Last week I've spend some days in Khamlia, in the Sahara desert, immersed in Gnaoua music, a deeply hypnotic trance music used for spiritual elevation and healing. One of the particular instruments of this music is the Qraqeb, a metal, trance-inducing percussion instrument. The sound of the Qraqeb can bring the mind to a state of thrilling elevation and freedom. Its particular sound seems to shatter all heaviness, clearing the inner skies and opening a ladder to the heavens. The story goes that the origin of this sound comes from enslaved people from west Africa using the chains around their arms and legs to make music. Making music with the very tools of their imprisonment is such a powerful testament to the spirit of these people, as well as a powerful symbol for music's ability to transmute suffering and rekindle the memory of an unassailable spiritual freedom. Turning the chains of your imprisonment into instruments to express your spiritual freedom is such a beautiful example of how sometimes the very things that initially threatened to smother our flame can miraculously turn into the fuel that makes it burn all the brighter.