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Music Brings Us Together

live concert
Music has the power to bring people together and to heal. (Photo: Pixaby) 

On this week’s World Music Show (6/6/20) we’re still plodding our way through the alphabet, world music style. I started the self-imposed quest six weeks ago as a way to do something different with the show. 

In the 13 seasons of coming up with themes for each and every show, I’ve done the A-Z theme many times before. But I made sure I’d finish with Z by the end of hour two. 

However, with being under a stay at home directive due to the coronavirus, in which my recording studio has moved from the beautiful set up and microphones of our studios, to the hot, stuffy closet in my bedroom, my list of ideas for themes has dwindled.

Baaba Maal

My desk, also in my bedroom, sits right next to my CD wall, which is halfway filled with World Music. And, thanks to technology and some really nice musicians and independent record labels, I’ve also been able to amass some really great music digitally. 

So, staring at my CD wall one day, and thinking that it was time to once again go through an A-Z list, I decided instead not to leave any musician or band out of the show. 

And so here we are, at week six, stuck in the middle with the letters L and M, which take up the entire show and will likely bleed into next week. However, I’m not going to run through a list of who I’m playing this Saturday (I will do that through pictures instead). Because telling you about what’s going on with this week’s show isn’t the reason behind this week’s blog. 

Ladama
Ladama

It’s that in the midst of this quest while the world is working under the pandemic umbrella, the horrible and tragic killing of yet another African American took place. With that, thousands of people of all races and ages stood up and said “Enough!” 

As of this writing, Richmond and many other cities across the country have experienced seven nights of protests, many peaceful but many not so much. 

Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers

Now, if you don’t know, I also have another job with VPM. I’m a reporter too. I cover Chesterfield County. I go to school board and Board of Supervisor meetings. I try to tell stories of what’s going on in the region. I’m also what we call a fill-in anchor. You may have heard me hosting our Morning Edition or All Things Considered broadcasts (or pre-coronavirus, Jazz or Classical music). 

Being the fill-in anchor though has prevented me from going out to cover any of the protests, even in Chesterfield. Our team of really amazing and dedicated reporters and photographers have been taking turns each night, covering them. 

This has left with a really bad case of FOMO, also known as Fear of Missing Out. 

It’s a very historic time in our nation and city and to not be out there, with my microphone in hand, talking to people, is hard. 

So, it got me thinking about how I can contribute to the conversation. It also got me thinking about how music plays such a big part in bringing people together. 

On the World Music Show, I get the privilege of showcasing music from, well, all over the world. On past shows, I’ve been able to highlight music created by prisoners in a place called Zomba as well as people with albinism who have had to shelter on an island in Tanzania because they’ve been hunted down and killed due to their condition. I’ve been able to share stories of musicians who’ve been recorded on balconies and in the streets of their home countries.

Mbongwana Star
Mbongwana Star

Now, I’m not saying that if you tune into the World Music Show that all the strife will go away or that you will be healed. But I am saying that taking the time to listen--to listen to people from around the world and to people right here in RVA, can bring us all together. When we listen, we learn and when we learn, we grow. And music can be the thread that helps us do that. 

If you want to tune, the show starts at 8pm every Saturday night. Come back to this page and you can see live, streaming track listings of what I’m playing. Follow me on Twitter @VPM_IanStewart or find me on Facebook at The World Music Show on VPM.