We Got the Funk
Funk: a strong, offensive, musty smell.
Funky: Smelly, musty, offensively stinking.
These are old meanings for the words funk and funky. Prior to the 1960’s, funk was a bad word.
Funk as a music genre originated in the late ’60’s when musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a new form. Funk music de-emphasizes melody and harmony and emphasizes a strong rythmic groove of electric bass and drums.
It puzzled me how the word changed from a bad word to a good word and I began researching dictionary meanings for funk. I found one reference to suggest the word might have French roots from the dialectic word “funquer”, to give off smoke and one of the old meanings was a strong offensive smokey smell.
Well, that sent my brain traveling in one of it tangential directions. Many of those older jazz and blues musicians who coined the word and developed the music had a habit of smoking a particular herb which gave off a very strong “funky” odor. It also had the tendency to free up your mind into an altered, creative state. One of the phrases used by these old musicians was “let’s put some STANK on it” meaning let’s free up this music, give it a new twist, alter your perception, do something different, something outside the box.
However the term was meant, funk style, that heavy use of repetititve bass and percussion to create a foot tapping, primitive earthy beat that made you want to get up and get tribal and dance, gave rise to many new genres of music.
You can do a bit of research yourself and find links to over 100 Greatest Funk Artists. From jazz artists like Miles Davis and Herbie Hanson who helped originate funk, to disco bands like KC and the Sunshine band, to metal rock funk like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine and on to G-funk with gangsta rappers Snoop Dawg and 2Pac.
With the influence of music, the word funk came to mean “having an earthy quality, uncomplicted, natural” according to the Dictionary of Slang. If something is funky, it has an earthy, natural and uncomplicated style, it is modish and unconventional and very original. Trendy and mod! FUNKY is now a good thing!
Let me show you some of my favorite “funky” jewelry pieces from JCUIN guild artists.
Pretty Gonzo’s earrings
And finally, here is a collection I called Express Yourself from that old funk tune by Charles Wright. All artists are JCUIN Guild members and you can see that We got the funk! Visit the shops and buy something and get yourself Fund-de-fied!