by Charlie Kiel
The 12/8 Path requirements are spelled out in one doc or another at the 12/8 website [http://www.128path.org/]; click on the different stones along the path for different versions of what “the Path” has been about for me, and variably, for anyone else. In short, all musicking with a 6/8 or 12/8 “feel” is “on” the Path e.g. 6/8 Sousa marches. A “triplet phrasing or feeling” includes just about all of Elvin Jones, the adjustments made to all Count Basie band 4/4 charts by the players, all the shuffle rhythms of blues, rhythm & blues, rock and roll, and much African and Afro-Cuban musicking, e.g., bembe, fast guaguanco, rumba-colombia, puts a band squarely in the middle of the Path. Triplets strongly implicit and occasionally explicit save some of the reggae classics for me, though I’ve never been much of a reggae fan. Speaking of “personal,” the “personal is the political is the spiritual is the danceable- musical,” as per Emma Goldman’s motto, something like: “If I can’t dance, I want no part of your revolution.” The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 8-fold path of Buddhism define the spiritual, surrendered, turned over, peace-seeking part of the Path. See the website.
So, the Path is FULL of definitions, aspirations, guidelines, slogans, more being added all the time e.g., “chill globally, groove locally,” “eco- not ego”. In terms of the three basic requirements, most HONK!Fest bands seem to be getting “on the path:” 1)mobile, 2) inclusive (letting other musicians sit in, encouraging a second line of dancers and small-percussion players to help out, family friendly), and 3) using “funny hats,” corny uniforms, glam outfits, or clothing/visuals that signal “join the parade,” join the party, don’t be “audience,” be part of us, we seriously want you to be part of our community, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. If a band is so clean, slick, professional, perfectionist, that horn players sitting in, or kids jamming along, are seen as dangerous, not encouraged, that band is “not” on the Path.” Declining to parade with other bands? Maybe such a band is still part of HONK!Fest, but it’s not on the path. “FUNNY hats” is the one requirement that has bothered some serious lefties in the past, and what would probably predispose genuine fascists to opt out, too.
Finally, as a paleoconservative, old-fashioned and cranky, I don’t think there has been any progress, per capita, in musicking, dancing, maximizing joy in the lives of children, since around 3000 BC. Just the opposite, in fact! And if increasing entropy, destroying the planet, turning Mother Nature’s gifts into crap, waste, plastic whirlpools in the North Pacific, is what progress, growth, and development produce, I’m opposed to any “progress/progressive” requirements or agendas as part of the Path, HONK!Fests, or a community music movement. With the Green anarchists up in Oregon and globally, I see snivelization as bad and prime societies (primitive, indigenous, classless, rotating leadership, shared tools) as good.