Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Music Reaches Across Cultures

I want to share with you extraordinary evidence that music DOES, indeed, heal people, no matter what they have experienced and regardless of cultural background.

My good friends, Debora Prieto and Mick Quinn are working to better the lives of impoverished children in Guatemala. Debora decided to show a group of her teenagers the video of my piano duet with a 15 year-old girl named Hope Garner, who has Down syndrome. (This photo shows the teenagers as they are watching Hope's video.)

Debora explained how she came up with the idea to show the video: "When the teenagers first told me of their backgrounds, I had to make a huge effort not to cry in front of them. Every story was so sad and painful that just listening to them was like torture....I decided to use this video because I work in an environment where there is not room for vulnerability on the part of children. Any sign of "weakness" would open a huge space for abuse. The only way I could bring that intimacy back to my kids was to show them the video of you with Hope."

Here is the video these teenagers saw:

Hope's video had a profound impact. Debora described it to me this way:

"What happened was amazing. Most of the children couldn’t even talk, others said that they didn’t have words to express their feeling; it was too big for them to explain and to understand. One was almost crying. Then they began to express a deeper self-confidence. They began to realize that THEIR voice was important, too!"

Debora and Mick interviewed me recently for their "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Action" series. I highly recommend that you listen to the audio below, Debora describes these children in more depth and the extraordinary effect that seeing this video had on them. It is a VERY special conversation. Indeed, when music speaks from the heart, it touches the heart in another and gives a new sense of self-worth and of possibility, even amidst extreme hardship.

Click Here to Listen

Mick and Debora run "The God's Child Project," a sponsorship program in Guatemala, which makes it possible for children in need to have their basic requirements met--shoes, a bed, books for school. For $25/month your sponsorship will give them new hope. Please see this website to learn more about these children and how you can sponsor a child in Guatemala.

For more information on Mick Quinn, author of the award-winning book, The Uncommon Path, and Debora Prieto click here.

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