Tuesday, October 19, 2010

About Conway's Aqua Buddha Soundtrack

Sometimes politicians appropriate music to brand themselves. For Bill Clinton, it was Fleetwood Mac. For Ronald Reagan, it was Frank Sinatra.

For Jack Conway, it is an anonymous artist playing the ney, sometimes spelled nay. Listen to the soundtrack from Jack's Aqua Buddha ad. It is a vaguely third-worldish sound somewhat similar to a flute. At first, I thought I'd heard it in a yoga class or maybe a pita restaurant. Then I realized: this is the music that networks use during sweeps to promote specials about the "Hunt for Osama bin Laden" or "Terrorists Living Among Us."

The ney, according to a website that sells them,

is a simple, long, end-blown flute that is the main wind instrument of Middle Eastern music and the only wind instrument in classical Arabic music. It is very ancient instrument. The nay is literally as old as the pyramids. Ney players are seen in wall paintings in the Egyptian pyramids and neys have been found in the excavations at Ur in Iraq. Thus, the ney has been played continuously for 4,500-5,000 years. It is one of the oldest musical instruments still in use.

The instrument seems to come in versions that play different musical ranges. Here's the song from Jack Conway's Aqua Buddha ad, played in a lower octave.

Before 9/11, one would describe this sort of music as that which is used to charm snakes. If Jack Conway is trying to charm us, this ad did not seal the deal. Maybe he's calling Rand Paul a snake.

Given that the Aqua Buddha escapade took place in Texas 30 years ago, Middle-Eastern ney music is an odd choice; Lynyrd Skynyrd would have been a more likely bet for the time and place, although the only NoZe Brother we know liked Elvis Costello, the Beach Boys and some jazz back then.

So why does Jack Conway use a ney soundtrack for his ad? Well, it could be that he wants us to know how worldly and cosmopolitan he is; the guy did go to Duke. Democrats like to present themselves as Citizens of the World, who upon election, then go on World Appeasement Tours to apologize for how bad America is.

And now the ney is actually making its way into hip hop mixes -- there may be an opportunity for Conway to get some street cred out of his ghastly ad.

No comments: