Food and Music: A Catalyst for Social Bonding and Change
February 6, 2022 by Tasneem Sultan
Food and music create a global bond between peoples in a larger context as they share their diversity of recipes, traditions, music, and stories. The two bring people of all walks of life together to talk about their experiences, customs, and social issues while building sustainable relationships, dismantling the stereotypes we all have, and encouraging people to work together for social change. Although food is a basic need, both food and music are part of the cultural fabric, crucial in bringing families and communities together since ancient times. Whether it is a family reunion, a wedding ceremony, a graduation party, birthdays, special occasions, or a community gathering, food produces an atmosphere of taste, delight, and warmth; and music sparks the magic of joy, harmony, and connection. The art of music and food influences societies and plays an essential role in the discourse of relationships, injustice, politics, beliefs, etc. These two give us hope, courage and make a safe space for dialogues. Music and food are significant factors for human interactions and teach us a dialogical approach to seeing our shared humanity. Traditions in cooking and music extend influence over neighboring regions, travel to new places with immigrants, and evolve and meld over time. Both are terrific components to share customs, experiences and create a social belonging. Food is more than just a diet; it catalyzes interactions and can bring social reform regardless of your racial, cultural, or religious background. A crucial part food plays in developing sustainable relationships is opening the door to another person's narrative. We listen to stories over a meal that give us a glimpse of other people's heritage and lifestyles to get to know others or their struggles. Food festivals give us a look at diverse cultures and tell the history of their social life and issues. Nowadays, many groups host discussions over food, using it as a conversation started in the face of division. I have attended many "Break Bread and Build Bridges" events where I had great discussions on many pressing topics with diverse people and made wonderful friends over the years. Food events and festivals can unify people and help us to broaden our horizons. Facilitated dialogues allow us to see others as people, and the goal is to see humanity. Similarly, music is a global language that has inspired generations to lead to social change and bring people together. Throughout history, every culture produced music, songs, and poetry. Music tells compelling and inspirational stories that unite people across their differences and find common ground. During the civil rights movement, music was used as an instrument of awareness and expression to address the crises of that time openly. For example, Bob Dylan participated in the civil rights movement through his talent. Various freedom songs mobilized the people and encouraged people to take part in this change. The artists can produce pieces that highlight injustice and contemporary issues of the society that could reach millions of people. It is an active way to disseminate the message, like John Lennon singing on mass incarceration to raise awareness on this criminal justice reform. In addition, many pieces of research prove that music influences our ability to connect to others. It helps increase trust, social connections and improves the collaboration between different groups. So, the most valuable element of food and music in gatherings is facilitating the path towards understanding, changing perceptions, and bringing social reform. People can share different narratives and ideologies over meals or music that create conversations, and healthy debates allow us to recognizeothers' viewpoints and struggles. We cannot vilify other communities and nations without knowing their histories, struggles, and stories. Food and music are social agents to bring people closer through the global love of food and music. They provide a catalyst to create change, solidarity, and an urgent call towards the path of justice. We can disagree on many things while still building friendly relations. Let us open our hearts and minds and play our part!