A couple from Bristol, UK, is making this world a better place one love song at a time. Over the last 15 months, Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse have embarked on a journey with their motorhome, which goes by the name of Wohnnie.
Gemma and James have been traveling all across Europe intending to unite people through the power of music.
How do they go about doing this?
Well, it's quite simple. They park Wohnnie in a busy area, such as a festival or market, and put up a banner that says "Do you know a love song?" and wait for people to sing and record an impromptu love song in their van. So far they have traveled across 33 different countries and have recorded over 900 love songs.
Why did the couple decide to start this project, called Oh Europa, in the first place?
"We were thinking of different ways of opening conversations with people about what Europe means and what it is to be European, and we thought, 'What if we invite people to sing a love song instead?'" Paintin told Positive News. She said, "Some say 'oh, no, I can't sing,' but many say 'yes' right away. It's as if they were expecting it, as if they were primed to do it all of their lives."
Oh Europa's soundtrack is nothing short of being diverse. It has a bit of traditional Greek tunes, Europop hits, Édith Piaf, and a whole lot more. Though the stylistic sounds of the love songs vary, some are songs about hope, while others are songs of heartbreak, they all have one thing in common — they're all an expression of love.
These love songs are broadcasted 24/7 from a network of "beacons" that are located on the borders and edge-spaces all across Europe and are audible by anyone who visits the location.
By situating these love song only stations all across Europe, the couple hopes to inspire others to think about how they share their space in Europe.
Paintin reveals that she is always amazed at how willing people are in participating in the project. According to Positive News, this project has revitalized the couple's hope in the world around them. Paintin expresses that the media constantly shows a negative portrayal of this world and makes it seem like the majority of the population is bad. However, Paintain says: "We've been meeting people every day and they have been singing love songs to us. It has restored our faith in them and made us feel hopeful. Really, it's a little bit of magic to have someone sing you a love song."
What Paintin and Stenhouse are doing is remarkable and inspiring. When we watch the news, we hear of robberies, murders, missing children, and other terrifying events that remind us about the horrors that happen every day. We are so accustomed to the negativity that when we see a spark of positivity, we are almost taken aback. It is nice to be reminded that there is plenty of kindness, light, and positivity thriving in this world each day. Paintin and Stenhouse are changing the world in their own unique way.
I believe that everyone should take the initiative in making a difference in this world, whether it be through traveling, through making music, or even through writing.
We all have the power to make a positive change in this world, no matter how small or big the outcome may be. Having a positive impact on one person is more than enough because all that matters is that you made a difference. It is time that we all put in the effort into making this world a better place.
For more information regarding Oh Europa, visit their official website here.