"Dame dame dame, que te voy a dar ... una guayabita de mi guayabal."


Suzanne Vega on intellectual property, mothering the MP3, and not being half Puerto Rican

I'm not exactly a huge Suzanne Vega (remember "Luka" and "Tom's Diner"?) but this blog post of hers gets more interesting as it goes along, as she ruminates on intellectual property

"I had to go back to all the people who had taken the song without permission, and ask their permission . . . to use their version of my song!"

on being called "the mother of the MP3"

"I ran home and found the article online. The title was “Ich Bin Ein Paradigm Shifter: The MP3 Format is a Product of Suzanne Vega’s Voice and This Man’s Ears.” “The MP3 fools the ear by eliminating the least essential parts of a music file…To create MP3 [Karl-Heinz] Brandenberg had to appreciate how the human ear perceives sound. A key assist in this effort came from Suzanne Vega. ‘I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm,’ Brandenberg recalls. “Somewhere down the corridor a radio was playing “Tom’s Diner.” I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a capella voice.”

and some interesting stuff about race, not least of which is her own history:

"It was astonishing to me to hear that the kids at Joan of Arc Junior High on West 93rd Street were dancing in the street to it one day, since as a kid growing up on the Upper West Side, I was ostracized in some of my classes for being “white.” In African Dance class in 1972, I was smacked in the back of the head for being there at all. (I was raised in a half-Puerto-Rican family, as half-Puerto Rican. I found out at the age of nine or so that I actually had a different father from my brothers and sister — my birth father was English-Scottish-Irish from California.)"

Plus it has some cool remixes of "Tom's Diner."

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