by Mayumi Herrera
When you are at a party and “Suavemente” unexpectedly starts playing, you have no choice but to immediately start singing along with Elvis Crespo’s high-pitched voice and dancing to the energetic salsa beats. Play the song in a different language and you will see the same response from the crowd.
Today, music is more important than ever because it has a special power to unite and bring different types of cultures and communities together as one. Music breaks intimidating language and cultural barriers that may separate, reminding us we are all one race of humanity.
For instance, a study conducted by the department of psychology at McGill University found that music directly impacts neuro-chemicals in the brain that play an important role in closeness and connection, especially when listening to music with others, lifting a positive mood and opening new pathways to different pathways. Therefore music is a social glue in which society is able to understand diverse cultures and build bridges to those communities at an ease.
As a result, music is created for purposes greater than pleasure and beyond entertainment. By closely observing society, you will see that music actually evokes our compassionate characters, emerging our differences and building a music industry that thrives off of our diversity.
The following songs will spice up your playlist and redefine your love and appreciation for cultural music.
- “Oye” by La Sonora Dinamita
This Colombian cumbia will have you dancing all night long. The lively Latin American beats and sounds are blended with melodious African, Indigenous, and European rhythms of bongo drums and wind instruments like the flute, used to create the perfect, exquisite melody that speaks directly to the heart.
- “Fantastic Baby” by Big Bang
Korea has revolutionized the music industry with their wide variety of sound elements and combinations of pop, rap, and R&B. The fusion of modern and synthesized music appeals to an international audience. South Korean K-pop boy band, Big Bang’s hit club and party theme song, “Fantastic Baby,” is perfect for a never ending positive vibe.
- “Yak Qadam Pesh” by Jawid Sharif
The Farsi written song is self-composed and focuses on the people by intersecting the modern and traditional world’s of music, enhancing Afghan musician Jawid Sharif’s popularity across cultures. The repeated phrase throughout the song, “Ya Qadam Pesh,” means one step forward, expressing an optimistic attitude throughout the song.