Peoples in various regions of Africa and much of the Middle East are suffering from rampant religious extremism, and mass conflict. This has left hundreds of communities in shambles. With broken communities where the prevailing mentality is survival, many individuals feel unimportant and directionless. Many want to help, but don’t know where to turn. This drought of individual and collective self-fulfillment creates lots of feelings of anger, and embitterment. When these feelings fester and are not properly expressed and redirected, it turns into violent behavior. This process that takes place in these ravaged societies becomes the natural recruitment agency for violent extremist groups, and organized crime.
Our hope at Cathartic Expressions is to step into those voids that prevail in many of these communities, give individuals and communities another direction to create meaning for themselves, and give them the resources and knowledge to help them cope with the hard feelings they deal with and face on a daily basis.
At Cathartic Expressions, we believe in the healing power of music. Whether to help boost someone’s mood, teach a concept, or deeply inspire an individual—music has the ability to affect all of us. Some types of music can heal deep emotional and mental wounds. But what does that music sound like?
THE SLIPKNOT THEORY
Most of us know someone who likes to listen to heavy metal. That crazy genre of music that consists of mosh pits, screaming lyricists, and dark themes. Why are people attracted to this genre? What type of people are they? The heavy metal band, Slipknot, can help us answer those questions.
This masked, highly aggressive, metal band is known for its controversial appearance and music. A lot of people simply dismiss them to be devil worshipers or a trash band, but there is much more to them than meets the eye. Some of the band members have opened up a number of times to talk about their personal lives, and why they do what they do. Most of the men in this band have come from rough backgrounds that include domestic abuse, sexual abuse, loss, abandonment, substance abuse, and many more traumatic things. The band funnels all of the pain and suffering they deal with from those traumatic experiences, and put it into their music. This is a way for them to cope with the trauma they are dealing with, and help others do the same.
THE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT OF MUSIC
Other musicians from bands such as Of Mice and Men, Coldplay, and the rap artist NF, talk about how creating music and playing it provides a cathartic release that helps them cope with their various struggles. It gives them a platform to express themselves. Some artists have been able to overcome addiction through the music they participate in, deal with their anger or embittered feelings, and others were able to cope with the pain of physical illnesses by participating in these heavy forms of expression.
PEACEBUILDING WITH MUSIC
Having a knowledge that communities in the Middle East and Africa are struggling with many heavy and hard emotions from the circumstances they are living in, and an understanding of the deep therapeutic effects that heavy forms of music can have, we hope to incorporate music programs into the these parts of the world to help build some lasting peace.