Letters & Opinion, Talking Things Through

More Jazz for the Youth

Image: St. Lucia Jazz - the biggest party in the Caribbean.

Life can be very challenging at times, as we all know. Some of us can hardly get through a single day without experiencing a bit of friction and stress. Some of us who are older think that we are wiser at handling life. This assumes that younger people are more afflicted with the difficulties of life. The fact is, we all have our worries.

Through all our frustrations we must never forget that there is a pleasant side to life as well. It is the reminder of this side of life which gives us hope for better days and the strength to carry on. One of the many functions of the various art forms is to remind us of life’s beauty, which uplifts us from the burden of despair that we would otherwise plunge into. How would we, if not for art, find comfort from our woes? The beauty which is portrayed through art, the feelings that are transmitted to us through music and the motivation of dance is what inspires us most. Without these elements we would be very gloomy indeed. We all know the power that music has to instantly transform our moods from bad to good. How many of us could imagine life without music?

The power of the various art forms, particularly music, is felt most when it is enjoyed by a group. The government are most responsible for bringing the communities together to partake of the inspiration of music, dance and art. The old Saint Lucia Jazz festival was excellent at drawing people together through the power of music. No matter how bad things were for most Saint Lucians, the anticipation of Jazz and Carnival was enough to take them away from their worries for a while.

There were approximately fourteen concerts for Saint Lucia Jazz 2019. With such a large youth population in Saint Lucia, at least two of these fourteen concerts should have catered for the youth. This does not imply that certain young people are not fans of pure jazz, but perhaps a little more of the old Saint Lucia Jazz festival could have been preserved for those with alternative tastes. Various studies on music have revealed that music has a strong potential to promote social cohesion. This means that music has the power to bond people together. This also means that if we can manage to bring our youth together through the means of jazz concerts, then we can help them to connect and cooperate more, as music is said to work as social glue when it is enjoyed as a group. If we wish to develop a harmonious society, then we should not cut our youth off from Saint Lucia Jazz. It is a Saint Lucian product, and should cater for all Saint Lucians.

Not many young people attended the Saint Lucia Jazz festival in 2019. Perhaps that is because Jazz has widely been described as ‘grown folks’ music’. The majority of our youth are more interested in pop and R&B than they are in jazz. But let us not forget that both pop and R&B among other genres of music have also been influenced by jazz in a number of ways. We must take the musical interests of the youth into consideration before planning Saint Lucia Jazz. Saying that there are other festivals, and other times of the year during which their interests are made a priority, is not enough.

It is important to bring our youth and other members of society together as a single community. Music is one of the greatest means by which to do so. When we feel good together, our relief from our pains and our sorrows is always more powerful. What we need is not just ‘grown folks’ music’, but everybody’s music.

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