And Song most surely began as a cry or a prayer ––though no need discerning between the two, for they are the same ––and both sacred: the prayer and the wail becoming Song as soon as shared.
Some of us come, later in life, to find our knees; while others slip young into trauma like a quarry stone gone under, held down by the weight of their own world.
Many of those, alas, never come back up. But those able are wont to be luminous, struggle having landed their hearts on the outside of their bodies: a swinging lantern within that aforementioned dim room ––where stories are unraveled, thus to be reconstructed… purposefully reanimated.
It was also within such a room that Allison Russell ––singer, songwriter, poet, and activist–– bore witness to herself in descent. But the abused child she was played mother to the brave woman and fierce artist she would become ––surviving being one of only two options, and not the most likely.
The songs themselves ––though iron-hard in their concerns–– are exultant: exercising haunted dream like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, and with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance.
Nina Simone comes to mind, as well Edith Piaf: two shamanistic practitioners who turned their faces into the blade of storm and roared back dignity and hope.
This music, no less ––no less–– is a triumph: a courageous work ––burnished and bright; unspeakably beautiful as she sings the unspeakable.
Above all, it is an act of remarkable generosity: a cathartic, soulful, buoyant and redeeming gift to us all and, one must believe, to herself as well.
-Joe Henry Bath, Maine
"When I was sixteen I read The Thunder: Perfect Mind for the first time - it’s an exhortatory poem discovered among the Gnostic manuscripts in the Nag Hammadi library in the 40’s. It has never left me. I’ve been meditating on the nature of resilience, endurance, and grace more deeply since becoming a mother. I was trying to bridge the divide and embrace shame and my inner divinity equally with this piece…"- A
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