Nature of Things Documentary Says Music Essential To Humanity

October 27, 2017 - 1041 views

A fascinating new Nature of Things documentary created by two Edmontonians reveals music’s role in human evolution, while also exploring the power of song to heal body and mind.

Images and settings in I Got Rhythm: The Science of Song include a baby crying, perhaps sympathetically, as her mother sings woefully, deaf rapper Sean Forbes teasing Def Jam records in a music video, and the sound of one of the world’s oldest found instruments — a four-note mammoth ivory flute dating back to the Ice Age.

Interviews with scientists discuss experiments with brain reactions to songs played live versus canned, and the astonishing effect of music on the mobility of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Written by Edmonton’s Helen Metella, the one-hour CBC documentary airs Thursday, Dec. 1. It’s hosted by David Suzuki and also features local jazz musician Brett Miles in studio and a singing montage of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke. “They can feel it all over” is sung by locals in front of various Edmonton landmarks.

Lyrics from the same song — “music is a language within itself with a language we all understand” —  gets to the core of the intriguing documentary, backed up by growing data in the lab.

“Canadian scientists are leading the charge,” notes Metella, who interviewed scientists at McMaster, McGill, Ryerson and University of Western Ontario.

Produced and directed by Metella’s longtime friend Connie Edwards, this show has been slow-brewing for years. But the evidence recently started catching up to their suspicions. “As we sat down to do the research again,” Metella explains, “these people I talked to 10, 12 years ago, they now have some results.”

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