Port city on the west coast of England, fourth largest city in the United Kingdom, and third largest city in England. Home to the oldest Black African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe. One of the main points of immigration from Ireland, and historically Irish due to the surge of Irish immigrants around 1840 during the Irish Potato Famine. The diversity brought to Liverpool because of the port traffic has been a critical element in the transformation of Liverpool over the years. Its vast array of people and the labor force needed to work a port city have brought culture and influence to the English city. However, with this colorful city has come severe socio-economic segregation and a polarized society. As a result, Liverpool has often been the focus of social welfare reform and the birthplace of a new social and cultural identity.
Arguably the most famous musical group to come out of Liverpool is The Beatles. Their music defined pop music from Liverpool in many ways. Growing out of the image of several musicians playing guitar and singing in unison on stage, their melodic and harmonic development was a breath of fresh air in the musical world. Their steady and simple strumming patterns with a definitive beat energized their fans. Their upbeat and ceaselessly energetic songs with a slight British accent, coupled with their personal and group charm earned them a famous passage to songs of love, peace and fun.
However, what’s really cool about The Beatles’ music is that it begs us to think about and question what makes a musical identity. I’m from Savannah, Georgia, and though I’ve grown up listening to motion picture and broadway soundtracks, classical music from Europe, and modern jazz and pop, the musical identity and heritage of Georgia is one of, in my opinion, soul music, of black heritage, of spirituals from times of slavery. It’s ironic that what was once a strictly “white man’s state” such as Georgia, the prevailing culture and heritage is deeply rooted in black culture from the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere. Yes, Georgia has many musicians of its own, most notably Johnny Mercer who is famous for his “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses”. But few things rival black gospel singers, good ‘ole creole cooking, fried chicken and fried green tomatoes as far as southern culture is concerned. And when it comes to music, I am honored and proud to consider singers like Huxsie Scott the basis of what I consider my culture.
Where are you from? What is the ‘typical’ music from that area? What kind of music do you like and mostly listen to? Is it associated with the musical culture and identity of your home town or country? How has westernized music affected your musical taste and how has it affected your musical heritage?
The world is constantly changing and evolving, and with this growth comes a world that gets smaller and smaller every day. The world peace and unity professed in Lennon’s “Imagine” is idyllic, but it can’t hurt to always keep it in the back of our minds, hoping to come together, to work together, to coexist more and more over time. But with this unification we must protect the diversity. Let’s cherish it, embrace it, and come together to protect cultures, to protect differences. For if we lose diversity, we have lost the essence of humankind itself forever.