Monday, July 19, 2010


At prayer
"There IS a God and She/He is in this place and me, I did not know it."

(Isn't that from the story of Jacob's Ladder - to give full credit to those powers that be? I still don't know my Bible, but I am getting educated in rural Haiti. Believe me.)
Religion is in the music. Music is in the religion. The drum drumming drums, the African roots, this was the old ways of text-messaging. Now, it can include a clarinet or saxaphone solo, a keyboard, call and response. The drums, the music, speaks. Give a click on the link below and feel the music.
Sing, pray, love - but mostly pray. Eat, pray, love?
Eating is not guaranteed but everyone makes an effort to sow and reap. Sometimes, the climate conspires and there is less to go around.  But always pletny of work. On work days, week days, there is music in the fields and singing in the morning as folks prepare tools or a day's bagay pou vann (stuff to sell). Traditionally, a tambou would accompany work in  hillside fields. In the city, young people all have antennae - iPods, Mp3, cell phones - plugged in. On Sunday, they sing in church.
I listen.
When I heard that there was a possible candidate for the presidency of Haiti who was a musician, a young rapper, I got carried away with irrational exuberance.  I thought, yes, this is the man!  In Haiti,  music speaks to people.   Music speaks for them to.  Give a listen, give a look - and do stay with it until the rockin' end.

Religion in Haiti - well, anyone can testify - is powerful and faith is real. Real. Faith so palpable you can feel it. Out of the rubble, the mud, the dust from the fallen church of Silin - in the energy, the gyrations and clapping of the little ones and the very very old women and the grating and clanging of bell and tambou. Then, at the Episcopal church - they've carried up gasoline at $5 US a gallon, trekked it up 900 meters and cranked up the generator and, for now, there is an electronic keyboard to accompany. Voices in prayer.
Now I think I know their secret: how people here, and in the city, and throughout Haiti, in the squalor of the city that steams, that coughs up rock. I know how they make it, get by, in the countryside, when there hasn't been enough of the beans, or enough of the sun, or rain. I know how they can carry on. Now I know.
Today, in the churches, I myself start to  sway. My sensations threatens to make a believer out of me. Even a rock would cry out! You will see, my camera actually shakes in these rookie videos and I am shaking with it. There is a force within these walls today. Is it around and around me, or am I in it, lifted by the voices in prayer, lifted as in a cyclone, whipping, sound whooshing, rhythmic. Any words here will beat the sense out of the pure sensations. I will stop bludgeoning.
Hope my silence on this page will speak volumes - if you will only listen to them, the voices of the people.

No comments:

Post a Comment