Won't you have to sing, These songs of freedom? - Redemption Song Bob Marley As I write, XR Rebellion actions are taking place across London and only two weeks ago Greta Thunberg united millions in the #ClimateStrike. Business as usual is being disrupted to urge our governments to face the greatest emergency of our lifetimes and our species. Song, chant and voice is at the centre of this movement, as it has been in so many revolutions, marches and protests. For when we claim our voices, whether for our own personal transformation or for that of our communities and global family, freedom dawns.
Personal Rebellion Even the most subjected person has moments of rage and resentment so intense that they respond, they act against. There is an inner uprising that leads to rebellion, however short lived. It may be only momentary but it takes place. That space within oneself where resistance is possible remains. - Bell Hooks Singing is an amazing force to free our mind, body and spirit from enslavement - liberation comes to the person who by singing reclaims their voice from a teacher who shamed them as a child. In my one to one sessions, I am honoured to witness people owning and releasing the power of their voices from the grip of old stories and writing a new chapter for themselves. It takes courage and commitment to unpeel the layers and claim new levels of empowerment, creative expression and energy in our lives.
Social Rebellion The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force. - Martin Luther King The signature of XR is Love and Rage. In polite English society we are taught to swallow rage with the result that it lives on in our bodies, emerging as disease or depression. When we allow ourselves to register that our boundaries have been violated and our freedoms oppressed, the rage that arises, when channelled creatively can open doors to personal and social freedom. Singing channels powerful emotions into action - the activism of social change. So much contemporary music - jazz, RnB, soul, gospel, pop - finds its roots in the spirituals of Afro-American slaves who sang as a way of surviving, overcoming and escaping slavery. Songs such as Let Your Little Light Shine were coded messages about the Underground Railroad that allowed slaves to escape via a route of safe houses. The photo above is of singers at the Civil Rights Movement, in which SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committees) was a leading organisation. When one of the leaders Sam Block went to Missippi to start voter registration campaigns the first thing he did was teach people freedom songs, realising that: I began to see the music itself as an important organizing tool, not only to bring [people] together but also as an organizational glue to hold them together.
Creative Rebellion In art, rebellion is consummated and perpetuated in the act of real creation, not in criticism or commentary. - Alfred Camus The making, doing, living, breathing act of creation holds immense power. All oppressive regimes understand this and seek to censor and control artistry. There are also more subtle forms of oppression that pervade our societies - institutionalised forms of discrimination, prejudice and exclusion of the voices of those labelled 'other.' However history teaches us that these untruths cannot hold, that the voice of truth will rise up to challenge, rebel and find freedom. Creative action is at the core of liberation. A song, a poem, a dance can strike a chord that resonates far more powerfully than a multitude of talking heads trolling, carping, critiquing, commenting. Singing together can unify, harmonise and make a symphony from cacophony, celebrating and liberating the contribution of every voice.
Global Freedom Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. - Arundhati Roy It was an amazing experience to be amongst so many young people singing and chanting at the Climate Strike. The young voices of our world are rising and making themselves heard, carrying their love, care and vision for the future on their wings. A new world is being birthed through their songs and voices and we must listen to their call.
October Overtures As the Autumn leaves bronze, the singing season is getting into full sway for choirs. Please click here for the full October line up and a special thanks to everyone how made this years Sing for Water London such an amazing experience.
If you'd like to liberate the revolutionary power of your voice 121 or at a choir do drop me a line.