The power of music to change a heart, a mind, a soul - has been proven many times over. From the Beatles’ song “Imagine” to Michael Jackson’s “We Are The World,” musicians have endeavored to present their messages through music. Julien Drolon, a Frenchman, singer, songwriter, and man of of peace, has taken up that cause as well. Doing everything from writing songs about peace to participating in festivals whose cause is peace, Drolon is a man on a mission.
If you’ve ever daydreamed of taking a tropical vacation, sipping a fruity drink and dancing in the white sand, Julien’s debut single “Peace Through Music” would be the song playing in the back of your mind. With its reggae beat, pop guitar, and harmonic supporting vocals, “Peace Through Music” is every bit a fun song. But as the title implies, the song carries a message of “love, peace and harmony” which is precisely what French-born Julien Drolon hopes to inspire in his fans.
Drolon stated, “The primary message of this song is that if we all decide in our minds to live in a peaceful world, it can happen, but it’s a decision we have to make together. This song is very special because I included a poem by Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. He wrote those lines more than 100 years ago and I revived his message in the song. Drolon’s upcoming album, “Time For Peace,” has an anticipated drop date of March 2011.
Before beginning his career in music, Drolon worked as an International Reporter for three years, and as he traveled across the globe, saw things that greatly disturbed him. His last assignment was in Manila in 2008, whereupon he returned to France. But it wasn’t very long before he felt a calling, and decided to follow it. In September 2009, with guitar in hand, he walked the 800 kilometers separating the French border and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It was during this journey that “Peace Through Music” was written. He also wrote “No More Divisions” which will be the second single released from his debut album.
Continuing, he said, “Regarding other tracks on the album, I concentrated my work on love songs and social/spiritual songs like “No More Divisions,” which is one of my favorite songs and has a positive message of unity between all religions. I will also have a funky track called “I Am Free”. I especially like “Mountaintop” because it is a song I started with a quote by Nelson Mandela and it feels like he helped me to write the entire song. You can expect a boss nova with lyrics in Portuguese and French in this song; those two languages are literally making love in every line. I like using different styles of music to compose my songs, as it makes the experience that much more exciting. Drolon records in English, French, Portuguese, and Tagalog (the official language of the Philippines), and specializes in the pop, reggae, funk and rock influenced genres.
Though he has various musical influences, two stand out for him - Bob Marley and Jason Mraz. “Bob Marley is definitely the artist who influenced me the most. His message is universal and so up to date. What I like the most in his music is his capacity to deliver very powerful lyrics in a simple way. To me, he is the greatest artist ever, and wherever I go, I always hear his music - in bars, on the radio, wherever I am - maybe because we still need to hear what he had to say. Jason Mraz has also contributed in shaping my mind and musical style. His songs are so well written, and he very actively promotes the things that are close to his heart like green farming or the protection of our oceans through Surfrider Foundation. He is a great inspiration as a musician and a man.”
“To me, music plays a major role in the peace process because it’s a universal language. Through music, we can have a better understanding of each other, but then it has to be complemented by a strong peace movement in all aspects of our society. My music is embracing peace in many aspects. The main message of my songs is that we are all one. Bob Marley once said “This peace work never stops, we know it never stops. That means we the youth got a work to do”.
Drolon does believe, however, that the peace movement is headed in the right direction, but feels that it isn’t brought to the attention of the public enough. He stated, “The positive changes being made should be shared with everyone; I can tell you things are changing. In Sierra Leone for example, Muslims and Christians remain at peace with each other and intermarriage is common, so let’s start to share the good news and spread peace through music.” Indeed, good things are happening and Drolon is most certainly doing his part, with EarthDance and the Peace Festival - events that promote peace through music that are near and dear to his heart.
Drolon kicked the Peace Festival in the Philippines off with a show on August 20th, and was happy to do so. “I performed alongside other local artists in B Side, a cool venue in the heart of Makati, the business district of Manila. I played “Peace Through Music, No More Divisions, Mountaintop, and Possible which is a song I sing in Tagalog. The three original songs I chose are all peace oriented and the Tagalog cover song is also a song of hope.”
When asked about the history of it, he replied, “The Peace Festival is a series of gigs in Manila celebrating and promoting peace through music, and just started this year. It’s the result of one man’s dream - Robbie Sanchez - who envisioned a one month peace festival in the Philippines from the 20th of August through the 21st of September. The 21st of August corresponds with the death of a Filipino National Hero: Ninoy Aquino, and September 21st corresponds to the proclamation of martial law over the Philippines. That’s also the International Day of Peace.
Drolon’s involvement with the Peace Festival doesn’t end there, as he will perform at EarthDance, which is 48 hour span of time during which there is a global celebration. EarthDance will be celebrated on September 18th and 19th and Drolon will showcase his talent in the Philippines on the 18th. “Many local artists will be featured in this event alongside Joey Ayala, a contemporary pop artist in the Philippines. He is well known for his style of music that combines the sounds of Filipino ethnic instruments with modern pop music. Kadangyan Band will also play - they are my friends and I love their music. It’s a fusion of different Filipino traditional beats with the elements of modern rock music.”
An annual event, EarthDance is the world’s largest synchronized music event and dance festival for peace. Since its beginning in 1997, over 80 countries have celebrated EarthDance, all coming together for its various events which culminate in the Prayer for Peace - a powerful moment of unity and goodwill. Each public EarthDance event commits 50% of its profits to charities which support peace.
By Michele Wilson-Morris