Learning About Other Cultures Through Their Songs

My neighbor was out mowing his lawn, and then, after he was done, was barbecuing some stuff on the grill for a meal with his family on their patio. I was outside with my wife and our dogs. There is a solid fence that separates our properties, but there is a section where we can peer over and speak to one another. He had some music from his country of birth playing through a Bluetooth speaker on his picnic table. It had a cool rhythm, so I asked him about the songs he was playing. He speaks perfect English with a barely discernible accent. In fact, he pokes fun at my use of local dialect in English.

Anyway, he told me it was Hindi music. I kind of liked it even though I had no idea what the singers were saying. I asked him about the lyrics. He said they were about the normal things such as love and the ups and downs of being a human being. I asked him if they were decent lyrics or like some of the hip hop stuff I hear thundering through speakers as some younger people drive by. He laughed and told me there was no profanity. He said he does not appreciate that kind of music either. He told me that he chooses to listen to music that celebrates life, happiness and being kind rather than dredging up every bad thing people are capable of.

He and his family bought the house last fall and we were getting to know one another better as the months went by. The fence was on his property and erected by the neighbor who lived there before. I liked it because it contained our pups on that side of the lawn. He asked if it was okay to put a gate to go between our two yards. I heartily agreed. It would be nice to be able to just be able to go to each other’s yard when we socialize together. My enjoyment of his music lead him to ask about the music I listen to. I was even able to learn words and phrases in his native language by listening to his music.