Musical Stratosphere & Social Justice
By Scotland Willis
Music notes 2
Yesterday I enjoyed a collage of musical excellence through the gene of creativity. Last night that gene was a combination of seven musicians balanced like the equator balances the two spheres of the globe; musicians doing things you would have to see and hear to genuinely absorb the real vibe. Though I identify my work as an environmental strategist, music plays an important role in our environment and social justice- and hey, who doesn’t appreciate great music.
I was fortunate to have mistakenly showed up at the studio of Touch 106.1 FM yesterday. I encountered six very talented young Berklee students; proud multicultural ladies– from Latina to Caribbean and African American to Anglo. In the studio I gleaned only a touch of what they are capable of. Not until last night was able to grasp the full scope of the talent of Birth of Le Femme and other sedulous musicians.
Wally’s world famous Jazz Cafe serves as the venue for a myriad pool of talented musicians. After sitting and listening to Birth of Le Femme I could not resist the opportunity to experience more of what they teased the microphones with, while I visited the studio of Touch FM earlier in the day. Wallys, is a place where Young jazz-pop-hip-hopped-fusion consume the space and the people.
Stopping by Wally’s presented an opportunity to embrace the newest talent approaching the professional music landscape. As the first set opened the band with no name unleashed Imagine and for the next twenty minutes I was on musical lock-down. This ingenious rendition of Imagine by a collection of randomly assembled artist, helped me understand what my new vocabulary informed me of as, “being in the pocket.” It is a rare moment of immersion into a space where you own what is happening, nothing else really exists at that moment in time, between you and the music; whether it is the musician playing or you listening.
All of this after only one practice session, according to Gizzmo the MD(music director), it was outstanding. Ilan Barlavi was obsessive on the lead guitar, the young Asian man on the keyboard was steeped in the groove; the flute work was exhilarating and Taylor Gordon helped bring it home on the drums. Oh yeah… the brass lit things up too. Most of all it was their chemistry that worked the audience who resembled the American Melting Pot.
Music does something for the soul that nothing else can. It is neither esoteric nor hyperbole, which is the reason why it attracts so many. Rather music is inclusive and authentic emotionally. Whether it is an individual or a country, music has always served as a vehicle to transform emotions and shift cultural behaviors. Not even public policy is as effective a tool.
There are no barriers between the transmission and the receiver, that being your inner ears, or perhaps your inner soul. Music reaches across nations, and cities; it reaches across genders and generations; it reaches across struggle and sacrifice- music reaches us all.
Music is social justice: because of its breadth it is social; because of its inspiring transformational quality across boundaries, it is just. It is easy to fold an experience, that resembles my own on this evening, into sustainability, because as advocates and activists of just causes, musical talent like this keeps us going.