"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.

I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get the most joy in life out of music."

~ Albert Einstein

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Of the Father's Love Begotten

A beautiful hymn based on a Latin hymn written by 4th century Roman poet Marcus Aurelius Prudentius,. The work was translated in to English by John Mason Neal and Henry Williams Baker and set to the music of the plainsong chant, “Divinum mysterium.” A well-known hymn for Advent and Christmas, the piece can be found on page 82 of the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal.


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Robert Parsons - Ave Maria

A beautiful rendition of "Ave Maria" by Robert Parsons. Sung by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, 1994 (Click on the title above and it will open up in a new window).



Robert Parsons - Ave Maria

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holy Darkness

As we wait during Advent

"As we await you,
O God of silence
We embrace your holy night"

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bach's Cantata No. 140, Wachet Auf (Sleepers Awake)

Here's some smooth classical: Bach's Cantata No. 140, Wachet Auf (Sleepers Awake) performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Peter Kreeft, professor of  philosophy at Boston College has said, "There is the music of Bach, therefore there is God." One can always counter any "proof" for the existence of God, but beauty of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach abides beyond any discussion.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Alleluia

I first became acquainted with this piece when I was in the Men's Chorus at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Not have a formal musical education, being in a choral group was a great way to be introduced to new musical endeavors while building a strong bond of community with fellow choristers. The performance here is with the Birmingham-Southern College Choir inder the leadership of the renowned Hugh Thomas.





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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dies Irae (Gregorian Chant)

"One of the most famous melodies of the Gregorian Chant, Dies Irae was traditionally ascribed to Thomas of Celano (d 1260), but now is usually attributed to an unknown Franciscan of that period. The piece is based upon Zep 1:14-16, a reflection upon the final judgment. It was formerly part of the Mass of the Dead and the Office of the Dead. Today it is found in the Liturgia Horarum for the last week of Ordinary time (34th). In placing it there, the emphasis is upon the upcoming Advent season and the Second Coming of Christ. In Diocese of the United States, it is still used in the Office of the Dead and the Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2)."





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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom - Musical excerpts


From the YouTube Notes:

The Divine Liturgy, θεία λειτουργία, of St. John Chrysostom is the second most practiced Liturgy in Christendom (next to the Roman rite Mass). This video is a tribute to the great Liturgy of the east, not a live presentation of it. This is the primarily used Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Churches (Catholic and Schismatic). This video contains a number of images of the Liturgy in practice across a wide array of churches and rites.

The musical selections, from the CD "Sacred Treasures" are (in order):

The Great Ektenia at 0:01
Cherubic Hymn at 3:42
Amen and With Thy Spirit at 7:56
and Otche Nash at 9:11

God bless you all.

Music
"Our Father" by Bulgarian National Choir


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Sunday, October 4, 2015

All Creatures of Our God and King

On the Feast Day for St. Francis of Assisi, an old hymn with the words of St. Francis set to the tune  LASST UNS ERFREUEN. Originally written in Italian ("Laudato sia Dio mio Signore"), the text is also known as the "Song of All Creatures" and as the "Canticle of the Sun." Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment titled, "Laudato Si" (Praise Be to You) has as it's subtitle, "On care for our common home." The document harks back to the words of St. Francis in praise to God for creation.





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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God


 The Choir of Southside Baptist Church (Birmingham, AL) sings Carl F. Mueller's classic anthem "Create in me a clean heart, O God," with text from Psalm 51; Sarah Heaslett organist; Timothy Banks conductor
 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sacred Harp: Morning Sun

Here's Buell Cobb with Mr. Bailey leading in the singing of "Morning Sun"at a Sacred Harp gathering at Liberty Baptist Church near Henagar, Alabama. I met Buel at the National Sacred Harp Convention in Birmingham last summer. We had a discussion about Sacred Harp singing and I told him about my first encounter with the genre. Buell has written a fine book about Sacred Harp, Like Cords around My Heart: A Sacred Harp Memoir.

