Carlos Santana, a Mexican/American guitarist whose music doesn't especially light my fuse, was interviewed on public television last night in the wake of the announcement that he was one of several artists to be honored by the Kennedy Center here in the U.S.
At 66, Santana seemed to know the interview game and played along, dropping spiritual bon mots here and there as he described his upbringing and history and appreciations. He struck me as both a bit facile/space-y and relatively pleasant for a famous person.
But one of his observations struck me as very good -- the suggestion that music, any music, was just a reminder and an encouragement to anyone to rediscover their "forgotten song."
A "forgotten song" is not something to learn or acquire. It is already known -- it has just been forgotten. And anyone who has been split open like a kumquat while listening to a favorite piece of music ... remembers.
The blissful surprise, which can make tears roll down the cheeks, is only compelling and enormous in contrast to the layers of forgetfulness have dulled and camouflaged the scene in the past.
This is natural and light and lovely ... it is what went before that is unnatural and contrived. What is natural is ordinary. It is only the search for and insistence on the extraordinary that has blurred the scene and consigned the ordinary to the back of the bus ... the forgotten places.
And music is not the only key. The ordinary relies on nothing whatsoever. The ordinary waits patiently until, perhaps, the decision is made to...
Strike up the band.