The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

It cannot be forgotten why this piece of music was written at the turn of the millennium, at the end of a century dominated by the most destructive of wars. We are also in the midst of the centenary commemorating the first of those wars, WW1. Composer Karl Jenkins intention was to embrace all faiths and religions of the world. These aims are very much in keeping with those of the Bardo Group Bequines  … reminding us of our need to rise above the polarisation of politics and religion across the world.

This video is one of thirteen. You can access the other movements on YouTube.

– John Anstie

The Eve of Distruction

The facts are dated but the sentiment is true. Thanks to Charlie Martin for this.

This is an anti-war song written by P.F. Sloan in 1965.  Barry McGuire sings it here though for many years he had refused to sing it due to his religious convictions. While others recorded the song, Mc Guire’s seems to be the most popular version. In recent years, McGuire has updated it to match more current events when he sings it during live performances.

References might be obscure to some:

  • old enough to kill but not for voting ~ at the time in the United States men could be drafted at eighteen years but the legal voting age in most states was twenty-one

  • Jordan River has bodies floating ~ refers to Battle Over Waters between Israel and its Arab neighbors, 1964 – 1967

  • the reference to Selma ~ Bloody Sunday and the marches in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery, 1965; these marches were a part of the American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968); they helped lead the United States to the Voting Rights Act, 1965

  • four days in space ~ the Gemini space flight took four days, 1965

  • pounding of drums, the pride and the disgrace ~ President John F. Kennedy (the pride) was assassinated (the disgrace) and there were drums gently beaten as his funeral cortége made its way to Arlington Cemetery, 1963

I did this from memory, which these days leaves something to be desired. If anyone has corrections or thoughts to add, feel free. Also feel free to link in your own art, music, videos, essays and poetry to this post, which is part of our seven day solidarity with 100,000 Poets for Change … You may use Mister Linky to link in or you may leave your link in the comments section. One of the members of the Core Team will visit and ultimately we’ll also collect all posts submitted into one commemorative Page. The theme of this effort is Peace and Justice.

Thank you for your participation.

– Jamie Dedes

Music, Language of the Soul: the second in a series from Imen Benyoub on music in the context of war and occupation

The first post in this series is HERE.
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Music, the language of the soul
The cultural Intifada*…From stones to musical instruments.
The story of Ramzi Abu Radwan.

They impressed the world
And all they had in their hands were stones
They lit like lanterns, and came like messengers
From “children of the stones” Nizar Quabbani (1923-1998), Syrian poet and publisher

The first Intifada is the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation that started on December 1987 in Jabalia** refugee camp and spread throughout the rest of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It lasted six years until the signing of Oslo Accords in 1993.

It was an unarmed, spontaneous yet exploding uprising, men with their faces covered with keffiyehs***, women and children with nothing but stones, slingshots and Molotov cocktails faced tanks and live ammunition of well-trained, heavily equipped Israeli soldiers.

10423556_519811321480767_1963506964_aOne of those children, a kid wearing blue jeans and a red jacket whose picture reached the world newspapers became a legendary symbol of the Intifada, a skinny kid throwing stones at an army jeep, his eyes welled with tears, on his face a mixture of anger, fear and defiance. This kid, whose picture was reproduced in posters all over the world as an icon of the uprising, never knew that his destiny will change forever and he will become a visionary artist.

This was Ramzi Aburadwan, born in Bethlehem in 1979, he spent his childhood and first teenage days in a refugee camp in Ramallah where his family was forced to live after the Nakbah****, his best friend died on their way home from school during a military operation, he was eight when a journalist took a picture of him hurling stones and was later called “the iconic child of the Intifada”.

Ramzi was introduced to music at the age of 17, when a woman invited him to attend a course, he immediately loved it and this was the beginning of his journey with music.

After a year of study in the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music at Birzeit University, he received a scholarship to study in a Conservatoire in France; on 2005 he went back to Palestine after graduation with dreams and promises of a brighter life for children.

