In a culture that has exalted technologies to be our Gods, we are experiencing the death of deep abiding community. We are hyper connected digitally, but deeply deprived of being genuinely seen, heard, and having our presence on this planet affirmed.
We have become so tethered to our devices, we don't even think twice about how we've collectively outsourced our intrinsic need for soulful connection. We've instead accommodated superficial relationships, trivial communications and relentless information overload.
We are strung tight, and out and too often alone - searching for ways to numb the full spectrum of emotions.
With the steady decrease in meaningful, face-to-face interactions, we are in danger of misplacing the important magic born out of gathering.
I believe we are facing
a crisis of disengagement.
Where do we go for shelter? To what or whom do we turn for emotional oxygen?
Not everyone in distress will enter a temple, church, or yoga studio. Yet our longing to be soothed, encouraged and inspired is just as real. We all want to be in communion with at least one other person with whom we are free to unclothe the masks that arrest us and feel our way through life.
Music, broadly speaking, accomplishes this and as Thomas Moore writes in Care of the Soul, “allows us to translate our inner life into outer forms.”
Music is sanctuary.
Music paves a way through complex emotions and discussions rather than around them.
Birthed from my latest CD, Holy Hell of Hope, Music as Sanctuary - part concert, workshop and church - unifies my lifelong experimentation with using music and religious practice as frameworks for radical self-inquiry, truth-seeking, consolation and healing.
The songs - my own and others - place the audience inside the sanctuary of the music itself: rock-n-soul hymns, as much defiant anthems as they are unnerving portraits of hopelessness that probe tragedy and longing to conjure powerful new symbols that retune the hilarious and haunting to something holy too.
Music as Sanctuary, a larger series that includes collaborations with Doing/Living, RevMills Gallery and Harlem Stage extends my long-standing commitment to cultivate safe and transformative spaces for spontaneous and heartfelt sharing.
Along with narrative video projections, and a living altar, the HHOH: MAS combines ancient African rituals with the traditional southern black church experience to offer music as “the sanctuary” and antidote for the prevailing discord of a society out of tune with itself.