The Blogging University Writing 101 task for today was to: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? I knew immediately that I wanted to use a song from my past, an African-American gospel song and one of Amma’s chants.
When the Doves Cry
In the mid 80’s, I took my son and daughter to their first rock concert. The artist was Prince, who was one of my favorite singers at the time. I particularly loved his Purple Rain album, or it could be that was the only album of his I knew! My favorite song on it was “When the Doves Cry.” It spoke to me so much, for reasons I’m only partially aware of. To me the tune is hauntingly beautiful. I think some of the lyrics remind me of my birth family and some remind me of what I was feeling and thinking at that time in my life, but it is not an actual representation of either I tried to find a YouTube version where Prince was accurate singing but it is not available. As a result, I started listening to other artist’s renditions. I didn’t like most of them, but I finally found one that, except for the first 25 seconds, really reminds me of the original. It was posted by a person who was trying, in a very creative way, to find out what musical group was singing!
I Need You, You Need Me
I have been in two African-American churches over the years when children have performed sign language to a recording of Hezekiah Walker’s song, “I Need You, You Need Me.” I fell in love with it the minute I first heard it. Around 2008, I decided I wanted to choreograph a rhythmic choir dance to the song, one that would also include the sign language component. I was able to make that dream a reality in 2012. Below is a video of Hezakiah Walker singing the song and also a very short excerpt from the dance. You can see pictures and learn more about the story behind the dance by reading this post: When the Mind is Still, Magic Happens.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
My plan was to use one of Amma’s joyous songs as my third song. I knew she has a YouTube page so thought I might find it there. I couldn’t find what I was looking for but not surprisingly, I found a perfect one, even though it was sung from profound sorrow rather than joy.
In 2004, I was at the Amritapuri ashram when the tsunami hit. It devastated the village that lies outside the ashram grounds. Villagers, ashram visitors and ashram residents were evacuated to Amma’s colleges and schools located on the other side of the backwaters. Amma spent the day leading the evacuation efforts, seeing that everyone had a place to sleep and was fed. In the afternoon or evening she came to be with the villagers who had lost everything they had, sometimes including having had their children ripped from their hands and pulled into the sea. Either that same night, or the one after it, she sat with us and sang “Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu “ (May all beings everywhere be happy.)