Bob Marley was right – when music hits you, you don’t feel pain.
t the other night at Dolan’s Warehouse, I took a melodic left hook to my chin, accompanied by lyrics and a chord from when I was wearing a younger man’s clothes. Anchored in the front row as Scullion rolled back the years in grand style, a line of Sonny Condell’s musical poetry revived an era of bedtime memories: “You’re out in the night so blue, you summer star/I’m down on the road of speed, fading out of someone’s sight.”
Walking home in the cool night air, our heads filled with the magical vibe that only great concerts can deliver. Slaves to Scullion’s rhythm, we danced happily down the sidewalk, encased in enchanted memories long forgotten on the soundtrack of our lives.
It reminded me of a t-shirt from many moons ago – “Music washes the dust from the soul of life”.
This wonderful evening in the company of a group re-forming after so many years was a reminder of the power of music and how well it serves as a map to the hidden heartlands of the soul.
A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that listening to music can reduce anxiety, as well as improve mood, mental alertness, and memory. Music is structural, mathematical and architectural, he found, adding, “You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of math to understand it.” I’ll try to remember it the next time Sade whisks me away to her soulful paradise or Van Morrison paints a melodic canvas of sublime seduction.
Music is the voice that tells us that humanity is bigger than it knows
But somewhere in that beautiful magic where lyrics and notes combine, a song can also open a door to a dormant sorrow that lurks beneath the pace of our busy lives.
When the phone rang at 2 am after a Saturday night – never a good news time – it brought the news that my dad had unexpectedly “turned off” and probably wouldn’t make it through the morning. As Temple Bar clubs spat out a thousand happy faces, I burned gum down the quays towards a desperate reality 200 miles south. And then, just past Cashel, the night shift DJ played a famous The Fureys song. “I will never forget him because he made me who I am. Although he may be gone, the memories linger and I miss him, the old man.”
Decades later, it still brings tears to my eyes when I hear it. With pleasure comes pain.
In his book song stories, says author Kyle Bylin, music is the closest thing to the journal we never wrote, or the journal that was long put away. One thing is certain, however, we should never neglect the beautiful noise that speaks to us all in a language born of a union of head and heart.
In another era, Napoleon Bonaparte echoed Bob Marley’s timeless statement: “Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows.”
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-power-of-music-is-a-timeless-magic-to-soothe-the-soul-on-the-turbulent-journey-of-life-42053028.html The power of music is a timeless magic to soothe the soul on life’s turbulent journey