Musicwood

This film by Maxine Trump is about the efforts NY Greenpeace to save southern Alaskan rainforest from  being cleat felled to extinction, and approaches some of the major guitar makers for help. The bulk of the ancient logs go to make furniture in Asia, buy guitar boards need very old spruce, so they went fact finding.

The forests have been given to local people,  as a company, but millions of the money made goes to directors salaries.

Whilst the company talk of their traditional lifestyle, I am at a loss as to how this fits with so much destruction. As guitar maker Bob Taylor noted, they speak of harvesting the wood, but that assumes they plant it. What they are doing is mining.

Greenpeace tries to get to sign up for the forest Stewardship scheme, charging more for premium woods while ensuring supply, but at the same time the US government was about to hand over more land, so Greenpeace had to start campaigning against this.

The documentary is scattered with comments from acoustic musicians talking with passion of the tools of their trade, of what an incredible instrument the guitar can be, an orchestra of its own.

Any industry had problems with supply but this film males it clear the big decisions that need to be made, as the finest guitars are made of wood that is, like ivory, linked to crime and is endangered. Ebony, mahogany, rosewood, as well as old spruce, are all at risk, and musicians and makers are facing the sad possibility that cheaper woods may need to be substituted. It’s maybe not the end of the world for music, but maybe we are seeing yet another traditional craft in trouble.

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