Will we learn our … Lessons of War (Matt McGinn)

Will we learn our … Lessons of War (Matt McGinn)
by Raquel GOMEZ for Shared Future News
15 April 2018

What is carried by the DNA of people affected by war? May the pain and the hate remain within the DNA of those who have lived in conflict? Dealing with suffering and moving on could be a big challenge.

Could people affected by conflict give us lessons of war?

The Northern Irish songwriter, Matt McGinn, heads the global music project, Lessons of War, with the assistance of the local filmmaker Colm Laverty and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. As a part of the Belfast Film Festival, Lessons of War was screened at Black Box Belfast, and followed by live music played by McGinn (guitar and voice), John McCullough (keys) and Karen Porter (cello).

Lessons of War blended McGinn’s narrative, segments of talking heads, and brilliant pieces from the recording studio.

The project brings together musicians across the world from areas affected by war, to speak about the doom of conflict: Yazan Ibrahim, flamenco guitarist from Golan (Syria); Haris, a singer from Bosnia; Seydu, a percussionist from Sierra Leone; Citizens of the World Choir from London; Richard Moore, a musician from Derry-Londonderry (blinded at age 10 by a plastic bullet); and Joby Fox, a songwriter from Belfast.

The film also includes the perspectives of Mark Kelly (Wave Trauma Centre) (who lost his legs in a paramilitary explosion) and Elke Ross, a historian from the small city of Mödlareuth, Germany, which remains divided by walls 28 years after German reunification. They believe in the reconciliatory role that music is capable of, transcending political and religious differences.

Marianna Suri (Vocal Coach and Assistant Director of Music, Citizens of the World Choir) claims that music brings healing and sense of belonging. In the choir, you can feel the music, the voices and the interaction of the people. Music is a common language that can cross barriers and borders.

War and conflict mean division, physically and mentally. A person who has suffered war or has grown up in the conflict is going to carry a little bit of it in his or her heart. Music, according to McGinn, is about connecting people and healing memories.

Music could be an useful tool dealing with the past. Learning about the past will help ensure it’s not repeated.

Music has the power to touch the heart. Music has the power to inspire people. Music has the power to create awareness. Perhaps, music has the power to create peace.

May war teach us something? When will we learn our lessons of war?

I am an only child of blame
Nothing but sorrow in my veins
A lonely child is all you see
Don’t make a monster out of me

Oh oh I am a child of war
Oh oh I am a child of war

I can’t undo the things I’ve done
You can’t undo what you have done to me
All I have is all I grieve
I am a child of war

–Lyrics from “Child of War” by Matt McGinn.


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