lifeblood: listlogs: 2005v08n086-news


ig-news-digest         saturday, july 23 2005         volume 08 : number 086

today's subjects:
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  [ig-news] sojourners magazine article  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.c]
  [ig-news] a&e at hte event on monday  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.co]
  re: [ig-news] a&e at hte event on monday  [culturediva82@netscape.net (lor]

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date: thu, 21 jul 2005 21:11:35 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] sojourners magazine article

hey folks,

this is from sojourners magazine - a religious magazine out of
washington dc.  you can read it online at (long url, should be all on
one line):
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0508&article=050838

- -sherlyn

- ---begin forwarded message---
culture watch
holy listening

an indigo girl - and dad - talk about music as the mediator between
god and our souls.
sojourners staff members rose marie berger, molly marsh, and lisa
yebuah contributed to this article.

music is a powerful source of transformation that can connect us with
the deepest parts of ourselves - and each other. two musicians who
know a lot about this are don saliers, a professor of theology and
worship at emory university, and his daughter, emily saliers, half of
the folk-rock duo indigo girls. the two, who met with sojourners in
washington, d.c., this spring, are co-authors of a song to sing, a
life to live: reflections on music as spiritual practice. they have a
lot to say about the spiritual dimensions of music, and about how
music offers both hope and healing.

the word "crossover" peppers their conversation and work, both as
musicians and writers. the music emily and her indigo girls partner
amy ray play in smoke-filled bars on saturday nights has a lot in
common with the hymns and choral tunes don plays during sunday morning
worship services. the effect on listeners is also similar.

"i see it in the motley crew of people who come to the pub, some with
torn lives, some on the verge of great things, and from all different
musical genres," emily says. "we have a cross-cultural gathering on
stage, the same thing that happens in a mixed worship community where
music is the force that brings us all together, that gives us hope,
and that speaks to our sorrows and our pains."

don agrees. "i think weve grown up with a kind of distinction between
sacred sounds and secular sounds that just simply isnt adequate
anymore. a lot of church music has been influenced by things that have
normally been associated with saturday night. some of this is on a
classical basis - for example, composer heinz vernard zimmerman
created a psalm concert that was really based on jazz," he says. "for
a while i actually did jazz morning prayer or jazz evening prayer in a
little church in new haven. theres a lot more crossover than we
think."

over her 20-year career, emily has seen how music brings healing to
people - those who, as she writes in the book, are alienated and
broken by attitudes toward sexuality, by political struggles, and by
crushing abuses of power.

"theres a lot of mystery to music that i couldnt even begin to
articulate," she says. "it is something that takes us, that connects
us through time. there is no music in a vacuum. its begun somewhere
but we dont know where; we dont necessarily know what countries its
traveled through, what stories - human stories - it has told. i see it
as this continuum that draws human beings together, and their past,
and toward their future."

"music touches the emotions in a way that very little else in the
world does," adds don. "it has access to those places where were
hurt, or where we feel joy, or pain, or suffering, and it can touch
that and bring it forward. in some ways people can be named in music
and can be found in music. as we say, youre their voice. that in
itself for many people is a healing process. as an indigo dad, i
hear a lot about how emily and amy rays songs have helped people
overcome a lot of stuff - not just helping through the night, but
actually changed my attitudes toward myself and my life."

the indigo girls longevity - emily and amy joined forces as a duo in
1984 - grammy awards, and album sales certainly bear that out. fans of
all ages, backgrounds, and with all manner of piercings and tattoos
have found a home in the groups music, and the often spirit-drenched
imagery in their lyrics regularly violates the artificial line - often
constructed by the church - between "secular" and "sacred" music.
emily doesnt currently identify with a faith, but a childhood spent
in the church and absorbing its music directly influenced her folk
music arrangements later on.

