Music: Connecting Cultures like a Boss
When speaking about cultures, there are always the obvious things that come to mind. You might look at the language a particular culture might speak. There are also things like personality, interests, or different habits. The way people dress, move, or think. How people react to climate change when traveling to different areas. Foods people eat, or specific places of interest they enjoy visiting. Basically anything you can think of (besides religion and politics, because we’re a controversy free zone) in your every day life is treated differently elsewhere in the world. It’s on us, as society, to be able to connect these things to each other. Expand beyond the things we have grown accustomed to and broaden our horizons. It’s crazy to think how many people there are in the world, and how we strive to just be accepted by the ones we are surrounded with daily. Although any of those things I listed are possible ways to do so, this past week I got to experience a different way. Something I’ve loved and been passionate about my whole life was able to connect me to individuals I didn’t know a thing about. That thing is music.
It’s crazy to think how many people there are in the world, and how we strive to just be accepted by the ones we are surrounded with daily.
I was fortunate enough to be sent on a five-day trip from my job for some training. They put me up in a hotel (even though it was only 45 minutes from my house) for the week and although I was going to better myself in the workplace, I couldn’t help but think, “Hell yes, free vacation!” Anyways, prior to entering this training I was told that there would be people flown in from different parts of the country. I’m not much of a traveler, so I thought it’d be cool to meet some new people. Of course there was the whole sitting in a conference room for 8 hours a day thing I wasn’t too crazy about, but regardless it would be an experience.
On the first day of training, we all walked in and sat at our tables. The tables held about 5-8 people a-piece and we were spread out pretty evenly. Naturally, we introduce ourselves to everyone at our tables.
Me: “What’s up man, where you from?”
Response 1: “Chicago.”
Response 2: “Detroit.”
Response 3: “Chicago.”
Response 4: “Connecticut.”
Response 5: “Georgia.”
Me being from Massachusetts (Bossachusetts as I famously call it) thought it was cool to meet some people from other parts of the country, and right away I picked up on a cultural difference. Of course the first thing we all noticed was the different dialect we spoke in. It was a running joke for the rest of the week, but I’ll spare you the details. So we go about our training, and trying to pay attention and what not. Boring. Once we got our first chance to interact with each other, and get to know each other a little better, would you like to guess what the first topic of discussion was? Yeah, it was music.
…would you like to guess what the first topic of discussion was? Yeah, it was music.
Having people from all different parts of the country, especially major hip-hop cities, it was like heaven for me to pick apart their brains. I had so many questions. Of course I asked my friend in Georgia, “Yo is 2 Chainz a god down there right now?” My friend from Detroit, “When are they building a statue of Eminem?” So on and so forth. Any break we had throughout the day, we’d have some sort of music discussion, and for the most part we agreed on things. It was a beautiful thing though, to be honest. Going from not knowing anything about each other at all, to being able to connect with them as if I knew them my whole life. Based on one common interest. The power of music, man. Shit is real.
That night, we all decided to have a little get together on the patio. Kick back, have some drinks, and get to know each other a little better. It started out cool. Everyone sitting around, talking amongst themselves and having a good time. BUT, it wasn’t until a laptop was brought down with music that things started getting live. Naturally, music will lively up any situation. But this was different. We were singing along, rapping along, dancing, dapping each other up, and freestyling. We went from east coast music, to west coast, to down south, Midwest, and the only thing that didn’t change, was us. Culturally, the music we were listening to and we ourselves were different. Not only did we each bring something different to the table, so did the music we were enjoying so much. We went from rapping “No Lie” to singing Nate Dogg’s verse on “Xxplosive.” Complete strangers became best friends because of one common factor. Our love for music.
The power of music, man. Shit is real.
I found this to be something special. It wasn’t just used as an ice-breaker, it was used as a connection. The floodgates open up from there. Conversations turn to friendly arguments, and respect is earned as your knowledge is tested. This goes back to my point of broadening your horizons. I was able to meet some great people, connect with them through music, and now bring what I learned from them back home with me. Music I may not have listened to before, I’m showing my friends at home. Artists looking for that way to explode out of their local area now have a mixtape play list in my iTunes.
I share my experience of my trip with you readers of KHH for a couple reasons. The first, of course, is to show that through any cultural difference, personal preference, or knowledge we can agree on this: Music knows no boundaries. Any wall put up between you and a stranger can be knocked down simply by hearing a song you like coming out of their headphones. And second was to get personal with you guys. I’ve shared my views on here and have used examples, but have never really gone into detail about them. I feel as if the best way to connect with anyone/anything is to personalize it. Make it feel as if it were you.
You could also have read this and said, “Welp, that’s 1000+ words I never want to see assembled in that order again.” I’m hoping that wasn’t the case. I had a positive experience between my passion of music and passion of the people clashing to formulate friendships and bonds we may never forget. A once in a lifetime experience turned into a lifetime of stories, and friendships. So the next time you are stuck in a position where you don’t know what to say next, hit them with the “So…what type of music are you into?”
Have you had an experience where music helped make a connection with someone else? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us your story.
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