I really like to learn and I really like to tell stories. Over the years I’ve learned to ask and to listen and more often than not, people are willing to tell you a bit of their story. Last night was no exception. I had the privilege of speaking with Glenn Gamboa, music critic for Newsday, a very well known paper based in New York. As a teacher at university, I lead a couple of classes that have to do either with popular music or with music criticism, and so this was a wonderful opportunity to gather real stories – the straight from the person evidence that supplements academic texts and historical documents.
Glenn chose the time and I stopped what I was doing to make the call. I happened to be by the seaside and if you listen closely, you can hear children playing behind the initial ringing sounds, and there is one moment when a runner and his dog go by. The evening bats overhead didn’t make a sound.
Both the interview and transcript are below. Glenn was incredibly generous with his time, and I know my students will be excited to listen and follow up by reading his work. After the recorded portion of the call, I asked for guidance as to which of his pieces my students should read (Glenn is a very prolific writer). He suggested these for starters.
They represent a range of short and longer pieces. I am sure when you read them, you will notice the absolute breadth of knowledge, attention to detail, and sheer amount of careful craftsmanship that has gone into putting together each piece. Even though Glenn speaks with such openness and with easy-going fluidity about what he does, mastery takes thousands of hours of practice, as with any discipline. I was definitely aware that I was speaking to one of the masters of this craft. Thank you Glenn for sharing your time with us!
A telephone conversation between Newsday Music Critic Glenn Gamboa and Laura Ritchie, 5 October, 2018
Newsday, this is Glenn.
-Hi ! This is Laura Ritchie in the UK
Hey Laura, how are you?
-I’m fantastic! So this is fantastic and thank you so much. First question before we say anything, can I record the call to share with my students?
Oh sure, definitely.
-Thank you! So, you’ve been a music critic for a very long time.
…a very long time [laughs]
-No but seriously- for years and years, you’ve seen change that’s been unprecedented actually- gosh, I can’t even imagine. Will you tell me a bit about some of it?
Sure- Should I talk about how things are different now than they were 5 years ago?