Posts tagged “music

Musician Challenges Christianity in Ghana – A Call For the Old Ways

“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.

Music artist Azizaa and rapper/video director Wanlov the Kubolor have recently collaborated together make a music video that directly challenges Christianity, the song is called “Black Magic Woman.”

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.

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Azizaa Official Page

Azizaa Mystic Facebook

Wanlov Official Site

Wanlov the Kubolor Facebook


Earth Day Realities and Environ-metal – Change is Needed Before We Reach The Point of No Return

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Happy Earth Day everyone! But of course, we must remember that everyday is Earth Day, not just today.

We must also remember that we do not need to worry about Nature. Nature has been around for billions of years, and Nature has survived 5 major mass extinctions. The worst one, The Permian Extinction, wiped out about 90% of the life on the planet. So human activity may cause temporary chaos – but Nature will get past it – even if it takes her 100,000 years to clean up the mess human beings have caused, this is just a drop in the bucket in the overall scale of time.

Human beings are the ones who should be worried. If we continue to destroy the resources we need to survive – there will be a massive scale of death of human beings in the billions. This sounds far-fetched, but remember that a plague alone killed a third of Europe’s population in the 13th century. What percentage of the world’s people would die if we were dealing with global plague, famine, increased super storms – and of course the wars ignited in reaction to these things?

The global environmental crisis isn’t just something that will stay in the third world either – already it is wrecking havoc in California with the chronic water shortage.

So climate change is a real issue – THE issue – and we need to take it very seriously.

If we don’t do something soon as a society, we will reach the point of no return. At a certain point, problems will start solving themselves – just not in a way that we would like. (Think of Hurricane Sandy times 100).


WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ON A GLOBAL LEVEL

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I won’t be able to go over everything in minute detail, or else this blog post would turn into a book. But I’ll go over a few basics.

  • THE SHIFT TO A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY: When I say “clean energy,” I’m not talking about “natural” gas. Putting the word “natural” in a name doesn’t make it any more clean or natural. Fracking has actually been shown to cause more pollution than the standard oil drilling, (since fracking releases methane – and methane is at least 20 times more powerful as a green house gas than Carbon Dioxide). There needs to be an initiative on a major level to transition away from our global dependency on oil drilling, fracking and coal burning – and shift towards solar and wind power. The transition towards a “Clean Energy Economy” would actually create millions of new jobs and would be better for the environment overall. Also, according to CleanTechnica, such a shift would create around 3 million new jobs in America alone and would only cost 1.2% of the GDP. To put this in perspective, keep in mind that the top earning companies have used 4% of public GDP just to improve the worth of their own company stocks. (The Atlantic, 2015).
  •  A MAJOR AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION: One of the largest causes of pollution and environmental destruction is the structure of our global food systems. Modern agriculture has set in motion a gigantic reduction in global water supplies. Industrial fertilizers were only invented 100 years ago, so there is no long term track record of what they are going to do to the planet (which is pretty scary!). Modern fertilizers have also played a role in the extinction of helpful species (such as bees, bats and frogs), as well as destroying the local soil. The domestication of animals on a major level also requires a large amount of land, the consumption of vegetation, the destruction of forest land, and releases a record amount of methane in the atmosphere. On a global scale, the agriculture industry is the largest cause of methane emissions (EPA). Yes, industrial agriculture has been helpful so far in averting global famine, but it doesn’t have a long term future. A global shift towards family owned organic farms, urban farming, self sustainability and even low meat diets would be a start in solving this problem. There needs to be a greater conversation about a “Plan B” for achieving a realistic replacement plan for the non-viable Industrial Agriculture system.
  • TACKLING ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ON A POLITICAL/LEADERSHIP LEVEL: Much of the modern narrative about Environmentalism has been about what you – as an individual – can do to save the planet. There is all this talk about buying new light bulbs, driving a hybrid and shopping at Whole Foods. Perhaps if everyone did these things it might make some minor difference, but the major cause of pollution and global warming is actually caused by large industries that can really only be regulated by the government. The problem is that in many governments (particularly America) Environmental reform is occurring at a glacial pace – if not a non-existent pace. The Environment wasn’t even mentioned in the 2012 presidential election until hurricane Sandy hit New York; Here’s a scary fact, half of the newly elected Congress doesn’t believe in global warming (motherboard) – compare this to the fact that 97% of scientists do believe in global warming.
  • TACKLING THE LIE THAT A HEALTHY ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT CAN’T EXIST SIDE BY SIDE: The lie that many big companies use to avoid new regulations or a shift towards a more environmentally positive policy is this idea that environmental reform isn’t “profitable.” This is a lie, a complete and total lie. The reality is that today’s big businesses would actually not be profitable if they had to pay for the resources they used. Industries like big oil and big agriculture (Monsanto) receive a record amount of subsidies and government level support to keep their industries afloat. None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use (Grist, 4-17-13). The reality is that an energy-efficient economy would actually be much more profitable, create more jobs, would have a better chance at a long term future and would be better for the environment. After all, what is big oil going to do when they run out of oil? How much longer can the fracking industry last? Most scientists give them only 20 years. What is big-agro going to do when they run out of ground water? The reality is that the people who are currently in power are scared – as they should be – because their companies have no long-term future, are not truly profitable. Here is another fact. An economy can’t exist when its people are dead. Environmental reform on a large scale is key if we are to solve the major issues of our time. 

 WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL? 

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From what I wrote above, I made it sound like that the individual can’t do much, but that is not true. As an individual, you can actually do a lot to help the planet. But the main contribution won’t be using an energy efficient lightbulb (although that is a thoughtful gesture), your contribution will be in using your voice, your talents, your activism and your creativity to help contribute towards the creation of a culture and political system that prioritizes the protection of nature and the development of sustainable systems.

Here are some ideas for Earth Day action for the individual.

  • Think about how you can use your voice and your talents to spread awareness about the destruction of life on the planet and the need for major environmental change.
  • Plant a tree (Like I said, won’t change the world. But it is a fun Earth Day activity that will help your local environment and help get you more in touch with nature).
  • Go for a hike in nature.
  • Host a clean up at your local park.
  •  Start a garden (Growing your own food won’t cause a revolution, but its a positive step towards sustainability and ending the dependence on destructive agricultural systems).
  • Donate your time or money to a company/cause that fights for climate change/climate justice.
  • If you vote, look into the candidate that has the best track record of environmental protection
  • Consider eating a low meat diet (or getting your meat at a Farmer’s Market). Apparently half of the world’s crops are used to feed domesticated animals. I’ve already talked about the problems of Industrial Agricultural above. If the meat industry was downsized, that would be more land – less pollution – and more crops for the hungry. The U.S. could feed 800 million people alone with the crops that domesticated farm animals eat (Cornell).
  • Get in touch with Earth Based Spirituality. One of the greatest things we need to do to change is change our culture – change our perception of our role on this planet. This world wasn’t meant to be mankind’s plaything. The growth of indigenous, Earth based religions and traditions around the globe is helping to focus people’s attention towards what really matters. Looking at the Earth as a divine mother, rather than a material product is the first step towards a positive change.

  NOW ENJOY SOME ENVIRON-METAL

HAVOK – POINT OF NO RETURN

While this video deals with a variety of geopolitical issues, I thought this video does a great job of hammering home the point that humanity is reaching a point of “no return.” If we don’t achieve real change now, we’ll reach a point where problems will start solving themselves – in a way that we don’t like.


KREATOR – PEOPLE OF THE LIE

Much of the structure of today’s world is a lie – the lie that this is a good system and if you cooperate you’ll have a good future. Perhaps things may look good now (if you live in a developed country, and are in a part of that country with a strong economy). But much of our current wealth has been borrowed from the planet, and borrowed against the future. This current lifestyle has no long term future. The politicians won’t tell you that – but it is the truth. Our current system and its leaders are the people of the lie.


