“History has it that the colonial masters came with the Bible and the gun, gave the Bible to the Africans, as they pointed their guns at their heads.” — Azizaa
“They took away our spirituality and gave us religion; they banned us from gathering under a tree by the fireside and herded us into churches.”—Wanlov
According to a 2012 Gallup International Survey about religiousity around the world, Ghana is one of the most religious countries in the world. Indeed its the kind of country with a church on every street corner (or maybe four or five). Many of these churches are places where rich pastors prey on the poor. A quick google search of pastors in Ghana will pull up a list of the richest pastors. This expresses a clear message: Christianity is a big business in Ghana (as well as elsewhere in Africa). A fundamental part of this business is poor people going to mass and giving away a substantial part of their income to rich pastors.
These churches also demand that the African people abandon their ancient spiritual practices in favor of the new religion put in place by Western, colonial forces.Yet many people in Ghana still invoke the ancient juju when nothing else works.
In the video a woman is being harassed by two Christian missionaries. When these missionaries run after her, they are confronted by the forces of an ancient and powerful magic.
WE SHALL REMAIN was created to address the effects of historical trauma in our tribal communities. Many times, these untended wounds are at the core of much of the self-inflicted pain experienced in Native America. Much like fire, this pain can either be devastatingly destructive or wisely harnessed to become fuel that helps us to rise up and move forward in life with joy, purpose and dignity.
Anilah sounds to me like a mix of Wardruna, Dead Can Dance, Progressive Rock and Shamanic chanting.
Anilah is the musical project of vocalist and composer Dréa Drury, a musician who hails from the Selkirk Mountains of Western Canada. Her music is influenced by traditional shamanic sound practices, sacred chant, dark tribal and Indian Classical. She has studied the art of using the voice as a healing modality with sound healers and shamans from across North America. Even listening to her music on YouTube makes me feel more relaxed, so it must be working. Her unique sound includes elements of progressive rock and dark ambient chanting.
On the Solpurpose review of her album “Warriro”, Dréa states the following:
“The reason I use ritual and ceremony in a creative context is to help dissolve perceptual boundaries, and to enhance my ability to hear in a different way. Usually this involves actively creating a trance state through pranayama, kriyas, or mantra.”
She also says the following about nature:
“When I am walking through the forest and allow myself to open to the larger conversation that is happening, I feel myself filling up with the sheer grace of being, and literally have no other option but to express my gratitude – and this happens in the form of a song or melody. So to rephrase: I breathe nature in, I breathe melody out. My creativity takes this form.”
Recently I had a chance to talk with this medicine woman of sound on Facebook. Here are her responses to my following questions:
MG: How long have you been playing music, when and how did you pick it up?
DD: I’ve been playing music ever since I could sit at a piano – started studying with my grandmother at 5, then moved on to classical training at 13, did my degree in music at college and then did private apprenticeships with my vocal teachers Ali Akbar Khan and Silvia Nakkach afterward. So yea…have been at it for a long time Always was a musical creature, couldn’t help it..
MG: I’m curious, who are your musical influences?
DD: I have many, but notable ones are: Wardruna, Tool (all of Maynard James Keenan projects), Dead Can Dance – Lisa Gerrard, Bjork, NIN, Chelsea Wolfe. Also listen to tons of avant guard choral/classical music, from composers like Hildegard Von Bingen, Bulgarian Women’s Choir, and countless artists in the Indian Classcial Genre like Raga.
If you would love to hear more Anilah, check out the videos and links below:
CALLING THE OTHERS
ROLLING THUNDER [WARRIOR]
O’ day, arise!
Shine your light, the atoms are dancing.
Thanks to Him the universe is dancing.
overcome with ecstasy,
Free from body and mind
I’ll whisper in your ear where their dance is leading them.
All the atoms in the air and in the desert are dancing,
puzzled and drunken to the ray of light,
they seem insane.
All these atoms are not so different than we are,
happy or miserable,
perplexed and bewildered,
we are all beings in the ray of light from the beloved,
nothing can be said.
Rumi is a 13th century, Persian poet and considered a Sufi Saint by many. While Rumi was an Islamic poet, his poetry has a transcendent appeal among various cultures world wide. His poems contain a deep theme of creative love and the urge to rejoin the spirit to the divine. He believed that this was the goal of every living thing that moved, human, animal or mineral.
Not only is the poem above exquisitely beautiful in terms of rhyme scheme, but it has a deep scientific and spiritual significance when you really think about it.
Let’s take this concept of atoms dancing in the light of the divine.
While the “atom” itself wasn’t physically discovered until the 19th century, early Greek and Indian philosophers had an idea of an atom as an indivisible particle that was the smallest unit of matter. “The Poem of Atoms” captures the idea of every living thing, even the smallest pieces of matter, are participating in a universal dance in the light of the divine.
Today scientists know that sub-atomic particles rotate around a nucleus, planets rotate around stars, stars circle around galaxies and that life occurs in cycles. Everything from the infinitely small to the infinitely large is participating in an orbit – a form of cosmic dance with no clear beginning or end.
The next key piece of imagery here is divine light: “We are all beings in the ray of light from the beloved.” Light is necessary for life. Without the light of the sun, none of us would be here. Light has a variety of meanings in poetry, it could be the light of the sun, the light of knowledge, illumination, or the Divine itself.
The last significant verse I’ll mention is the following: “All these atoms are not so different than we are.”
All life is made up of the same particles. You and I are made up of the hydrogen and helium of the stars that formed this galaxy billions of years ago. All life forms are made up of the same atoms, the same particles and the same star stuff.
When we die, our bodies may decompose and our memories may fade, but the atoms and particles that make up our being will rejoin the universe in the endless, ecstatic dance of life.