Why I Love Snarky Puppy, Part III – Ethos and Pathos

  • Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence emotions, behaviours, and even morals.

Snarky Puppy is a multi-talented musical family for sure but their people, starting with Michael League, show such leadership in the way that they connect with the world.  As I started to get into the band, I saw many videos where the band was recording live in front of students.  I  learned that the group often gives master classes on the road before concerts.  They’ve recorded albums at the Jefferson Center whose mission is “preparing local youth for future education, careers, and interests in the music and entertainment industries.” I saw firsthand that the group gave back to The Roots of Music during the recording of Family Dinner, Volume 2.  Two weeks from now, the band will host the GroundUP Music Festival in Miami Beach, FL where Snarky Puppy will be playing three sets.  The festival is partially sponsored by Festival Miami  which “aims to provide unrestricted access to these high-quality music performances at affordable prices to all of South Florida.”  In addition, the festival will highlight a wide range of musical styles from all of GroundUP labels artists to expose them to a broader audience.  The Ethos of Snarky Puppy is always with them, to spread positive growth through the power of music and to share and promote their gifts and those of their friends with people around the world!

  • Pathos represents an appeal to the emotions of the audience, and elicits feelings that already reside in them. Pathos is accomplished in a multitude of ways, including the passion in the delivery. (Both definitions adapted from Wikipedia)

Snarky Puppy epitomizes Pathos in their live performances – the passion that they have for their music, their collective and individual virtuosity, and their encouragement of each other to push the limits during solos is infectious to the audience as well.  It’s truly amazing to see crowds sing along with instrumental music, whether to older tunes like Thing of Gold or the now classic Shofukan.  Snarky Puppy’s excellence across the board has exposed a whole new generation to cool, funky, eclectic, jazz/funk/world instrumental music and is being rewarded with passion by audiences around the world.  I hope to keep up with the growth of the band as long as I can and look forward to seeing them along with all the other wonderful artists in Miami Beach February 10-12.