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Musical Connections Across the Globe

It is often said that humanity’s greatest trait is its endless capacity for creativity and expression – from towering works of architecture to majestic symphonies to revolutionary literature to incredible works in art, sculpture, science, and philosophy. Each of these has had profound influences on how we view ourselves and each other, and provide windows into the soul of creativity and hope that fuels them. The ultimate expression of our humanity is of course, music. This is not to disparage any other form of artistic connection – but none is truly as intrinsic to the human experience as music is. Music can be made without any outside influence, without any tools, without any thought but pure emotion, springing from the very depths of what it means to be human. Music is the words spoken and the patter of footsteps to the ring of choirs and beat of drums, rhythm echoing heartbeats and breaths from every corner of human experience.

Music has traveled the globe more quickly and effortlessly than humans have, throughout history and enduring into the future. The banjo and guitar, two of the instruments we associate most with American tradition, had their birth in Egypt and North Africa centuries ago, then migrating to Spain by way of Greece. European settlers in Africa brought their concept of triadic harmony in their classical music to the native peoples, who in turn brought it back to America as their slave work songs, creating gospel and the blues, which developed of course to the quintessential American music form – rock and roll. The accordion, strange an instrument as it is, is credited with exploding European classical theory across the globe, as an easy, portable (and very loud) way for musicians to travel. Artists like Peter Gabriel and Simon Garfunkel kick started a musical revolution enduring in pop music to this day by collaborating with artists from all over the world to create a more unified, “world”-based music. Even today, much of rap music, associated with American urban culture, sees many of its roots from Scottish shouting matches from time immemorial. And of course, when one thinks of music that can unite the cultures of the world, who can forget the massive efforts of musicians from all over the world to come together for causes – Live Aid, Live 8, the historic (and perhaps a bit too 80’s-cheesy) “We Are the World” that expressed humanity’s universal language.

And what a language it is – the tools of major or minor chords to indicate emotions, dissonance and harmony, have been scientifically shown to endure across cultures even to those with no prior musical knowledge. When a happy song is played, anybody on earth can recognize it’s a happy song, without even recognizing a single lyric. The same is true for sad songs, or angry songs, dark songs, romantic songs, or anything. The raw power of music is immediately transcendent to all peoples, no matter who or where they are.

We here at OurPangea love music of all genres, because it proves to us that there is a way for people to connect with each other without even knowing each other. People can share and connect through music in ways that defy all logic, yet it is one of the most important and powerful ways to define our humanity. This is why music is important to us, to our history, and to our culture; this is why we hope to create a worldwide platform in which discussion and creativity can spread through humanity similar to the way music has woven our cultural fabric.

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