If you enjoy the introductory music that begins our show, you’ll really love this episode — host Charlie Bresler is talking with composer and musician José González, who generously agreed to allow his music to grace Musings on Ourselves and Other Strangers.

José has had a fascinating history: his parents fled the dictatorship in their native Argentina in 1976. Because José’s parents were at university and his father was an activist, they were targeted by the government. They were able to flee through Brazil, and ultimately the Swedish embassy helped them to relocate to safety. They landed in Sweden, where José was born.

As you might guess, politics and activism were frequent topics around the family dinner table. José himself prefers to communicate his thoughts and reflections through his music, with allusions and metaphors that can speak to us on a deeper level. “Many songs have a crystal-clear, secular humanist agenda: anti-dogma, pro-reason,” he says. 

A scientist by training, José left academia to pursue his music career, but he admits to missing learning and reads broadly to pursue his interests. Though he’s created “only” three solo albums in 18 years, each album is intricately designed, the music’s apparent simplicity belied by a deep, inner complexity. He regularly plays to sold-out venues and devoted followers.

José says his music takes on the Big Questions, the existential conundrums that reflect the journey of “smart apes on a quest to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.” Like Charlie, José is interested in why humans — himself included — behave the ways we do, and his music gives us openings to view ourselves through.

We hope you’ll enjoy this episode. To find more music by José, visit his website jose-gonzalez.com.

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