Music is a global universe language. It tells stories and takes us on journeys. It’s a way for many people across the globe to express their emotions. Music can be many things, yet it has never been looked at as a way of achieving sustainability.
A tool to improve individual and community well-being, to develop skills and education, and creating pathways out of poverty, music has the power to bring about national, regional and local benefits across a number SDGs.
Whether a fight against prejudice or a way to simplify worldviews, collective musical practice helps improve cohesion among groups of people who may be completely different from each other.
In the past few years, the potential of music to effectively bring about change has been explored in a number of ways.
An inspiring anecdote that perfectly highlights the role of music in sustainability, is the story Iolly Amancio, a brave and talented woman from the sprawling suburbs of Rio de Janeiro.
A black, poor singer from the outskirts of the city, Iolly fought discrimination and poverty to rise to success as the lead vocalist for local rock’n’roll band,Gente.
A proud participant of a UNDP-led pilot project that aims to harness transformative powers of music and the arts as a major force to implement the 2030 agenda and its global goals.
Iolly made her first journey out of Brazil to the famous Chelsea Film Festival in New York to deliver a presentation. The festival also featured the documentary film Baixada Never Gives Up.
Baixada is one of the most violent metropolitan regions on Earth. The film presented the collective of artists and musicians who got together in an initiative, to fight the injustice, violence, and discrimination that was rampant in the city of four million people.
From its inception in June 2016 till now, the project with its ethos of leaving no one behind has seen a massive growth to six million participants throughout Brazil.
From the production of a promo CD with 7 SDG-related songs, ranging from reggae, to rock’n’roll to rap all of which involve the youth of Baixada, two major music videos that embody the spirit of never giving up, the collective is a powerful force to motivate citizen action for a better future.
Another example of music making its mark in the achievement of SDGs is the hip-hop music video which breaks down the complex 17 SDGs into easy to understand concepts, thus inspiring young people around the world to take action in support of the UN development agenda.
A video which was dedicated to International Peace Day serves as a great example music can play in breaking down the complexity of the SDGs into easily achievable goals.
Music is often thought to be a form of entertainment. A way to switch off from the real world. But stories and initiatives like these prove that music can function as a vehicle to present real-world issues in one of the most empowering and accessible ways possible.
Watch the music video below;
-This blog post was written by Malvika Padin, NTU student, B.A Journalism. Many thanks from the Green Academy!
Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!