Sitting here in a food induced semi-hallucinatory state, I’ve had a chance to just let my mind wander for a few minutes… Turkey legs, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy;
Sorry I digress.
You always hear people talking about “the source,” or their search for the truth, the most concentrated and potent form of something. As musicians, we are constantly looking for it. The pure moments, unadulterated by our everyday thoughts, the crowd, or the really bad food we ate just before taking the stage.
The reality is, there are sources all around us, it’s just usually a matter of tuning in and blocking out everything else. Sometimes that is easier said than done. However, once in a great while, you get hit smack in the face with it. That was the experience I had last week performing with The African Children’s Choir.
There are gigs on the calendar that are circled, that you look forward to, just hoping and expecting something special or magical to occur on that night. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Oftentimes you have expectations of what is to be and they are not fulfilled. On a rare occasion, you have high expectations and they are not only met, they are surpassed and you’re able to capture a moment and freeze it, if only for a few seconds.
We were lucky enough to be self-appointed music directors for this shin-dig down at the Parish in Austin. Some of our friends like Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland and Kacey Crowley, blew us away with their great songs and performance style. In addition, we had the opportunity to back up Bob Schneider on a few songs. That alone should have been enough of a musical feast to stuff us, but there was more.
The African Children’s Choir, consisting of about 25 eight to ten year olds from Uganda took the stage and absolutely blew everyone away. We were fortunate enough to close the show with Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released, with those angelic voices singing right along with us. Their musicality was absolutely impeccable and their spirit was so positive and contagious it was impossible to not break into a full smile.
They were the source.
As a young kid, I remember having these really intense moments that made me realize the power of music and the beauty of that gift. It was something that made you feel connected to the world around you, no matter how old you were or where you were from or what you looked like. In that instant you were part of the team, part of the clan, part of THE SONG. It’s that same song that’s been going on for thousands of years all over the world. It’s all of the colors of the rainbow and the whole spectrum of emotions rolled up into a giant ball.
Like many other things, as you get older sometimes it’s harder to notice it or take part in it. It’s always there, it’s just a matter of opening the channel to receive it. Everytime we put on our instruments, we’re doing everything we can to be a part of that moment and of that song.
I hope that some of you in attendance at the show felt this, I know I did. Thank you to the African Children’s Choir for reminding us about IT. Here’s to seeking the source and finding it whenever it is available.
Thanks for taking the trip with us.
Peace and Happy Thanksgiving,