The award-winning documentary “The Gatekeepers” is about Shin Bet, Israel’s spy agency. Given the current situation in Syria, I thought it might be informative. It is. It’s also thought-provoking and difficult. After witnessing or causing a lot of targeted, as well as innocent, bloodshed, the former heads of Shin Bet seem to arrive at the conclusion that talking to the enemy is the only way to move forward and end the carnage. But how do they convince the citizens or the government that negotiation is their best weapon?
In a part of the world where there is no trust among anyone on any side of any border how can we find solutions? Presently we (USA) are putting our trust in a country (Russia) that most of us have been conditioned to be quite wary of. But if the deal works, our willingness to trust may save thousands of lives.
With the grand theme of trust on my mind, I decided to stock the Listening Station (LS) with CDs by musicians committed to bridging gaps and forging new friendships, using music as a means of education and community building. (If you’re over 3 1/2 feet tall you may not be aware of the LS. It’s mounted on the end of the first unit of CD shelving on the main floor of the Library.)
This week, the LS top spot goes to Yo-Yo “Venture Culturist” Ma with his “When Strangers Meet” Silk Road Journeys CD. Ma started the Silk Road Project years ago as an innovative and collaborative approach to education through the arts. Track 10, “Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur” features musicians from India, Iran, and the United States.
In the middle spot is Thunder & Lightning, a collaborative effort by Sir Georg Solti. The World Orchestra for Peace (Solti’s brainchild) plays a Rossini selection on Track 1. Listening to this famous piece of music lends a certain sense of urgency to the cause.
And finally, in the remaining LS spot is IZ: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s 1993(!) Facing Future CD with his now famous mash-up of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” on Track 14. I had Israel on my mind and this album kind of makes sense to include with its title imploring us to face the future from an artist whose soothing vocals call on us to think about what we’re doing to each other and our environment.
Music can unify and inspire us and maybe even help us to put trust in our better nature. Take time to listen to these great musicians, and check out some of these other great works.