What makes music such a powerful way to bond people together?

A few days ago, I returned from an incredible trip to Austria with 35 strangers that became friends over the course of 4 days in the charming town of Bad Gastein.  There was some sort of alchemy that created a bond — and it wasn’t just the sincere conversations or the therapeutic properties of the infamous thermal waters.

At the end of every day, we would all gather for dinner and — lucky for us — inevitably one of the more musically inclined guests would end up strumming a guitar, sitting down to the piano or singing a tune, totally off-the-cuff.  And just like that, the entire group would stop mid-conversation and become totally fixated on the musical entertainment unfolding before us.  There were immediate smiles, laughter, foot tapping, and head bopping as everyone moved along to the rhythms of the musicians that delighted us with their gifts.

There was an instantaneous feeling of connection that was almost magical — and the music was the secret ingredient.

As we celebrate connection this month, our playlist is meant to highlight the power of music that drives the social bonds that are so crucial to our sense of well-being.

Music’s special function in our lives goes much deeper than just our favorite songs — it impacts neuro-chemicals in our brain that not only play a role in closeness and connection, but also creates a sense of group identity.

The moral of the story? If you want to host a gathering with maximum camaraderie and connection this August,  the playlist just might be your most powerful tool.

This month’s songs are below, curated with melodies and messages of togetherness. Don’t forget to follow our music channel and tune into our other playlists curated by theme and activity.

Jamie Pabst is the CS music editor and NYC based DJ and music/tech entrepreneur.

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Photography

Kristen Kilpatrick