Ep. 9: Creating community through music in Jamaica: An interview with Joan Webley

Our podcast often focuses on the ways in which music creates opportunities to build and strengthen a person's sense of health and wellbeing. This episode, we're broadening the discussion to consider the ways in which music can bring health and wellbeing to communities as a whole.

The great thing about technology is that we can reach people all over the world, and this episode we are lucky enough to be joined by Joan Webley all the way from Jamaica.

Joan shared a story with us about a live music venue that she had opened up in her hometown of Kingston, called "Nanook". We thought our chat would be all about how great reggae music is, but instead, Joan spoke about how little access local Jamaicans had to seeing live music and how that also somewhat mirrored a lack of cultural identity and pride in the people she met.

Interestingly, she shared that many young people in Jamaica did not think that reggae music came from Jamaica and how that in itself signified a loss of culture and furthermore, a loss of the community's health and wellbeing.

Through her social enterprise Nanook, Joan witnessed a music community gathering from both near and far and she discusses the way in which accessing live music can contribute to community health.

"... Music is a really easy bridge that begins conversations that might not have been had ... Music allows for exchanges that are not threatening, that are not hostile ..."

Joan's story highlights the importance of music in the community and how we really need to value musical engagement, not only for "clients" or "patients" of music therapy, but for each individual. We hope you enjoy this episode!