Lore Watterson is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Creative Feel Magazine
Working on Creative Feel this month, with pages full of music and musical success stories, I strongly felt the power of music once again, and as William Shakespeare told us, we just play on. Play on during load shedding with a generator, play on in the car with loud music to keep us sane despite broken robots and traffic congestion.
In fact, this year’s RMB Starlight Classics celebrates this Nelson Mandela quote: ‘It is music and dance that makes me at peace with the world,’ and don’t we all need this peace in our lives at the moment?
In a fitting tribute to Mandela at the recent GRAMMY Awards ceremony, South Africa’s very own Soweto Gospel Choir won their third Best World Music Album GRAMMY for their collection of songs titled Freedom. The album was recorded in June 2018 as part of the group’s tribute to the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations and features a selection of South African struggle songs, including their scintillating version of Johnny Clegg’s poignant ’Asimbonanga’.
That same evening, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance to help the host, Alicia Keys, to open the 2019 GRAMMY Awards. The former first lady appeared on stage to say how music has impacted her life. ‘From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the “who run the world” songs that fuelled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,’ Obama said as the crowd erupted in a standing ovation, ‘and I know that’s true for everybody here, whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity, our sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite one another in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story, every voice, every note, in every song. Is that right, ladies?’ The response, both in the room and on social media, was rapturous.
This statement by Michelle Obama will undoubtedly be added to the many quotes about music, from Bob Marley’s ‘One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain’ to Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Without music, life would be a mistake’.
But in view of the songs on the Soweto Gospel Choir’s Freedom album, it is American writer Kurt Vonnegut whose quote I really think is most relevant at the moment: ‘No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.’ I feel Michelle Obama would appreciate this quote as well.