640px-StainerThe multi-talented Aburadwan founded Al Kammanjati*****, a nonprofit organization that offers children especially from refugee camps music lessons, its aim is to keep them in touch with their cultural heritage, develop and nurture their skills and create an intimately entertaining atmosphere away from the violence and frustrations of their daily life under occupation. It gave them a precious chance to travel, play with different orchestras and meet young musicians from all over the world. Classical music is also introduced as a valuable weapon in the so called “the cultural Intifada” a peaceful way of resistance to save Palestinian culture and identity through letters, art and musical notes, something Palestinians began to understand with time because of Israeli policy of extensive judaisation of the land and fierce attempts to bury and distort Palestinian history and heritage.

He takes part in the West Eastern Divan Orchestra directed by Israeli-Argentine born conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim who said about him:

“Aburadwan has transformed not only his life, his destiny but that of many, many, many other people, this is an extraordinary collection of children all over Palestine that have all been inspired and opened to the beauty of life”

Al Kammanjati was honoured by “prince Klaus award” from the Netherlands in 2006.

* Intifada: Arabic word for “uprising”-Bethlehem, Ramallah: Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
**Jabalia: a refugee camp in the North of Gaza.
***Keffiyeh: a traditional black and white Middle Eastern cotton scarf, later considered a symbol of Palestinian nationalism and solidarity
***Bethlehem, Ramallah: Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
****Nakbah: Arabic word for “catastrophe” refers to the mass expulsion of more than 750.000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948 and creating a state of Israel on the occupied land.
****
*Al Kammanjati: Arabic word for “the violinist”

Trill_example_ornaments

A concerto for stone and violin:

The story of this generous musician and fighter inspired me to write this poem

A Poem for Ramzi Abu Radwan

The meditation of stone
In my hand
Is my song of freedom
That even your bullets
Can never pierce

Look at me
I am the child of the Intifada
These Palestinian hands
That were uprooted from my village
Like olive trees
And grew up in a camp
Small and scratched
will braid another song
From strings of a violin

Years pass
And the weeping violin
In my exiled soul
Will always remain
My song of freedom
That even your oppression
Can never silence

– Imen Benyoub

 

A portrait of the man:

The man’s music:

© 2014, essay and poem, Imen Benyoub, All rights reserved; Photograph (1) Ramzi Abu Radwan, adult and child, courtesy of Mr. Abu Radwan and ramallah cafe; photo of violin courtesy of Frink54 via Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 3.0; musical notations courtesy of Sprouls via Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 3.0.

pictureIMEN BENYOUB ~ is a multilingual, multi-talented writer, poet, and artist from Guelma, Algeria. Imen currently lives in East Jerusalem. She is a frequent guest here on The Bardo Group blog and with On the Plum Tree and Plum Tree Books Facebook page as well.

more than international…

more than international

pull apart
the fibers
of the soul
weave the strains
into strings
pull them
tight
against
a curved body
of wood
stroke them
with passion
now
that’s
jazz
or
you might
prefer
to create
a single sheet
of soul
the drum heads
that pound
like hearts
inside the breast
of mankind
now
that’s
jazz
but
maybe
you’d like to
compress them
into a reed
then
wet the reed
with life
making
the soul’s song
with fluttering fingers
now
that’s
jazz
oh
but some
of you
will want
to forge them
into metal
so you
can hear
gabriel’s horn
at your door
now
that’s
jazz
jazz
announcing
the presence
of god
playing bass
holding
the whole thing
together

Editorial Note: With this poem, The Bardo Group honores its own International Jazz Day. Jazz music began its evolution in the late nineteenth century the Southern United States with a combination of European harmony and African musical elements: improvisation, blue notes, syncopation, swing notes and polyrhythms. It has since developed in diverse directions and has been joyfully adopted by cultures the world over.

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.php41V9d9sj5nL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

Are There Any Other Civilisations … Out There?

 

I have held a universal and, it seems probably a pantheistic view of our life on earth for many years now. It is this: that there are probably other intelligent civilisations out there in the cosmos, but, in spite of our continued quest to find some and because of the humungous scale and mind boggling span of time that is represented in the life of the universe, we will never discover one. We may not even exist simultaneously. I would add a small warning to those, who like my mother-in-law, God rest her soul, are mind-bogglephobics, or who simply cannot cope with the scale of it all, that this may be a challenging concept to grasp. Nonetheless, it does require a calculator with a large scale, should you wish to do some proportions!

