Music is powerful. Music plays a big role in my life, my life could be mapped out by a series of songs. Music has the power to compel and transport our mind to another place and time. Whenever I hear Katy Perry’s song I kissed A Girl I think of the day I got my very first kiss at the age of thirteen. When I listen to Don’t Stop Believing by Journey I remember how my friends sang for me when I felt all hope was gone. When I’m feeling depressed or beat up I listen to 2Pac’s How Do You Want It and suddenly I want to dance and forget all my troubles.
Music has the ability to inspire and move people in ways unknown to us. During the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe, the songs sung by Stella Chiweshe, Nyika Musabayana Zimunya and Oliver Mutukudzi gave people hope and courage to keep fighting. The lyrics spoke to them and strengthened their burning desire to be free. The quick step of Miriam Makeba and her Pata-Pata, the sensual jazz by Hugh Masekela kept the hope and faith of all black South Africans alive. When they listened to these songs, they found comfort in them but most importantly their spirits were rejuvenated and ignited. To these people music was more than just quick step and bum jive. It was a way of bringing everyone together and speaking to one another through music.
For myself as well, music is just more than the thumping 808 or outrageous dance moves and fashion. Music is my outlet. I am able to connect and understand different cultures through music and this I feel is the fundamental importance of music in my life. One song is able to reach millions and possibly change the lives of hundreds of thousands.
I remember the very first time my father played One Love by Bob Marley. I was six years old and sitting on my small chair in the kitchen. My mother was cooking sadza and beef stew, my father went up to her and they started dancing. At first, my mother was reluctant claiming that she had to watch her pots but she eventually gave in. Although I was six and could not really understand the song and the message behind it, the image of my parents has always remained in my mind. Ultimately I think this is what Bob Marley meant when he sang the song, one love between all kinds of people despite their age, colour, or creed. This one song always reminds me to treat others with the same kind of love I would also want to be treated with.
In an age where there are so many ills that plague our society especially in Africa music is one instrument that can connect us and also propel and encourage people to fight against all that is wrong. Music has played a pivotal role in my life and will continue to as long as I am on my self-discovery journey. I am saddened when I see people especially of my age listen to a song just because it’s ‘new and fresh’ or because the video just recently came out. True I admit it is good to be up to date with the world but listening to music in a bubble gum syndrome where we quickly chew the latest song and throw it out when a knew one comes out takes away the essence of music. However this is solely not my peer’s fault it is also largely because some of the music produced now is not made to last or have a timeless impact on society like Bob Marley. This worries me and frightens me as I question if the world has moved from using music as a form of communication to using music as a way of getting rich fast.
From centuries past and those to follow music will continue to play a big role in society and shaping culture, it is up to us as a generation to use this medium of communication usefully.