kamasi washington’s soul-stirring spiritual healing
February 25, 2019
When I am feeling low, exhausted from the troubles of the world, and forget who I am, it is the ancestors — known and unknown — who give me strength, courage and fortitude. They whisper to my spirit and breathe energy into my soul encouraging me to have no fear and follow in their divine footsteps. It is my Blackness that reminds me from whom and where I come, and how to keep going. My beloved Mother would always say: “We come from good stock.” That sentiment and analogy was never lost on me.
Dr. Maya Angelou wrote in “Still I Rise”:
“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
When Kamasi Washington and his band of drummers, bass player, singers, trumpet players, keyboardist, and his father (with flute in hand) took to the stage on Saturday at the legendary The Apollo Theater, I knew immediately that a spiritual experience — a libation for our African ancestors — was occurring. The cacophony of sound was chaotic, calming and beautiful all at the same time. It was the vibration of sound that simultaneously stirs your soul and awakens your mind. The ancestors were being summoned to Harlem to lift us up, shift our consciousness, and affirm our existence. We were on sacred ground and the maestro was creating a series of musical and magical masterpieces — a beautiful reminder of our complexity, creativity and Black genius.
For Black History Month, AFROPUNK and The Apollo partnered to curate “Race Music” a series of films and performances that reminded us that we are powerful beyond measure, that our art, culture and music have been (and will always be) an expression of our resilience and resistance. Kamasi Washington raised the roof and in doing so, reminded us that we come from good stock. Ase!
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