Sweat, lights, screaming, shoving.
Culture might not be the first thing you imagine when you think of concerts.
You might instead think of awkward dancing, mumbling lyrics, and casually nodding your head to the beat to fake people into thinking you know exactly what you’re doing. Or is that just me?
Last week, I went to see DΞΔN, a Korean R&B singer that I’m currently infatuated with. Even though he doesn’t have that many songs out right now (he’s still a pretty new artist), his singles have been pretty popular. And for good reason!
Seriously. Look him up.
Now, concerts aren’t exactly my natural habitat. The mere fact that I have a blog is basically a giant, flashing neon sign that screams, “I’M AN INTROVERT.” So imagine being in a dark, loud room with flashing lights, squished between sweaty people who keep touching you everywhere you don’t want to be touched. (And vice versa. I think I accidentally groped someone at one point.) Not my ideal scene.
I noticed that the majority of people there were, obviously, Korean, but there were also a lot of other people who came from different places and who spoke different languages. And yet here we all were, in one room, sharing this experience together.
Because of music.
Music can unify us and create connections that overcome the obstacle of distance. I really think it’s great to learn about other cultures – and I don’t mean learning their language. It can be as simple as listening to songs or watching movies from a different country. For me, it helps to be open-minded and to relate to people who are miles and miles away.
To learn another culture is to understand another person.
It might be the antidote to xenophobia.
Of course, it’s so easy to dissociate yourself from problems around the world when you don’t personally know anyone suffering in those places. I sometimes struggle to see to them as people and not numbers, too.
But this is where music comes in. When you listen to their songs, when you listen to their stories, they stop being “Them”.
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
– J. K. Rowling
Sometimes, though, I think we just need a little help with the imagining.
So if you can, maybe listen to a new song or watch a foreign movie. And if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!!
(Train to Busan just came out on Netflix, by the way. Cough, wink, nudge.)