The following is a track from his album, “Letters from a Flying Machine” by a very fine musician, singer and songwriter from the USA, Peter Mulvey, whom we saw and met on the weekend at the Barnsley Acoustic Roots Festival.  Having listened closely to the words of his songs and one or two of his ‘between song’ talks, I asked him in our brief chat, did he by any chance write poetry? He replied that he didn’t; he preferred to leave that to the poets, but that a few of his friends were poets and that he read a great deal of poetry … to exemplify this, the inside cover of the album we bought from him, “Silver Ladder” reveals a brief quote from the 17th Century poet, Mizuta Masahide: “Barn’s burnt down – now I can see the moon”.

… anyway, back to the theme of this post.

The only thing I can do is ask you to listen to this story that Peter Mulvey tells of a conversation that he had, over some beer, with “Vlad the Astrophysicist“:

Sums it up very neatly for me.

You might also want to listen to some of this fellow’s music; there is poetry in a lot of it.

 © 2014 John Anstie

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. John has been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

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51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Music, Language of the Soul

1912340_522627457840294_1074926792_n

“Music is…a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”
Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Sarajevo under siege…a city in ruins that wakes up on the sound of shelling and bombing and sleeps on that of mourners. This beautiful city, so rich in history, architecture and art suffered the horrors of a four years siege considered the longest in modern history, and became Europe’s capital of hell since the war broke in 1992, to coincide with another atrocious civil war that broke in my own country and lasted almost ten years, what we Algerians know as “the dark decade”.

At 4 pm on May 27, people were queuing in front of a bakery in Sarajevo for bread; a mortar shell dropped in the middle and killed 22 people instantly. A man witnessed the massacre and was so appalled by the sight of blood and torn bodies so he decided to do something.

This man was Vedran Smailović, a widely recognized and talented cellist who went everyday for 22 days to the bombed site the exact time of the massacre and played cello, in honour of those who died in front of him and all of the victims, all those hiding from snipers’ bullets, the refugees, the hungry, the wounded, the destroyed homes and for his smouldering, exhausted city that struggled to survive.

This man sent a prayer of peace through his music, that the city of his heart might witness a brighter future, and he became the symbol of peace all over Bosnia, playing in graveyards and bombed sites, despite the shelling and fired bullets, Smailović was engulfed by light, the light of hope he was spreading all over the battered city. No crowd applauding to his performance, just Angels protecting him.

It’s been years since the dreadful siege and the civil war in my country ended, but did Sarajevo recover from its dark past? Did my people ever forget? the victims, the mass graves, and the fear they lived in all those years…

We are never entirely healed of our memory.

Al Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus Syria, another Sarajevo, another siege, people dying from a severe lack of food, water and medical supplies, massive destruction of homes and buildings, for weeks the Government forces besieged the camp and starved its people on purpose, the majority of them Palestinians who were exiled from their country in 1948, they found themselves caught against their will in a merciless war that made Damascus, a beautiful and rich city…Middle East’s capital of hell.

History repeats itself, it always strikes me how it does, and not always in the gentlest way, I believed it with all my being when I saw young men with a battered piano in the middle of rubble playing music and singing for peace and freedom, I said: if Vedran Smailović could see those proud and defiant guys whose souls are connected to his, one of them a pianist who started playing since he was six, he used to repair musical instruments with his father and studied music in the university of Homs*, the others, just ordinary people praying for the end of the war, and dreaming of a safe united country again in their own way.

They sang: “Oh displaced people, return; the journey has gone for too long. Yarmouk we are a part of you and that will never change.”

