lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: pendulum swinger


2006-12-07: emily saliers of indigo girls, song facts:

sf: so your new album, you have the song "pendulum swinger." now, this one... maybe it's very obvious to many people, but i have not figured this one out yet. would you be able to tell me about it?

es: definitely. it's a little bit of a purging. it takes on more than one big issue. it takes on the patriarchy in the church, and the squelching of women's voices in power within organized religion. i have a friend who works in the religious life, and we have lunch together and coffee all the time, and talk about all this stuff. so that first line, "i meet you for coffee, we get together," that's true. that's about me and my friend. and we talk about all these issues. and she's a very powerful woman with a great vision for the way life can be, and she works a lot of with interfaith stuff. the language of organized religion so often is so male-oriented, the male pronouns, and its father god and son jesus, and it's all male, male, male. so part of that song is about i miss the goddess. i miss the balance of the female/male spirits both together. and then it talks about the bush administration and his macho posturing, and the bull-whip and the gunslingers and all that, like hawks, war hawks. and my belief is that we have to come from a place of love in order to heal the world. so in order for the pendulum to swing back the other way, away from war and violence and death and desecration, is to come from a place of love. that's why i said that the epicenter love is the pendulum swinger.

sf: you come from a bit of a religious background, right?

es: yes.

sf: can you tell me about that?

es: yep. my dad is a ordained methodist minister. he's actually a professor of theology, that's his vocation. so he teaches about christian worship and literature and scripture. he and i actually wrote a book last year about the crossover between so-called secular and sacred music, and how music augments our lives, and how church musicians can start out as jazz musicians, and funk musicians can start out as church musicians, and how music is just this great life force, and whether you're in a bar with a bunch of people changing lives, or whether you're in a church service changing lives, that's the power of music, and it can't be broken down.

sf: it must be really interesting being around your dad like that.

es: yeah, he's just such a cool guy. because, i mean, he's very christian, and you know, he's a man of deep faith, but he's not judgmental. he's very open-minded and progressive. and he knows a daughter like me, who's sort of a religious mutt and still out there sort of searching, he's very, very patient with my questions, and we had a great experience writing that book together. it was basically sitting around endless cups of coffee and just talking about music. my dad went to yale, and he was there during william stone-coffin's days, so it was a very progressive atmosphere where he was schooled. and it's great to just sit around and talk about that stuff.


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