Week 372: “Every Other Conversation” by Dante Matas

The Canadian stereotype of crippling politeness is one that Canadians don’t try too hard to deny.

In the realm of stereotypes, we could do worse. Other nations (I won’t name them because…I’m Canadian) get called obnoxious, self-centred, cheap, shady…but we get labelled the polite ones.

The reputation is, to an extent, deserved. Our peacekeeping forces have helped people around the world. Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in defusing the Suez Canal Crisis. Our border disputes are polite. Even our tweets are positive.

Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this week, and we deserve to feel good about our nice-guy image.

But no nation is perfect, and despite Canada’s penchant for civilized conversation, there are divisions and tensions within the country that stretch back much further than the 150 years being celebrated on July 1st. East vs West, English vs French, European vs everyone else…continued understanding between these groups and others is essential to Canada’s success.

Conversations have to continue. And not conversations where each side comes armed with agendas, and heels that are already dug in. There’s enough of that in the world already.

This blog’s mission has always been to promote active listening. With music, active listening can reveal beauty, soften hard edges, make the message clearer. I think active listening in everyday conversation can do the same thing.

Dante Matas is a young Canadian whose music inspires the kind of contemplation and reflection that a country needs on a landmark birthday. So do what any polite Canadian would do: take a listen.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The fluttering, finger-picked guitar.

2. The floating backup vocals that stretch half-lines from the lyrics across full phrases.

3. The warning of the destruction that stems from hostile conversation: “What’s the point putting up a wall / When each opinion takes the form of a wrecking ball.”

Recommended listening activity:

Going to any website that allows comments, and leaving as many positive ones as you can.

Buy it here.