Smailović would have loved what those Palestinians did, because he, of all people will understand the meaning of creating beauty amid destruction, and defying death with the language of the soul…Music

(I would secretly thank that man who set up his piano in front of armed police, a day after protesters in Kiev brought down the statue of Lenin, and played Chopin…he inspired me to write this post)

*Homs: a Syrian city

Editorial note:  A partial translation of the song and apologies for any inaccuracy.
“from among the ruins and under the ashes, the [Palestinian] phoenix sings for life and will rise again for the cause of freedom …”

– Imen Benyoub

© 2014, essay, Imen Benyoub, All rights reserved; photo credit ~ Rashid Essa (Almadon News), youth in Al Yarmouk Refugee Camp, ” © electronic cities” under CC A-SA, no modification to photograph is allowed

.

pictureIMEN BENYOUB ~ is a multilingual, multi-talented writer, poet, and artist living in Guelma, Algeria. She is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and to On the Plum Tree and Plum Tree Books Facebook page.

song for Agriope

sounds were rising –
chrysalides for the yet unborn
crystalline shivers…

still were the waters,
undead the moonlight –
and aerial was the calling
of the sound-bender…

and all were silent…

Elysium bowed
under salty heaviness
and doubled up with pain,
unallowed to rebirth the lost

yet sounds kept rising –
chrysalides breaking
tracing furrows
in the molten souls that were
listening…

unshed fire caressed
crimson and black and golden
and hearts were born
where there had been none

and all were crying…

rocks blossomed under
the taming ether
exposing the bones of
ancient rainbows

and sounds kept rising –
chrysalides blooming
mourning the morning
never to come…

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

Hide and Seek

[This impressive one man a cappella video wall production of Imogen Heap’s composition “Hide and Seek” brings me to another parallel of poetry. I should say that, whilst I much prefer live performance to what seems to be music’s equivalent of Photoshop’s adjustment and stitching process in photography, the main focus of the piece rests on this particular song written by Heap. Heap’s own production of it became a significant international hit when it was chosen to play out the finale of series two of “The O.C.” in 2005. It also featured in the film “The Last Kiss” amongst others a year or two later.

I chose this cover rather than her own production, because, well, because I have my own preference for a polyphonic choral sound. She is one of those impressively industrious creative musicians, who manage to make music and rhythm from an extraordinary array of instruments and production techniques. She is a singer, songwriter and producer with her own record label, which must take a lot of doing – being a creative and managing the show require a whole lot of different skills and aptitudes – hence my admiration for such talent, but, above all this, she wrote lyrics, which come close to poetry in their use of metaphor and their inclination to conjure absorbing imagery that leaves a lot open to interpretation. Great lyrics, nay poetry, is what separates journeyman songwriters from the great ones. I’d like to know what you think. I hope you derive some enjoyment from this piece, either in the performance, or the words, or both. My favourite lines are “Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth. Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.” What do you think?]

“Hide And Seek”

Where are we? What the hell is going on?
The dust has only just begun to fall,
Crop circles in the carpet, sinking, feeling.
Spin me ’round again and rub my eyes.
This can’t be happening.
When busy streets amass with people
Would stop to hold their heads heavy.

Hide and seek.
Trains and sewing machines.
All those years they were here first.

Oily marks appear on walls
Where pleasure moments hung before.
The takeover, the sweeping insensitivity of this still life.

Hide and seek.
Trains and sewing machines. (Oh, you won’t catch me around here)
Blood and tears,
They were here first.

Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that you only meant well? Well, of course you did.
Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that it’s all for the best? Of course it is.
Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that it’s just what we need? And you decided this.
What you say?
Mmm, what did you say?

Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.
Speak no feeling, no I don’t believe you.
You don’t care a bit. You don’t care a bit.

(hide and seek)
Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.
(hide and seek)
Speak no feeling, no I don’t believe you.
You don’t care a bit. You don’t care a bit.

(hide and seek)
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.
(hide and seek)
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.

Lyrics and music © 2005 Imogen Heap and Warner Music Group, all rights reserved

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer. John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

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51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

When The Dreamer Meets The Dreamed.

I thought I might tell it in music. I hope you enjoy listening.

From the CD Touching Angels:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/touching-angels/id511597931

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1orange-petals-cover_page_001DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.

Stepping out of devastation: “Level Up” with Vienna Teng, featuring b-boy Tommy Guns-Ly of ILL-Abilities

Our thanks to Laurel D. for sharing Vienna Teng’s video with us …

This crowd-funded (Kickstarter) video by the remarkable singer and song-writer Vienna Teng was released in December. The song Level Up is featured in her album Aims which was released last September. In this video, Ms. Teng moves through four scenes of devastation including one featuring b-boy Tommy Guns-Ly, dancer, bone cancer survivor and amputee. Tommy Guns-ly is part of the ILL-Abilities crew.

