Posts Tagged ‘ central america

Why Keep Doing What You Love?

We’ve met lots of kids here on our travels through Latin America: kids fortunate enough to learn English in American schools and visit family in the US, other kids who have never left their hometown. We’ve seen kids 8- to 12-years-old working on construction on a poorly maintained mountain highway.

Clinton Curtis and Gray Reinhard pose with local children after our concert in Danli, Honduras

Last night, before our open-air concert in Danlí, Honduras, some disheveled-looking kids asked me for change. I apologized, but as I asked them about their town, their home, their expressions changed from miserly to curious. It was as if they had never before met an American who wanted to know about their lives. They asked about the band, about the kinds of music we play, about who we are and where we come from.

There are times when my practical nature questions the value of encouraging others to pursue artistic pastimes. For as many who are fortunate enough to carve out careers in what we love to do, there are countless more who flounder. If it’s so hard to make a living playing music with all the opportunities available to us in New York, is it right to encourage a child in a developing country to pursue their passion when it may frustrate their ability to build a stable life and family?

Students at La Casa De Cultura, Danli

But somehow, meeting these Latin American kids with (often, though not always) less opportunities than I’ve had gives the phrase and sentiment “keep doing what you love” new resonance. Why is it worth shooting for, no matter what your background? Because it’s difficult. Because not everyone gets to do what they love. But because some of us can, and because when we lead lives enriched by our passions, we can share and exchange that wealth with everyone else we can reach.

Justin Goldner is a bassist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, language junkie and lover of culture in all its manifestations. Follow him on Twitter @JusBass.

American Music Abroad Tour: Merengue in Santo Domingo

This month I’m on tour in Central and South America with the Clinton Curtis Band, through a very special program called American Music Abroad. Organized by American Voices and the U.S. embassies in each country, they send numerous American musical groups around the world to perform and engage in cultural exchanges.

Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo

We just finished a week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic filled with several concerts for absolutely outstanding audiences. We also had the chance to give several master classes for Dominican students, which has been one of the most rewarding parts of our tour so far. It’s as if we have the opportunity to rectify every sub-par educational experience we had in childhood, and the responsibility to pass on every positive educational experience from which we benefited to the next generation.

Moreover, we’ve met tons of incredibly talented kids who are eager to share their own talents and cultural background with us. Yesterday after our master class at UASD in Santo Domingo, music students showed us some traditional merengue rhythms.