Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Soundtrack to war

I'm really excited that George Gittoes' documentary, Soundtrack To War, is finally going to air tonight. I heard the radio version on the wonderful ABC Radio National two months ago and it was just incredible. Music is so very powerful. In Iraq music is used to rev up the troops, blasting from the tanks as they drive into battle, it's used to cope with the horrors they face, it's used to pray, it's used to commemorate the dead and it's used to grieve. And the variety of music is astonishing - from gospel to soft rock to rap to metal. Even, surprisingly, the Bee Gees. Much of the music has been composed there in Baghdad; in particular lots of rap.

Listening to this doco allowed me to connect with the soldiers, with music as the common denominator. I could see the people involved in the war before the politics. Powerful stuff.

I understand that this has already aired in the US on VH1, which makes sense because although the documentary is Australian, most of the soldiers are American and most of the music is American. It's also not explicitly anti-war, so broadcasters may feel more comfortable showing it.

The 7.30 Report did a piece on this doco, and the "new generation" of soldiers here. It's hard to imagine that so many of them must be younger than me.