“Originally created in 2007 with the idea of being a “Super Crew” of disabled dancers, it is now becoming a global movement helping to spread the message: No Excuses, No Limits. ILL-Abilities’ mission is to redefine society’s view of disability, promote empowerment, and encourage limitless possibilities through motivational entertainment.”
Source: Breakin Convention.

“I am unstoppable.” Tommy Guns-Ly

A Gift to Share With You … whether or not you are celebrating Christmas

WISHING EVERYONE

MUSIC, POETRY, ART

~ HEALING ~

From The Bardo Group Core Team

John Anstie

Naomi Baltuck

Terri Stewart

Corina Ravenscraft

Jamie Dedes

Josepth Hesch

Karen Fayeth

Victoria C. Slotto

Liz Rice-Stone

Michael Watson

Niamh Clune

Priscilla Galasso

Lily Negoi

Charlie Martin

The Ultimate Grace of Gratitude

The heart of this little gem is the gift of the very dear Br. David Steindl-Rast. If you are familiar with Br. David’s philosophy, writing, and voice, you will have immediately recognized who wrote and delivered the narrative though for some strange reason he is not credited.

BROTHER DAVID STEINDL-RAST (b. 1926)

Viennese, Catholic Benedictine Monk

Br. David is notable for his work fostering dialogue among the faiths and for exploring the congruence between science and spirituality. Early in his career he was officially designated by his abbot to pursue Catholic-Buddhist dialogue. He studied with several well-known Zen masters. He is the author of feature articles, chapter contributions to collections, and books. Among the most notable are Belonging to the Universe (with Frijof Capra) and The Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day (with Sharon Lebell). Br. David is the co-founder of A Network for Grateful Living, dedicated to the life-transforming character of gratitude.

THE FILMMAKER

Louie Schwartzberg, the film-maker, is an American and well-known for his time-lapse photography. The short-film here is one of several – each with a different theme – which you can find on YouTube.

THE MUSIC

The mood music background is by composer Gary Malkin. “He is founder of Musaic and Wisdom of the World™, a media production company and web site. He is also the co-founder of Care for the Journey, a care-for-the-caregiver initiative for healthcare professionals.” MORE

Video uploaded to YouTube by 

Photo credit ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast, courtesy of Verena Kessler. She has released the photograph into the public domain.

Life Lessons from the Oldest Living Pianist, 109 year-old Alice Herz-Sommer

Our thanks to Laurel D. for contributing this film clip.

http://theladyinnumber6.com
https://www.facebook.com/theladyinnum…
The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational stories ever told. 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and oldest holocaust survivor, shares her views on how to live a long happy life. She discusses the vital importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook on life. This powerfully inspirational video tells her remarkable story of survival and how she managed to use her time in a Nazi concentration camp to empower herself and others with music. See the entire documentary at:
https://twitter.com/AliceTheFilm

Emergent Universe Oratorio Blues

Breeding Barn, Shelburne at FarmsRecently we traveled down to Shelburne Farms for the world premiere of the Emergent Universe Oratorio, composed by Sam Guarnaccia.  The Oratorio is a work that re-imagines the dominant culture’s physics-based creation narrative, and seeks to universalize the story. Before the Oratorio we were treated to the soulful playing of Eugene Friesen, of Paul Winter Consort fame. New Paintings, created for the event,by our friend, the marvelous artist, Cameron Davis, graced the walls in the remarkable, “cathedral-like” Breeding Barn.

Just prior to the performance, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Co-Directors of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, and whose film of the same title was the inspiration for the oratorio, spoke. They acknowledged, and expressed appreciation for, Indigenous friends and adopted family. (No Indigenous people spoke.) They then spoke about a vision they hold, in which all of the Earth’s people have one creation story, a story that leads us to an Earthly paradise.

The Oratorio draws on texts from many Western traditions, but appears to include no Indigenous authors. This is problematic and, unfortunately, common in the Deep Ecology world. ( I have been reviewing Ecopsychology texts in preparation for teaching and have noticed a paucity of Indigenous voices, even in texts published this year.)

