The Power of Music

Note: To understand the story from the beginning click here.

My sister, Sarah, told us through Project Inspire that “music has the incredible ability to evoke emotions or memories”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. The power of music never ceases to amaze me. We all have those tunes that get to us. That really make us think……

imageSurvivor

I defy anyone to stop me taking the world on when I have Destiny’s Child to assist me.

 

imageOn My Own (Les Mis)

I am lonely and I am wallowing in self-pity. And yes I am crying whilst I am singing.

 

imageGangsta’s Paradise

Useful when I want to prove I do know all of the lyrics to a song (happens rarely).

 

imageDon’t Let Go

When I am feeling sexy (happens rarely).

 

imageYou Got the Love

Florence and the Machine force me to dance like I am in a state of euphoria. Maybe I am in that moment?

 

imageFancy Footwork

For fond memories of a great night at a gig by the Chromeo boys.

 

imageNever forget, Rule the World, Pray, Back for Good

To remind me of Mum. But I can’t listen to these. I still can’t listen to these.

 

Carol King, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan were just some of the artists the girls and I grew up listening to. Huey Lewis and the News was a classic cassette to play in the car on the way to a family camping trip (pencil at the ready in case the tape gets scrambled). Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album would be repeatedly churned out of the record player. I’m not even sure that my father knows this, but his love of Eric Clapton’s work has ensured that ‘Layla’ is firmly placed in my top 5 songs of all time. Top 5 songs – now there is some great pub chat.

Take That were a band I particularly liked as a youngster. Thankfully, I was not one of the obsessive fans. The most I did was to buy the albums, a couple of concert videos and I put a few stickers on my built-in desk in my bedroom (crikey the clue is in the ‘stick’ of the sticker – they remained there for years!). Oh and I certainly didn’t cry when they broke up. Heartless, I know.

When the Take That lads reunited, it wasn’t just myself that was happy to see them back on the scene. Mum seemed to love their new songs. It was Christmas 2011 that I shared the DVD of the live show of ‘Progress‘ with her. We sang along, we clapped and Mum cried. At the time I giggled and, of course, thought she was reminiscing about watching them with me in the past. Now I am almost sure that it was because she knew something that no one else did. I think she knew she was leaving us.

I will listen to Take That again. I will get that DVD out of the case again. When I am ready.

Music is an inspiration for so many and 2 weeks ago it was used to raise awareness for a campaign to “promote education, health and justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere.” This campaign is Chime for Change and the concert was Sound of Change at Twickenham Stadium. Like thousands of others, all I really understood when deciding to go was that Beyoncé was headlining. It was only when I was there in the stadium, hearing the celebrities talk about the campaign and watching the videos, that I realised just how important this was.

Beccy, Andrew (her bro) and my good friends Tom and Jo were all set to go and party the evening away South of the river. When a spare ticket became available and with news that my old housemate Rachel was in London for 2 days only, it was a no brainer – she had to come.

Rachel could not have been a more perfect attendee for this event. She works as a Director for Save the Children International and currently lives in Afghanistan. This fills me with both pride and fear in equal measures. She is one of the most inspirational people who I have ever had the honour of being friends with through her determination, endless hard work and her passion for making a difference, making a change.

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We were euphoric dancing in one moment (thanks Florence) and bawling our eyes out in another. We went through a rollercoaster of emotions, but it was all worth it.

I asked Rach if she wanted to take part in the Team 60 Postcards and I received a wonderful response:

“HIYA

So here is a picture of me on the roof of the Save the Children guesthouse in Kabul. As we are not allowed to walk around this seemed to best spot to try to include a bit of Kabul! You can see the hills that surround Kabul in the background. In the evening you can also see kite or pigeon flying from up here. I couldn’t decide what postcard to use so I have two photos to choose from. One is a postcard from a street art project in Kabul. It shows bullets transforming into pencils – the power of education over conflict! The other one is from my friend Jenny, who has also been reading your blog. She thought the picture was similar in colours and style to the ones you have been using.

What inspires me? The women of Afghanistan inspire me to live and work in this crazy country, but my mum has given me the empathy and sense of adventure that keeps me here.  The strength and resilience of Afghan women when faced with injustice we simply couldn’t imagine in our part of the world is inspiring. I have met some women, like Sima Samar and Sabera Turkmani, that are trying to steer a different course for women here, and their passion and dedication will never leave me.

On the way to work I love seeing girls walking to school. No matter what, those girls are gaining knowledge that can never be taken away. Just over ten years ago there was not one girl in formal education in Afghanistan, so those girls show that change is possible. I am sure your mum’s classes (with their fantastic letters!) would also agree that is very important that every child be able to go to school.

http://www.rightlivelihood.org/samar.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/09/life-in-Afghanistan

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Rachel, you are incredible. Fact.

Letter from the kids:

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Hey Dan. ‘Beneficial detentions’ is such a great way to look back at things :). I am sad to hear that you lost your Nan and I am glad if this project could help you in any way at all. Thank you for the thoughtful letter :).

NEXT POST! 

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Music

  1. When my dad died for the first month I couldn’t listen to any music, and music is a huge part of my life. It was only when I wrote a song about losing him that I managed to turn that musical corner, although even now 4 years on there are still times when I feel a little disconnected from music.

    I was never a Take That fan, but I admit to having a Take That & Party t-shirt back in the day. It did generate quite a bit of female attention on nights out. Alas it is now only worn for decorating! 🙂

  2. Hi rach, its been a long time since we have communicated, years in fact. Music is very important to me too, and I think like you, say, in time you will be able to listen to Take That songs and watch the progress DVD at some point when your ready,whenever that is! Your mum was a very proud and passionate woman, in her career and family life. I know from a personal point of view, how it feels to lose a parent, when we are so young lol! My dad died in April 2010 of a brain tumour, that was diagnosed as malignant and we had six weeks to get our head around everything until he left us. People say it gets easier with time, and you just want to punch them in the face or yell at them, it’s been 3 years this year, and it still feels like yesterday when you relive it. We all have our good days and bad days, and we all deal with it in different ways too. I can’t listen to Luther Vandross- Dance with my father- I cry all the way though it still! Things are different, we adjust, but never forget. I am sure your Mum will be so proud of what you are doing, and together with her in your heart, you will have a little bit of “Patience”, “Shine” and you will also “Rule the World”. Big hugs to you xxxx

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