Since the beginning of civilization the culture phenomenon that we like to call music has played a dominant factor in the evolution of society. To this day, the sound of music holds a dear place in the hearts of mankind across the world. Some go as far to say that music can be spiritually healing in some cases. This may explain why when I hear one of my favorite songs on the radio an electric jolt of euphoric goose bumps shoot through my body. One type of music in general has especially played a huge part in the healing of spirits especially in America. I am talking about the little thing we like to call Soul Music.
Originating in the northern United States, soul music is considered to be a mixture of Gospel and R&B (also known as Rhythm and Blues). Although soul music has been around for many years, quite a few people believe that its’ true inventor is the one and only Ray Robinson Charles. In the early 1950’s Ray Charles gained fame on a national level when he produced a hit of songs that were like a combination of gospel and blues but with a more funky style to them, this was what became known as Soul music. After Charles’s breakthrough into this new powerful genre of music Soul music soon began to gain in popularity. What started in Chicago, Illinois didn’t take long until it spread all across the states, inspiring all different kinds of men and women. Some of the most influential of them were Little Richard who, with his high pitched voice and his different yet funky lyrics made people everywhere want to get up and dance. Then there was the proclaimed “godfather of soul” James Brown and the amazing “soul sister” Aretha Franklin. All of whom were known for not only pushing the Soul genre even further but they were almost like oracles in the sense that they spread love and spiritual health through the likes of song and dance.
Even though all music can cause emotional response to its audience of listeners, it is my personal opinion (and that of many others) that soul music especially has profound impact on the mind, body and soul (imagine that). With its Gospel testament, it can tug on what spiritual heart strings you may have which can almost bring you closer to your higher power (if you let it). Then with strong, raw emotional power it’s as if the music drives its way into your mind, making its presence known for eternity: where you never forget not only the lyrics and the song itself, but that almost paranormal feeling that sweeps over you when you hear it again and again. This might be the reason people connect so easily with the Soul genre- whether the connection is because you are sad, happy, angry or all of the above. This makes it where almost anyone can connect and relate to it in some degree.
Because soul is simply human in all its basic elements, whether it is the saddest times in life such as the African American slaves who would sing all day long while they were forced into labor or the happiest times when you and your girl would dance the weekend away. It brings every human emotion together in one genre of music to create the ultimate serene experience.