What I like about this video is the joyful juxtaposition. You have authentic Sacred Harp being led by a 95 year old fellow in overalls (that would be Mr. Bailey standing there with Buell Cobb). You also have tattoos and iPhones.

To read or listen to a piece on NPR about Liberty baptist Church and Sacred Harp, check it out here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Te Deum (St. Ambrose)

From the YouTube notes:
Monks of the one of the Abbeys of the Solesmes Congregation sing this beautiful chant. The Te Deum is attributed to two Fathers and Doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine and is one the most majestic chants in the Liturgy of the Church. It is sung in traditional seminaries and monastic houses at the Divine Office and for Double feasts of the First Class, The Nativity, Easter, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, Pentecost and those which have an Octave. The solemn Te Deum is sung on all occasions of public Church rejoicing (in Traditional Catholic Churches)
 




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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jesus Lover of My Soul (Ken Medema)

Beautiful arrangement of Charles Wesley's hymn, composed and performed by Ken Medema. How well I remember when I was a college student and Ken spent the week at Samford University for Christian Emphasis Week. Each day he not only offered special music for worship, but at the end of each chapel would go to the piano and sing whatever we had just heard in the chapel message. That has been one of Ken's trademark abilities.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Byzantine Chant in a virtual Hagia Sophia

A re-creation of what Byzantine chant would have sounded like during worship at the magnificent Hagia Sophia, with the marvelous reverberations from within that massive and ancient marble sanctuary -- using digital technology, Icons of Sound brought this ancient experience to the Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University. The piece performed is "Cherubic Hymn in Mode 1 - Manuel Chrysaphes, MS Mt. Athos, Iviron 1120 (1458)" (Read more at http://iconsofsound.stanford.edu/)


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gloria (Palestrina)

Some say Giovanni Palestrina rescued music from the church (and for the church) when the Council of Trent (1545-1563) objected to newer musical trends in which you could not even understand the words being sung. Palestrina was definitely a major influence on church choral music in his day.

"Gloria" is from the Missa Papae Marcelli, or Pope Marcellus Mass. For those interested in way more info that I can knowledgeably provide, check out Classical Notes.


 
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Friday, July 24, 2015

When Morning Stars Together

"When Morning Stars Together" is a relatively new hymn (published in 1966). It is a marvelous and magnificent anthem set on a grand scale. Beginning with a quote from the wisdom book of Job 38:7, the hymn proclaims how praise to God began at creation with the very stars singing out. That praise has taken on various forms through the ages, as the hymn goes on to declare, reminding us at the end that with all of our trained powers and senses, we find our purpose "and in serving fully live."





When the morning stars together
Author: Albert F. Bayly

When the morning stars together
their creator's glory sang,
and the angel host all shouted
till with joy the heavens rang,
then your wisdom and your greatness
their exultant music told,
all the beauty and the splendor
which your mighty works unfold.

When in synagogue and temple
voices raised the psalmists' songs,
offering the adoration
which alone to you belongs,
when the singers and the cymbals
with the trumpet made accord,
glory filled the house of worship,
and all knew your presence, Lord.

Voice and instrument, in union
through the ages, spoke thy praise.
Plainsong, tuneful hymns, and anthems
told your faithful, gracious ways.
Choir and orchestra and organ
each a sacred offering brought,
while, inspired by your own Spirit,
poet and composer wrought.

Lord, we bring our gift of music;
touch our lips and fire our hearts,
teach our minds and train our senses,
fit us for this sacred art.
Then with skill and consecration
we would serve you, Lord, and give
all our powers to glorify you,
and in serving fully live.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Even when He Is Silent

"The text was found written on a wall at a concentration camp after World War 2. The composer Kim Andre Arnesen read it as a Credo; even if everything is dark and difficult in life, and you might wonder where God is, or if He is there at all. It's about keeping your faith in God, love and hope." (Notes from the YouTube site)


I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining.
I believe in love, even when I feel it not.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.



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Monday, July 6, 2015

Agnus Dei - Mass for five voices (William Byrd)

William Byrd is considered the father of English music. He was a composer of the Renaissance. He cultivated many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.

