There should be an Islamic Bob Marley

There should be an Islamic Bob Marley

The other day on WYEP I heard a middle eastern Reggae/hip hop band that sounded pretty interesting. It had all of those great twangy middle eastern pangs of sitars and dulcimers but it also had this big bassy beat behind it. An interesting combo. But unfortunately after it was over the announcer told me it was an Israeli band speaking Hebrew. While listening to it I realized something… Middle eastern –specifically Islamic– music is wholly lacking! Not in quality, it’s some of the most original stuff you’ll hear. But I mean there is not at all enough of it out there in the world. I wonder how much influence music has over the average middle eastern person. I’d go so far as to suggest that it has very very little influence at all. And this absence of music contributes to terror as a viable outlet for social/religious struggle.
If you consider the influence music has on western culture, you will be–or could be–taken aback. Everything we do has been sung about, literally everything. Our love lives, out political situation, our friends, the environment etc etc etc. I read a book once called All Shook Up about how Rock N’ Roll changed America. It was totally eye opening. It detailed the opening of American culture through music. Rock and Jazz and Blues etc. have touched on the souls of most westerners in some way. But things were different here in Western Culture ust 1000 jyears ago. Our Music consisted largely of short Hymns. Middle Eastern Music seems to have more in common with the medieval Era than it does with the modern one. Their music just needs to be popularized and modernized. Plato viewed music as something dangerous because it can even influence the law and radically change a state. Music is really a prefect form of inquiry (Which would explain why both music and inquiry are some of my favorite things) and it –music that is– comes in spades in modern America. Hmm… perhaps America has been in–and is coming out of– a bit of a good music drought recently… but that’s another blog entry. So, I’m not saying that our socio-political realm is some sort of utopia, but I would say that we’ve sorted out our cultural issues much more than the middle east has.
And my theory here is that there needs to be much more good music over there. There should be an Islamic Bob Marley to tell the people “Everything is gonna be alright.” and “No Woman don’t cry” and “Get up Stand up!” While these things are still a bit revolutionary, they come in the right kind of medium. (i.e. not Jihad) Music has a way of normalizing these issues to the level of thought and emotion rather than violent irrational action. I even thought up an album title “Peace is a Holy War”.
I can picture terrorist training camps out in the desert… totally musciless. They don’t come in from a day of crawling under barbed wire, playing on the monkey bars and throwing grenades to pick up an acoustic guitar and strum out a soulful little ditty. These people have very few outlets for their internal desires. They need something that’ll project a non-violent soulful message rather than the craziness that some of them are all about right now. And I think more good, peaceful, Islamic music would do the trick.

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