Written by Mara Eisenstein
Music is expression. Like a book, it allows us to feel transported by the vibrations, understand the artist’s intentions on a deep level, and connect with something greater than ourselves. Even when we don’t know the words, music has the power to uplift. Even when there are no words, we can understand.
Music brings us together. From the cross-cultural influx of rock music in the 1950’s and its undeniable effects on culture and race relations, to Americana and popular rock in the late 60’s and 70’s leading into psychedelic culture, expanding consciousness, the changing music scene was a sign of the times. Electronic beats with disco and 80’s synth set the stage for the electronic music culture we see today. Several decades later, electronic music has grown in popularity to where we experience a thriving festival culture with music festivals that more than cover several each weekend of the year.
Music has the power to affect global change and serves as an indicator for cultural consciousness and consensus. For example, Live Aid in July 1985 had an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion across 150 countries, the largest musical event in history, televised worldwide, raising $245 million for relief efforts during the Ethiopian famine. The first Farm Aid, also in 1985 (September 22nd, Champaign, Illinois), now an annual event, raised money for family farms and featured a huge and impressive cast: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, John Mellencamp, John Denver, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Kenny Rogers, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Carole King, and dozens more. Having set a precedent for music-related social activism, new large-scale awareness events and fundraisers have followed, including Live 8 in 2005, a global call to action to increase foreign aid to the world’s poorest countries preceding the G8 Summit in Scotland. There have also been successful charity record compilations over the years that have raised funds and awareness for many causes; Paste Magazine lists nine great benefit albums through the years on their website.
Many issues in this world could benefit from more awareness and support. In 2016, Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline has become a uniting cause to protect water, our ecosystems, our own well-being for future generations, native sovereignty, and show solidarity with the concept of living in a world where people (and the planet) come before profits. Fresh and clean water is essential for life as we know it.
Today, December 9th marks the release of Standing with the Waters, a benefit album for the water protectors at Standing Rock. It’s only fitting that Aquatic Collective, a digital label of electronic artists who are exploring the depths of sound, has organized the release.
The benefit album includes original songs in reverence of protecting our water and unifying as a Human Tribe. The opening song by Sacred Sound, who also designed the original cover art, offers words from Chief Block Fox of the Dakota Sioux. The digital album will feature submissions from over 30 artists, including Whitebear feat. Halfred, Biolumigen, SubAqueous, Mindex, Soulular, Stratosphere, Soulacybin, Eurythmy, DrrtyWulvz, Somatoast, TEMPI, and many more.
Like water, be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world.