 





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ancient Mother

Robert Gass has produced many recordings of sacred chant, taking cues from Western as well as Eastern and Native American sacred traditions. "Ancient Mother" is one that I first heard when I was a member of the Unitarian Church Choir and we sang the song during a Sunday morning service (I have sung in Baptist, Episcopal, Unitarian, and Catholic choirs and learned some wonderful music in each place). The  recording here is produced by Robert Gass from the album, Chant: Spirit in Sound, accompanied by beautiful scenes from the ocean and other nature venues.  
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

God Is Love (Father Clarence Rivers)

Clarence Rivers was born in Selma, Alabama. His family later moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where as a young man he became a Roman Catholic priest. He saw himself as a professional liturgist and composed beautiful songs for worship which combined traditional African American music with Roman Catholic worship.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Cannot Tell It All

Here is the Chicago Mass Choir singing one of the songs sung at the memorial service for South Carolina state representative Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Allahu Nasheed

Labbayk are an English Nasheed vocal group of Bangladeshi descent formed in London, England in 2004, comprising singers Masum, Ehsaan Tahmid and Imran. The nasheed is a traditional Islamic chant. Traditionally, musical instruments have been considered sinful by Islamic scholars, but there are new vocal groups who are freely making use of musical instruments to accompany songs of praise and devotion

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Byzantine Chant: Turn Not Thy Face

Turn Not Thy Face 
Medieval Byzantine Chant of the Great Lent.
Title: "Μη αποστρέψης" (Turn not Thy face)
Performers: Greek Byzantine Choir


English version of Great Prokeimenon - First of Lent

Turn not thy face away from thy servant
For I am afflicted
Quickly hear me
Attend unto my soul and deliver it

Verse 1: Let Thy salvation, O God, help me.
Verse 2: Let the poor see it and be glad.
Verse 3: Seek God, and your soul shall live.

Found at http://www.antiochian.org/music/library/891?search=%28Turn+not+Thy+face%29

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Life's Railway to Heaven (Johnny Cash)

Here is classic Southern Gospel from a recording session for Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol II (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). Johnny Cash and the Carter Family give along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band give us a rendition that is top of the line.

 
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Alleluia (Ronald Staheli)

The University of Utah Singers perform the Alleluia from "Sing a New Song" by Ronald Staheli, live in concert on May 24, 2010 in the Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin - Maresha National Park, Israel, under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cistercian chant - Testamentum Eternum

Notes from the You Tube post:

Cistercian chant of the Late Middle Ages.
Title: "Testamentum Eternum"
Service: Matins of the Feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux.
Performers: Ensemble Organum, Director: Marcel Peres
Album: "Chant Cistercien"

Monday, May 18, 2015

Prabhujee (Ravi Shankar and George Harrison)

The 1997 album " Chants Of India" was the final album on which Ravi Shankar collaborated with George Harrison. Harrison's work on this album commenced his work in chant music."Prabhujee" is a track from that album. It was written by Ravi Shankar.


 

Lyrics to Prabhujee (English)

Oh Master,show some compassion on me,
Please come and dwell in my heart.
Because without you, it is painfully lonely,
Oh Master,show some compassion on me,
Please come and dwell in my heart.
Because without you, it is painfully lonely,
Fill this empty pot with the nectar of love.

I do not know any Tantra, Mantra or ritualistic worship
I know and believe only in you.
I have been searching for you all over all the world,
please come and hold my hand now.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Pleiades and Orion (John Michael Talbot)

John Michael Talbot is a contemporary songwriter who became a lay brother in the Franciscan Order in the Catholic Church and later founded the order of The Brothers and Sisters of Charity. "The Pleiades and Orion" was recorded in 1981 on the double album, Troubadour of the Great King, on the occasion of the 800th birthday of St. Francis of Assisi. The text for the song is based upon Amos 5:8.
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Water Song

“The Water Song” was composed by Alex Turtle, Diné (Navajo) and Southern Cheyenne, and Chenoa Egawa, Lummi and S’Klallam. It is sung in the Diné language and carries one of our Native teachings about the blessing of the spirit of water through the male and female rains. (See http://sacredecologyfilms.com/the-water-song/)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Litany of the Saints

"A beautiful rendition of the Catholic Litany of the Saints. This arrangement is perfect for the Rite of Baptism within the Easter Vigil. May all holy men and women intercede for us."


