I am having trouble organising/articulating my thoughts for my previously flagged “dear-to-my-heart” post.  When I write about serious issues, I like to think that I don’t talk crap – that my discussion is well considered (you can retire the girl from policy analysis but you can’t take the policy analyst out of the girl).  So, I have been doing some research and this has taken me down some holes that require, upon emerging, a full body scrub and several showers to feel clean again.

Anyway, this is not said post.  It is a link to a short TED talk from ex-shearer and award-winning West Australian C&W singer, Pete Byfield.  I caught a performance by Pete at a country market.

pb2Pete was just cruisin’ by, and dropped in to share a few songs.  I bought one of his CDs for my mum, but I might keep it for myself.  This is very strange for me, ladies and gentlemen, because the mythology we have created around farmers and working the land, and the songs that reflect that myth, irritate me somewhat.  But I found Pete’s thoughtfulness refreshing.  A bit more folk, protest-song genre, than straight country and western eulogising.  In his TED talk, Pete asks, “Are we [farmers] employing sustainable land use practices?  Are we contributing to climate change?  Are we adaptable?  Can we do it differently? ….. Who are WE?”

The changes that must be made to protect our planet and our livelihoods, are not changes to be made by just “some” (ie. you or me), but changes to be made by “all” (ie. us).  What that involves, will be different for different people.

Check out Pete’s talk below.  Make sure you stay for his song at the 6:30 minute mark (or if want to just listen to the song, Hounds Are Howling, you can find it in the usual places).  I hope you love it as much as I do.  Howling in the chorus is not obligatory, but how can you resist?  And if you really, really like the song, check out Pete’s website here.

Pete dedicated a song to me on the day.  Must have been because I was so enthusiastic in my applause.

Now, I had better get back to writing my other post, or do the laundry, pat the hound, or something.


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20 thoughts on “Two Kinds Of Music

  1. Wonderful talk. Agricultural practices are a concern in many parts of Canada as well. Some steps are being taken to restore the habitats of short grass prairies and tall grass prairies, including to the extent possible returning the original flora and fauna types. Thriving prairies are more sustainable and support healthier cattle. Even the buffalo is recovering from near extinction in some protected regions. Small farms are under pressure as land is being purchased by multinationals aggregating small plots into huge ones. The economies of scale. During World War One marginal land not fit grain production was put into grain production and one sad out come of this policy was the spread of desertification in some very dry areas. Great song that speaks to all1

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    1. It is nice that this talk is coming from someone who is so connected with the land. Many farmers do farm sustainably, but they tend not to have the loudest voices.

      We have the same problems here, Sid. Examples of how sustainable practices improve productivity (as well as ecology) are so important in building the case for the more widespread adoption more environmentally sensitive land use practices. Hopefully in time for your buffalo/bison and for our koala..

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this Tracy. Our farmers are finding it difficult to sustain themselves because the government does nothing about the getting the produce from the grower to the consumer and as a result the middlemen corner all the profits!! Ah well, I could go on!
    Btw, I did howl!

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  3. He names a growing concern in WA where the rural communities here are ultra conservative and resistant to the idea of climate change, global warming etc. We’re still reminiscing about the good old days! Great post, and – just write the other two can wait 🙂

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  4. In Canada we have supply management or marketing boards but this supply marketing system is undergoing resistance from multinationals wanting to flood the Canadian dairy and egg markets with cheaper goods from outside counties. The criticism of Canadian marketing boards is an allegation that they block free enterprise. Does a country have the right to defend its egg and milk producers? Should farmers feel guilty about the price stability that marketing boards provide? During the Depression Canadian Wheat farmers were getting pennies per bushel but that changed when the Canadian Wheat Board was founded.

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    1. We have them here too, Sid. Like Canada, they have their supporters and detractors.
      I think our wheat board may have been involved in some shonky activities at one point. Accountability has been an issue, but the premise is still a good one.


  5. Great post. All the questions raised are not unique to Australia. Pete Byfield was interesting to listen to, thought provoking. The howling was kind of fun too!

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  6. That was some damn fine song! And I really love that he feels compelled to talk about ‘us’ before he sings it every time. And he’s a great talker too – very calm and yet passionate too, and with a tiny bit of humour to lessen the pressure. I can’t believe that man said these things about Australia – never being invaded, peaceful! Where did he grow up? On the dark side of the moon perhaps.
    Take all the time you need to write the other post, Tracy. This one has given me much food for thought. 😉
    Oh, and I can understand that you want to keep the CD yourself. 😉

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    1. That person was a senator in our parliament. For people of my generation, the history we were taught in school was pretty one-sided. But still, his statement was an insult to aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.

      And yes, I think I shall be playing that CD between now and when it goes to my mother. It will probably go at the same time as the octupus, which is still waiting delivery. 🙂

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