Of more concern is the notion that any narrative should be the ONLY narrative. This is an idea Indigenous people know well, whether presented in the guise of religious or economic dogma. The very idea of a universal point of view is imperial and colonizing, and alien to Native American cultures. We have many creation stories, each loved and valued.

I was feeling rather blue as I read the text and listened to the lovely melodies of the oratorio. I imagined myself to be the only one in the audience of hundreds who was discomforted. Then intermission came and others stopped by to share their concerns. As so often happens following such events, the concert has remained a topic of conversation at our house.

A few days ago I was having coffee with a Six Nations friend. Out of the blue he looked me in the eye and said, “I am so appreciative of time with you. It’s such a relief to not have to explain myself.” When I asked what he meant, he replied that I understood his struggles and, although we are from different tribal backgrounds, we share a similar ethos. Sometimes I forget how wide the divide between cultures can be in one geographically defined country. To be reminded, as I was at the concert, of the chasm we cross daily can be painful indeed.

– Michael Watson, Ph.D.

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes the one below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.

Matastasize, an awkward word

370px-Pink_ribbon.svgMetastasize;
an awkward word,
vowels lurking with malice
between those rock hard t’s
and stumbling past that sinister s,
into that endless z…
Even educated women know;
the seeds of broken dreams will gather
nearest to the heart
and grow
until the Gardener’s sharpened shears
snip away the wretched, rotted root.
That puckered rose, that brutal scar,
my brave and beautiful friend;
wear it as a medal:
triumphant, survivor, heroine!

– Cindy Taylor

© 2008 – 2011, poem and portrait (below), Cindy Taylor, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ MesserWoland via Wikipedia under CC BY A-SA 3.0 Unported License

TAKEN TOO YOUNG

Minnie Julia Riperton (1947-1979), American singer-songwriter: In January 1976 Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a modified radical mastectomy. Though she was given just six months to live, she continued recording and touring, and in 1977 she became spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Riperton was one of the first celebrities to go public with her breast cancer diagnosis, but did not disclose that she was terminally ill. In 1978, Riperton also received the prestigious Society’s Courage Award presented to her at the White House by then-President Jimmy Carter. She died at age 31 on July 12, 1979.

A VOICE SILENCED TOO SOON

Listen:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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CINDY TAYLOR ~ originally contributed this piece to us in 2011 for our Perspectives on Cancer series. She is multitalented: a freelance writer, a poet, editor and proofreader. She also has an abiding passion for food  and an endearing zeal for life, which she shares with us on her award-winning blog, The Only Cin. Cindy lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A Cheeky Spin on Art History by “Hold Your Horses!,” a polyphonic rock band from Paris

A bit of Bardo on the light side. Warning: Artistic nudity.


Video posted to YouTube by 
logerproduction.  

This irreverent music video for 70 Million, the hit song by the Franco-American band, Hold Your Horses!, offers a wink at art history. The inventive seven-member group playfully recreated twenty-five iconic paintings – can you name them all? – from Da Vinci to Andy Warhol. Enjoy!

What follows is a video using the original paintings with the artist’s name on each. If you care to, you can check it out to see if you got all the paintings and artists right when you viewed the first video.

Video posted to YouTube by .

The First Lady of Mandolin, her poem and her music

me-261let’s make peace and give it a chance
make dinner and serve it up hot
let’s make love and marry or not
make some babies teach them to dance
make good music a grand entrance
make time without asking what for
make art make dreams come true and more
make mistakes make amends make tea
make someone laugh make them happy
let’s make a better world not war

– Marylinn Mair

I have been trying to write a poem about peace for my friend  Jamie’s  Poets Against War. Everything came out so stilted– no point trying to force the muse– until I was in the airport in Rio thinking about my family and events of the past few weeks, and this decima just popped out. A bit late but heartfelt. M. M.

