A recent move to New York City has exposed me to a very different music scene. Here music seems to be regionalised, with different sounds coming from different areas and where a mingling of sounds and musical interests seems to be not much encouraged.
Where I come from, Edinburgh, the music scene is a vibrant part of youth culture. But this musical culture extends from youth culture to an integral part of the city's heritage. There is also a rich intermingling of sounds. There is a lively Jazz/Funk scene in the city as well as the traditional Ceilidh band sound. With venues such as 80 Queen Street in the city's up market West End, the Bongo Club and The Wee Red Bar in the heart of the city's university area primarily playing this traditional Ceilidh music infused with Jazz and Funk it is hard to ignore the roots of Scottish music in the city.
The fusion that has evolved in the city centre however is completely different from the pure sounds that come out of the islands and highlands. The music I have experienced traveling around the islands and from other friends that have traveled and brought back music with them from their travels is dominated by Celtic drum beats and stringed instruments played leisurely or at a frenetic pace. It seems from the Harris and Lewis music festivals that house and Ceilidh music have fused to form something new. On the other hand, Mylo, the DJ from Mull -- an island known for it's mussel fishing, and Tobermory the candy coloured toy town that is the setting of the BBC's children's programme 'What's the story, Balamory?' -- deals in only the purest house and drum and bass music. This is interesting in that much of his music was conceived in isolation and thus his musical influences were confined to the Acid House and Trance of the 90s. And on the islands of Jura and Islay near by the music is confined to traditional Ceilidh music also. Whereas on the mainland in the sleepy chiefdom of Fife Drum and Bass and House are pervasive influences. Glasgow is dominated by art school Indie Rock, which in the past 5 years has brought our bands like Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand to the attention of the media and thus the public.
So in connection to the New York music scene I find these regional separations interesting. In New York there is so much musical fusion, as there is in their population. Everything is dominated by the hyphen. This applies just as much to the music created here as it does to the food and the population of the city. And my musical tastes are learning to incorporate the hyphen and run with it.