Since time immemorial, humanity has used music to communicate. Expressing sentiments and feelings in ways words often cannot, music is a way of reaching out and sharing our hearts.
Too much of our popular music today is focused on drama, loss and heartbreak. The fact that so many of our cultural references, from literature to theatre to soap operas, are based on conflict and aggression only demonstrates how addicted we are to drama, as if violence and discord are valid as long as they help us escape from the drudgery of routine. But if our entertainment comes in the form of conflict, then that simply highlights our own incapacity to truly enjoy life for what it is.
Why are so many of our songs based on loss and unrequited yearning? Is that really what moves our hearts more than joy and pleasure? More than compassion and peace? The artistic obsession with misery is a convoluted attempt at profundity; the complexity of suffering makes us feel interesting and worldly, but really it only keeps us locked in an endless cycle of self flagellation and mental dead-ends.
But music can be much more than this. Transcending cultural and social boundaries, music speaks to us beyond the constraints of language. Music has always been closely tied to religion and spirituality, helping us name the unnamable, moving the deeper part of ourselves.
And so it seems fitting that MasterPeace, an international initiative for bringing people and cultures together in the spirit of peace, has chosen music as the catalyst for transcending our boundaries. Through a concert that will take place in Istanbul on September 21st 2014 – the UN’s International Day Of Peace – MasterPeace seeks to show how music can help foster the values of peace so needed in the world today.
The organization has also launched a competition, the winner of which will be invited to perform their original song at the opening of the concert. Over 200 artists from around the world have submitted a wonderful variety of songs, covering all kinds of different genres and all with messages of hope, compassion and solidarity. I invite you to discover their work at masterpeace.org/mymusic. You can vote for your favorite (voting ends April 30th) and the jury will select the winner from the 20 most voted entrants. Please join in and show your support for an initiative that is encouraging artists to channel their creativity towards the uplifting, the life affirming, the uniting.
Let’s kill the drama and find the entertainment that lies in joy and in the celebration of life, and watch how our world begins to sing a new song, a song of peace.