Thursday, January 6, 2011

Andrew Bird and the Imago Dei

If you know me, you know this:
I love Andrew Bird.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - He is, in my humble opinion, the best musician alive right now.
Not only that, but he can write music. I've seen talented instrumentalists, well-trained vocalists, even stellar songwriters. But it is a rare package to include all three.

Still more rare is an opportunity to take a glimpse into the creative process of such a musician. Apparently I've been living under a rock because I missed the fantastic blog from the NY Times called Measure For Measure. It is a series of articles from songwriters offering insight into the delicate art of songcraft.

Anyway, Andrew Bird has written a number of articles there that you can read. But my whole reason for posting comes from this quote he wrote at the conclusion of his series...

Ultimately, I think that writing about music is a deliberate act and has nothing to do with creating music. The latter is mostly an involuntary response to being alive. I wouldn’t go so far as to say songwriters are seer-poets wired to receive transmissions from the ether, but I think we’ve all got a well that can be tapped and there follows the sort of sequencing or curating of one’s own ideas. It’s the content of that well I can’t claim responsibility for. Well I could but the only remedy would be to cease to exist.
"An involuntary response to being alive"

I will most certainly have to use this article in my upcoming course this spring where we discuss the creative nature of human beings as an imprint of the Creator (Imago Dei). Bird here seems to suggest the work of an artist as a channeler of the divine nature, a discoverer of truth/beauty (as opposed to a fabricator). Not only this, but he further asserts that perhaps this creative drive is not a specialized, esoteric gift, but rather a logical conclusion of simply recognizing that one is alive. "Involuntary" is the word he uses. I love his humility; perhaps it is one of the keys to his musical gift.

Regardless of all that, make sure you go and listen to this guy. Seriously. Maybe start here? Then go here? Then perhaps finish here:

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