Monday, February 20, 2006

Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Soul-Infusion

First of all, I know well enough by now that whenever I talk about my Soul I should keep my damn mouth shut! There's no way to give this justice.


Dwight Carter Photo

Rather than rewrite the Sweet Honey In the Rock (SWIR) bio, I'll let you read the one I did a year ago here. For now, I want to describe a bit more of what it is that makes this annual "soul fix" so unforgettable. They come every year to Sisters Chapel at Spelman College here in Atlanta as a benefit concert for the Fund for Southern Communities (FSC). This was their 14th year and our 7th time to hear them together.

To benefit something, of course, means to have like-minded goals and convictions. So to talk about SHIR is to talk about the FSC and vice versa. They're hand-in-glove to each other because of what they represent. The FSC "supports small community groups working for environmental justice, anti-racism, women's rights, youth development, LGBTQ rights, worker's rights, civil rights and disability rights and other varied issues that address social change through community organizing." As their motto says, they work for "Change, Not Charity."


Every year, the concert honors a Torch Bearer who represents the ideals of the FSC for social justice. This year it was Pearl Cleage, American poet, essayist, journalist and author of 5 novels, one of which was an Oprah Book Club pick (What Looks Like Crazy On an Ordinary Day). Some of her work is performed at theatres throughout the country. She lives with her husband here in Atlanta and considers themselves to be citizens of the world. And after the concert she graciously allowed me to take this photo. To be in the presence of women like her who fight for justice is Soulful in an of itself.

Every year tears well up in my eyes the minute SWIR opens their mouths to sing their 5-part harmonies a cappella. Visually they're a sight to behold because they make their own ornate and colorful "traditional" outfits (two per concert). A feast for the eyes. The sound that accompanies that and the free movements of their bodies throughout the concert as they dance to their rhythms--that's where my Soul is infused. If I ever could pick a time to "pass over," that would be one of them.

The group brings to mind the 1992 movie White Men Can't Jump. A choral musician told me once that the vocal cords of African Americans are physically different from us white people. They can do things vocally that few others can do (t
wo of the ladies, for instance, have a 2-3-octave range). I believe it. And I want them to have that honor. They deserve it!

Ironically, Saturday morning before the concert Donica and I were talking about balance in our lives. It's so easy to get caught up in our own ego-centric world without being mindful of all the injustice, pain and suffering going on all around us. I hate the crap going on with our man-made wars, the hurricane-relief ineptiude, the governmental b-s, injustice on so many levels everywhere. Is my one, small voice loud enough to rise above this fray? I pray so....

Anyway, if you ever need a kick in the pants, and you hear about Sweet Honey coming anywhere near you...or some such group that infuses your Soul with perspective, GO. We need a new earth, a new consciousness, a new enlightenment (ha, I'm also reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, but that's another post).

"Get up, go out and agitate."

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very nice life changing experience. And by the way, the clouds are already here again.

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  2. Oh, THAT kind of balance! We need that, yes. And your voice.

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  3. Just looking at the picture of the group Sweet Honey In the Rock makes me think they would be a fabulous group for a concert. And then reading what you wrote about them, just convinces me that much more. If they ever come around my area, I will have to go if at all possible.

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  4. Expat: Life-changing every year, yes! Re: the weather, I guess we just need to accept that it's gonna be a roller coaster for awhile longer!

    Ruth: Thanks, as always, Sister!

    Tim: Since they hail from the D.C. area, you should definitely have a chance to see them. Oh my. I highly recommend it!

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  5. She's got my hair! :D

    (I read the rest of your post too, by the way)

    *pumps fist in the air*

    Preach it sistah! :)

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  6. Orange and I went to a Gospel concert last year just before Christmas and we loved it. Really soulful music. And those voices! We'll be going back again, that's for sure.

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  7. Lisa: HA. Yes she does. I wish I knew if her "no hair" is a statement, and if so, what? Would you know?

    CS: I agree about how Soulful Gospel is. This group is a combination of that, hip-hop even, and all the other stuff in-between. Since they write most of their music, it's unique. Can't get enough of it!

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  8. Oh yes, ms. ginnie, I do know. I will write more about this in a little bit.

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