"its easy to reduce things to blue state and red state, and this
is secular and this is sacred," says emily. "its a lazy approach to
delving into what a genre can hold and surprise for someone whos not
been introduced to it. i have to ask, whats the bottom line? what is
a faith intended to do? how is it intended to encourage our spiritual
growth? is there just a plain and simple message of love and caring
for each other and the world? there are some so-called secular texts
that speak to that with more passion and power than some of the most
well-known sacred texts."

"there are prophetic voices along with the cries and the whispers that
are coming out of music that the church would be amazed to hear,"
continues don. "when you put it side by side with prophetic voices in
scripture, it turns out theyre very congruent. thats what the church
misses when it shuts down too soon and says young peoples music is
awful. some of the best music generated in the church over the years
has often come from the juxtaposition of styles."

don has spent decades mingling those genres, traditions, and
practices. he worked his way through college playing dances on
saturday nights and then playing in church on sunday mornings. hes a
jazz musician (as was his father), and as a professor of theology and
worship, much of his work - and his nine books - focuses on liturgy
and culture. for him, music is clearly a form of spiritual practice.

"music and singing are crucial to faith for three reasons," he says.
"one is in scripture - scripture is simply the library of stuff thats
been written out of a community of faiths struggling. every time
theres something extraordinary in scripture - whether its lamentable
or praiseworthy - it breaks into song. its no accident that
two-thirds of scripture is heightened speech, is poetic.

"secondly," he continues, "tell me what you hear, what you hope for,
what you enjoy most, what youre most righteously indignant over, what
you love fearlessly, and i know more about you than if you just tell
me what you believe. its that encoding of the belief in the emotional
power of song that really carries things. the third reason is that
its a way of transmitting from generation to generation the memory of
suffering and hope and joy. a hymnal is a collection of the history of
the people."

stories of people and their passions and heartbreaks fill emily and
amys songs, often carried forward on scriptural images or themes.
theres a line in "come on home," a track on their recent album all
that we let in, that says, "theres a bag of silver for a box of
nails." the imagery is simple, sharp, and cutting, full of power. for
emily, the bibles imagery is a great source of inspiration. "as a
songwriter, when youre thinking about the craft, you want to make
things tactile. you want to evoke the senses, as much of them as
possible. i couldnt think of a better way to illustrate how important
love is in the way we treat each other than to think of the betrayal
of jesus. the act was simple but it affected the rest of history."

"those biblical images," adds don, "are ways of reading the world and
our experiences in a way that connects the personal and the intimate
with the deepest mysteries of being. we forget a lot of the stories,
but take one really good image, either a prophetic image thats sharp
and strong, or an image about human suffering, or images about what we
are yet to be - i think were always looking for the concrete
universal, the specific image that carries with it this larger sense
of mystery and hope and god."

sojourners magazine, august 2005 (vol. 34, no. 8, pp. 38-39). culture
watch.

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------------------------------

date: thu, 21 jul 2005 20:59:04 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] a&e at hte event on monday

hey folks,

check out the common dreams progressive newswire - it looks like a&e  
will be at an honor the earth-related event in dc on july 25, along
with ani difranco, erin mckeown, winona laduke and others:
http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0720-05.htm

cheers,
sherlyn
- --
sherlyn koo | sherlyn@pixelopolis.com | sydney, australia

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------------------------------

date: sat, 23 jul 2005 03:42:00 -0400
from: culturediva82@netscape.net (lorna)
subject: re: [ig-news] a&e at hte event on monday

sherlyn koo wrote:

>check out the common dreams progressive newswire - it looks like a&e

>will be at an honor the earth-related event in dc on july 25, along
>with ani difranco, erin mckeown, winona laduke and others:
>http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0720-05.htm
>

- --my bets are on that c-span here in the usa may cover this, but
probably aired on delay in the evening or later in the week. free
speech radio, democracy now!, znet, environmental news
sources/portals, and whatever other indie media i don't know about
might also be on the beat, likewise. ;-)

- --lorna

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please send feedback, questions etc to owner-ig-news@smoe.org.
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end of ig-news-digest v8 #86
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