Music reveals the good side of human nature, the part I needed to believe
By Cian Parson
February 25, 2002
I always paid full attention whenever I heard the sound of harmony, melody and rhythm.
Music comes neither from the Occident, nor the Orient, but another place, where no
boundaries could mark its frontiers.
I welcomed the move to exile. I wanted to hear new melodies, perhaps. In my new abode,
I wandered through record stores. I had no money, no family, but only music to turn
to. I was hoping to take home with me, my new acquired knowledge in music. I hadnít
learned, music was my home.
Music reveals the good side of human nature, the part I needed to believe in more.
I was growing up with music. In it I felt happy, sad, ecstatic, but never insignificant.
Music does not allow it. Music is about resisting, expressing, expanding. It paints
the ominous silences of existence with its invisible hues. It adds eternal value
to time. And narrows our distances to ourselvesÖ to each otherÖ
I still had to move, from one place of exile to the next. The heavy weight of my
suite-case was somewhat analogous to the weight I was carrying inside as the result
of missing family and friends; now scattered in two countries, two continents and
the third one was just beginning to add to them.
Toronto was my new city now. I was given a tax file number like everyone else. I
could work, study, travel or even go on a social security payment. I chose the latter
and began adding to my record collection, with whatever I had leftover from my fortnightly
I had to have more music. Lyrics, compositions, melodies, rhythms that defined the
transient me. The ever changing me. I had anchored in the illusiveness
One morning I rebelled against music. I had to demarcate my world. I wanted boundaries.
Music had non. No set horizon. I pawned my records. I needed a place to call my own.
I wanted to get closer to my God. I wanted to talk to him or her. I hauled in my
imagination. I reflected on my freedom. I wanted no distractions. I wanted a tangible
But music rose from everywhere. From home, exile, my head. It rebelled against
In exile I was free to listen to music. At home I was not. I had not learned music
was my abode.
Still missing the past, I was drawn to my old addiction again. I found some of the
music that was produced back home to be sensual, spiritual. Music, to me, had replaced
the ancient prophets, who spoke the truth, yet not many heed their message.
I started my third music collection from scratch. Now that cassettes and vinyl were
on their way out I decided to buy CDs. I realized my taste had matured with my age
as I found myself drawn to the classical sections of the music stores more often.
Bach and Beethoven were my starters, followed by Mozart, Schubert and Vivaldi.
This time I was more clever. I did not wait passively for music to consume me again.
I devised a timetable. I only allowed myself to listen to three albums per day. I
spread the doses across the day in order to avoid going cold turkey. Despite this
rigid regime, my CDs were soaring in numbers. I also attended as many live concerts
as I could.
In music I loved, and felt loved, there was no question about it. My nomadic identity
felt at peace with itself. Hope or despair was given ethereal patterns, necessary
for my temporal survival. Outside music, I had become, bit of a stranger to myself.
The harshness of reality, boredom of existence and cold gazes of people were magnified
My city, Toronto, meanwhile, was growing, changing,
accommodating more migrants, tourists and the homeless.
For the second time it dawned on me, like a revelation, that I was free. I could
go anywhere that I wanted to. Do whatever that I wanted to do. But I was strangely
connected to the worlds I had left behind and was refusing to love the world in front
of me, like a stubborn child refusing to eat because a permission to do something
else was not granted to him.
My subconscious refusal was adding to the weight of the loss and longing that I was
carrying inside. Like an addict, I could not face the day without imbibing my music.
I did not really mind it any more. I was with harmony with many artists who shared
my melancholy in their music. The same artists that I have grown with, who shared
their concerns with me.
But still I haven't learned...Music was...my...