/Music in a mad world

Music in a mad world

By Jim Poling Sr.
From Shaman’s Rock

I’m told that music is good for the soul. As someone with little interest and zero ability in music, I’ve never really got into that. Until last week.

I was doing my thrice-daily news read, an addiction I can’t shake even though the news reports become bleaker and darker by the day. Unrelenting slaughter in Ukraine, yet another refugee crisis, increasing food shortages, urban violence, political polarization. The list gets longer, and older.

It’s depressing. The world seems on a collision course with Hell. There is no hope.

Then I hear a beautifully hopeful voice coming from a television set in another room.  It is the voice of a sightless man who has experienced misfortune and misery, but sings with hope and belief.

It is Andrea Bocelli, the classical-contemporary superstar tenor, singing songs from his latest album Believe – (I Believe, Gratia Plena, Hallelujah, You’ll Never Walk Alone). The album has been marketed as a celebration of the power of music to soothe the soul.

I turned off the news and went to watch the broadcast of Bocelli singing from spectacular settings in Malta and Tuscany. The more he sang, the more comforted I felt and the anger that has built inside me against a world gone mad began to dissipate.

“Good music brings with it a powerful message of peace and fellowship, teaching us about beauty, and helping us to open our hearts and minds,” Bocelli has said.

Bocelli, now 63, was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma when he was an infant. He lost all vision at age 12 following a soccer accident. 

Doctors had warned his pregnant mother that he likely would be born with a disability and suggested she abort him. 

She didn’t, of course, and he became a talented musician at an early age, learning to play the piano, flute and saxophone. He might have been expected to study music in university but studied law instead, singing in piano bars to help finance his education.

A sightless man who learns to play three musical instruments, earns a law degree and becomes a world-renowned professional singer has got to make anyone have hope.

The Believe concert that I watched was a repeat of the original broadcast last summer. However, the timing of the replay was perfect, coming as the Russian slaughter of Ukraine became more depressing.

The concert song with the most powerful message was You’ll Never Walk Alone. In tones sometimes soft, sometimes soaring, Bocelli delivered a clearly inspirational message for Ukrainians and the millions who support them. 

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

The Ukrainians have been walking on through the shooting and bombings, fighting against the most hateful savagery since Hitler. 

Songs and words will never save the world from the savagery of the Russians. However, they do provide some comfort from the distress. Like physical exercise, music has been shown to increase oxytocin and serotonin levels in the brain, both of which can be mood boosters. 

No amount of oxytocin and serotonin will ever be enough to soothe the anger of Vladimir Putin, the former KBG spy and feral beast intent on eliminating Ukraine and its people.

There is increasing speculation that nothing will change Putin because he is physically ill. British newspapers have reported that photos show his face ashen and puffy, possibly from drugs taken for a serious illness – Parkinson’s or even cancer.

Researchers studying film of Putin say he walks with his left arm not moving and when sitting, his fingers are twitching. His face and neck appear bloated.

The bloating has led to speculation that he is being treated with steroids, which can cause facial swelling, plus mood and behavioural changes.

There has been much speculation over the years about Putin’s health. It possibly is just hopeful speculation, or outright propaganda.

There was similar speculation about Donald Trump’s health when he was U.S. president. There were reports that he was suffering from Parkinson’s. 

Turns out he wasn’t. The only thing unhealthy about Trump was a severely twisted personality.