© 2013, poem and photographs, Marilynn Mair, All rights reserved

Enigmatica_Blue-House_cover-150x150MARILYNN MAIR (Celebrating a Year, blog and marilynn mair mandolin, website) ~ is a contributor to Into the Bardo.  She is a Professor of Music at Roger Williams University and internationally recognized as the “First Lady of the Mandolin”. Marilynn spends part of the year in Rio de Janeiro, where she researches and performs Choro music, a post-colonial Brazilian instrumental style dating back to the mid-19th century. She’s written two books on mandolin and has several albums out.  Here she is – for those new to the Bardo – with Água no Feijão in Brazil.

Marilynn’s Amazon page is HERE. I have written more extensively about Marilynn and choro HERE.  J. D.

Peace Give I to Thee

Wow, the first in the series of Poets Against War or Poets for Peace. Hopefully I can do it justice! In riffing on peace and war, several things came together in my mind – or rather, many things came hopping through it! I hope the resulting series of images, words, and music will act as a meditation for you on this first day of Poets Against War. This will be synchro-posted at my blog, http://www.cloakedmonk.com. Feel free to reblog or synchropost elsewhere just link back to here.

First, a meme (my new favorite weird thing to do – make memes)…

wonka

Second, I have been noodling this around and the predominant thought I had was to sing a duet with my son, Colin Stewart. Colin is 17 and much more talented than I! But we held it together in order to sing an old church song, Peace Give I to Thee. Colin is playing the ukelele and singing. I confess that our sound system is not wonderful, so we both tempered ourselves to not blow out the microphones. It is accompanied by photos I took in the Bellevue Botanical Garden which bring me incredible peace.

Finally, the nature of the quest: Poets Against War or Poets for Peace. So black and white, it begs a reflection.

dichotomy

war destroys peace

hate destroys love

butterfly destroys chrysalis

child destroys dandelion

lion destroys lamb

lamb redeems lion

dandelion redeems child

chrysalis redeems butterfly

love redeems hate

peace redeems war

unity

 butterfly

And another old favorite, “Breathe Deep” by the Lost Dogs which speaks to the unity of all-even when we are uncomfortable with that unity.

Peace Out!

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.

Devotion

William Blake
William Blake

The first and only time, in my life so far, that a piece of music has inspired me to write a poem directly about it, was when I heard a piece of music, composed by Sir John Tavener in 1982 and performed by Harry Christophers’ The Sixteen, whose eighteen members produce the most sublime choral sound I’ve ever heard. It was only by listening to the music, not particularly paying much attention to the words, that I was inspired to write this piece, which is a Haiku Triplet. It wasn’t until a little time after completing the poem, which was originally intended as a devotion to my wife, that I discovered an interesting connection between the music and a famous poet, who inspired Tavener to compose it in the first place. Only when I listened to the words, did I discover that Tavener had based his composition on William Blake‘s poem The Lamb, part of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, published in 1789. A full circle had thus turned, from poem to music and back again. I find it quite stirring that William Blake’s poem inspired John Tavener to write music to it and, in turn, Tavener’s music alone, my own poem, whose theme turns back to Blake’s original, perhaps because I think the wording of my poem can also be interpreted as devotional in a religious sense. My original title was in fact The Lamb, because that is the title of Tavener’s composition.

John Tavener
John Tavener

The most significant feature of this composition, which had the greatest impact on my poetic inspiration, is the way that the music cycles alternately between a seemingly discordant, if not quite atonal, series of musical passages and delicious, heart melting harmonies. It had the most striking effect on me. I should confess that I didn’t particularly like the piece at first, but now, every time I listen to it, I am transfixed and cannot help myself tearing up and choking at its beauty. It seems simply to mirror the cycles of life’s experience – from its hardest and most difficult periods to its happiest and most joyous moments and, with it, our responsibility to stay strong, particularly for those we love, through good times and bad, from the discordant times to the harmonious ones.

I cannot find a YouTube recording of The Sixteen singing this piece, but because of its brevity and simplicity, it is important to hear it with the purity and perfection of the best voices, in order to capture its depth and spirit, and the Tenebrae Choir, founded by Nigel Short of the famous King’s Singers, here provide the nearest thing I can find to this quality:

I think I’ve captured the essence of the Japanese poetic form of haiku, which is the seventeen-syllable 5-7-5 three-line verse structure with a requirement to contain “season words,” or Kigo. The choice of this poetic form was very deliberate, not least because it is, by its very nature, capable of distilling the essence of its subject and because Tavener’s composition is also brief, at only three and a half minutes.

