TWO SONGS FROM THE SOUL ...
The Earth sings it's wonderous songs to us every day, from the hauntingly eerie moans and cracks of melting ice sheets to a humpback whale singing a solo from the depths, the popping of gorse seeds in the late summer sun to a robin heralding the dawn from a bare branch before spring.
These two, very different, pieces of music, both entitled 'Earth Song' cry out from the depths of their composers hearts and souls and draw us into reflection:-
1) The first is an uplifting choral piece by Frank Ticheli, composed as call to unity during COVID, as part of the 'Sing Around The gloBe' project, named as an acronym for Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses. It unites and blends 167 voices from 21 choirs from around the world in wonderful harmony:
Lyrics:"Sing, be, live, see, This dark stormy hour, The wind, it stirs, The scorched Earth cries out in vain, Oh war and power, you blind and blur, The torn heart cries out in pain, But music and singing have been my refuge, And music and singing shall be my light, A light of song, shining strong, Hallelujah, hallelujah, Through darkness and pain and strife, I'll sing, I'll be, live, see, Peace."
2) The second is more well known and was composed over 25 years ago, but seems no less relevant today.
"The planet is sick, like a fever. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we all have. It starts with us or it'll never be done." wrote Michael Jackson, who prophetically composed his epic 'Earth Song' in 1995. It was his biggest hit and best-selling single - a top 5 in most European countries and in the UK it topped the chart for 6 weeks where it also made Christmas No 1. He said he at the time that he was identifying with the pain and suffering of our planet and it was his chance to let others hear her voice, "This is Earth's Song, because I think nature is trying to hard to compensate for man's mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain and she has wounds ..."
As well as sending out a wake-up call about the hurt that mankind has caused - from wars to the killing of animals and of the earth itself, the song has a spiritual nod towards the end, when he calls on people to remember the earth is their inheritance from God, via our ancestor, Abraham. (Michael, initially a Jehovah's Witness, was a practising Christian up until his death in 2009). Earth Song was the last song he ever performed, having rehearsed it for his new concert tour, just hours before his death.
Lyrics: "What about sunrise? What about rain? What about all the things, That you said we were to gain?
What about killing fields? Is there a time?What about all the things, That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice All the blood we've shed before? Did you ever stop to notice, This crying Earth, these weeping shores?
What have we done to the world? Look what we've done, What about all the peace, That you pledge your only son?
What about flowering fields? Is there a time? What about all the dreams, That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice, All the children dead from war? Did you ever stop to notice,This crying Earth, these weeping shores?
I used to dream, I used to glance beyond the stars, Now I don't know where we are, Although I know we've drifted far
Hey, what about yesterday?(What about us?) What about the seas? (What about us?)The heavens are falling down (What about us?)
I can't even breathe (What about us?)What about apathy?(What about us?) I need you (What about us?) What about nature's worth?
It's our planet's womb (What about us?) What about animals? (What about it?) We've turned kingdoms to dust(What about us?)
What about elephants? (What about us?) Have we lost their trust (What about us?) What about crying whales? (What about us?)
We're ravaging the seas (What about us?) What about forest trails? Burnt despite our pleas (What about us?)What about the holy land?
(What about it?)Torn apart by creed (What about us?) What about the common man? (What about us?) Can't we set him free (What about us?)What about children dying? (What about us?)Can't you hear them cry? (What about us?) Where did we go wrong?
Someone tell me why(What about us?) What about baby boy? (What about it?)What about the days? (What about us?) What about all their joy?(What about us?)What about the man?(What about us?)What about the crying man?(What about us?)What about Abraham?(What about us?) What about death again? Do we give a damn?"