One of the main ways that music has been used to unite people is by being a reflection of who we are; acting as a mirror. Music has been used as a means of bringing out our culture. From the African traditional society, music was part of life. Ceremonies were marked by the various songs being sung. Each tribe had their own kind of music sung in their mother tongue. This made each person feel a sense of belonging in the area they are born thus bringing unity.
Music in the modern society has exposed people to different cultures. Due to the uniqueness of each culture, it appeals to even those not in that community. This cuts across the cultural barriers previously set by these communities as they expose themselves to the outside world. Events that focus on our cultures have drawn thousands of people who enjoy the wide variety of performances. Dancers and music artistes often get to travel to different countries as they go on tours or perform at a concert. This brings out the fact that music draws people together. Playing music with others enforces the concept of teamwork and uniting everyone towards a common objective, regardless of their cultural/ethnic background. The music that people love has further been re-translated over and over again to fit a specific target audience.
There are very many genres of music. Each individual has their own liking. When a classical or rock concert is arranged, the fans are unified by attending the one they love irrespective of their color; black or white, or even their origin. One is usually bound by their music choice. You may not know anyone in the audience when you attend a show but you will be singing along to the same tune with people from all walks of life.
Music is likewise used during the celebration of accomplishments. People come together to celebrate milestones. Here music is used to bring out the joy present among the people and instills hope and strength to carry on. As Plato said, music “gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination”.
On the other hand, music has also been used as a tool to assist those affected by tragedies such as terrorist attacks, earthquakes or floods to name but a few. Songs have consequently been sung to give hope to those affected. The renowned Kenyan singer Kambua recently released a song named “Tutaonana tena” to encourage the Garissa terrorist attacks victims some in April 2015. A memorial concert also held in the honor or those lost surely left their families convinced that their loved ones did matter. This surely unites all affected.
Furthermore, music can be used to preach peace as it is a universal language. By playing different musical instruments side by side people of different religions and backgrounds can unite by forming friendships and understanding of others and working together to perform in concerts. Music is very mysterious in how it affects emotions. At times, you might hear a tune playing somewhere and it brings back the emotions you felt when you had listened to it previously. It acts as a reminder of past events and can serve as a means of communication between two people who have little else in common. They can share their memories have a laugh together. Music artists of today and yesterday have been known to help cross cultural divides in times of conflict and even war. Their music can bring crowds of people in warring countries to their feet, tapping their feet to the rhythm. On many occasions, disheartened soldiers are found smiling again after a visit from familiar pop music artists. For example; a song called the fighter united many of the players taking part in 2012 Olympics and gave them inspiration.
Music has been found to bring people together when reaching out in love. Many have organized music concerts for charity purposes. The concerts’ gain goes out to helping out the less fortunate by empowering them especially by providing food or education.
Most importantly, music is a vehicle for spiritual practice and fulfillment. Churches across Africa never miss singing hymns during their services. Various singers such as Sinach, Don Moen, Lenny Leblanc and their fellow gospel artistes have been relied on to give the masses across the world spiritual nourishment from the music they produce.
So, in conclusion, music indeed does have a role in unifying Africa and the world. Our focus should remain to fully utilize this unexplainable force to unite Africa and the world.