Sing Our Own Song

7 03 2017

I always find it curious to discuss intangible ideas with others who may not have had an experience of unity and connectedness. Personally, and as a musician, I prefer the word spirit, as it’s root in Latin is a reference to breath.

Once, while attending a church service at The Vineyard in Seattle’s U-district, the pastor made a request for anyone in the congregation to sing a new song. As it happened, I had just been working out lyrics to one. A number of people were present that evening, and a few sang some songs which I recognized. After a few minutes, I sang the words which I had  been mulling over, and there was an instant change in the atmosphere. Many of the people began to sing and chant, while others smiled and clapped in rhythm. It was a remarkable service.

I recently finished reading Working Class Mystic a spiritual biography of George Harrison by Gary Tillery. I was reminded of Mr. Harrison’s affinity and devotion to Krishna, and the meaning of the Bhagavad Gita – The Song of the Lord. Of course, as a musician, the interpretation of the Sanskrit term is intriguing, especially as Hinduism is one of the faiths which regard the beginning of everything to be a sound. Aum, or Om depending on the translation.

As singing a song is in fact an act of creation, then the Latin of ‘breath’ becomes as close to ‘a life giving force’ as most men will be able to obtain. (I hope the reason for singling out the masculine half of creation here is obvious.) What this means in terms of people gathering, or congregating, is that the opportunity to best be a part of creating togetherness is found in song. Singing together brings a state of unity that can only be created by singing together. To ‘conspire,’ to ‘with-breath’ becomes the natural result of popular songs leading towards a unifying emotional state.

This unity is so strong that the song doesn’t have to be a new song. A friend recently told me of ‘The Singing Revolution,’ in which the people of Estonia sang forbidden songs in order to free themselves of Soviet occupation. That song is a powerful and intrinsic form of communication is undeniable. That there are methods of unifying and building societal cohesion through song is also accepted.

As a devotee to creation through sound, I have a strong affinity to Freddie Mercury’s paean to sound ‘Radio Gaga‘ and it’s first and best broadcast medium: ‘You had your time, you had the power You’ve yet to have your finest hour Radio, Radio.’