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)

The text of this song is from Psalm 42:1. Here is the text and then the translation: 
Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.
As the deer longs for running water, so longs my soul for you, O God. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Wondrous Love

"What Wondrous Love," From the collection "Southern Harmony", arr. Robert Scholz. This is an Appalachian hymn, superbly performed by the Choir at St. Olaf College (Anton Armstrong, Conductor).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pange Lingua (Gregorian Chant)

According to Wikipedia: "Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium is a hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) for the Feast of Corpus Christi . It is also sung on Maundy Thursday, during the procession from the church to the place where the Blessed Sacrament is kept until Good Friday. The last two stanzas, called separately Tantum Ergo, are sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The hymn expresses the doctrine of transubstantiation, in which, according to the Roman Catholic faith, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ."  The beautiful Gregorian chant is performed here for Easter Mass by the Gregorian Choir of Paris.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus

From Thesaurus Precum Latinarum:
Ave Verum Corpus natum is a short Eucharistic hymn dating from the 14th century and attributed to Pope Innocent VI (d 1362). During the Middle Ages it was sung at the elevation of the Host during the consecration. It was also used frequently during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven

Exquisite example of English sacred music from the Choir of Westminster Abbey. "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven by John Goss. Words by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Allegri's Miserere

Miserere, by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), is a setting of Psalm 51 composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. It was extremely popular and noted for its exquisite beauty. The Vatican wanted to preserve the mystery of the piece and forbid that it be written down, threatening excommunication if anyone did. A young 14-year-old Mozart, however, being the innate genius that he was, listened to the piece as it was sung in the chapel, then wrote it down from memory later that day, words and musical scoring, in its entirety.  When it was discovered, the Pope was so impressed that he lifted the ban. (See an account of that story here)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Arvo Pärt: The Deer's Cry

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer of classical and sacred music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. His music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. (from Wikipedia)






Arvo Pärt: The Deer's Cry

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me,
Christ with me.


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Befell Us

Sometimes bad things happen, even when we "do everything right." I heard the song "This Befell Us" several years ago on John Michael Talbot's CD recording, Simple Heart. I found it to be a moving and honest cry that comes from all of us at some point in our life if we dare to be honest. Here the psalmist teaches us that it is alright to question God and to bring our case before him. I thought this would be a good meditation during the Lenten season. I don't know the visual artist, Debbie Heys, but I am glad she has made this Talbot recording available on You Tube. (Scroll down if you want to read the lyrics)

 


This Befell Us (Psalm 44)
By John Michael Talbot

Chorus:
This befell us though we had not forgotten
Though we never had been false to Your word
Though our hearts had not withdrawn their longing
Though our minds had not strayed from Your word

You have crushed us to the place of sorrow
Covered up with the shadow of death
You make us like the sheep for the slaughter
And scattered us among the nations of the earth

(Repeat Chorus)
You continue to reject and disgrace us
No longer seen to dwell with us
You make us now the taunt of our neighbors
The laughingstock of all who draw near

(Repeat Chorus)
All day long my disgrace is before me
My face is now covered with shame
This befell us though we had not forsaken
We had not been false to Your name

Awake O Lord, why do You sleep and slumber
Arise O Lord, do not reject us again
Awake O Lord, hide not Your face
Stand up O Lord and come to our aid

Friday, February 13, 2015

Uncloudy Day (Myrna Summers)

This week we've been looking at "Uncloudy Day." First there was The Staples' version that captivated a young Bob Dylan back in the 1950s. Then we heard Willie Nelson's country Gospel version from the 1970s. Today we have Myrna Summers with the Urban Gospel version recorded in 2007. She is with the Church of God in Christ and accompanied by a Mass Choir. Say "Amen!" somebody!
                     

