The power of music

Music plays an especially important part in Nirma’s life in Venezuela.

In the midst of an economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela that has seen nearly six million people leave the country since 2015, Nirma has found survival tools in nature, prayer, art and music. She has shared 10 songs that give her hope when it feels like her world is falling apart.

My name is Nirma and I live in Venezuela. In the midst of the collapse of my country (nearly 6 million people have left since 2015 due to an economic and humanitarian crisis), I’ve found survival tools in nature, prayer, art and music – these are the things that give me hope when it feels like my world is falling apart. Music plays an especially important part in my life.

Since Venezuela’s crisis began, I’ve made a special effort to share songs with family and friends, to encourage them to find beauty in unexpected places, so they can continue to believe and not give up.

I want to share these songs with you today – my top ten tracks – because I know that things are tough for everyone around the world at the moment. We’re all facing challenges, as a global community, and we must share love and kindness where we can. Because life goes on with its stubborn and wonderful insistence. Let’s go and listen together!

Nirma’s top 10 tracks to help you through tough times

1. Oreru by TONOLEC

The first track is a Guaraní song (Guaraní is an ancestral people in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia). This song speaks of the love of learning: “Our father, teach us to the sing of the wind/ Opygua, teach us the wisdom of the rainforest/ Let´s all sing together/ Let´s walk toward the land of no evil.”

2. O que é, o que é? by Gozanginha

Track two speaks of the happiness and joy of living in Latin America. Although we face hard and unfair situations, we love life! In the lyrics you can hear the insistence: “É a vida, é bonita” – it’s life, it’s beautiful.

3. Andrea by Aquiles Báez

This song is such a Sunday morning tune! When all in the house are still sleeping and you are calm. Aquiles Báez is a fabulous composer and Venezuelan guitar player. This song is dedicated to his little daughter.

4. Come and Get Your Love by Redbone

One day, seeing me sad, my beautiful son added this song to my soundtrack. “What’s the matter with your head, mum?” he said. When you need cheering up, open up your eyes, get a little piece of love around and keep singing this song!

5. Elevation by U2

Use this song to increase your courage and feel empowered. No obstacles can stop you. For best results, sing it out loud.

6. Cry, Cry, Cry & Viva la Vida by Coldplay

The most beautiful love is that which can support you when you can’t support yourself – the love of close friends and family. Love between tears and disappointments is still love.

7. Mal de Amor by Sharlene Taule ft. Servando & Florentino

“Mal de amor”, or lovesickness, is what we call that enchanted process of falling in love, sweetly and slowly. Sharlene is a Dominican singer and Servando & Florentino are a Venezuelan pop duo.

8. Inséparables by Pablo Alborán & Zaz

The eighth track reminds me of a partner’s love – gentle and romantic whispering of two people: “Ma voix et ta voix sont inséparables” – My voice and your voice are inseparable.

9. Volveré a Mi Tierra by Nella

This song is about loving your identity and loving the land you come from. It is a song about diaspora, always missing and building bridges with your homeland. It makes me think of those 6 million Venezuelans, and all migrants and refugees around the world, who are forced to leave their countries because of deep economical and humanitarian crises.

10. Niño Lindo by ACDJ

This final track is my favourite Venezuelan Christmas carol – a song dedicated to the baby Jesus, with reverence and admiration of the most beautiful prodigy of love that has occurred in the earth. It helps me know that even in the most challenging times, there is hope.

In the midst of poverty, I learnt to dream

I grew up in a low-income community in Caracas, Venezuela, with my parents and my eight siblings. Our home sat between the public library and the sports field. Between those three places I learnt three lessons that I have used to guide me throughout my life.

At home, my mum and dad’s love showed me that I could be anything I wanted to be. Ms Lavinia, the wonderful librarian, taught me the power of imagination and books. Lastly, Euler, my basketball coach, told us when things weren’t going well on court: “Even if you’re losing the game, play as if the difference is only one point.”

So, in the midst of poverty, I learnt to dream, I learned to lose and not give up hope.

From suffering to compassion

I am a specialist in the area of crisis, emergency and development communications. I’ve worked for several organisations across my country, including Caritas Venezuela.

For six years I have witnessed the suffering of an entire country. The situation in Venezuela is a humanitarian emergency, with the second largest migration crisis in the world and four years of hyperinflation ending the normal lives of the people.

However, despite the extreme challenges we are facing, it is not the difficulties I will remember most strongly. Instead, what I will remember most strongly – empowered by the beauty of music – is seeing how millions of people, moved by humanity and compassion, have weaved together a network of support to save each other – to find in others reasons to overcome their own shortcomings and move forward, with love.

6 thoughts on “The power of music”

  1. Love it, thank you for sharing. Music is a valuable comfort in blue moods. It has been a joy to lisent your play list. I’d like to share a couple of songs: wonder by naughty boy ft emili sandé; hasta la raíz interpreted by susana baca; la cima by charliepapa; hey brother by aviccii

    Hope you and your readers like these songs.

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