TESTAMENT – DARK ROOTS OF EARTH

“Dark roots of the Earth
Echoes an eternity
Dark roots of the earthy
Will see us home eventually”

A simple but powerful point. The dark, primordial power of the Earth is a long lasting, ancient truth. We will find ourselves home if we connect with nature, and if we do not – we’ll find our ruin.


Satyricon – My Skin is Cold

“A heathens call, stand up or fall. This world is yours, for you to rule.”

Band Location: Norway

Musical Genre: Black Metal

Lyrical Themes: Mysticism, Nature, Apocalypse, Anti-Christianity

As the winter approaches for those of us in the world’s Northern Hemisphere, the ice cold chill of this Norwegian black metal song fits the season well. Satyricon makes for a formidable force with the singer’s ghoulish voice, pumping double bass drums and an ambiance that sounds like it was recorded in a primeval Norwegian forest. The Nordic fathers are calling, those ancient Heathen voices from long ago are returning yet, like torches in the dark. The black metal of today evokes voices of old, in their brutal, primal essence.

LYRICS

My skin is cold and the birds fly free
Over my head, where winter grows
A heathens call, stand up or fall
This world is yours, for you to rule

This, the blood of sin
Flows freely
This, unstoppable force
In the naked flesh
My skin is cold – your skin is cold

Black metal rock and scent of leather
And bloodstained gold
With rain and wind come times of change,
and dream come true
I go with you, on the path we make

This, the blood of sin
Flows freely
This, unstoppable force
In the naked flesh
My skin is cold – your skin is cold

Snow covered mountain
I gaze in awe
Wondering who and what was here before
I made my mark on that sacred soil
This phoenix rose from a pit of pain

This, the blood of sin
Flows freely
This, unstoppable force
In the naked flesh
My skin is cold – your skin is cold

One nations man carrying the weight,
of a peoples disgrace
This is the turnaround!
Driven by birthright and godsent will
The time has come for you to rule

This, the blood of sin
Flows freely
This, unstoppable force
In the naked flesh
My skin is cold – your skin is cold

SATYRICON LINKS

Official Site

Satyricon Playlist

Facebook

Metal Archives


We Shall Remain (A Music Video Made to Address Trauma in Native American Community)

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.


Orphaned Land Frontman Speaks Out About Middle Eastern Violence

“Our show is a church of heavy metal. I hope everyone will put their weapons down and listen to metal. That’s my Utopia.” ~ Orphaned Land Frontman Kobi Farhi

Metal Hammer recently released an article in which the Orphaned Land Frontman Kobi Farhi opens his heart up about the current Israeli and Palestinian conflict. For those of you who don’t know about Orphaned Land, they are a Israeli Folk Metal (former death metal) band that writes music about conflict in the Middle East. As a token of goodwill, Farhi even shared a Metal Hammer award with his Palestinian tour mate of the band Khalas. He states that the only thing he and Khalas argue about is “who will pay for the beer.”

Yet now the lives of people in Palestine and Israel have turned into a nightmare, as these places have turned into a war zone once again. Yet Farhi didn’t just speak out about this violence, but about the general bloodshed in the Middle East – referring to the tragedies in Syria and Iraq.

“We feel like we’re some of very few awakened from a deep slumber. It’s not just Israel and Gaza. Look what happens in Syria, look what happens in Iraq with Isis. The place is full of weapons, fire and death. Terrible things are happening – and we can’t stop them with our guitars and lyrics.”

The video above discusses the topic of children being handed toy guns and taught hatred from a young age, instead of being taught about life and how to have a dialogue with one’s enemy.

While times look dark, there is a tiny flicker of hope in the power of music and art. Maybe one day we can use the power of art and music to achieve a real global dialogue and a lasting peace.


Anilah – Shamanic Healing Music

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.

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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:

ANILAH VIDEOS

CALLING THE OTHERS

ROLLING THUNDER [WARRIOR]

RELEVANT LINKS

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ANILAH OFFICIAL SITE

ANILAH FACEBOOK

REVIEW ON SOLPURPOSE


Rumi – Poem of the Atoms

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. 


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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.