“Scribes trained in the way of the Kingdom Heaven are like a householder who brings out from the treasury things both new and old.” Matthew 13:52
New and old, innovation and tradition, generally in opposition to one another. Yet , new and old are two momentary experiences. New and old are how we experience things in certain moments: the unexpected, anticipation, recollection and familiarity. Something that is new (to me) is also unfamiliar but also full of promise. Tradition is something passed on, it has age yet it also what is known and familiar.
Rock and Roll for a time kept inventing new aspects of itself. Notably for me in my experience of music and Rock-n-Roll are punk and various post-punk genres that can be put under the umbrella of Goth, EBM, Industrial, Death Rock, Dark Wave, Shoe Gazer etc.
If you attend a Goth or Dark Wave festival or convention there will be bands that are still around from early on in the scene and of course newer bands. At one of these festivals friend of mine and I were unfamiliar with but had heard good things about this new band The music was familiar and drew us in we would dance for a bit of the song and then we’d both stop. About the fourth or fifth song in my friend leaned over and said “every one of their songs I’m like oh ya this is great I know this song, and then I realize, no , it only sounds like such and such great song by so and so.” I was having exactly the same experience. Another band were excellent musicians yet the passion seemed to be sucked out of their music, or more to the point their musicianship was excellent but they lacked raw energy of the punk and death rock one would expect. The music was good the sound fit within Goth Dark wave genre, but I was unmoved but mesmerized by the technical skill in reproducing the sounds typical of the genre. A third band was clearly conscious that they were embracing Goth Death Rock template, yet they embraced it fully even the sense that there wasn’t anything original to what they were doing, unexpectedly though the songs didn’t sound like other bands. Thee was a distinctiveness even an newness to their submission to the genre. Then there was Sunshine Blind, who hadn’t played or released an album in years and it was fresh a familiar and full of years of dancing to their songs.. The goth festival is an experience of Tradition.
Granted a young tradition, but it seems clear to me that certain music genres are traditional even though their origins were innovations, Jazz and Blues come readily to mind. Rock and Roll and it sub genres both punk and Goth are now traditions.
Seeing these music genres as musical traditions, I think can bring to light the dynamic between tradition and innovation as well as dislodge our preconceived ideas about both.
Then maybe we can begin to reflect upon Jesus’s aphorism about the scribes of the Beloved Community being a curator who is able to represent a treasured collection by presenting from that collection both what is old and new.