It’s probably not too difficult to fathom how certain music may mirror your own thoughts and feelings. Lyrics or melodies can potentially communicate the message that you want to convey. Songs can capture an emotional state or personal situation in the best way possible.
I love words, and I consider myself to be a pretty expressive individual. Sometimes, these classic quotes resonate: “Music exists to speak the words we can’t express,” and “When words fail music speaks.”
I propose that music is a mechanism for humans to connect with one another. It encourages us to share parts of ourselves through the sounds that are strung together or the singer’s prose. When telling our stories or channeling who we are with music, an awareness can develop and a bond can be solidified.
A 2012 documentary by Roberta Grossman explores the origins of “Hava Nagila,” the world-renowned Jewish standard. Rooted in rich culture and tradition, one can feel the essence and complex history, a history that incorporates both joy and sorrow, embedded within the verses.
“As it traveled around the globe, ‘Hava Nagila’ was repeatedly reinvented as a celebration of happiness in defiance of misery and oppression,” Ella Taylor stated in her review of the film. “Today, residents of the small Ukrainian village where it began as a nigun, or wordless melody, have either never heard of the song or learned about it only on television.”
Yet, once “Hava Nagila” reached America, the song became immensely popular. It’s played at weddings and special occasions that commemorate milestones. It unites everyone together through dance and features a language that relays a specific understanding.
An article published on superconsciousness.com highlights an interview with Michael Franti, Spearhead lead vocalist and solo artist who journeyed to Iraq in 2004 with his guitar.
“I really want to inspire people to shake off the chains of cynicism and to play a role,” Franti said. “It’s something that I’m always trying to do personally, every day, in my own life.”
He sang his songs and spoke to those who came to hear his voice; his music established a safe space and forged connections amidst the mistrust, tension and chaos in the region. Groups of children followed Franti’s footsteps, and the local people invited him into their homes, discussing their daily struggles and introducing him to their families. Needless to say, his songs sparked a dialogue.
I asked my friend, who’s a talented musician himself, about music and connection.
“I’ve witnessed music bringing people together,” Paul Reardon Rovira said. “The melodies of a song will cause people to think alike, the harmonies will cause people to feel a certain something, and the rhythms will inspire us to move our bodies. In this way, music is like magic.”
Music may very well be one of those universal truths that fosters connections and propels them forward. When we disclose our favorite songs, or musical pieces that affect us in some capacity, we could be giving others a glimpse into who we are as individuals. We identify with particular lyrical narratives and emotional dispositions and beautiful melodies, sharing pieces of ourselves in the process.