Going Home

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The primary function of music is to remind the listener that he belongs to one certain part of the human race, comes from a certain region, belongs to a certain generation. The music of your place stands for everything that has ever happened to you when you were a kid, reminds you of what your family was like, what it was like when you fell in love–in fact is a quick and immediate symbol for all the deepest emotions the people of your part of the world share. (This explains why the saddest songs, like the blues, make the members of that musical family laugh with pleasure. Hearing that sad music gives the members of that group a complete sense of being home again, in the family again.)

Alan Lomax, from a 1954 letter home

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