May 3rd, 2011 by A.G.J.
Awhile back I flew to Canada next to a guy who played drums in a reggae band. Forgive me for not remembering the band’s name – or the guy’s. But what I do remember is him telling me that the group was asked to play a concert in the Sudan. And that when they went over there, fighting stopped while various bands performed a week-long concert. His eyes grew big with disbelief as he asked, in his island accent, Can you imagine?! Soldiers, everyone dancing in the streets. No war. No place for it. I tell you it was a miracle.
I get it.
In my experience, war emerges in the absence of song. Have you ever noticed how amazingly orchestrated every aspect of life is when you’re walking down the street listening to your ipod? Suddenly it’s all connected and cool – how the cars move, the people that walk by, the way the clouds drift overhead, even litter winks back. It’s when we stop hearing the music that we get lost in our heads. Thoughts of lack and fear can consume us. They turn us off literally.
Music takes us out of our head because it’s an invitation to listen, not think. I remember reading somewhere that indigenous people took singing very seriously. At times, they even “sang for their life”. They knew something we’ve forgotten: we cannot sing and fear at the same time.
Don’t take my word for it though. Test it yourself. Go on. Listen to the music. Sing it, sister. Belt it, brother.