WITHOUT FEET (1999)
art work by:
Without Feet (1999):
Is a Spiritual journey influenced by The Way of the Pilgrim ... a man’s attempt to find the perfect form of prayer and transform his life ... and, by the poetry of The Essential Rumi ... a man who dedicated his life to finding God.
Imagine yourself setting out as the sun rises on the beach. The air is alive with possibility and expectation. A line from one of Rumi’s poems sets the tone for the entire collection:
“Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning,
our souls are dancing with you,
without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?”.
- from The Essential Rumi/Jelaluddin Balkhi
Spanish Monks begin their day with a simple prayer ... Jesu Christe ... Agnus Dei ... Kyrie.
Agnus Dei is a Latin term meaning Lamb of God, and was originally used to refer to Jesus Christ in his role of the perfect sacrificial offering that atones for the sins of humanity in Christian theology, harkening back to ancient Jewish Temple sacrifices. Although the depiction of Jesus as the Lamb of God is of ancient origin, it is not used in the liturgical iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The reason for this is that the depictions of Jesus in the Orthodox Church are anthropomorphic rather than symbolic, as a confession of the Orthodox belief in the Incarnation of the Logos.
Kýrie is from the Greek word κύριε (kyrie), the vocative case of κύριος (kyrios), meaning O Lord. It is the common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, also called Kýrie, eléison which is Greek for Lord, have mercy. The various litanies, popular in Orthodox Christianity, generally have Lord, have mercy as their response, either singly or triply. Some petitions in these litanies will have twelve or even forty repetitions of the phrase as a response. The phrase is the origin of the Jesus Prayer, beloved of Eastern Christians belonging to the Byzantine rite, and increasingly popular amongst Western Christians today.
A dirge filtered through our traveler’s eyes and ears as he witnesses the plight of the Batwa ... and prays for them.
The Indigenous Peoples of Rwanda: The Batwa (Twa) Peoples.
The Batwa were evicted from their homelands in the 1990s when the Rwandan government created the national parks of Mgahinga, Bwindi, and Echuya. The Batwa were never financially compensated for this move. Today, most Batwa people are landless and live as sharecroppers, exchanging their labor for insufficient housing and meager food.
begins with a rhythmical chant ... embedded with the Jesu Christe themes ... and evolves into a free flowing Jazz style combo.
A Prelude ("before play") is something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows after it. This prelude is set on the shore of a lake ... similar to the opening. The wind blows ... flows ... in the distance you can hear the beat of a drum ... calling you from your pleasant rest ... toward what is yet to come.
Agnus Dei ... Kyrie ... emerges in a procession ... to Jesu Christe.
Guaguanco is a sub-genre of Cuban rumba, a complex rhythmic music and dance style. Some historians have suggested that the Guaguanco may be derived from the Yuka, a secular dance of the Bantu people.
Imagine a large gathering of people ... who dance together in a rhythmic celebration ... folk like themes emerge to be developed and added to the ever expanding dance .... a reverent chorale in the middle ... a delicate new theme ...
leads us back to the original dance.
Slow ... choral voices ... rising and falling .... until joined by the Jazz group for a leisurely improvisation. Our “pilgrim” is attracted to Jazz ... what can I say?
brings back the Jesu Christe rhythms and delivers them to be developed by a cello like soloist ... passionate expression without words.
The Psalm’s “valley”? Our “pilgrim” has made a wrong turn perhaps ... explored in detail ... a familiar theme ... lacerating ... alarming ... gradually rising toward the Kyrie .
The Monastic presence at the top of the Valley ... a cleansing prayer.
The Mevlivi Order, or the Mevlevilik or Mevievlya are a Sufi order founded in Konya ... in present-day Turkey ... by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. They are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of khikr ... remembrance of God. Dervish is a common term for an initiate of the Sufi path: the whirling is part of the formal Sema ceremony and the participants are properly known as semazens.
Our musicians attempt to create a version of this ‘whirling’. The flute solo creates the mood ... and leads us to the simple dance. Hoping that God truly does have a sense of humor.
The Rhythm of The Saints ... a Bembé is a party for the Orishas. During a Bembé the Orishas are praised, saluted and entreated to join the party. This is done through a confluence of the song, rhythm, and movement, all calling to the Orishas in such a way that the Orish will recognize themselves in the lyrics, rhythms and dances as they have been performed for them for perhaps thousands of years.
The rhythms play an important part of the equation and the drummers practice assiduously for years to be able to play the intricate rhythms correctly. This is important since the drums are actually speaking to the Orishas as the Yoruba language is a tonal one and the drums are tuned in such a way as to play the tones of Yoruba speech. For this reason some rhythms are never played unless it is in religious context as it would offend the Orisha.
These rhythms are actually prayers to the deities with each Orisha having its own rhythms associated with them.
Dance also becomes prayer in the religious context of a Bembé. The movements of the dances are the same motions associated with the Orishas for thousands of years. As with the rhythms played on the drums, each Orisha has its own dances with Yemayá's dance emulating the motion of the waves, Ogún's chopping with his machete, Oshún's portraying her primping in front of her hand held mirror, etc. Therefore these movements become more danced prayers than what the Western European would refer to as dance.
Everything present at a Bembé whether it is song, dance, rhythm or colors used, becomes part of an intricate fabric of prayer saluting, praising and calling to the orishas and asking them to be present.
The word “Amen” is a declaration of the affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Its use in Judaism dates back to its earliest texts. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns.
Common English translations of the word amen include: "Verily", "Truly", "So say we all", "So be it", and "Let it be" ... the Beatles were right on in this regard.
Used here as the proper ending to our journey and prayers.
All of the text regarding definitions or explanations of words or phrases are lifted from Wikipedia ... and are not intended to be definitive in any way ... only to shed some light on their possible origins as they relate to this music.
The sound sources are:
“Supreme Beats” a percussion library by Bashiri Johnson Grandstreet Records and Filmworks
Vocal samples courtesy of Spectrasonics’ “Symphony of Voices”
Instrumental samples courtesy of Spectrasonics’ “Bizzare Guitar”
Instrumental samples courtesy of Spectrasonics’ “Distorted Reality 2”
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