The Universal Language of Music

Music Speaks

By Julie Oshins, “Play It Forward”

Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand- with an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance and clap their hands.” – Stevie Wonder

I’m blessed and grateful because I grew up in the music industry, and was exposed to a very diverse span of music while I was growing up, as well as I have a pretty enviable collection of music from that! I’m always blown away by how POWERFUL music is! That’s something that I learned from my father, was how music can impact and transform aspects of peoples lives, how music can take you somewhere . . . it takes you on a journey. Music changes your life. It can pull you out of where you’re at. As the legendary Jimi Hendrix said,Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”

Having gone to Coachella 12 times, and currently at Bottlerock Napa, I’m present the most to the power of music when I go to music festivals, and it’s this cultural melting pot and every Age, gender, ethnicity, orientation, every EVERYTHING is represented, and the unifying factor and the unifying LANGUAGE is music. Music is the language that crosses all borders and barriers, it’s boundless! “Music happens to be an art form that transcends language”. Herbie Hancock

I came to Bottlerock specifically to see Stevie Wonder. And I want to share a little of my experience at that show.

He played all your favorites you would want to hear, and my personal favorite, Sir Duke. I was able to get pretty close to the stage, which was amazing. But everywhere I went I couldn’t escape the people TALKING, loud conversations to be heard over the music. I’m Like, “ IT”S STEVIE!” Can’t the conversation wait??? Though admittedly I was guilty of that myself when I met a cute guy while watching Ziggy Marley, who looks JUST like Bob. But I digress.

Something interesting happened and for me caused a little heartache . . . Stevie was doing a lot of call & response with the audience, and the audience was just not really responding. I myself felt a little repressed, because no one around me was singing . . . and I wasn’t sure of the words he wanted us to sing. I did respond when it was clear what he wanted- like “ BABY” (he then went into Signed, Sealed, Delivered)- and at one point he broke it down, so the crowd could participate, and still. . . and he kept saying “ I can’t hear you!!” And I thought, He can’t see, so the only way he knows the crowd is with him is by hearing them, and he couldn’t hear us. Like did Stevie think the crowd wasn’t with him??? I was crushed!

Then with maybe 15 minutes left, Stevie said, “Music is a celebration! And together we were going to have a Celebration of Life.” Tomorrow is not guaranteed. That we were to call him “ DJ TICK TICK BOOM.”  He then launched into Prince, Natalie Cole, The Eagles, and finished with Fame by Bowie, which he then mixed into Superstition live.

The lyric from Hotel California jumped out at me “ Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.”  As DJs, we provide that space . . . to remember, to forget, to come together, focus our energy on one thing, sing out loud together . . . Dance. Celebrate.

They can feel it all over, They can feel it all over people”

Play on DJ, Play On.

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