Friday, November 8, 2019

Johannes Witteveen: "Music goes much deeper"

I still regret the death of Johannes Witteveen in the spring of this year. He was an advisor and friend of FONDAD and helped me enormously (I am the director of FONDAD). Below I reproduce part of an interview I had with him. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Johannes Witteveen: "Music goes much deeper"

Johannes Witteveen, former managing director of the IMF
Johannes Witteveen and I had a long and interesting conversation about "the" global economy, the "crisis", and the need for a change in thinking and policies... And, then, towards the end of our meeting at his house in Wassenaar, we suddenly were speaking about the making of music. Here is a transcript of that part of our conversation:

- When I was ten years old I stretched rubber bands on an old shoebox. (Witteveen laughs) I liked the vibration. 

Yes, yes, that's nice. 

- And when I was a bit older, I made a guitar of cardboard on which I could play a Christmas song ("Silent night, holy night..."). And when I was 13,  I bought a guitar and since that time I play guitar. 


- The best part of playing guitar is to let emerge something from one tone. Often I feel myself more as a kind of medium than a creator... 

Yeah ... By improvising something happens to you. That is very nice, and plays a large role in Sufism. Meditative music. The tambura is used for that, that's an Indian instrument my wife has played many times, to come to meditation. Through the sound of one tone, over and over again, and then she softly sang a bit. 

- As a boy I climbed in tall trees, and then I felt the wind blowing around my ears ... 

(Laughing) Yeah. That is different from thinking. It goes much deeper.

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