Breath In The Moment

Music, like other art forms, has a peculiar ability to capture human emotions and experience in ways that nothing else can. Art can capture experiences in ways that transcend conventional notions of existence and the experiences themselves. These abstract experiences can, in art, take on a life of their own and stretch and pull and as a result of this, our experience of reality can become altered in deeply life-giving and positive manners.

Good art can sometimes capture large experiences of the human condition or a smaller, more intimate part of a specific human experience. Some art shifts our lenses and allow us to better see another’s perspective. Other times, art can subvert the greater culture it exists in and impact it in societally-changing ways. Art serves many important and real functions in our world.

A particularly wonderful piece of music I have listened to recently was discovered partially by accident. There is this Puerto Rican group called Calle 13, of whom there is one song I have listened to and continue to listen to since I was in middle school. This song is called No Hay Nadie Como Tú which translates to “there is no one like you;” the song contains a quick, bouncing beat, with what sounds like a coil bouncing over a guitar and a melodica with some brass in the background. The verses of the song are full of a series of descriptions of human systems, identities, and markers that exist in the world rapped in both a humorous and meaningful way. These descriptions build on to the chorus, where the artists sing, in Spanish, “but, but, there is no one like you! There is no one like you, my love! There is no one like you…”

Throughout the last decade or so of my life – with some periods of parental suppression (the lyrics could be considered inappropriate at times and I can vividly remember my parents hearing me playing this in my room and then yelling at me to turn it off when I was in middle school) – this song has continuously been on my personal playlists, but it has always just been this song.

Recently, however, I was exploring the artists I listened to on Spotify, and was brought to Calle 13’s artist page, where I saw the song titled La Vida (Respira El Momento), which means “Life (Breath in the Moment).” Intrigued, I decided to look up the lyrics. The song was filled with verses that first describe the beginning of existence in birth and growing as a child interspersed with similes linking this to beautiful behaviors in nature like the growth of plant-life on our planet. The verses later contain words that describe both the gravity of what it means to be a human and the complexities of our experiences, while connecting it to how small and fragile we are.

The first verse ends with the lines:

“Nadie se puede acobardar, nacimos siendo valientes
porque respirar es arriesgar
Este es el momento de agarrar el impulse
Las emociones las narra nuestro pulso”

Which, in my words, can be translated to:

“Nobody can be frightened, we were born brave
Because to breathe is to risk
This is the moment to seize the energy
The emotions tell our heart’s story”

While listening, this song almost immediately captured a strong, unknown sentiment within me. The song captured some feeling and then it pulled at every fiber of my being and connected it all. In a roughly 5 minute time-span, I felt a sense of complete consistency of my being. All my identities fell into each other and their interfaces to reality were energetically buzzing. My consciousness was electrifyingly connected to not only the world around me, but to an awareness of the connection itself and of the Ground in which this connection exists.

The bridge of the song contains a crudely and beautifully rapped list of human connections, intimate moments, and expressions of meaning and community. It’s rapped over a steady, one-and-third beat that marches aggressively asserting the meaning behind everything.

Right before it happens, in the music video, there’s an old, exhausted, man who, upon looking at a photograph of his childhood – smiles.

Art can capture experiences in ways that transcend conventional notions of existence and the experiences themselves, and this was a song that, at least, captured a deep sentiment within my own heart.

One Comment

neda posted on July 20, 2023 at 9:08 am

It was a good text… you obviously have a good pen…

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