Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Magic of The Music

One of the very first things I do each month is start looking for music that is native to the area that we are learning about. You may have noticed that I have provided links for each one. As soon as I find music that we find enjoyable, whether it be a radio station or a specific artist, I make sure that I bookmark it. When we are making our flag, I put the music on. When we are doing our crafts, I put the music on. I often put the music on when we are just doing our normal day to day. I find the music enjoyable, partly because it is something different, but partly (probably mostly) because I feel like just by this simple act of listening to music we are learning. Music of various cultures can work wonders and for me the most important part, the most magical, takes place while I’m cooking.

I know it sounds odd, and perhaps you’d take it a step beyond odd and say crazy. Either way, I feel like the music pours into my soul while I am cooking. I discovered this immediately with our first country, Greece. I put on Greek radio and I was in the kitchen cooking, preparing for our celebration and even though I don’t know even one word of the Greek language, I believed that I could feel exactly what the musician was feeling. With the smell of the food cooking and the music flowing around me, I could almost feel my kitchen filling with Greek women who were smelling and sampling my food to judge whether it was good enough or not. I felt like I was a part of it. I felt like some part of me was Greek. As it turns out, I have no Greek heritage, but I would be happy to pretend, especially if I could stay with your Greek Grandma someday when I get it together to visit.

After our Greek Celebration wrapped up, I wasn’t sure if something so beautiful could ever be recreated. Then, when we listened to Arabic radio while learning about Morocco, I felt the beat find it’s way into my soul. Country after country, all the way through to Mexico, where I felt like I could do the salsa like a pro without ever having had a lesson, because the salsa had worked it’s way into me through the smell of the chimichangas and the rhythm of the music. In the midst of cooking the dinner for each country that we were “visiting” at some point or another I felt myself travel to that country, even if only for a moment.

Month after month, we visit a new country and every time the music makes me feel like I am getting closer and closer to the destination. Every month starts out the same, I head into the journey, feeling like a displaced tourist complete with fanny pack and camera, and leave at the closing of the month, feeling like I am supposed to be there and sad to see it go. Wishing I could join the locals for music and good cheer. I am certain that it is the music. The music of each destination has it’s own beats, it’s own rhythm and most importantly it’s own soul, one that will wrap around you like a warm blanket and make you feel like you belong there.  Next time you are cooking something up, don’t forget the music.

(Read the posts with links to the music here, here, here and here)


  1. Very cool. I have to admit that my favorite music label is Putumayo. Love to hear all the different sounds from around the world.

  2. I love Putumayo music as well! Honestly, though, I love most music.


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