UU Church Today, Society & Culture, Uncategorized

The All Souls Mix Tape

Just as members of All Souls may find “scriptural” inspiration in everything from Sufi mystics to contemporary poets, the Baghavad Gita, or Judeo-Christian scriptures, the world of musical inspiration is also wide open. Between our three Sunday services and other gatherings, like the new Soul Garden, we enjoy some seriously eclectic and powerful musical offerings at All Souls. But even that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what’s out there and what’s inspiring us.

So, I was thinking… anyone remember when one of the most powerful ways you could show your love, whether in a romance or friendship, was the sacred creative act of… the mix tape? Man, the energy with which I imbued that coiled up magnetic tape with my heart and soul!

The thought was, that in this online age where it’s almost too easy to pass around the power of music that moves us, we be a bit more intentional about sharing our musical inspiration with one another and, with that, find another way to share our love.

This is just a start…Allow me to share just two of the bands that I’ve jammed out to the most over the last year, to raise both my spirits and my consciousness.

Nahko and Medicine for the People

For truth telling power that keeps it real, yet gives me hope, I currently trust no musician’s medicine than Nahko Bear. Nahko Bear is a native of Oregon, born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino but he draws particularly on his native ancestry and its spiritual power. “For us,” he says, “music is a tool to create healing and activate people to change things.” “I have come to build a bridge, so come let’s build,” he sings and he invites his listeners to join him not just in singing but in moving. He’s inspired me with a vision of being able to live in better relationship with this land and with one another, as well as to live out my own visions of change with greater integrity. Even when shining a light on what’s broken, his music has a quality of celebration rooted in its connection with spirit. Start with Black as Night, their most recent album, from which comes the provocative example below. Stay tuned for a new album release expected this year.

My Country

 My country ’tis of thee

sweet land of poverty

for thee I weep.

Land where my mother cried,

Land where my father died,

sweet land of genocide,

Pride of my heart.

 

My country ’tis of thee

Sweet land of industry

we’ll break your back

Clean out your minerals

Fill you with chemicals

We kill for what is profitable

Oh concrete world.

Our climate’s suffering

All nature feels the sting

Poisoned progress.

All of these mouths to feed

All of this land to seed

From sea to shining sea

Gold underground

Our people left to die

Battlefield country-side

Paved-over graves.

Suburban privileges

make desolate villages

Broken treaties,

Broken promises

Conquer, repeat.

All warriors represent

Remind those who forget

The time is now.

To walk in humble pride

Prepare and fortify

Resist comforts of compromise

Pray for guidance

 

For irresistibly heart-opening folk pop, I love me A Great Big World, aka Ian Axel and Chad King. In song after song they remind me I’m not alone in still putting my stock in love. If you prefer subtlety, they may not be for you, as their message is loud and clear. But when the message is that you are beautiful as you are, needed, and loved, I don’t mind it being a little “on the nose.” That is, provided it’s quality music of course. And no one does somewhat over- earnest, uplifting, bouncy better than they. Here’s a song from of their debut album, Is There Any Body Out There?

 

This is the New Year

 Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now

And I will give the world to you

Speak louder than the words before you
And give them meaning no one else has found
The role we play is so important
We are the voices of the underground

And I would give the world to you

Say everything you’ve always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
‘Cause in the end we have each other
And that’s at least one thing worth living for

And I would give the world to you

A million suns that shine upon me
A million eyes you are the brightest blue
Lets tear the walls down that divide us
And build a statue strong enough for two

I pass it back to you
And I will wait for you,
‘Cause I would give the world … to you

What are you listening to? Post the music that moves you below in the comments section and tell us why you love it? Let’s be real, we all have songs that have basically saved our lives. Don’t keep their salvific power to yourself.

 

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