Preserving culture with music | KALW

Preserving culture with music

Dec 15, 2014

Good music can be uplifting, it can be healing, it can get you out of the house and on your feet, dancing. A new documentary film, “This Ain’t No Mouse Music,” tackles another side of music: how it can act like oral history, preserving unique cultures that could disappear.

The film chronicles Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz. The 83-year-old Bay Area resident has spent 50 years on a journey to record musicians playing music to their communities.

Strachwitz was born into a privileged German family. In the film, he talks about fleeing war in Europe and arriving in the US when he was 16 years old.

Strachwitz: “It was a different world. The music was so amazing. Almost every morning when I woke up I turned on the radio. I listened to the hillbilly music, I listened to the gospel music, I was considered a weirdo. To me it just spoke. I was a lonesome cat. I just felt there was so much soul.”

KALW’s Julie Caine spoke with the film’s co-director Maureen Gosling in our studios about this cultural history that makes you dance.

To hear the entire interview click on the audio player above.