1. Enamórame Otra Vez” — Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan (Mexico), 2021, Mariachi


  1. Time” — Wintersun (Finland), 2012,  Rock


  1. Bohemian Rhapsody” — Queen (England), 1975, Progressive Rock
  2. Life in Technicolor II” — Coldplay (England), 2008, Rock
  3. Lovers in Japan” — Coldplay (England), 2008, Rock
  4. The Other Side of Paradise” — Glass Animals (England), 2016, Indie 


  1. Ghanan Ghanan” — Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, Sehar; A.R. Rahman (India), 2001, Bollywood
  2. Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye” — Rahet Fateh Ali Khan (India), 2005, Bollywood
  3. Mere Naam Tu” — Abhay Jodhpurkar; Ajay-Atul (India), 2018, Bollywood
  4. Hindustani-Carnatic Jugalbandi in Kalavati and Abhogi” — Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee,  Muttuswami Dikshitar (America), 2016, Classical

From the Middle Paleolithic period (i.e., the earliest time frame that music can be dated back to) to now, music has been used to connect with each other, connect spiritually to greater beings, and heal from any form of pain (known as music therapy). Music as a form of therapy was first recognized in the early 1800s in a Columbian Magazine titled “Music Physically Considered.” Since then, various studies have shown that any style of music can be used to alleviate difficulties in patients, especially with the calming powers that music has to offer.

With music spanning from the Americas to the Nordic Region to Britain to South Asia, this curation looks to display the different styles of music used to set the stage for unifying people from any background or to improve and express one’s emotions to find peace from music.


My playlist starts with the song “Enamórare Otra Vez” by the Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan band in Mexico. Founded in 1897, this Mariachi band has created the brand of what the rest of the world knows as Mariachi. This song tells the story of the possibility of falling in love again, but in a unique style that does not follow the typical fast-paced, dance-inducing style that the Mariachi band is known for. Instead, Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan tests the authenticity and stereotypes of their style of music to perform this slower and more romantic song. Since music has no language, those who do not understand Spanish may not be able to understand the underlying message of the song, but they would feel like romantically slow dancing to this song, allowing for the community feeling, without any language barriers, that the Mariachi genre has nurtured for a little over a century.


“Time” by Wintersun takes us to Finland, where the band expressed their frustration about how time always catches up to them, in a Christmas-music meets rock music fashion. I thought this piece would be a productive addition to this playlist as a) this piece gives an insight into how rock music may be perceived in Nordic regions as well as b) this resonates with the “cathartic” sentiment that Hofman (2020) discusses when describing how music incorporated moments of what can be perceived as “screaming” in order to let out any and all feelings during a performance. Rock music is known to unify the audience and connect them with the performers through understanding their sentiments. This piece, though it has a very elaborate instrumental beginning with no vocals, has a unique way of doing just that, even though it may not necessarily be cut-out to fit the “rock music” genre perfectly. 


Travelling approximately 2000 miles southwest from Finland, we come to England — the home of some of the biggest rock bands including Coldplay, Glass Animals, and Queen.

The first song in my playlist,”Bohemian Rhapsody,” from this region, was written in 1975, by Freddie Mercury as a method of coping with the news of having acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, as well as a method of letting his band know, through the song about this sudden downturn in his life. With this song, we can see the performers trying to find peace and referring to greater beings (including Bismillah) through their lyrics and varying melody. The song starts with a slowly presented rhetorical question: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy” to go on to describe the downturn mentioned earlier with “caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.” After a melancholic realization that he must “face the truth,” the rhythm increases and we can here short staccatos to convey the next, more spiritual part of the song where the singer seems to be pleading that he is “just a poor boy nobody loves” him so that the greater being can “spare him his life from this monstrosity,” referring to the fatal disease Mercury was battling.

The next songs in my playlist are by Coldplay. “Life in Technicolor II ” begins with the use of a santoor backed by the tabla — both known to be Indian instruments — to nurture a sense of hybridity when telling the story of the end of time with the beginning of the Cold War, through the song. This song is a more didactic song, in this playlist, written to bring to life the story of a war that most of us have read in a monotonous tone in history class. The song allows for unifying not only the next generations of those who lost their lives (either partially or entirely) to the war and their sentiments as well as the Hindustani classical styles used in the song. As someone with a Hindustani classical music background, listening to the introduction drew me in to listen and have more insight on how those who had just learned of the advent of the Cold War may have felt. “Lovers in Japan” belongs to the same album as “Life in Technicolor II,” named Viva La Vida. This album is one of my favorite albums that Coldplay has assembled as it feels like a world tour through the lens of historical landmarks (or rather time-marks). I felt this song was very fitting in our discussions of rock/cathartic music and how music in that genre is created to let our frustrations out (Tatro 2014). This song, as characterized by rock music, also allows your body to move with the rush of the song as it is quite different from the rest of the album. While the rest of the album has very eclectic genres, this song is salacious in that the story told is difficult to discern but the emotions are conveyed through the roughness of the style of music. This album also interests me as, while the musicians do world tours, their span and exposure to France or Japan (in this case) allows for the possibility of learning more about the heritage of the locations that they performed about — grants an in depth understanding of the culture and the historical values that they so well portray in their presentations of these two songs.

