Music : Peaceful music at Outerland
Tom Major is a man on a mission.
The peace movement has been gaining energy in recent years, he says, but he believes that peace activists still have some PR work to do. His goal is, therefore, "To make peace and love cool again and not just an old hippie thing."
This is the unwritten mission statement for his band, Entrain, and now he has organized a full-scale musical extravaganza, Drums For Peace, to bring the message home. The Drum Workshop's Rick Bausman and Tonzadrumz and Aquinnah's Black Brook Singers will join Entrain as they perform a selection of their songs that centers on the themes of peace, love, and unity.
The show, which starts at 7 pm this Friday, Oct. 3, at Outerland, aims to bring people of all ages together to celebrate the theme of unity, while acting it out in real time.
Mr. Major's heroes are great musicians and social commentators such as John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Marley; artists who "kept going, against all odds, and stayed focused on spreading the word."
Photo by Ralph Stewart
"There's so much negativity," Mr. Major said, "especially in the music. I feel like a lot of kids don't really have a chance when I listen to the stuff on the radio."
When asked how peace will finally be achieved in this world, Mr. Major quotes Jimi Hendrix: "When the power of love overcomes the love of power then we will know peace."
As he works to spread a global message through his music, Mr. Major also has his eye on the more modest but no less important goal of creating unity in his own community. As the success of the potluck music concerts held last winter in the Chilmark Community Center attests, this is a community greatly receptive to the idea of music for all ages, of intergenerational events that have toddlers, teenagers, and baby boomers sharing the dance floor. Music is not only an entertainment staple but also a powerful social adhesive. There will be people from the Martha's Vineyard Peace Council at the event handing out flyers.
Mona Rosenthal, Outerland's co-owner with her husband Barry, says it will be one of the last all-ages shows to be held at the venue, which will close its doors in November.
"I'm happy that we're able to play one more time at the club," said Mr. Major. He also said he hopes that whoever the new owners are, they will create a space that is accessible to the whole community, a venue for shows that parents can bring their children along to.
Photo by Brian Jolley
Ms. Rosenthal said, "There are so few music venues you can bring children to."
The idea of using drums to call for peace is found in many musical traditions. The Black Brook Singers and Rick Bausman's drummers will perform songs for peace that draw from Native American and African drum traditions.
Of course, drums can also have the opposite association when they are used in military marches and manuevers. Entrain, however, inverts the meaning of the military snare in "Arm Yourself With Love," which Mr. Major describes as a "military rock anthem."
Other songs that will make up the program include "All One; We Are All Connected," "Letter to the World," a song about environmental issues, and "Color Blind," a song about racial equality.
Mr. Major would like to see peace studies classes and conflict resolution training in schools. "Peace starts with yourself," he says. "Once all conflict disintegrates in your presence then you know you are working towards peace. You start with yourself, move to your family, your friends, your community."
Martha's Vineyard Times File Photo
Eventually, Mr. Major wants to perform Drums for Peace as a multimedia piece with a video component. He has had this idea since last winter, and decided to go ahead with the musical portion even though the video element has not yet been completed. When the video is made, he hopes to take the show on tour.
Drums For Peace, Friday, Oct. 3, 7 pm, Outerland, Airport. Entrain, Rick Bausman's Tonzadrumz, and Aquinnah's Black Brook Singers $5 for children 12 and under, and $10 for adults. The early show will followed by an Entrain concert at 10pm for 21+.
Sofi Thanhauser is a freelance writer who lives in West Tisbury.