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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Spreading positivity through music

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Our quarantined existence in this time of COVID-19 pandemic naturally led various quarters to turn to music for its healing effect. Becoming viral, pun unintended, are people singing or playing certain songs to cheer themselves and the community around them up. Scores – popular or unknown, talented or mediocre – are resorting to social media to express sentiments or spread positivity through music.

There’s that guy playing in his balcony John Lennon’s signature hit “Imagine” while his neighbor from another patio jams with him on sax. The slain Beatle’s dream of a utopian society couldn’t be more empowering as the world tries to live as one amidst the implementation of social distancing and stay-at-home lockdown. 

Iraqi Kurdish musician Nujin Hasan plays his violin to residents of his apartment block, who are staying at home to combat the spread of the coronavirus, in Arbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region. AFP

Another clip shows a man perform inside a deserted mall and kick his rendition of the same song with an a capella take of The Beatles classic Let It Be. The track is, in essence, Paul McCartney’s hymn as he composed it after he dreamt of his long-gone mother Mary speaking words of wisdom around the time tensions were disintegrating his beloved group. He still includes it in his live performances and it was likewise notable during his likable carpool episode with James Corden, especially after the latter was seen teary-eyed upon hearing the number one hit.   

Some PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) players also took to social media their solidarity by singing Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World.” The timely cut, which the King of Pop himself lauded as one he was ”most proud to have created,” is fifth single off his early 90s Dangerous album.  

Colombia’s police sergeant Fernando Usma sings a serenade to thank citizens for staying home, as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, outside residential buildings, in Medellin, Colombia. AFP

All three songs were lead-sung by three of the greatest voices of the 20th century.

But two songs featuring an ensemble of singing stars may also claim suitable to the needs of the times: “We Are The World” and “Voices That Care.” The first is another melody involving the late MJ as composer, with Lionel Richie as collaborator. It was originally USA’s anthem for the Ethiopian famine relief in response to Bob Geldof’s initiative to consolidate top  British acts and record the Christmas song “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

Opera singer Michal Janicki performs on the balcony of his flat and sings for his neighbors in Warsaw, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. AFP

The other, penned by a trio orchestrated by David Foster, was a charity record released in 1991 to “boost the morale of US troops involved in the Operation Desert Storm.

Interestingly, both “We Are The World” and “Heal The World” used the same line “There are people dying,” followed by urging messages “It’s time to lend a hand to life” and “If you care enough for the living/Make a better place for you and for me,” respectively. For all of MJ’s eccentricity, he really just wanted to save lives. 

Residents perform Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ on their instruments on their balcony in Weimar, eastern Germany. AFP
Mulhouse Symphonic Orchestra violinist Jessy Koch performs on her balcony as each day to support health workers in Mulhouse, eastern France. AFP 

As a fanatic, I say that The Beatles playlist regularly puts me to sleep partly because it soothes the soul. Some great songs, whether there’s pandemic or not, obviously enable to heal the wounded and, yes, the dying.


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