Creativity, learning from other cultures Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Growing up my Dad had a huge Jazz and Latin record collection that he listened and danced to everyday while Mom sang along. Gospel music was molding popular music and Motown was pumping thru the Airwaves. My mom taught English and Social studies. She always taught me to learn from other cultures, to discover the unique gifts each culture has. I studied painting with a Chinese teacher, and oriental art, then assimilated those cultural elements into my music and art. It became a part of me. Later I married a man of Japanese descent. As I traveled the world with my music I was always on the lookout for those cultural gifts to learn from. My grandfather was from Argentina so I grew up hearing Spanish and learned Spanish songs. When I moved to Santa Ana California I sang Spanish songs in churches and also to the neighborhood children. Then I went to Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, S.Africa, Europe, and learned from each of those cultures. The music I write covers various genres and cultures because I learned from those countries I visited and made it part of me. Writing the Bible's 66 books spanned about 1500 years by 40 writers from multiple countries, cultures, and languages. Songs of the Bible encompass many subjects and genres: Praise & Worship, Lovesongs, Battle songs, God's creation etc. So I decided to experiment writing music using new instruments, various subjects, and a variety of styles. Genres I've tried are Jazz, Latin, Gospel, R&B, Rock, Worldbeat, Instrumentals, all drawing from early influences in my life. My paintings are about God's creation: plants, birds, National Parks, In God's Forest cathedrals all creation worships Him, just like the Psalms say, "The trees of the fields clap their hands!" David spent a lot of time in the fields. I believe God calls us, as His artists to be fearless innovators, not copiers of the status quo. We are called to push the boundaries of creativity. Consider the Renaissance when artists were doing just that. Look at the effect that Michelangelo had on the world of his time and on our time. Paul Simon traveled to S. Africa, learning from the culture and the people. Incorporating those elements and people into his music, he produced the Grammy award winning, iconic Graceland album. We can do the same thing, but we must remember, we're not in this to get famous. We're in this to share the Gospel and make God famous. Let's keep the example of Billy Graham in mind, and not forget about the Great Commission: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel". So Go for it. Get the music out there. Don't hold back. Do your Dream and give God all the Glory!

posted by Jan Shima on 03/01/2018