If music be the food of love…

Posted on May 11, 2017 in Spiritual living

Acoustic Music NightFor several months now I’ve been attending a weekly acoustic music session at a local hotel bar. It’s ironic that it took a friend a fair old while to persuade me to try it, and now I feel like it’s a core activity in my life.

Music, and singing in particular, has always been soul food for me. Something happens when I raise my voice in song; it’s as if I enter a sort of trance state. I never feel closer to Source than when I’m lost in the music and something seems to be singing me rather than the other way around. It’s no surprise to me that the bible talks of a perpetual choir of angels surrounding the throne of God. I can totally understand and resonate with that image!

Some truly magical moments happen in this space, and I’m seeing so much spiritual wisdom in it. We sit in a circle, which organically opens up and expands as people arrive, so they feel included and part of it – all are welcomed as equals whether they’re the oldest attendee or the newest addition, a seasoned professional or an eager beginner. Like passing the talking stick, we each take a turn to play or sing around this circle, everyone listening quietly and respectfully to the person in the spotlight. (On a usual night we circumnavigate three times, but on a busy night you’re more likely to get two “turns”).

We get to hear such an eclectic mix of genres and styles, from rock, blues, folk and country, through to some poetry and prose reading, with performers of all ages and experiences. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, washboards, harmonicas, squeeze-boxes, whistles, flutes, fiddles and all manner of percussion make an appearance. Some of us bring our own compositions to the mix, others present our own versions of existing material. I’m listening to and falling in love with songs I’d never have heard any other way, so it’s opening me up to explorations and delights beyond my limited experience and preferences.

Honestly, if you looked at us all individually you’d probably never put us in the same room together! On the surface it’s so easy to see only the differences, and as we’re linked up on Facebook it’s become clear what a diverse bunch we are. In terms of politics, spirituality, eating/drinking habits, music taste, and lifestyle choices, we’re not in agreement as some lively discussion threads illustrate clearly. BUT on a Wednesday night, sitting in that circle, we’re united by our love of music and the sung and spoken word, and our need to express it. We’re a family.

Often people will choose topical songs reflecting what we see happening around us, so we can sing and play our troubles and worries away as we share them and lighten the load. Natural collaborations evolve, a single person starting off and the momentum building as gradually other instruments join in, picking up the chords and tune to fill the room with magical sound. I have memories of singing alone and unaccompanied one night (yes, it’s that welcoming and friendly), braving a rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You”. By the end I had my eyes closed in rapture, listening with a full heart to the voices blending with mine, and I could have sworn I was in a mega stadium with mobile phones lighting up the dark and waving back at me! Last night, we morphed into our own choir of (fallen?!) angels when everyone harmonised on the chorus of “The Weight”, taking our cue to finish in perfect unison from the singer who’d led us in.

It’s a safe, supportive and totally non-judgemental space in which we feel comfortable to try out new things and make mistakes. I’ve giggled and stumbled my way through a few contributions, and received as warm and enthusiastic a reception as I have for my more polished renditions. A friendly and at times deliciously raucous sense of humour is always in evidence.

My Wednesday night reminds me of how amazing communities can be when we come together to focus on what connects and unites us, instead of dwelling on the dividing differences. It’s what we used to do to entertain ourselves before the TV dominated nearly every household’s front room. It reminds us of the shared experience of being human, of the fact we’re never alone in it, and I believe our ancestors absolutely understood the importance of that communal glue in a life that could seem dominated by conflict and discord. If we can achieve so much in a hotel bar in mid Wales, then I’m remaining optimistic for the greater community called humanity. And if that means we need to introduce more regular exposure to live music and entertainment by the people for the people then…play on!

“I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church” – Lyrics from “My Church” by Maren Morris

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Semele Xerri

© Semele Xerri is a psychic intuitive guide, healer, animal communicator, and Reiki Master Teacher. To find out more about her and her services, go to her Work with me page.

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