What’s “Mennonite Music”, Anyway?

Back before the internet was in everyone’s palm, we had to rely on getting our music from CD’s (otherwise known as Compact Discs, kids). So what happens when a frugal, sheltered Mennonite kid like me has a thing for music? I swipe everyone else’s CD’s. Eventually I amassed a pretty sizeable collection…of CD’s that were not mine. Eventually I got sick of people asking me to give them their stuff back, and decided I needed to find a different frugal way to gain access to music. That’s when I got a job at the Christian book and music store in our local mall. Hello demos!

This was in the 90’s, and Tooth & Nail Records had really taken off. The ladies I worked with at the store let me tend to the music section, dusting CD’s and unpacking shipments of new music. Those were the best days. Anything they hated, I loved. They called me “the girl with strange taste in music”. This was when I obtained Pedro the Lion’s Whole EP, and Starflyer 59’s Silver, Gold, and Americana albums, and became a little addicted to Joy Electric. I’d say that back then, Tooth & Nail (and other labels like it, willing to put out the “weird” stuff) fulfilled the need I had to hear new music that was interesting and different, plus I could still tell my parents it was “Christian”. To me, T&N is connected to the 90’s Mennonite experience because of this.

A few months ago, Andrew spoke at an event in Winkler. The host tried to think of what music would be appropriate, just to have playing on the P.A. system while people walked in. It should be something Mennonite, but what? In the end, Andrew’s talk was prefaced with the strains of Just As I Am, over and over again. (Which I’d say is not Mennonite at all, but rather American Revivalist.) This made me wonder, what’s “Mennonite” music?

I kinda thought maybe something by Paul Bergman or Sarah Neufeld would’ve been more suitable. (I have no idea if Sarah Neufeld is a Mennonite. I feel like she’s not. And yet, that name…)

Anyway. I think the true nature of any blog is to be super-indulgent. So while I’m mostly indulging my Mennonite interests with this particular blog, here’s a list of a bunch of songs I listen to while I’m reading and writing about genealogy and old stuff. Thanks to Spotify. Yay internet!

Crystal (New Order)

A Long Awaited Scar (Sarah Neufeld)

Russia (Ramona Falls)

Freak Out (stellastarr*)

Radio Kids (Strand of Oaks)

Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth (Parquet Courts)

Space Song (Beach House)

Don’t Move (The Twilight Sad)

I could go on, but I’ll save that for more posts. To me, this is still Mennonite-related because I listen to this stuff while reading stuff like the Mennonite Historical Atlas, and all these Preservings back-issues I’ve squirrelled away.