Thursday, July 05, 2007

revival

We went to a music festival yesterday to see some friends and listen to music and toast our freedom with cold beer. One of our friends was performing, he's from Trinidad and does a mix of calypso, funk and soul. He was covering Marley's Redemption Song, folks were dancing and drinking and singing along. He sounds remarkably like Bob so every time I hear him sing one of his songs I always close my eyes and tilt my face up and soak it in.

M was running circles around me in full toddler fashion, falling and tripping and rebounding and smashing into me. My beer was sloshing around a bit, splashing my arm. J was a few feet away talking to a friend.

Our friend got to the part of the song Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery and then he repeated it Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, and then he stopped the music and repeated Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery with no music and his voice loud and strong. And then the crowd had stopped their singing along and dancing, jolted out of the expected and stood silent, watching this man with long wild locks and wiry form rise up from his stool and repeat it yet again, as loud and deep as giant waves at the tide.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.

And after the fourth time it sunk in. The crowd started cheering and applauding and there was a brief moment of solidarity and then our friend sat down and said This is your freedom. THIS is your freedom.

And then he finished the song without further ado. That moment stuck with me, that brief moment of consciousness mixed inside the sun. This IS our freedom, the one we owe to ourselves. None but ourselves can free our mind. And the path is curvy and dark and I stumble, and yet it's this that I know is true.

40 comments:

slouching mom said...

I've got goosebumps.

That must have been pretty amazing to be a part of.

The unexpected always gives us a jolt. And we need those kinds of jolts more often.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh WOW.

Like SM, goosebumps, I totally would have had them there, too. How awesome.

Mad Hatter said...

Wow. You live in a place with
1. sun
2. people who sing Bob Marley songs
3. people who sound like Bob Marley when they do it (instead of, say, a middle-aged white woman and a toddler singing Three Little Birds on a Maritime road trip)
4. crowds who cheer notions of mental emancipation.

I like your kinda freedom. Too bad about all that other stuff you wrote about yesterday. Emancipate yourself as much as you can, sweet Jen.

"Sweet Jen": you know, you could almost be a Velvet Underground song. I like that idea:

"And, everyone who ever had a heart
They wouldn't turn around and break it
And anyone who ever played a part
Oh wouldn't turn around and hate it!

Sweet Jen! whoa-oh-oh! sweet Jen!"

Sober Briquette said...

It gave me goosebumps, too.

Yesterday Fiona was after me to read her the comics. Most of them weren't of interest (or out and out inappropriate) for her, so I started reading the Declaration of Independence out loud.

And that was pretty right on, too. I felt the need to DO something radical.

crazymumma said...

One of my all time favourite songs.

It sounds magical Jen, I have a nice picture in my head.

Deezee said...

beautiful...

The Holmes said...

I love when musicians are able to bring a crowd together in shared moments like that. Shortly after the US invaded Iraq, I saw Audioslave, and they opened the show with just Chris Cornell on acoustic guitar singing "What's so Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding." The venue fell silent for all but his voice and guitar. It felt great to be there, a bit of peace in an unpeaceful time.

Lawyer Mama said...

I wanna come hang out with you & your friends!

Jenn said...

Like Slouching Mom, I too had goosebumps.

How completely awesome. And liberating.

Even if only for the moment...thanks for taking us there with you.

KC said...

You have special people all around you, don't you?

What a moment.

painted maypole said...

Sounds like a great day. But, instead of having Redemption Song in my head, which would be the logical thing after your post, I have En Vouge...

Free Your Mind, and the Rest Will Follow!

sigh.

QT said...

Oh, that sounds like an awesome time! And what a way to make a point. I hope you didn't spill too much of your beer.

Tabba said...

Amazing.

That is my FAVORITE line of that song.
I had goosebumps reading this.

I so wish I could have been there for that.
To hear that line sung like that, part of something like that.
A dream come true that would be.

Thank you so much for sharing this post!

Denguy said...

Amen. (Lump in throat.) I'm going up north for a few weeks to soak up some of mine.

meno said...

A rare perfect moment, a gift.

thailandchani said...

Sounds very good.. and interesting!


Peace,

~Chani

Momish said...

That song brings tears of joy and sorrow to my eyes every time. I would have loved to have been there, right next to you at that moment!

Christine said...

Oh I wish i was there with you. but you made it so real and present for me. i can here his song. . .

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Emancipating yourself from mental slavery is what it's all about. Right on brother. Right on sister. You have given me a reason to spin the old turntable this evening.

Joker The Lurcher said...

on the nail!

yesterday i had a long conversation with someone i work with about how the hell we do that - emancipating ourselves from mental slavery - although i took rather more sentences to explain what i meant.

our modern world does your head in! thank you for this wonderful post

Ally said...

Whoa. I am so glad to get to experience that moment vicariously through you and your sparkling writing style. I love that song. What a brilliant performer to take it to that level. Whoa.

liv said...

"And the path is curvy and dark and I stumble, and yet it's this that I know is true."

yes. sister, yes.

Jocelyn said...

Thank you for an Independence Day post that actually means something to me.

And not just because you were drinking beer in it.

Susanne said...

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery."

Yeah. Trying. But it isn't easy, isn't it.

And now I have to go and look for that song.

-

And then I had to open the door and when I came back it ran through my head: "Re-demp-tion song. Re-demp-tion song."

Only I never have known the words since I didn't know any English when I first heard it.

So I'll dig it up anyway.

(There is something with you and music, isn't it?)

nutmeg said...

That gave me chills!

kaliroz said...

wow. i've got goosebumps and chills, too.

what a powerful moment.

"it's all i ever had ..."

NotSoSage said...

I wasn't there. But I've been there.

I love when people do covers and spin you out of the expected in that way.

Scribbit said...

Funny how amidst the noise and chaos something can suddenly sink in and resonate.

Seattle Mamacita said...

nothing to add just singing the rest of the song from here...gracias!

urban-urchin said...

beer and bob marley. sounds like a perfect day...

Hel said...

Whenever I listen to The World Should Know by Burning Spear I always think of you.

Hel said...

And I want my beer. Sulk.

Hel said...

When I was 17 me and my sister and two friends hopped on a bus to the transkei. All the time we were there we listened to bob marley. Especially this song.

We slept on the beach and cooled our feet in the river and ended up sleeping in a petrol station and having to phone my parents when we ran out of money.

It was glorious. Although in retrospect propably not such fun for my parents. Athough maybe they enjoyed seeing the transkei also. I should ask them.

Blog Antagonist said...

That's very profound. I love it when something meaningful sneaks up out of a commonplace experience.

CareShare Network said...

Sounds like a profound moment

Jennifer said...

How beautiful. Truly beautiful. Add me to the goosebump gang.

mitzh said...

This IS our freedom, the one we owe to ourselves. None but ourselves can free our mind.

I love this line....
Made me realize sooo many things.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Oh how I try to "emancipate myself from mental slavery," but alas...it ain't easy.

Wish I shared this moment.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Oh how I try to "emancipate myself from mental slavery," but alas...it ain't easy.

Wish I shared this moment.

Binky said...

I think you could live anywhere, and do anything, and make us all wish we were there by the telling of it.