Opening Remarks

Some music while you read

While I was living in Italy in the 1990s I formed a group that had four, sometimes five female singers. I named it “Aria Aperta”. I wanted the name to be a metaphor for an open mind, a breaking free of mechanical thinking in rigid predictable patterns. Writing vocal arrangements was all new to me and the results were at the very least different from what anyone was accustomed to hearing, even myself.

I hope the metaphor can extend to this website, the various projects it will develop, the ideas it will explore, and the causes it may champion. It is a conduit that connects the music to the social vision, the musician to the activist. While it is true that these two dimensions often compete with each other for the care and attention they need, at bottom they are both complementary concerns that need each other. An artist that detaches him or herself from the social world with its attendant demands, risks degenerating into a self absorbed narcissist. Conversely, a social vision that ignores or minimizes the very special creative vitality of the arts easily succumbs to sterile abstractions and is limited to narrow materialistic concerns.

There has always been a natural creative community that runs deeper than the surface “celebrity” culture so exalted in modern business. I believe its health and survival are essential to any consideration of the quality of our life but have always been underrated. Let’s hope that the efforts exerted here can in some meaningful measure change that.


Russell Branca

November 2006