The entire downtown was alive. I was standing in the middle of Philipsburg, the main port of St. Martin. People were shouting and dashing between the brightly colored tents. The sun burned down from high noon. It was market day. The air smelled of sea and fruit. The atmosphere was electric. The crowd of thousands was packed into the square that was only made to hold hundreds.Everyone was speaking a different language; French, Dutch, Spanish and dozens more, all slurred together. I stood in the center of it all, twelve years old, and completely overwhelmed.
Over the roar of the market, I heard the faint sound of music. I wandered my way towards the sound, to the far end of the square. There stood the most disheveled band I had ever seen. Two guys stood off to one side with big, bright rasta hats playing broken, old guitars. Another man stood off to the other side, playing a weathered keyboard that has several keys missing. Front-and-center, though, stood a man with huge yellow sunglasses,dancing behind a three rusty, old oildrums, banging with broken pieces of wood. See the band without sound, and you’d probably laugh. These men dancing around, the rusty old instruments, there couldn’t possibly be any good music coming out of this.
The sound, though, was incredible. These guys were beyond talented. They had taken the rusty, old things and turned them into instruments that could produce incredible music. They weren’t putting on an act for the crowd; they didn’t have stage names or fancy guitars. They played the music because they wanted to, and they used whatever they could to accomplish that. People begin to drift over, and soon enough, a crowd forms. People, a few at a time, get up and begin to dance. Soon, the whole crowd is dancing. These people are from all over the world. Many have nothing in common with one another. Some don’t even speak the same language. But they all have the music. They all, if only for this brief moment in time, share the music.
I believe in music. I believe that true music doesn’t require lessons or teaching. I believe that music is a part of all of us. It is something we are all born with, something that can never be taken away. There is no language barrier with music. There is no translation, no need to worry if you got your message across correctly. I believe that if you’re playing the music you feel, your message will always come across loud and clear. I believe in music.
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