Songs in Scarlotte

Music as Abstract Art

“Abstract art is one of the art forms with many open ends thus leading to multiple readings or subjective analysis because of its non-objective forms” (Tumelo Thuthuka, Art Educator/Artist, Botswana). Words such as non-figurative art and non-representational art are loosely related to this form of art. These phrases might not have an identical meaning but they are in the same neighbourhood. As part of art, the same can be said about abstract music, that, it is music for its own sake, concerned only with structure, melody, harmony and rhythm (the Free Dictionary by Farlex, 17/10/2016, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/abstract+music)
With regards to Scarlotte Will, their songs are “mysterious”, says Brendon Bezuidenhout, “I write the songs…I go with what I feel at the moment…a lot of the stuff that comes out is very personal…it’s about things unseen”. The songs are personal to them without having any specific message they want to relay to the listener. They are open to interpretation. The audience is invited to absorb the songs in whatever way makes sense to them. On the other hand, “Personal art is too powerful. People relate more to a story of one’s life, what they go through and being able to have the courage to tell it…[leaving the listener to interpret a song however they want is] mixed feelings”, (Tumi Lesola, up and coming musician Voices 4 Joy).

There are many methods used to write songs, formal and semi-formal. Like Scarlotte Will, most songwriters prefer the random, ad hoc route. If one of the band members has an idea; they start playing. The other members will keep adding ideas until they get their desired result. Even though it might be argued that this ‘care-free’ process lacks emotion and honesty and that they are less genuine, this method allows for unpredictable results. Whichever method is used; an understanding that creativity is a process employed by songwriters in one way or another is required. Besides the many other factors that makes a song successful, at the core of it all is the song itself. That is what the audience wants, a song they can connect to, a song that can mean something to them. They want to be entertained and engaged. “You cannot put out work that you are not happy with neither can you undermine the consumer. The consumer demands good quality music and you need to supply that” (Ph Madubela, 5fm Dj).

As an artist, how do you strike a balance between art that is personal to you; as a form of self-expression while trying to appeal to the audience as well? As a creative, how much is about you and how much is about the audience? “It's never easy to strike balance between the two....the taste for art that sells is often propagated by the buyers, in a way dictating the type of art one should produce. But at the end of the day any kind of art can sell depending on the taste of the art consumer....like I said it's all about subjective reading on any given particular work whether produced to appease the audience or as a means of self-expression” (Tumelo Thuthuka, Art Educator/Artist, Botswana). Whether creating for yourself or the next person, it is all about creating and maintaining an artist-receiver relationship.

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