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Friday, October 13, 2006
Issues of Identity
So my promise to start blogging on a regular basis has been decimated by the insane course load I've weighed myself down with this semester. Add that to the fact that my group project for my ethnomusicology course had to start over from scratch, and I'm pretty close to having regular panic attacks. I've had several thoughts to blog on in the past couple of weeks (I guess sleep deprivation will do that to you), but I guess the one that has been on my mind the most the past month has been something wholly depressing, yet insightful as to who I've become in the past year or so.

My grandmother died about a month ago, and while it hasn't completely ruined me like losing my mother did, it still hurts quite a bit more than I'm willing to admit. But the insightful thing about who I've become/am becoming, is how I responded to the event. I finally worked it out with my dad that I WAS flying home for the funeral, so then all there was to do was to decide what to play. Because that's how I make it through funerals. It's a social role I understand and take comfort in. It's how I dealt with my mother's funeral, and it's how I dealt with this one. So what's interesting, you might ask, dear reader? It's not THAT I played, it's WHAT I played. All the way home (including my 2 hour delay in Houston) I was wracking my brain for something I could play....and the only thing that came to mind and to the ear was this one lament I'd heard earlier in the year and have a recording of. To those of you unfamiliar with a lament, it's a type of slow air in the Irish/Scottish tradition played to mourn someone who has died. I find it enlightening because if you view ethnicity as a type of constructed identity, more than DNA and something that's enculturated just as much as something you're born with, then I've started to identify completely with the Irish culture. In a moment of grief, I turned to the culture I've started to adopt as my own. I got that message a little more forthright when the guy who taught me the basics of Irish flute told me, "You play the music like a traditional musician would." For someone who used to be a wannabe who only really played classical music, it's a point I never thought I'd actually reach, and a journey I don't ever want to end.
posted by Mac Tíre at 12:44 PM ¤ Permalink ¤