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Playing for the Change We Want to See (Op-ed)

Nov 10, 2017

Playing for the Change We Want to See (Op-ed)

Throughout this past year, I have been searching for a better understanding of music’s role in the world and in people’s lives. In the face of tragedy, playing music for a living can sometimes feel difficult to reconcile. This has been a challenging year, to say the least, but it has also caused many of us in this community to rethink what we do and why we do it.

In this past year, I have seen music extend beyond the art form itself, create bridges between people of differing viewpoints, and create unspoken bonds of love. I’ve discovered that artists who make themselves vulnerable through their work create positive ripple effects all around them. They inspire us to reveal ourselves to each other, drop defenses and look for better pathways together. Live music that we go out to see is more than just live music; it is a lesson of how to listen and learn from each other as humans. Music connects us to each other, to the earth, and to the universe. We are all vibrating together to the same rhythm. It has always been this way and, while I’m sad that it has taken the events of this year to begin to understand more clearly, I am grateful for the opportunity to search, connect, continue to learn, and play for a greater purpose.

I’ve always loved the message and melody of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” and how the meaning of it can be felt and interpreted without words. My friends and I recorded this cover of “Imagine” last August, the day after the White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Playing together that day was a way of coping, understanding, and meditating on the change we want to see in the world. No matter your political beliefs, I hope that you’ll give this track a listen and connect to the intention behind the music. — John Mailander

All net profits from this track will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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