There are a lot of famous quotes alluding to the power of music, but here’s one of my favourites –
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato
Music is a universal language that we all understand, and that holds a great deal of power. It has truly changed the world.
Songs are such a powerful medium when it comes to translation of human emotions and feelings. It is almost wearying to simply feel emotion by glaring through lyrics on a piece of paper. This is why music is better understood with a combination of artistic translations that has influenced generations before us, and will continue to inspire the generations after.
Musicians have changed the world, one song at a time. Here are a few examples that prove it:
1. John Lennon: Imagine
Widely regarded as John Lennon’s signature song, “Imagine” convey’s his wish for world peace. Initially inspired by a poem written by Yoko Ono, “Imagine” is saddening as we look to the future and work towards a world without extreme poverty.
John Lennon’s, ‘Imagine’ is statistically the most loved song of all time. The soundtrack captures John promoting a fairer world, and it captured the Beatle’s legacy within one collective effort. As the years pass by, ‘Imagine’ has transformed into a tragically appropriate translation to whatever corruption is currently shredding the world apart and, in reality, the true meaning of the track has faded away.
2. Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
With his 1971 album “What’s Going On”, Marvin Gaye not only voiced his opinion against the Vietnam war, but addressed issues of his time, such as drug abuse and poverty. Despite the seriousness of his album, the title track has a very impactful and inspiring message. “You know we’ve got to find a way; To bring some lovin’ here today”.
His album achieved massive and long lasting success, coming in at sixth place on Rolling Stone magazine’s, 500 greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003.
“What’s Going On” also portrayed the violence and police brutality in America. One of the song’s writers, singer and songwriter Renaldo Benson of the Four Tops was inspired to come up with this song when he harnessed violence and police brutality while living in Berkeley, California. On May 15th 1969, Renaldo Benson had arrived with the tour bus of the Four Tops in Berkeley and saw a group of antiwar activists protesting against the Vietnam War. Benson was shocked to his core to witness the sheer amount of violence and police brutality present at the protest.
3. Patti Smith: People Have the Power
Patti Smith has used her music to empower political activism, and strongly condemn war and disregard of human rights. She was not someone who shied away from making bold and controversial statements, in order to get her views out.
On a more lighter note, her song “People Have the Power” is a powerful yet clear reminder to act on issues that bother us, and speak up on topics that we know is not morally inclined, for the sole purpose of protecting people’s interests and the basic freedom to voice your individual opinions.
4. Tsunami Aid: Concert of Hope
This worldwide benefit was held, keeping the tsunami victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake in mind. In an improved and innovative way to collect funds, consumers were able to buy digital downloads of performances from entertainers including Madonna, Eric Clapton Sheryl Crow, and Roger Waters. It is estimated that the concert earned around $5 million towards the end of the broadcast. Check out Global Citizen Rewards for donation enquiries. They are still active!
5. K’naan: Wavin’ Flag
Keinan Abdi Warsame, that popularly goes by his stage name K’naan, was born and raised in Somalia. After the emergence of a civil war, however, his family feared for his safety and joined his father briefly in New York City, and later moved to Canada. While K’naan does not view himself as a political being, he attempts to use his music to paint out the situations as they seem, in his evergreen song “Wavin’ Flag” which was the 2010 Football World Cup anthem. In his original lyrics, he talks about the struggle refugees faced, while being displaced by war, and how the masses are awaiting the taste of freedom.
In conclusion, Music has the ability to lead people together, no matter the cause or reason the artist wishes to promote. Sounds created through the instruments played by artists, create a combined interest in a particular genre of music, and who does not enjoy the spine tingling sounds of a huge orchestral band performance? We are all naturally wired to move our feet uncontrollably to the rhythm of a drum beat or singing our hearts out in support of our favourite sports team.
Music creates social togetherness and unity. It speaks to us when words can fail, and wherever you go across the world, it is understood and felt. Music is a universal gift that holds the power to connect people, without question. It is an art form with human interaction at its epicentre.
In a digital era where various services and products are instantly available with the click of a button, learning how to play a musical instrument provides a platform for people to achieve this goal through discipline and determination. There are several skills required in order to learn how to play a musical instrument:
- Reading music
As you continue to brush up on these these skills, you build resilience.
Be it a festival, concert or even a night out at the club, people come together to enjoy the music that’s being played. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of a few big festivals in Europe, and it’s amazing to see the amount of people coming from different countries across the globe, just to take part in the experience. At festivals like Tomorrowland or Ultra Music Festival, you’ll see a lot of people from all over the world to enjoy the whole musical experience. No matter where you come from, every one is treated equally. There is something we can all learn from and experience.
I don’t think I’m the only one who listens to a particular song and immediately connects a memory that coincides with that particular song. Music allows your imagination flow and that’s definitely a positive factor for your increased creativity and good health.
Music is also good for your memory. I’m certain that you can remember the lyrics of an array of songs much better than an article you recently came across. In nursing homes, they have begun using musical therapy in order to let the older people remember things of their past, which they couldn’t remember without listening to music.
Whether it is to carry a political message, a certain emotion or just for the sheer happiness, musicians have used sound and music since the evolution of prehistoric man, as a way of expressing themselves and making their voices heard.