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Uncloudy Day (Willie Nelson)

Earlier this week we heard The Staple Singers do a soulful version of "Uncloudy Day" which put a young Bob Dylan over the top while listening on the radio. This version by Willie Nelson is closer to the one I heard, often on a Sunday night, with the congregation "raising the rafters" as they sang.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Uncloudy Day (The Staples Singers)

[Today's post is simultaneously featured at Not Dark Yet]
Bob Dylan in the AARP interview recently talked about listening to the radio at night when he was a teenager in Hibbing, Minnesota:

One night, I remember listening to the Staple Singers, “Uncloudy Day.” And it was the most mysterious thing I’d ever heard. It was like the fog rolling in. What was that? How do you make that? It just went through me. I managed to get an LP, and I’m like, “Man!” I looked at the cover, and I knew who Mavis was without having to be told. She looked to be about the same age as me. Her singing just knocked me out.  This was before folk music had ever entered my life. I was still an aspiring rock ’n’ roller.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Siyahamba (Zulu hymn)

"Siyahamba ekukhanyeni kwenkos'," (We are marching in the light of God)

I tracked down this song "Siyahamba” after reading Maria Evans’ beautiful post on Daily Episcopalian. About the song she states:

I'm willing to bet that "Siyahamba" has been the most universally translated African song in the last 30 years. We have something really awful – the struggle for civil rights in South Africa – to thank for its universal nature. Yet at the same time, every time I sing it, the image of Bishop Desmond Tutu comes to the forefront of my mind. This awful thing gave the world a beautiful song and an amazing saint on earth. It's a reminder that we need more verses to "Siyahamba" – verses like, "We are listening in the light of God," "We are being still in the light of God," and "we are sharing in the light of God." "Being African" means these things are not incongruous with singing, dancing, and praying in the light of God.

Maria Evans is a surgical pathologist who blogs at http://kirkepiscatoid.blogspot.com/ Read her entire essay, “Siyahamba,” here

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

There Is a Balm in Gilead

I always find some inner conflict and incongruity when I recognize the beauty that can arise in the midst of sorrow, especially when that sorrow is inflicted by society. Nevertheless, it is a human trait to find strength and courage in the midst of hardship. Such is the beauty of this musical gift that comes to us from the African American heritage. "There Is A Balm in Gilead" is a well-known and well-loved Negro Spiritual. The text takes its origin from a cry of despair from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why, then, is there no healing for the wounds of my people?" (Jeremiah 8:22) Remarkably, the African American slaves turned the Old Testament prophet's cry of despair into a song hope, affirming that there is indeed a balm in Gilead.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lakota Healing Song

From the YouTube information:

"This Lakota Healing song is what is known as a "Peyote" song. Peyote songs are the native american way of worshiping God." (See more below)
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Lyrics:

Wani wachiyelo Ate omakiyayo (Father help me I want to live)
Wani wachiyelo Ate omakiyayo (Father help me I want to live)
Wani wachiyelo Ate omakiyayo (Father help me I want to live)
Atay nimichikun (Father you have done this)
Oshiya chichiyelo (Humbly have pity on me)
Wani wachiyelo Atay omakiyayo (Father help me I want to live)
Wani wachiyelo Atay omakiyayo (Father help me I want to live)
Wani wachiyelo Atay (Father I want to live)


Music: Peyote Healing
Artist: Robbie Robertson


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cherokee Morning Song: I am of the Great Spirit

"Cherokee Morning Song" performed by the native American group, Walela. The group was founded in 1996 by sisters Rita Coolidge and Priscilla Coolidge, with Priscilla's daughter Laura Satterfield as the third member. From Wikipedia"Walela" means hummingbird in Cherokee. Coolidge considered this group important not only in honoring her Cherokee ancestors, but also in bringing their culture to others.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ojibwe Prayer Song


The Ojibwe speak a language of the Algonkian language family and constitute the largest Indian group north of Mexico. Their extensive pre-contact territory in Canada was mainly north of Lakes Superior and Huron. During historic times, they spread west and south and today numerous Ojibwe bands stretch from present-day Ontario in eastern Canada all the way into Montana. Oral traditions of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi assert that at one time all three tribes were one people who lived at the Straits of Mackinac. From there, they split off into three different groups. Linguistic, archeological, and historical evidence confirms that the three tribes descend from a common ethnic origin.

