Every so often the good guy finishes first.
I’ve run quite a few blogs about just how tough the music industry is, how difficult it is to correct cultural perceptions of who musicians are, and how hard they work. Arm-pit stains of effort endemic to the industry is no better illustrated than by the news in Philadelphia, which shows (not tells) that even the masters are struggling to lift the masses. When venerable institutions like the Philadelphia Orchestra file for bankruptcy, what hope does the rest of the mortal musical world have?
In a culture where so many opine, “let it fold for all I care,” and chuck some of its greatest talent to the curb without a backwards glance — the future of music performance would seem grim indeed.
Yet, hidden behind the great Veil of Time is the future, and sometimes it’s less bleak than you might think. The once great Whitney Houston famously crooned something about those pesky sprouting kids being our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Harumph. First, they’ll need to graduate from high school … harumph … harumph.
Well, sometimes it takes a ‘kid’ to remind us of musical possibilities. Kevin Olusola isn’t a kid anymore, but the wonder and joy for music-making which he obviously exudes is childlike.
You see, Kevin Olusola is drawing miracles from a magic hat. He follows the traditional path of the musical embassador when, in 2006 he surfed around Massachusetts schools discussing the relevance of classical music, but he also embraces the new. (Beat-boxing cellist anyone?) Also, how many Yale educated pre-med, East Asian Studies Majors do you know? This kid’s arm-pit stains are notably absent, thank you very much, and his forecast isn’t showing financial ruin. (Allison Vulgamore.)
So here I am again, hollering, “Give it up for Mr. Olusola!” Sometimes, nice guys do finish first.