By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
Songwriter, speaker, and author David LaMotte will be performing at The Scene on Beaton at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 4, presented by Nonviolent Navarro. The Navarro County Gazette got a chance to site down with LaMotte and talk with him about his music, his activism, and trying to fly into town after this extended icy week. The musician remained optimistic.
“All travel problems can be fixed with two things: Patience and a credit card,” LaMotte said.
Born in Norfolk,Virginia and currently living in the mountains of North Carolina, LaMotte’s career has been a storied one, with “Thirtysomething years” performing over 3,000 concerts and releasing thirteen full-length CDs of primarily original music.
“Music matters,” LaMotte said.” “It sometimes allows us to say things and hear things that we can’t just with words. At a time when the fabric of society is really under a lot of strain, I think music is one of the things that weaves that fabric back together.”
“It reminds of our common humanity, the shared experience. I’m reminded that I’m not alone.”
LaMotte’s travels have led him to tour all of the fifty states, as well as five of the seven continents. The musician traveled with his family, studying for a few years in Australia, earning a Master’s Degree in peace studies, and later did field work in rural India. The experiences constantly reminded him that while there are cultural differences, everyone is human and have commonalities to build on.
As an author, he’s written two children’s books, and one, as he summarized with a humorous description, “for grown ups that’s got more words and fewer pictures.”
Regarding his upcoming performance with Nonviolent Navarro, LaMotte has known Rev. Dr. John Blewitt for some time, agreeing to participate the group’s most recent event with a concert. A selection of acoustic guitar medleys covering a range of country blues, southern rock, folk, and world music, LaMotte shares “things that are true, whether or not they are factual,” while spreading a peaceful message that is not simplified or easy to diminish.
“It needs to be taught,” LaMotte said of the ideology. “Nonviolence, of course, is not just being not violent… it’s a fairly intricate method or set of methods to transform conflict and transform relationships and move toward conflict in ways that are constructive, not destructive.”
“I think there is a broad misunderstanding about peace work in our culture that it’s just about being ‘nice’ or expecting everyone else to be nice, that it’s non-coercive, and actually, nonviolence is completely coercive. It’s definitely got goals and it’s trying to move towards them. It evokes change so that all of us can be a little safer, a little happier, and a little more connected.”
LaMotte admitted that the path to peace is not always an easy one, despite maintaining a commitment to it.
“I think there’s also a misconception about folks who endeavor to practice nonviolence that there is a self-righteousness there,” LaMotte said. “The fact is, I get this wrong every single day. On my good days, I also get it right.”
“I want to grow into a better way.”
He also talked about the cultural philosophy of “hero stories” and the difference between listening to one and participating in one.
“We tend to take movement stories and turn them into hero stories,” LaMotte said. Hero stories are fun to tell… and also get us get us off the hook. Because our job in a hero story, if we’re not the hero, is to clap. And that’s a lot easier than to show up and do the work.”
“Hero stories are often quite compelling, and though we tell them to inspire each other and inspire kids and such, they have the capacity to be every bit as disempowering as they are empowering.”
LaMotte wants his music to make people laugh while enjoying their evening, but ultimately wants to connect his audience through his first performance in Corsicana.
David LaMotte performs at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, at The Scene on Beaton, located at 114 S. Beaton Street. Raquel Lindemann, “The Hippie Songbird,” will open for LaMotte. Tickets are $20.
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