The last song from my selection from Britain is by Glass Animals. While the composers were in England when writing “The Other Side of Paradise,” the story expresses the sorrow of the musician whose lover has left via a one-way ticket, never to be seen again. This romantic song resonates with my theme of turning to music to find peace as well using music to help the audience relate to, and therefore find grounds to unite on recognizable emotions. As seen on multiple forums, many people were able to connect with the band on the chorus of “Bye Bye Baby Blue” as a form of bidding their past, possibly failed relationships goodbye.


         Travelling to the home of ragas, which were originally performed by musicians to connect to the Gods to help alleviate any pain and suffering of those on Earth with different combinations of swaras or notes, we find ourselves at the song “Ghanan Ghanan,” written by A.R. Rahman for the movie “Lagaan”. With the use of Raga Bhairavi, which is perceived to relieve sickness and colds with purity, A.R. Rahman shares the excitement of the possibility of rain in a drought ridden land, through his lyrics. While ragas, like that of Bhairavi, were often performed solely for healing or finding peace in music with just the notes being performed, the presentation of ragas have evolved to allow for lyrics to bring meaning to the notes. In this piece, while those who are watching the movie and/or solely listening to the lyrics and upbeat rhythm would find hope and excitement, alongside the characters, and perhaps implicitly find peace in the same way that the creators of the raga had originally intended, those who have a classical background would realize that the choruses have a repetition of swaras that are only used in Raga Bhairavi. 

         The next song in this playlist, “Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye,” is performed by Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, known for his performances of devotional Sufi music. While the song relies on the swaras of Raga Bhupali, most apparent with the flute solo at the beginning, we can hear Khan’s incorporation of his Sufi style training, especially at the high notes he hits starting at 2:00. This hybridity of the two styles of music, from two regions of South Asia not only brings together the two audiences but also allows for presenting the spiritual connection (that Sufi music is known for) as well as the therapeutic properties of Raga Bhupali (known for having a combination of notes that are calming and anxiety/stress reducing).

         We now turn to one of the most modern songs presented in Bollywood, in terms of instrumentalization and incorporation of Western musical styles — “Mere Naam Tu.” With the instruments playing a fast and repetitive melody that sounds almost hopeful (much like a waltz), we hear Hindi lyrics expressing the romantic interests of the character who lip-syncs and dances to the song. Unlike the first two songs of this playlist, this piece is not tied to any one or two specific ragas. Instead, it allows for a fusion between traditional and popular music practices enabling a wider audience to relate to and recognize the music and be able to connect not only with each other, but also with the performer with respect to the emotions conveyed in this piece as well as the possibility of a waltz that the piece suggests. While this piece steps away from the authentic styles of presenting Hindustani classical music or Bollywood style that a seasoned audience is accustomed to, the hybridity enhances both styles and showcases how one style does not need to overshadow the other but can instead be in conjunction to create such a beautiful piece.

         The concluding song in the playlist, “Hindustani-Carnatic Jugalbandi in Kalavati and Abhogi,” is a jugalbandi or duet of both Hindustani classical music and Carnatic music with Ragas Kalavati and Abhogi. The performance keeps the Hindustani classical raga (Kalavati) playing in the background on the Sitar with the Carnatic Abhogi at the front on vocals. The tabla and mridangam (associated with Hindustani classical music and Carnatic music, respectively) alongside the flute help transition between the two slightly different ragas. This performance is akin to that of what the original creators of ragas had intended — a variation of swaras performed with different vowels and occasional references to the different Gods, with a backdrop of soothing instrumentalization. This piece resonates with Appert’s analysis of both of the terms “hybridity” and “authenticity” (2016). This jugalbandi embraces the definition of hybridity as this performance incorporates musical styles from two different cultural locations while also keeping the authenticity of the piece in check by presenting the performance as was presented centuries ago by the rishis who created the ragas used and seen today. With musical styles that fit both definitions, we can see how composers Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee and Muttuswami Dikshitar helped unify two different audiences, from different cultural backgrounds, with the fusion presented in this piece, on the world music stage that IndianRaga and YouTube have collaborated to bring to anyone who wishes to learn about new and different music styles.  

This playlist brings forth ten examples of musical creations that incorporate various styles that allow for a therapeutic experience while also allowing for the audience to relate to either the style or lyrics (or both) to build community across space, time, and culture. With the use of hybridity, without debunking the authenticity of the pieces, these artists are few of many who were able to hold on to the tradition of music being used to connect spiritually to a greater being, to each other, or to find inner peace and open the path of healing other ailments led by turmoil. As the healing and unifying powers of music are being recognized (Schiffman 2021), it is important to recognize how different cultures around the world found ways to incorporate both of these aspects when creating the art form of music.

Oishee is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. Outside of academics, she sings, plays the piano and violin and loves to read.


  1. Anjan Ganguly, Debasis Biswas. “Lyric and Background History of Song Kahare Herilam.” Song Kahare Herilam | Lyric and History,
  2. Appert, Catherine M. “On Hybridity in African Popular Music: The Case of Senegalese Hip Hop.” Ethnomusicology 60, no. 2 (2016): 279–99.
  3. Hofman, Ana. Disobedient: Activist Choirs, Radical Amateurism, and the Politics of the Past after Yugoslavia. Ethnomusicology 64 no. 1 (2020): 89.
  4. Patch, Justin. “Indian Invention and Musical Hybridization: World Music” World Music
  5. Raagas (Musical Notes) Have Healing Power.” Dr. Vidya Hattangadi, 18 Mar. 2021,
  6. Schiffman, Richard. “The Healing Power of Music.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Apr. 2021,