En avant la musique [Archives:2008/1166/Viewpoint]

June 23 2008

Nadia Al-Saqqaf
On Saturday night, the Yemeni Cultural Center in cooperation with the French Cultural Center in Sana'a organized a musical event 2ElectroDunes”, which was very entertaining. It was on the occasion of World Music Day, and created fusion between traditional Algerian, Yemeni music with modern digital sound mixing. I can't say that I was aware of all the techniques behind the creation of that fabulous music but it was working.

Started in France in 1982, the “Fete de la Musique” (or World Music Day) has become an international festival that is celebrated on the first day of summer, June 21st, in over 100 countries across the globe. Fortunately, Yemen was one of them thanks to the French and Yemeni cultural centers.

For the first time in years, did I get the opportunity to forget politics, economy, development tc issues and simply enjoy the music. There was a good crowd of Yemenis and French nationals among other nationalities and they all, especially the young ones, seemed excited with the music. They kept shouting and applauding and whistling. Can't deny I was getting excited myself.

What I realized, is that we need music to survive. We need some entertainment in our lives to help us get through difficult times such as the ones we are going through today.

There is nothing wrong in celebrating music even in the darkest times. In fact, I think the state, and civil society organizations should do more of these activities and create some kind of outlet for the citizens. An event that is inclusive and free, so that anyone and everyone can participate in.

Even during the music night, one of the lead singers gave a touching statement directed to politics and decision makers of the Arab world about hunger. He said that in the G8 countries recent meeting they decided the world needs an investment of 40 million dollars to overcome world hunger by 2020. He then commented that this should not be a big deal for rich Arab countries considering that their revenues from oil exceed 10 billion US dollars a year. The whole audience agreed strongly and applauded the statement. Music does not have to do only with entertainment. It could have a message and deliver it quite effectively. In fact, I have seen the influence of sports champions and artists much stronger than politicians.

Musicians have the ability to share their music, passion, and enthusiasm with the rest of the world in a delightful and meaningful way. Even from the religious or Islamic point of view, there is nothing concrete that says music should or is forbidden in Islam. Some extreme fundamentalists want to create a world without music, but it is totally against human nature not to enjoy or create music.

We owe it to ourselves to celebrate music and let go, even if for a few hours every now and then.