Democracy Works: How Music Transcends Political Polarization

Sep 2, 2019

Adam Gustafson
Credit Penn State Harrisburg

Last week, we heard from Aaron Maybin about the ways visual art relates to his conception and practice of democracy. This week, we are going to look at the relationship between art and democracy through the lens of music. Music has always been political, but what that looks like changes based on the culture.

Joining us to unpack it is Adam Gustafson, associate teaching professor of music at Penn State Harrisburg. As you'll hear, Adam is a certified music nerd who thinks deeply about how artists and the music they create influences politics and culture. He's written about Prince, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin — just to name a few.

In this episode, we talk about everything from disco to bluegrass to EDM and how collaborations between artists and fans coming together at concerts counter some of the narratives we hear about polarization in our lives. We also look at how the ways we consume music has changed — or not — the statements that musicians make through their art.