F is for Funk

Perhaps what makes the magic of old-school funk come alive for me is that it is so far outside of me.  Funk is about color and expression and energy and dancing.  I am none of those things.  I tend to be bottled up, wear natural colors, and speak softly and slowly.  Accept on occasions among the most trusted of friends, out of sight is good for me.

I remember growing up and at the end of a movie experience with my family, my little sister would almost always feel the desire to shake, jump, and groove at the credits’ music.  My father would sometimes join her and they would have fun together.  This is where I preferred to sit on the couch and silently judge the situation.  My father would run out of energy first and the feeling would die down even though the music kept on going.

Funk was that music.  It doesn’t matter if it was called rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, house, or bubblegum.  The essence of funk is that which commands and inspires energy.  I am mostly resistant to its allure, but also mystified by it and I will even join in the dancing within the confines of my own head.  Sometimes, when peer pressure reaches critical mass, I will physically join in.

This is George Clinton.  He is the avatar of funk and heads up the monstrously funky ensemble Parliament-Funkadelic (which is the joining of two bands and is sometimes abbreviated P-Funk).  Each of those bands are very funky and when joined are funkier than the sum of their individual parts.  Go ahead and listen to them perform “Give up the Funk.” I’m not sure I know what that really means.  I know part of it means to let go and be consumed.

P-Funk has a certain passion behind them that is wholly outside of most artists in the top 40.  Their live performances go on for as long as they please and their lyrics are sometimes part of a bigger mythology.  The essence of funk is made manifest through their eccentric hair, fiery wardrobe, wailing vocals, and boundless energy.  And I adore it all!

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3 Responses to “F is for Funk”

  1. Stop fighting the funk! Let the funk in! (And I may or may not be dancing in my seat right now.)

    • Dancing in the seat is a common side effect of listening to P-Funk. Heck, playing it for days on end might not even drive one insane, but simply propel them into a previously unseen level of consciousness.

  2. ‘Each of those bands are very funky and when joined are funkier than the sum of their individual parts.’

    As all good things are.

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