Archive for May, 2008

Letters from the 5th Estate

In May 1789, Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the ‘Estate General’. The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, ‘Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.’

In a conversation about the power and influence of the media and the reference to the Fourth Estate, I made a casual comment saying, ‘Well, maybe, the arts are the Fifth Estate”.

Now I said this not at all knowing that there ARE various Fifth Estates in use already.

Anyway, this concept wouldn’t go away and as the material for the album began to come together I began to think of the songs as letters – not just melodies with a set of lyrics, but something much more personal and confronting than that.

Hence, ‘Letters from the 5th Estate‘.

Over these months, this title and idea has become more deeply embedded into my mind and spirit and I DO absolutely believe that especially today, the arts, and especially music, have a unique capacity to not only inform and entertain, but a responsibility to bring to light moral and humanitarian issues, to advocate on behalf of the voiceless and the invisible and to challenge to action.

This is what the 5th Estate is to me.