I encourage you to listen to the demo of my song above before reading into my explanations and intentions described below. Sit with your own interpretations and feelings first!
I decided to set the tempo of this song to the sound of my car’s turn signal, as I had spent a large portion of my time this past year driving long distances with a heavy heart. Most of my inspiration to put this song together actually came from being alone in my car for so long, often with only my thoughts to keep me company.
The clapping patterns you hear in the song’s beginning rhythmically foreshadow each of the following sections. I included this section because this kind of arrangement – a bunch of people clapping a bunch of cohesive rhythms – sounds like home to me. Like the time spent with people I love, be it my passionately loud Greek-Gitano family, friends, or even my drumline. My roots!
The instrumental section in the middle of the song bounces back and forth between guitar and bass. My intent here was for this part to convey a type of exchange between the two, as conversation usually stands to be more productive than one-sided forms of communication.
Finally, the bass and guitar’s messages unite in the outro, as they split one melody together. This is layered under the voices of people in my life talking about love in theirs. I asked almost everyone I could to send me an audio file of them explaining to me a time in which love – be it a person, feeling, or act done to, by, or around them – changed something within them, and why they would consider it revolutionary.
Throughout this course I began to notice a kind of hypocrisy present in the strategies of various acclaimed revolutionaries. More often than not, a revolutionary group will criticize a system in power for killing, marginalizing, silencing, or immobilizing certain groups of people – failing to see and treat them as the whole, complex human beings they are. The revolutionaries then, however, proceed with a similar framework of violence, simply shifting the power dynamic as they strip the previous abusers of their humanity – depicting them as monsters, using this to justify their own murders. I struggled greatly to see the revolution in this dynamic, “for the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”¹
“The repression of trauma leaves people continually repeating the condition of being in pain as the basis of identity or community formation.”² Acknowledging the pain, but loving in spite of it? What a rebellion.
I wrote this song in hopes to convey the message I have learned that love – though often perceived and brushed off as too cliche, easy, and idealistic – can be revolutionary during times of enormous rage. Choosing to forgive, feel for, tend to the wounds of, and labor for others, the Other, and even ones Self while our bodies and minds are almost perpetually bombarded with news of violence, illness, heartbreak, and death? It takes heart. Tenacious strength. It surely is an act of moral resistance.
¹Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider (repr., Berkeley: Crossing Press, 2007), 140-141.
²Georgis, Dina. “Thinking Past Pride: Queer Arab Shame in “Bareed Mista3jil”.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 2 (2013): 233-51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43302993.