Ojibwe religious life was largely personal, but was also a daily concern with living appropriately and making one's way through a world filled with spirits which inhabited birds, animals, rocks, and cosmic phenomena including the sun, moon, the four winds, thunder, lightning, and thunderbirds. On a personal basis, one of the most important spirits was an individual's guardian spirit which was acquired via a dream or vision and could be called on for protection and guidance. Spirits were honored through prayers and tobacco and food offerings and could sometimes be contacted through shamans. Oral traditions described the world of spirits and provided appropriate models of correct behavior with regard to them.



 

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Picture: The Great Migration


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Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Lord Is My Shepherd (Goodall)

"The Lord Is My Shepherd," by Howard Goodall is a lovely example of English choral music. If you are a fan of The Vicar Of Dibley, you've heard a portion of this one in the closing credits. Notes from the YouTube post:

The Choir of Wells Cathedral, Somerset, under the direction of Matthew Owens, perform Howard Goodall's setting of Psalm 23, 'The Lord is My Shepherd'.... This particular musical setting for choir and orchestra is well-known for having served as the theme music to the television programme 'The Vicar of Dibley', where the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and soloist George Humphries recorded the track.  The choir here is accompanied by the Wells Cathedral School Chamber Orchestra. Treble solos by William de Chazal, former Head Chorister at Wells.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And the Wind Was Low (Love Song)

Near the epicenter of the Jesus Movement of the 1970s was a band called Love Song. To say that they were pioneers in contemporary Christian music would be to devalue what this group did. They were witnesses to a unique spiritual awakening. No one had ever before done Christian music the way they did, and no one has matched them to this day. They wrote their own songs bearing witness to life as they were seeing it emerge. There was no "Christian Music Industry" at the time. These were pure artists standing outside the establishment, with no ties to the corporate industry. They recorded two albums of original material and left a legacy in the process. "And the Wind Was Low" was one of my favorites. It is performed here by Love Song's lead vocalist, Chuck Girard along with a slide show of the band from that unique era on California's coast and a movement that reverberated across the country.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Andraé Crouch (I'll Still Love You)

Last week we lost a pioneer in Contemporary Christian Music and a legendary Gospel artist when Andraé Crouch died at the age of 72. I'll never forget the morning at breakfast in my college cafeteria when one of my classmates mentioned a new album by Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, Take Me Back. "Finally!" he said, "Christian music is as good as anything you can hear on the radio!" 

Andraé Crouch was a crossover artist in many ways. Virtually the only African American on the "Jesus Music" scene in the 1970s, he was recognized as one of the best in the field of what became known as Contemporary Christian music. He was schooled in "Black Gospel" growing up in The Church of God in Christ (which has produced many talented black musicians). Crouch became a Grammy award winner and a mainstay in the music industry, doing music for television and movies, and working with many of the luminaries in the business.

Here is the opening track from Take Me Back, released in 1975, "I'll Still Love You."

 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany: O Little One Sweet (J.S. Bach)


The sublime work of J. S. Bach lends palpable grace to the Epiphany story of the Christ Child come
 to earth's domain, casting divine energy upon the consciousness of humankind, awakening the world.


 
See also "Epiphany" at  http://notdarkyet-commentary.blogspot.com/2015/01/epiphany.html



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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem is Latin for "grant us peace." It is a phrase from the Latin Mass during the Agnus Dei. The phrase has been used as the centerpiece for a number of musical works. For this one, usually classified as "traditional," the origin of the melody is unknown, but some have speculated that it was composed by Palestrina or Mozart. It is often sung as a three-round canon.