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Music and message

Art is a powerful medium and music is among the most powerful. No wonder that a group of Omani youth has used it an instrument of social criticism. They do entertain, but entertainment is not at the only thing they look to. They want to ensure that their painstaking work carries a message of social consequence. They have come out with a short video that is a comical satire of a burning social issue. The fact that their message resonates with youth of the whole Arab region is evident from the way it has been going viral over social media including YouTube and Instagram. Singer Mohammed Al Munji’s video – inspired by Luis Fonsi’s reggae-pop in Spanish ‘Despacito, – has nearly topped 2 million views. The production by Al Munji and his team-mates – Mohammed Al Adwani and Mohammed Al Yahyah is a light satire embedding criticism of a social practice that is deterring at least some youth from taking brides of their choice. Al Munji and his team’s desire to reach the widest possible audience is evident when he says, “We have tried not to make our song serious and heavy so that it appeals to all, especially the youth.” Al Munji is frank about the nature of the work they have done. “We have made our song more like a comical satire, full of light-hearted fun.” The laughs are definitely there and people cannot listen to the lines without a smile creasing their face. While elated by the unexpected social media sensation that they have become, they are not the type who would rest on their laurels. Al Munji recalls how another video that he had done clocked an impressive 1.6 million hits. What endears the 22-year-old to the public is his earthiness when he says he wants to compete with himself to make better songs carrying more powerful messages.

Good art is what entertains and make people sit up and take note. But great art carries powerful messages to the society in general. It makes people not just take note, but think of the message and be moved to act. The music group has shown how powerful tool music is and how social media is a potent environment to communicate with a large number of people at a low cost in a short time. One big advantage of social media is that the youth use social media the most. Therefore the messages that are carried on such media can have a great impact on the youth. They are the future of the nation and initiators as well as beneficiaries of such change. If such videos set them capture their imagination and thinking at a young age, when they grow up, they can act as agents of social change. It is a fact that the youth are becoming smarter and tech savvy every passing day. But no society can let that happen in a valueless hollow. That is where the relevance of youth like Al Munji and his friends is important. They are on the same wavelength as other youth of the nation and what they communicate is perfectly intelligible to the latter. That is why this team has become an example in making art with a social content for other youth. They will not only be appreciated and adored by the targetted demographic, but will also be perfectly understood.  Such understanding can trigger  action that could lead to social changes.