voiceproject.org Thanks to E who Ryan caught up with in Los Angeles for dusting of this Leon Russell classic he hadn't played in 80 or 90 years. He mentioned about how it could come back so quickly, had become part of his muscle memory essentially, as things do that are learned in our formative years...they do in fact form us and music can be such a large part of that. Daniel Levitin wrote in his 2006 bestseller "This Is Your Brain On Music" on the cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology of music and its developmental and evolutionary effects on us, arguing that its importance can outstrip even that of language, but most of us probably don't need to look far beyond our own experience of childhood to find examples of how music shaped us or to think of how a certain song or artist just "sounded right" to us and moved us to want to learn more whether it was about that person or that genre, what is was they were singing about or the view of life that led them to sing about it in that way. Music hits us at certain angle, helps form us in conscious and unconscious ways and stays with us. The fact that it stays with us and can be recalled so amazingly, even after years like the ease with which this Leon Russell tune came back to Mark is one of the reasons music has so long been used in Africa to carry messages. A rising field of study in the last few years in academic circles has been on the under-utilization of music in conflict transformation and with this project we've seen some incredible examples of how it is used with great efficacy in central and eastern Africa, and certainly the mnemonics of musical earworms have not been lost on marketers and advertisers around the globe, but beyond the specifics of those examples perhaps is the more general reminder to not shrug off the old ways and wisdoms or think them quaint but inapplicable. The inception of this project came from listening and sharing, from an exchange of information with the groups we were working with and to try and amplify not just their voices, but their learning and their wisdom so that many more could hear and learn from them. This is what led us push taking these musical forms and messaging to new combat theaters and to do everything we could to encourage support for "come home" programming as a critical component of the strategy to bring an end to LRA violence. Music as much as anything teaches us to listen. And the lessons learned by all of us who've worked on this project are something that have in subtle ways changed each of us; making us more open, more willing to listen, less dismissive. That openness is a good thing to have in this life, and anything that can help one have a bit of that as they make their way through this world is a good thing, and for many of us, music did that.

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