Carol Forsloff — A musician on Fandalism, Dwayne Chelini, recently made a comment, as he listened to a video. That comment, “Peace through music”, rings especially poignant, as no other way has worked so well on a site that brings musicians together from all over the world.
You may be one of those people who sees the postings all over Facebook, on many comment threads through the news feed, and get messages that come the same way as the games. But Fandalism is not a game. On this site, one can hear the kind of talent often not found on “the tube.” In fact, many people who are busily interacting, collaborating and learning from each other, using music as a vehicle, say they are seldom watching television anymore. And unlike other social media sites, Fandalism encourages people not only to be interactive on the Internet through its site but allows people to find each other in local areas as well. The key word is “collaboration”, as folks learn about each other, then make their plans to travel somewhere to actually perform music with someone they just met through sharing enjoyment of music.
Television abounds with talent shows, but some have age restrictions, such as American Idol. Others have token age restrictions, where there is an unwritten rule to focus on the up-and-coming as opposed to the polished elder in music statesmanship. Not so on Fandalism where folks of all ages meet and share music. The young man who plays heavy metal rock often ends up listening and appreciating old folk music tunes, as the older musician of the folk music generation comes to appreciate the elaborate guitar patterns produced by young folks.
The barriers of nationalism, racism, and sexism dissolve in a sea of music, something that could be emulated in ordinary life. The dictum “Say something nice” is reminiscent of the adage that says if you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing. For that is the model on Fandalism. Any negative comments become instructive through private messages. But the atmosphere of mutual respect and kindness means that even those instructive comments come wrapped in the package of respect.
A Russian musician, Andrey Onishenko, shares his balalaika. A Pakistani, Haider Hashimi, eloquently through music shows the international flavor of rock. A Swede, Thommy Johannson, sings bunches of songs, American style and in the modern way, with international tones and flavors. A composer from the United Kingdom, Jason Yates, collaborates in writing music with an American, Darcy Jeavons. A musician from Brazil, Cassiano Perieara Viana, reminds us that good music compositions can come from many countries. An older man, Angelo Marinosci, stirred lifelong in the delightful stew of folk music, finds ways to interact with young singers, like Lisa Gill, with the consequence that the music produced is of superior quality. Two elder statesmen of music, Staffan Fenander and James Watts, offer music from nearly every genre with consummate skill. A young Japanese woman, delightfully known as Yum, offers support to everyone with her ability to organize and produce music. A musician with the total package of singing, playing instruments, and production, Sticky Sugar Hopkins, also known as Yawroc, brings together a diverse group from many nations to make a difference in music. And then there are the fans and friends, like John Lunn, someone who isn’t playing music by facilitating those peaceful and supportive manners that can serve as a model for everyone. It is happening now.
It is that model for peace we might examine. Fandalism is first set up to be that way. What if our politicians walked under a doorway inscribed “Say something nice” before taking their seats in a Congress? What if national leaders met to discuss some terrible catastrophe and collaborated so that the result was far better than anyone could produce individually. These are superior lessons. So the next time you see a link that speaks of some music video, remember this might be the way to something good, such as peace and understanding, something that happens in few other ways in our modern world. Peace through music is possible. Give a listen, and you will find yourself drawn into that same attitude, and perhaps the message will spread so more people will sing as opposed to shout or shoot.