The power of music lies in its ability to take us through journeys; some known others unknown. It sometimes takes only the beats without an understanding of the message. Tapping into the message only goes to add more value to a journey already started, be it into the future, the past or the present.
Listening to " Different Faces" by Genda on his "Follow my Footseps" album, took me back to an experience I had a few years ago, which I have never really been able to publicly talk about. This song resounded the realisation of great depth I had on that day.
It was a cold winter afternoon and I was at work in the intensive care unit. I had just finished medical school and this was my first job. A patient with extreme shortness of breath was rushed in and I ran into the room to attend to him. And right there I experienced the longest most revealing minute of that year. Infront of me sat a young man in his tweenties with black hair, a ku klux klan tattoo on his leg and a tattoo of the swastika (commonly called "nazi cross") on his hand, gasping for air. In that minute fear took over me. In that minute I became the victim instead of the helper. Paradoxically we were two victims. In that minute I had a flashback of the years I spent in the east of Germany where I went to med school, unfortunately known for open racist attacks. Faces of people I know who were beaten, threatened with knives and thrown of out moving trams just because of the color of their skin went through my mind. The thought of a different scenario if I had met this same guy with his friends and were alone, will he take my life or save it? The picture of him sitting there, too distressed to lie down, struggling to say "help me". He looked pathetic. In that minute the color of my skin didn't matter to a man who boldly wore tattoos of hate.
His parents standing to my right, understood our non-verbal communication, the akwardness of that minute and maybe they sensed my fear. They started pleading on behalf of their son asking me to help him. He had made some bad friends and poor choices, left home and returned with COPD and they went on....
I didn't listen to the end of the story because I didn't need to. I was alreeady administering the help he needed. In the depth of that minute I realised the true value of humanity and of my vocation as a doctor. I realised we all have fear, pain, moments of happiness, challenges and we all needed each other like in this case. In that moment I realised it wasn't the neo-nazi, racist, antisemitist, or hater I was helping, for these are all different faces, different people, in different places, living the same life, in different stages , yet time flies in different time zones at the same time. It was a soul, a human soul who needed my services. Thus I rendered..
Link to video..http://vimeo.com/83590875 Coincidentally around the same time I went to Nneka's concert with some nurses from my team and the pre-act was an artist called Genda. We even took a group picture together although we never had a conversation or knew each other (see pic above of with Genda right behind me, to my left). Five years later we are meeting again through his music, this time he was talking to me and resounding a realisation of great depth I had.
Thank you Genda for providing a vehicle through your song "Different Faces" on which I revisted this experience and found the courage to tell. I never told you this personally but now you know!!
From the horse's mouth
"Love. Tolerance. Morality.
It’s perfectly simple. We’ve lost sight of what it is all about. Like the lyrics to “Different Faces” suggest, we forget too often that we’re different yet the same. Lying, manipulative tongues emphasize the differences leading to unnecessary hate and unhappiness. We must come back to the middle to: Tolerance. I’m not perfect. I have my weaknesses too. What weighs on my mind is the widespread lack of consideration for each other’s feelings, the bending of moral codes for selfish agendas, the basic lack of love in the world.
That’s why I insist that my music must be about the idea and not about my person. I’d like the message in my song to be passed on by whoever I work with, regardless of whether I am part of the process or not. The idea in my music must breathe and live on independently of me as a person"
Genda // Ahmed Nyei was born to Liberian/Sierra Leonean parents in Cairo, Egypt in 1979. Having a diplomat for a father meant a lot of travelling. In 1987, the family moved to Germany and a new chapter was opened. Genda has worked with artists like Nneka, with whom he has toured Europe on several occasions, most recently on the “Soul Is Heavy Tour” as support act with his band; or such as Sammy Deluxe, with whom he collaborated on the Child Soldier Project. ......
More on Genda :www.GendaMusic.com.