Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to Apollo and the sacred sound of music...

Apollo is the God of music. More importantly, he is the god of the inspiration behind music. He is Musagetes, the leader of the Muses, and together they inspire the artistic impulse of man. But I want to focus a bit on music and how it affects us, and more importantly, how we can use it to change ourselves and be healed, another aspect of this God.

For many many years now, I can't say I remember exactly how many, I have been a fan of a particular style of music that is referred to as New Age, but don't mistake what that means. I do not like Yanni, I do not like most of what is called New Age, but rather, there is a very special type of New Age music that tends toward a fusion of cultural styles. Among the artists most famous in this particular category of New Age are Enya, Maire Brennan, Azam Ali, Niyaz, Vas, Deva Premal, Rasa, Paul Schwartz, and a few others whose names escape me right now.

What is different between these artists and other New Age artists is a reliance on traditional sounds and styles that help to inform us of something far deeper in ourselves and them (the artists) that needs expressing. Something profound and powerful.

These also have something else in common. They tend to be melodic and almost hark back to a medieval or gothic vocal style that includes things like choirs, and some are even distinctly religious (Rasa and Deva Premal are both part of the Hindu/Indian tradition, Maire Brenna and Paul Schwartz are both distinctly Christian, and Azam Ali sings song of Persian Islamic style and content) and it is here that they tend to find in me a certain resonance.

Religious feeling has always made for profoundly powerful music, but whatever the religion, it has always also carried with it a powerful ability to lift us up from the mundane and into a higher state of mind. It is this that attracts me to these particular artists. It is this that I trust in when I think about Apollo and the power he conveys in humanity's love of music. A love that is almost universal, for every culture on Earth has its own connection to this primal power. Every human being has an intrinsic attraction to it, and it can heal us, make us feel whole, spiritual, and alive.

I just bought Deva Premal sings the Moola Mantra, and if you have any love for this kind of uplifting force, if you trust in the healing power of music, you should give it a shot.

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