Published: Sunday | February 8, 2015 | The Jamaican Gleaner
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" - Berthold Auerbach
Ask anyone what is it that they love about music and instantly a smile appears. You'll later hear exclamations of "Music is my refuge! My escape! My therapy!" That's not a surprise because music transcends us and takes us to another time, another place - a special memory.
When we look at our country, known for its music as much as its beaches, we can agree that the love of music is ingrained in every Jamaican, and, therefore, is a part of our identity.
From the days of slavery, when music was an escape from torture to later being critical in early slave uprisings, music has changed our lives and our time. During praise and worship in church, music brings us closer to The Lord, as it is transcendental. The power of music is undeniable.
Here's what others had to sayfor the love of music.
Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah
Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies
UWI, Mona Campus
Author of DanceHall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto
Bob Marley said, "When it hits, you feel no pain", and that's one of the best descriptions. Music is so much a part of my DNA as an auditory, but overall, a kinaesthetic learner. It is my heartbeat and my 'soulbeat'. I can hear people's souls speaking through music and invariably when I hear a soul that I don't relate to, I can't listen to the music.
Fortunately, we are blessed with an abundance of musical riches in Jamaica and added to the rest of the world's music. I have my fair share of what to vibe to. I am a lover of all genres, but I am principally a dancehall fan. When I tell people my music has to go 'boop, boop, boop', they hardly believe me. But that's the thing about music - it hits us all differently.
Now I have the experience of watching my children grow into an appreciation for music they consume everyday. It reminds me of my own childhood, when I sang songs word for word, better than the lessons we learned at school. Music is so much a part of me - of all of us. It is difficult to imagine a world without music.
Blogger, Production Assistant, Social Media Manager
Music has had such a great impact on on my life. It was in my house, it was in my backyard. Growing up, it was everywhere. My family's sound system of over 45 years is the reason I'm such a music lover. It influenced me to be a part of dance societies in prep school and high school, where I competed in national dance competitions and received trophies and medals. I just needed to hear a beat and I would be rocking to it whether it was near or far. I started receiving mixing lessons from one of my uncles who operated the sound system. Yes, I was even contemplating becoming a disc jockey at one point.
Music helps me to get through some of my busiest, hardest and emotional days. There's a song to fit every mood and occasion. My happy song these days is Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. When I'm in an emotional mood, it's either Paramore's Riot album or anything from Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Aaliyah, The Weekend, Floetry, Joss Stone, Musiq Soulchild, etc.
My love for music has allowed me to co-host an underground Miami-based radio show. It has also allowed me to be the recipient of three Jamaica Blog Awards in 2010 and 2011 for Best Music Blog and Best Entertainment Blog. My friends all think I'm a big music library because of my vast knowledge of all things music related. They'd say, "If Jody doesn't know it, it isn't hot."
Music has saved me from saying or doing things I know I would later regret. Who knew the arrangement of melodies and lyrics could be so life-alerting? It's the most amazing thing we, as human beings, could ever experience. My favourite song lately is definitely Uptown Funk. It's such a fun and happy song. So if you ever need a pick-me-upper tune, take a listen.
Financial Advisor - Sagicor
We hardly recognise how much influence music has on our daily lives and probably never will until there's a day with no music.
Music has the ability to speak to the soul like no other art form. We all have that favorite song. For me, music is a mood-enhancer and mood-changer. The right song can have me laughing, get me relaxed, and soothe my stress.
Music also acts as a time-travel machine for me because there are songs that take me back to a specific time and place, jog specific memories - albeit sometimes memories that are best left alone. That's the power of music - it makes you feel alive. It speaks where you can't. Have you ever heard a song and wonder how this singer knows so much about your inner thoughts? I'm sure you have!
Music is healing. It can literally mend a broken heart, give power to the mind and body. Imagine, if you will, your favorite movie with no music - just words - I dare say it wouldn't be your favorite anymore.
As Plato said,"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
Musician, Singer, Teacher, Photographer
When I was a child, they told me I could be anything I wanted to be, and I believed them. Today, I am exactly who I wanted to be.
I never chose the arts as much as they chose me. Playing music and singing just come naturally to me, and because of this, I can say I have never worked a day in my life.
I do not have bad days because my music and photography give me a continual outlets and keep me happy. Those who know me generally comment that I am always happy, always smiling - and it is because I love what I do. When I play, sing or capture that perfect shot, it puts me in a place where everything feels right in the world. This is what I aim to impart to my students when I teach.
Students who study music are more balanced in their academic studies because the training and practise that goes into perfecting their art allows them to apply this formula to their studies. They know they need to put in the necessary work to get their desired results. Music helps them to be relaxed and keeps them happy. The legacy I hope to leave is for others to see how transformative and fulfilling the arts are and to share this with those around them. Express yourself!