May 19, 2007
We had a lovely Transmission this week – due to a last minute change of plan, we ended up sitting around and doing shape-note singing in three part harmony for about forty-five minutes. There’s something really wonderful about making music in a home, and there’s something even more wonderful about hearing your voice blend and harmonize with other people in the community. Although it wasn’t the most complicated ritual we’ve ever done, it was a very moving worship experience.
I’m really interested in upping the amount of music at Transmission. We’ve got a few in-house song writers, several singers, and lots of music lovers. Maybe we could make musical jams be a semi-regular thing.
In any case, in celebration of good Spring weather, I’d like to share the latest Isaac Everett & j. Snodgrass concoction – a setting of the Canticle of Brother Sun by St Francis of Assisi.
During Francis’s life, there was a movement called the Cathars who preached a strong disparity between the spiritual world and the physical world. For the Cathars, the world was an evil place created by a demon and the goal of Christ was to free us from it so that we could be spiritually reunited with God. Francis, a monk who I think of as half-way between Jack Kerouac and Dr. Dolittle, opposed this point of view and wrote lots of poetry about seeing God in creation. This particular poem praises God by honoring and personifying the sun, moon, and stars, the four elements, and, ultimately, death. It also happens to be the first piece of Italian vernacular poetry.
The poem was metricized brilliantly by John, and sung by Dara Centonze (who many of you heard at Easter at Avalon). Enjoy!
PS We’re releasing this to the world, so feel free to download it, pass it around, etc. If you love it, buy the next album, to be released in August.