Sometimes I wonder about the first human note ever sung. Did it come from one throat or from many? Was the first song a lullaby, a lament, a hymn of praise?
When I get tired of hearing people talk about “the universe” (and what it wants or doesn’t) I remind myself that universe could translate as “one song.” I like the idea of living in a song, of being sung into being by a song. In CS Lewis’s series of children’s novels The Chronicles of Narnia, the lion Aslan creates the world with song, from the stars to the tiniest plants and animals. In Prayers of the Cosmos, author Neil Douglas-Klotz offers as one of several alternative translations from the Aramaic Abwoon d’bwashmaya (Our Father who art in heaven) “O thou! The Breathing Life of All, Creator of the Shimmering Sound that touches us.”
I don’t know that Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, was thinking of song when he wrote: “There is one kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of spirit on the body.”* To me those words express why singing is so powerful–and why Soulkiss is such a perfect name for Tim Dillinger, David Sosa, and Kare Alford’s vocal trio.
Last weekend Soulkiss came to my release party for MaevenSong, my first recording, co-produced by Tim Dillinger (see “The Making of MaevenSong” in the archives of this blog.) In most venues, they appear with their band, and the experience of a full-on Soulkiss concert is not to be missed. (Next one: The Triad 2/13 in NYC; details at www.TimDillinger.com). My party was a more intimate celebration, and they sang solo and harmony with no back up, no microphone, just the naked beauty of the human voice being received by a circle who held and honored that vulnerbility, that power, that touch of spirit on the body.
I had planned only to play cuts from MaevenSong, but, inspired by Soulkiss, I also sang a cappella. After the performances, we did what I love best at a gathering: we improvised. The drums came out, here and there a flute, and the voices, all our voices. At one point I put Soulkiss on the spot: “Start a chant!” And David Sosa sang out: “Flow like a river, ebb like the tide.” And everyone sang with him, creating harmonies, counterparts, and the chant became enchantment, the flow and ebb of river and tide moving through us all. In that moment, we might have been the first singers, creating the first song, being created by that song.
I love Soulkiss. Please get to a concert, support their album in progress: www.timdillinger.com. I am very proud of MaevenSong, which is now available here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ecunningham. But most of all remember to sing! There is one kiss we want, and it is ours for a song.
*translation of line from Rumi poem by Coleman Barks