As those of you who've been reading this blog for a while know, I'm a great believer in art as a force for good, a tonic for the soul, and a potent medicine for healing and change on both the personal and global levels. A previous post, "Stories are Medicine," explored the mythic connection between stories and healing. Today's Monday Tunes all relate to the theme of healing, wholeness, and connection.
In "Manifesto," below, Nahko Bear and his band celebrate the power of music as medicine, and ask: What is the medicine for cultural wounding? The answer in this song is steeped in poetry, community, and joy. Nahko is a singer/songwriter of Apache, Puerto Rican and Filipino heritage, and I'm deeply in love with his work. Raised in Oregon, he now lives in Hawaii. You'll find more information and more of his music in this previous post.
Below: "Connected," from the great blues, soul, and gospel guitarist Eric Bibb. Raised in a musical family in New York City, Bibb now lives with his Finnish wife in Helsinki. You'll find more of his soul-stirring music in this previous post.
Next: "Braided Hair" by 1 Giant Leap -- the music/film/spoken-word project created by the UK musical wizards Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto (of Faithless). This intrepid pair traveled all around the world bringing musicians both famous and obscure into a pan-cultural musical collaboration, interspersed with the words of writers, philosphers, spiritual leaders and others. The results are gathered on two albums and DVDs: 1 Giant Leap and What About Me?
The song below, featuring Speech, Neneh Cherry and other English, African, Indian, Asian, Australian, and Native American musicians, comes from 1 Giant Leap's first CD and DVD. I've played it here on Myth & Moor before, as it's one of my all-time favorites. (If you'd like a little more this morning, try this video, on Inspiration.)
Below: "Ever So Lonely," performed by Sheila Chandra at the WOMAD festival. Chandra's influences range from the Indian and Anglo/Scots/Irish music of her ancestral background to other traditional music from cultures around the world.
"I think this whole orchestral thing and this pop thing with chords and everything is just this maverick offshoot," she says in an interview with John Schaeffer that ranges from drones to mythic crones to celestial harmonics. "Its kind of an upstart movement, isn't it? That has nothing to do with what our biology dictates, because we drone. As long as we're alive we drone. We emit frequency, from the stapes bone in the middle ear, where apparently we emit the average of all the frequencies that we are, and also the blood rushing in our ears, and I think that stapes bone thing can be heard late at night when you can't sleep and there's this awful high pitched drone which seems really, really loud? I think that's the one it is. So, drones are present so long as we're present, so long as the listener is present. So, it's almost true to say that drones are at the essence of our aliveness."
And one more:
"Prayers" by Ke Nova, a song and video inspired by the work of the Native American poet, novelist, and essayist Linda Hogan (whose books I highly recommend). Ke Nova (Kati Gleiser) is a Canadian singer/songwriter and concert pianist known for her creative and academic work at the cutting edge of music technology.
"Our songs travel the earth. We sing to one another. Not a single note is ever lost and no song is original. They all come from the same place and go back to a time when only the stones howled.''
- Louise Erdrich (The Master Butchers Singing Club)