Over the last month I’ve been listening to a lot of music I’d never heard before. I’ve been introduced to the work of artists including Alfred Schnittke, The Wu Tang Clan, Pere Ubu, Joe Meek, Elliott Smith, Quincy Jones, Pete Seeger, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Laurie Anderson, Run DMC, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gram Parsons, Steve Reich and Eric B. & Rakim. I’ve heard more from artists I thought I already knew including David Bowie, Gil Scott-Heron, Nick Drake, Max Roach, Brian Eno, Charles Mingus, John Renbourn, Ballake Sissoko and Johann Sebastian Bach. I’ve heard the Sounds of the Sahara, the Voice of the Atlas Mountains and Shangaan Electro from South Africa; through music I’ve travelled to Argentina, Nigeria, Turkey, Russia and other places in time and space.
How? My local library.
It’s possible that, eventually, I might have found all this amazing music on my own – but at the library it was easy, fun and cheap. This was because I knew that everything there was chosen with care.
I am lucky to live in a place where libraries are considered important. Do you?