Giving new life to old gold

In my experience, few things illuminate the mysteries of life like the work of Joseph Campbell. Last Sunday, preparing for a stroll, I searched Spotify for a Campbell lecture to walk to. He’s been dead since 1987, so I was surprised to see a new release under his name—a collaboration no less!—called Songs of Mythology. Another surprise was the collaborator: Akira the Don. Who the heck is that?

Anyway, I listened to Songs of Mythology and was delighted. I learned that Akira the Don is a musician and producer. He took a Joseph Campbell lecture, pulled poignant lessons from it, and set them to song. It’s an impressive achievement that honors Campbell’s teachings and gives them a fresh chance to influence people.

Getting someone to listen to a Joseph Campbell lecture is no small task. He is not new or young or easy. He is old and dead and challenging. But his lessons on meaning, awe, life, and death—and how we, as humans, have historically made sense of these things—are profound and valuable no matter who you are. Akira the Don’s arrangements re-package this wisdom in a way that my 13-year-old cousin or my 31-year-old friend can equally appreciate, groove to, and learn from.

All ideas sit in quicksand. It is important to dredge up the life-giving ones, so they aren’t forgotten or lost. Akira the Don has done that here. I write this note to celebrate it—someone looking back, finding old gold, and giving it new life in their own way.

Whether you enjoy Akira’s particular creation or not is a matter of style. Either way, I hope you are similarly inspired to look back, find old gold, and give it new life in your own way.


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