Music and Peacemaking
How local community transcends policy
So where I've given a lot of my life work to actually more of a local community level is because I think the baseline infrastructure that will help shift long-term justice issues are ones that have to be encouraged and nurtured from the grassroots up and not just from policy statements down. Because it seems to never actually get down.
After trauma, music permits us to touch again, to feel touched, and to touch our own person and voice
MS. TIPPETT: Right? And, I mean, you've experienced this in many, many places how music has this power to be transcendent and to help people transcend the moment. I mean, again, we've all experienced that in less extreme circumstances, but also to connect the mind and the heart, right? That place where we try to put words around things and that level of blood and bone where we are inhabiting the experience.
MR. LEDERACH: Yeah. Well, this was in part — music, among other things, is based very much on sound, and sound is based on vibration. So the way we experience music is much more holistically — it's a whole body experience. And music, sound, smell — there are several of our senses — are among the things that permit us to move and transport us in time, actually. You can hear a song and it will take you back to a moment.
MS. TIPPETT: Yeah.
MR. LEDERACH: Or you can catch a certain smell and it will suddenly feel like you're transported. And this notion of transportability, we think, is a window into several places in which reconciliation and healing would do well to give more consideration to.
MS. TIPPETT: Right.
MR. LEDERACH: One is that this idea that vibration touches us, and that quite often what people talk about when they talk about peace-building or they talk about violation or they talk about a peace process, their biggest complaint is they don't have a voice in the things that are happening. Now, we often take the notion of voice out to the notion of power, which is one element of it, but there is another element that that word "voice" is a metaphor for, which is that violation, violence, numbs people. It leaves people feeling numb. And there's an element that when we find that a lot of what's happening for the healing is about feeling like a person again, that those are things that fall below the speakable. They are dealing with acts that were unspeakable and they are moving into the arena of the ineffable. And in that I think what music does is it permits people to touch again, to feel touched by, and to even maybe touch their own sense of personhood and voice. And so while you may not be able to explain, you may not be able to speak your way through certain things, there are times in which music and/or sound may in fact permit that to happen in a much deeper way.