Noise is in the Ears of the Listener

This article was originally posted on the Cleveland Foundation Website on March 17, 2011

So what do you know about “Noise Music?” Not much? Or maybe a lot? Depends on your age maybe, or what your musical interests are. I fancy myself a music lover and I like all kinds – classical, Broadway musicals, Cole Porter, Steven Sondheim, Hoagy Carmichael, Phil Collins, blues, jazz, folk, a little country, new age, hard rock, heavy metal, some grunge… you get the idea. But I had no idea what noise music was when I first encountered the term at a meeting of a focus group for Cuyahoga Arts and Culture a month ago.

So imagine my surprise when Ari Maron, partner in MRN Ltd., the local construction and development company (and a trained musician), and Tom Welsh, associate director of music for the Cleveland Museum of Art, mentioned that Cleveland is one of the national centers for noise music and that we have a number of famous noise music bands working here.

Although I’ve lived here all my life and I THINK I am pretty tuned in to what’s going on in the arts scene here, I am still surprised sometimes that I don’t know what I don’t know about this place.

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) has begun to take a really deep dive into the whole ecosystem of different art forms here – starting with music. They have commissioned research from Cleveland State University that will look at the music subsector: nonprofit/professional, for-profit/commercial, amateur/avocational, classical to noise. The purpose is to really get a handle on the full range of assets we have in the arts, to better understand their critical interrelationships, and to demonstrate how the arts are deeply integrated into the region’s economy, its workforce, the quality of life here, and Cleveland’s attractiveness to outsiders. I can’t wait to see what the whole music landscape looks like.

I am grateful to Tom for forwarding the video http://www.motherboard.tv/2011/3/7/electric-independence-emeralds–2 that introduced me to EMERALDS, a local noise music group that seems to have captured national attention and who have many wonderful things to say about Cleveland and why they make music here.

So refreshing to hear a group of young people who have an intrinsic understanding of and value for what makes this part of the planet special. Give a look/listen. Per Tom – no earplugs needed.

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