and makes people cheerful; one forgets all anger, unchasteness, pride, and other vices. I place music next to theology and give it the highest praise. —Martin Luther