Music: A Bridge Over Cultural Divides

Frustration, anger, division, sorrow, shock, anguish. These are the things we are seeing in the news, in our social media, in our neighborhoods, in our families. To varying degrees we are all affected by current events and the social climate. A global pandemic has put stresses upon us in a way nothing else quite has, and when we are fractured and vulnerable, new shock waves are echoing through our communities. Long simmering suffering is erupting into protests and action in frightening ways.

During this time of pain we can turn to our Song of the Hearties community for a splash of joy. We can turn to music as a balm for a troubled soul and as a rallying cry to inspire us to action.

Music is the universal language. Music is a universal art form. No matter what cultures divide us, music can unite us. As part of being an inclusive community, it is important that we elevate minority voices. Music is an excellent tool to teach our children about diversity.

Take this time to hold your little ones close and sing them a spiritual; black spirituals such as “Sing Low, Sweet Chariot”, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and “Go Down, Moses” are religious folk songs that developed amongst the slaves on Southern plantations as their African musical traditions were permeated over time with Christian worship. Many common folk songs are thought to have black roots, songs such as “All the Pretty Little Ponies”. Jazz music, the blues, Mo-Town – these are just some examples of the rich musical heritage of Black Americans.

Not sure about how to talk about race with your littles? Start with music. Take some time to enjoy the music of Black artists and appreciate their contribution to our collective culture.

And if you need 4 minutes of comfort and hope, listen to the united voices of Shades of Yale, a singing group of black and minority students at Yale that are dedicated to singing Black music. Here is their signature piece, performed pandemic-style, recorded and posted just a couple of weeks before recent events. Let these beautiful voices of color seep into your heart.


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