"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

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.


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

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Though our hearts had not withdrawn their longing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.