New Delhi: “Each country will have to work to develop its music locally. Create a new network within the country, within each region,” feels Naaman, French Reggae artiste.
In a freewheeling chat with IANSlife, the musician, who has recently featured in the third episode of Society Tea’s Sounds of Society: Season 2, speaks what changes the world of music might see as a result of the pandemic. He also shares his views on how difficult it is for independent artists to survive these trying times and how online media has helped the industry bounce back. Excerpts:
Looking at the current situation prevailing in the world, how do you think world music will change?
Naaman: I think each country will have to work to develop its music locally. Create a new network within the state within each region. It looks like travelling the world to play on different continents will start being more difficult due to health issues.
Also, the gatherings are less tolerated, and from what I see, people get organized and keep producing small private events here and there, that connects the artists and the music lovers on a local scale. In terms of the music itself, more musicians may feel very concerned about the significant changes that the world is suddenly going through. A new quality of the music will arise slowly.
How can independent artists survive these trying times?
Naaman: Well, some countries like France have developed a status for artists. In those countries, the situation is quite steady for now. It’s hard and uncertain for everyone and much more for many of us who didn’t get the status yet. The tours are cancelled, the plans are postponed… we got to take care of each other, so we do what we can. We are expecting the government to help us as well.
Tell us more about the collaboration with Cisco Kid and Bee Wise. How did it happen?
Naaman: This collaboration is the fruit of a few seasons of living and making music in Goa. We have shared stages many times, so making something different was going to happen.
Cisco was working on an idea for a project with Laiq, and he invited me to jam with him and Bee Wise on the guitar, and so I joined them. The culmination, “Know The Sunset”, is what you see here is part of Sounds of Society: Season 2, Society Tea’s music property.
What role have online platforms played when events are not happening anywhere in the world?
Naaman: I think it’s made it possible for everyone to share their experiences of isolation. We are all together experiencing something extraordinary; everyone in their little space. And yet beautiful things are happening. For some of us, separation has been a terrible challenge, for others a blessing.
Altogether, we have much to learn from it; a platform is a tool for us to structure together, a positive and realistic perspective for the future. Live performances online were from my perspective, just a way to cheer the world up, while everybody knows that there is work to be done.
Society Tea’s initiative Sounds of Society works in this direction and is a step towards providing a platform for artists to come together and collaborate, to orchestrate some unique musical pieces.
Why did you choose Reggae music as your musical expression?
Naaman: As everyone in my position would say; Reggae chose me. I didn’t select anything; my very first link to reggae was unexpected. At the mall with my mother when I was a kid.
At that time, my dad used to make me clean his car for a few coins, so I had enough in my pocket to buy something there. In the music area, I’ve come across the compelling cover of the “Uprising” album by Bob Marley and the Wailers. I didn’t know anything about them, and I didn’t realize that reggae would make the person I am today.
How does, according to you, music heal?
Naaman: Vibration, frequencies. I just trust my feelings. When my soul says it’s okay, I take it as healing. Living consciously is the true healing; music only helps to switch from a type of frequency to another. You are not in mind anymore, you allow the chemistry to happen, and you live the mystery.
What message would you like to send out to young, aspiring musicians?
Naaman: I would say in these specific times, it appears that the growth of the soul is the ultimate. The way we use music has to evolve, and it will. I believe in the power of music as a way to transcend time and space and empower the growth of the soul.
In that way, music has as much to teach. And the more you connect the spiritual experience to the musical performance, the more you create a space for the real magic to happen. That’s the magic of it, don’t do anything, and just be the music.