Here is where the differences across races and cultures explode with energy and mastery and passion. And where history jumps directly into people’s lives today. Often initially rooted in geography – making creative uses of local materials to build rhythms and whistles – these musical disciplines grew in complexity and influence over time. Group events were orchestrated and punctuated with percussion and melodies that brought people together spiritually and emotionally.
Russian balalaikas, Spanish castanets, German horns, African and Native American drums, Japanese koto or Cajun fiddle are just a few examples. Most of us can identify a culture after hearing just a few notes. We instantly picture the attire, vocal accompaniment, dance and movement. We are also likely to remember the details of where we were when we were first introduced to something so different from what we had known before.
For those who are native to this music, this is the sound of home. Just hearing the music can fire, not just the memories, but the emotions and feelings of connection again. Hearing the sounds of our childhood is a chance to revisit our earlier selves. It’s all still there, in our brains, when we want to visit.