Coming Together- Sound & Synchronicity

About 8 years ago I wandered into Bookman's Entertainment Center in Tucson, AZ which has a huge selection of used books. I went over to the DVD's and my eyes immediately landed on one called The Festival in the Desert. Turned out it was about a music festival in Mali that I had never heard of. I barely looked at. I just grabbed it and went and paid the $4 or whatever it was. I love African music and I knew in a heartbeat that it was going to be a great movie to show at my sound healing center. Every month we had a movie night and showed a different movie testifying in some way to the power of sound and music to connect, to create community and to heal.

This movie turned out to be about the power of music to bring people together in a war-torn country and celebrate their life and culture. The festival has been held every year in Timbuktu since 2002- up until 2012 when separatist rebels and Islamic militants seized control of Northern Mali.

I have not heard much in the mainstream about this festival. Two years ago Stephen Colbert had the band Tinariwen on his show who had been one of the organizers of the festival- that is as much as I have heard of them other than having one of their CD's (amazing!) and this wonderful DVD that I love.
Then about two weeks ago I was on an old friend's Facebook page checking out her movie picks (all of which looked like stuff I would love) and there was one called The Last Song Before the War. I clicked on it and lo and behold, it was about the most recent festival which has been moved to the southern city of Segou which has never been occupied by jihadists. I still have to order the DVD or the download so I haven't watched it yet but I was so excited to see it come across my screen and have now watched the trailer a couple of times, greatly anticipating seeing the film in the next couple of weeks.

Last week as some of you may know I participated in the Your Turn Challenge and was so excited by the energy that was created through blogging every day and connecting with a whole new community that was created in this period of 7 days. Through the process I felt a new energy and excitement and I knew that I wanted to keep up the momentum even though the "challenge" ended yesterday. A group of us have formed a Facebook page to stay connected with this community and I knew when I woke up today that I would at some point sit down and write. What was I going to write? I wanted to write about music, about community and about not allowing obstacles to stand in our way.

We have a huge blizzard bearing down on us and I had some things to complete and prepare in my home before I could get down to work. My son and grandson are both at my house so we can all be snowed in together, so I prepared food, stocked up the woodpile on the porch, various other things that needed to be done so we can be cozy and comfortable.

And THEN...  I was preparing to build a fire in my wood stove, crumbling up the New York Times from last Sunday and I opened a page and staring me in the face was a full page article about the upcoming Festival on the Niger! I thought what an incredible thing- these people whose lives and limbs literally are threatened, their instruments and music studios set on fire and yet they do not allow this to stop them from doing what they love, what sustains them, feeds them emotionally and spiritually- a total expression of joy and unity. This is good. Music is life.