Music… the language of peace
We live in a multicultural world. The numerous existing languages and cultures on our planet are enriching elements that bring knowledge and development to societies. However, different languages can also become a barrier to communication and lead to misunderstanding. There are multiple ways to express ourselves when it comes to conveying a message and not sharing the same language. In those situations, music can play an important role, as it has the power to make people closer independent from their background and tongues. However, not all kinds of music have the same effect on the ears of those used to specific melodies, tones, and styles, and a wrong choice could even make understanding and connectionless possible. Let me tell you about my experience with music and how it meant a key factor for peacebuilding.
I am a singer. Music means a lot for me; I could not imagine my life without it. Through music, I express myself and share beautiful moments with people. Music means also memories we like to revive and through it, people express their feelings, which are then transmitted to Listeners. Personally, I appreciate lots of different styles and I am mad about world popular and ethnic music so whenever I have the chance to travel to a new place I always give myself a chance to enjoy local music.
One of the most beautiful experiences in my life happened five years ago in a small village in India. I was traveling along with my cousin and suddenly came up with a man who asked us where were we from. After exchanging some words we realized that we could not communicate as we did not have a common language. At that moment I spotted a star which was leaning against a tree. When he saw me looking at it he felt motivated and suddenly took it and started to play, and it was really worth listening. After some minutes I felt motivated to accompany him with flamenco singing. Bit by bit, more people started to gather. Some of them brought their instruments; some others just came to enjoy the music. The way we all improvised was so powerful that it was difficult not to feel emotional with the moment. Every single instrument and every single voice matched perfectly with the vibe and as the music went lower and lower we all went gradually emotional. In less than 10 minutes we all had created an atmosphere of magic and peace. There was a big feeling of unity and happiness and this moment will remain in my memory forever. After we finished playing, we felt the need to keep enjoying each other’s company, so everybody brought something to eat and shared a meal all together with the utmost naturalness. The looks and gests between us were those of brotherhood and closeness as if we were relatives and we knew each other from a long time ago, even if we could not speak the same language. This experience is a clear example of how music has the power of uniting people and building peace at least in a short scale.
To this regard, Mr. Eric Falt, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information stated that around the world there is increasing recognition that intangible cultural heritage is a source of wellbeing, social cohesion, and sustainable development during the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival that was held in 2015 in Uzbekistan. It must be noted that certain music styles are considered world heritage by this organisation, such as Flamenco, Reggae, Fado among other international styles. The programme aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage, which the organisation has identified as an essential component and as a repository of cultural diversity and creative expression essential for peacebuilding.
Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that not every music would be welcomed everywhere. Music can be very varied and can promote very different values. Music has the power to awaken too many feeling in us. If music promotes violence and it is very rough, it can awake aggressiveness in people; at the same time, much-accelerated music can take into a state of hyperactivity. Then it is essential that if we want to use music in order to bring peace it has to be a music that unites, promotes good values and that is emotional in a way. It is also important to know that when there is a musical exchange, we have to be aware of the local music, as depending on the style, melodies and rhythm it can like a lot or not at all depending on the public. Thus, it is very important to have musical knowledge in order to introduce music to the public, if we want to create a sense of unity, peace, and understanding.
As a conclusion, we could say that it is clear is that peace, happiness, and unity can be attaint through music. It must be noted that this happened in a short scale but if our objective is to build permanent peace, it is pretty clear that music alone will not be able to solve social, war and confrontation in a large scale for a maintained for an indefinite period of time. However, it can help for a specific period of time and can stimulate the awakening of people’s consciousness. In other words, music can be the flame that ignites the spirits of people and makes them feel a sense of unity and brotherhood.
Mario Fernández Carrascosa