World Music Day: Heal the World

World Music Day: Heal the World

By Chonmipem Horam

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. - Victor Hugo

Music aficionados, can you visualize a life void of music? Absolutely NOT!

Whether you accept it or not, music affects our daily life, weaving its beauty and sensation through our thoughts, activities and memoirs. Music is harmony and music is beauty. Music has the impact of conveying the ineffable.

One cannot approach music with one’s own peculiar likes, dislikes or tastes, which are all a part of one’s own conditioning. Music is something both astoundingly complex and unbelievably simple at the same time.

The genesis of World Music Day:

World Music Day, also known as Fete de la Musique, was a music festival that began in France in 1982.

The idea was conceived by French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, in 1981. Since then June 21st has been celebrated every year as the World Music Day.

On this day, the musicians perform for free in open areas. Free concerts are organized in parks, museums, train stations, castles etc. This helps in making all sorts of music accessible to the public.

It gives an opportunity to commune and share a special bond through music. There is no restriction for noise on this day.

The term ‘World Music’ includes both traditional as well as non-Western music. It is folk music of any culture, played by indigenous people. It is also a classical music along with traditional ethnic instruments. Some of them are – Japanese `Koto` music, Indian `raga` music, Tibetan `chants` and South African `township` music.

World Music Day is celebrated in Argentina, Australia, Britain, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, Costa Rica, China, India, Lebanon and several other countries. This is done to promote peace and spread goodwill through music.

Musicians from across the world are also invited to perform on World Music Day.

Genres of music

India being a land of diversity with varied cultures, traditions and art forms, every region has its own unique musical form.

While there are various genres, Indian classical music has been divided into North Indian traditional known as Hindustani music and Carnatic music belonging to South India.

Apart from these, there are wide-ranging forms such as Bhangra, Bhajans or Devotional, Ghazals and Qawwalis, Indi-Pop, Folk, Tribal, Film Songs, Remixes, Fusion etc. While Bhangra is a dance oriented folk music, Bhavageete (devotional song) is a form of expressionist poetry and light music. Qawwali is a Sufi form of devotional music based on Hindustani classical.

In the West, we have Metal, Punk, Rock, Hip-Hop, Hard Rock, Alternative, Experimental, Country, Disco, Funk, Classical, Progressive, Trance, Techno, Ska, Reggae music.

Trance Music was developed in the early quarters of 20th century and is usually played in club houses and dance floors. Indigenous Country Music born of the US is in form of folk, Celtic, church, gospels and tribal music, while pop music is both classical and folk. Reggae is a music genre developed in late 1960s.

Its lyrics deal with faith, love, sexuality, relationships, injustice etc. Hip-hop is both a cultural movement and genre of music developed in New York City in 1970s by African Americans and Latin Americans.

Ups and downs

Music is a vital form of communication. It’s a manifestation of society in a particular time and place. Music needs no restrictions, boundaries; it bonds us irrespective of who we are, and where we are from. It’s a source of entertainment as well as platform to put across past, present and future messages.

Music also helps socialize and meet new people. Music can do wonders on overall well-being of the mind and state. It is said, listening to music has positive effects on us. One can ease off mental illness by listening to soft, soothing music.

Bid adieu to depression and anxiety by tuning in to your favourite track. It promotes sound sleep as well. Music helps us unite for a good cause. Various artists jointly raised money for the quake-struck Haiti by recording MJ’s song ‘We are the World’.

It sounds beautiful as well as inspiring, as it echoes noble thoughts.

John Lennon`s song `Imagine` can be cited as a sweet remedy in this trouble-torn world: `Imagine there’s no countries It isn`t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace`

Music grants us the freedom of expression. Like in the late 1980s and 90s, young black Americans coming out of the Civil Rights Movement used music to show the limitation of the movement.

They used hip-hop to voice their opinion about issues and let the world notice. But inspite of these social impacts, there are negative aspects as well. Some of the songs, lyrics in hip-hop genre portray violence, drugs, alcohol, sex which is damaging to people’s minds.

Youngsters fail to differentiate between reality and entertainment, and seem to idolize and follow their footsteps. Heavy metal and rock bands also do have intense lyrics and fixation with death.

Rappers like Tubac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G` are known for their violent images, drugs, murder, gunfights. This leaves a negative impact on the youngsters. The more we keep a track on the lyrics, the more we become habituated to it and can become a prey to it.

Various music festivals:

There are many World Music festivals and jazz/folk/roots/new age crossover events.

  • The Ariano Folkfestival in southern Italy
  • The California World Music Festival
  • The World Sacred Music Festival in Olympia, Washington State
  • FloydFest in Floyd, Virginia, USA
  • The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, New York, USA
  • Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia
  • Stern Grove festival is a San Francisco celebration of musical and cultural diversity
  • The Starwood Festival in New York

Striking quotes:

If music be the food of love, play on-William Shakespeare

Music is my religion-Jimi Hendrix

Music should be your escape-Missy Elliot

You are the music while the music lasts-TS Eliot

Music is the shorthand of emotion-Leo Tolstoy

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue-Plato

Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it-John Lennon

Music can change the world because it can change people-Bono