Can Music Heal?
Hello! I hope wherever you are , all is well with you.
So, today, I read that ‘May is National Mental Health Awareness Month which raises awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities. See how creatives are raising awareness of mental health and learn how you can help shed the stigma.’
And my new album, due out on the 9th June, is called Songs to Heal and Empower.
This week then I will think about this question:
‘Can Music Heal? ’
My personal response is an unequivocal YES.
In my life, from a young age, I have found comfort and solace in music. Firstly film songs ( what we now call Bollywood) - the longing for love, for union, for understanding, the exploration of the bigger issues of life, anger, pain, fear all wrapped up in beautiful musical arrangements and in the glorious voices of Lata or Shamshad Begum or Rafi, was constantly and reliably a place into which I could escape.
When my father died, suddenly, aged only 45, leaving behind 5 children and his distraught wife in poverty, I found comfort in music. I sought refuge. It allowed me to feel my grief, to feel the longing. To cry. To be.
I literally escaped into music - I vividly remember sitting in my mother's shop, listening to the women shouting loudly in Punjabi (the only way they talked, like Italians! ) and listening to the incredible Begum Akhter (one of the greatest singers of ghazal, dadra, and thumri) singing this
and all other noise disappeared.
The women were no longer there. I was not in a shop, not getting on with my mother, hating my life, unable to see a way out. I was lost in music. I FELT.
And no I did not have headphones!
Word and music go deeply into emotion.
As a bereaved immigrant child, growing up in inner city Bradford, then later a young married mother in a toxic relationship, life was bleak and difficult.
Art saved me. I have written already about Amrit Wilson's Finding A Voice and how that book gave me courage.
So I think it's not just music, but ART in general, words, music, visual art…it fosters a connection between us, it allows us to feel and connect and come to some deeper understanding of life.
That to me is what healing is about - understanding that what we have to do find a way to survive the hand that life has dealt us, and to see a deeper reality underneath that. We are not the trauma. The trauma was an act of survival.
And ever since then, I have used songs, lyrics and music to explore my own situation, my own place in the world.
To heal myself.
I need to do it every day. It is a an act of love.
Those are my first thoughts.
… and yours?
What do YOU think? Here are some things that I wonder - you will have your own long list! feel free to add any of your own questions, answers or thoughts.
I am GENUINELY interested.
Has being creative helped you recover from trauma, has it helped you heal?
What art is most helpful to you? Music? Words?
What songs gave you most comfort, and why?
Is it the words or the music that you focus on? Why?
What do you do with your pain?
What do you do with your joy?
Do you believe that music heals?
Let me know in the comments below?
My new single is out! Listen on Spotify here
I just added a new little video preview! Did you like it?
THE WHOLE VIDEO WILL BE RELEASED next Friday - watch all the usual spaces!
Next week I will explore
Can Music Empower?
Have a great week!