Notwithstanding the background, the fascinating influences, coincidences and connections, this poem was and is dedicated to my wife, with whom I have shared a few highs and lows during our nearly forty years together.

This may seem an odd thing to suggest you do, but, in spite of the fact that the choir is singing Blake’s words, I do like to read my poem (contemplatively), whilst listening to the music at the same time …

I leave it to you.

Devotion

(aka “The Lamb”)

From the coldest snow
To the warmest sun you go
And I go with you

From blossom of spring
To golden leaves of autumn
I bathe in your light

From the beginning
To ending of the seasons
I am ever yours.

– John Anstie

© 2011, essay and, poem (edited 2013), John Anstie, All rights reserved

[The poem was also published on the Marriott Love Poems Competition website in March 2011; it didn’t win any prizes, but gave me a bit of a buzz for a short while].

Photo credits ~ Blake sketch by by John Flaxman circa 1804 and in the U.S. public domain; Tavener by Clestur via Wikipedia and under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
You Tube video uploaded by shawshank4u

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Oc casional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer.  John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK).

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John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

* Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

The Orchestra of Impossible Genius

“The British ParaOrchestra, based in London, is an orchestra consisting entirely of musicians with disabilities—the first ever orchestra of its kind in the United Kingdom. The ParaOrchestra was formed by conductor Charles Hazlewood in 2011 as a project to create a platform for the top disabled musicians, with the hope that its success would lead to better integration of the disabled into music and performing arts. The orchestra performed its first live show at Glastonbury Abbey in July 2012 , and received international attention when it played alongside Coldplay during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London in September 2012.

“Charles Hazlewood was inspired by his youngest daughter Eliza to form the ParaOrchestra; Eliza suffers from cerebral palsy, but Hazlewood believed that she was still an “outstanding” singer. Being the father of a child with a disability, he realized that throughout his career as an orchestral conductor, he had seen few disabled performers as members of orchestras. Hazlewood felt that since music is ‘universal’, an orchestra should represent all members of a community—comparing this ordeal to the time when only men performed in orchestras. He felt that an orchestra consisting only of disabled performers could spread awareness of this issue and help achieve greater integration for the disabled in music and the performing arts.

“Hazlewood officially announced the formation of the British ParaOrchestra in July 2011 at a TED conference in Edinburgh. He did not intend the ParaOrchestra to be a therapeutic or ‘warm and fuzzy’ project, but rather a platform to showcase disabled musicians with virtuosic qualities. When holding auditions, he aimed to find musicians who were ‘at the top of their game, technically, and with a spirit behind the virtuosity.’ The orchestra’s first 17 members come from a variety of backgrounds and use a variety of instruments, including conventional instruments and electronic devices such as tablet computers and other assistive technology developed by Rolf Gehlhaar, Professor in Experimental Music at Coventry University and the technical director of the orchestra. After failing to partner with the BBC, Hazlewood successfully commissioned British broadcaster Channel 4 to produce a documentary following the formation of the ParaOrchestra and its first performance, which aired on 9 September 2012. He felt airing its documentary on Channel 4 was a “no-brainer”, as it was also the official broadcaster of the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

“The ParaOrchestra made its first public appearance on 1 July 2012 during Hazlewood’s music festiva Orchestra in a Field at Glastonbury Abbey; the performance included its versions of Greensleeves and Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. The orchestra’s style incorporates a large amount of improvisation, intended to allow the orchestra to feel a sense of “collective ownership” of their performances.” Wikipedia

HERE is the link to Charles Hazelwood’s TED presentation Trusting the Ensemble, which includes discussion of the ParaOrchestra and a delightful performance of the Scottish Ensemble. It’s twenty-minutes and recommended.

And now the British ParaOrchestra in performance supporting Cold Play at the 2012 ParaOlympics … you may want to grab a tissue …

First video uploaded to YouTube by Theresa Simon. Second video uploaded to YouTube by Nicholas McCarthy.

– complied by Jamie Dedes