“Music is life itself,” said Louis Armstrong. Music is an expression of the soul to carry messages of faith, tradition, values, and environment. With the invention of smaller, more compact technology came easier access to music; many listen to music for lyrical content, for focus, or merely for background noise. Music is universal across cultures, something that every culture uses to express its distinct values, customs, and beliefs. The fact that all known cultures have used music is a similarity between cultures itself no matter how different the sound or lyrics.
I grew up in an area that offered a variety of music; everything from country music, narcocorrido, and rap. Each one had its own unique place where I grew up. When going to the various small towns peppered all over Arizona, it wouldn’t be uncommon for country music to pour out of the honky-tonks and bars where a mix of cowboys, biker gangs, off-duty first responders, and working-class would gather. You would be able to hear this music from blocks away. In the cities, you would hear rap being played in houses and cars. However, this would primarily be at night. It would typically be a mix of older rap— primarily 90s rap—and whatever the top radio hits at the time were. Narcocorrido would be played in most all neighborhoods I knew. Whenever I visit Arizona, there is at least one night when friends and I would be up late and hear narcocorridos, mariachi, or ranchera coming from a large party in a nearby house in the neighborhood. These are some of the music genres that I have been able to transfer over to Eastern University thanks to easily accessible technology. It’s been an experience to not only introduce others to these kinds of music genres, or further strengthen the love for them, but to also be able to listen to other kinds of music that I have never heard of as well.
After some asking about what fellow students listen to, I was lead to a new genre, afrobeat. From there, I also learned about the djembe drum, which is a drum originating in the Mali Empire. The drum was loud enough to be used for communication from mountaintop to mountaintop about the King’s arrival since it was his favorite instrument. Afrobeat can combine many different styles of music, and combine it into something that all can still enjoy today, as there are many artists still making afrobeat.
Eastern’s campus has a diverse body that allows for many different people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures to learn about each other in many ways; especially in the case of music. All music conveys powerful messages that give insight into cultures and groups; exposing each culture’s rich history to the world.