I hadn’t realized that for the last 4 months the only real music I had been listening to was Russian techno. The beat blasts out from shops as I walk to work, is played from the computers of nearly every place I visit during working hours, and videos of the same ilk are often on the television of my host family when I return home. I didn’t think much of it, only tried to tune it out but still subconsciously caught myself tapping my feet at random times. In an attempt at integration and hyper-cultural sensitivity (impressed upon us by the Peace Corps’ training) I do not play my music in my host family. In fact I hadn’t really listened to any of my music since I have been here, save for an inter-cultural karaoke celebration at the end of training where a terrible rendition of “We are the World” sung, arms slung about haphazardly, evoked tears from many. I appreciate the money that project raised and I’m sure there are many now late teen-aged Ethiopians without swollen bellies who are in better health because of it, but that song is Terrible!
I was amazed at how soothing familiar music was to me when I decided to throw caution to the wind and turn on a couple songs on my lap-top today. (For those surprised I have a lap-top I should tell you I also have a cell phone. Yeah, this ain’t yo Mamma’s Peace Corps.) The recognizable language, more relaxed rhythms and sounds were a welcome break for my ears. I had forgotten how much I like my music. I can’t wait to move into my own place (in 3 months) and come home and turn on songs of my choice to fit my mood. Maybe relax and just stare at the wall while listening to some soft singer/song-writer. Or turn on something more upbeat and happy as I prepare to go out on a weekend. Hell, even the yearning and angst of that emo stuff when I want to feel sorry for myself. I miss how familiar music can effect and adjust my mood.