Sunday, May 22, 2011

"working very hard on a pretty little song of love"

This line and these lyrics are from a song on Hugh Masekela's "Black to the Future" cd/release. Though the lyrics are beautiful and intention and clearly positive in nature, I am most engaged by that line, "working very hard". I feel that phrase very deeply as I attempt to look out of the confines of a limiting and myopic dominant cultural context through filters of confusion, illusion and delusion to a future now of enlightened human community engaged in its own process of spiritual, emotional and socio-politcal validation as empowered beings on an earth spoilt by a temporary, but fundamental break from sanity. I can relate to the writer's suggestion that these beautiful, necessary and essential projections are difficult, that there is hard work involved in the process, not only of the song, but the living out of that content and context of love and harmony

One might even suggest that these lyrics represent a "pie in the sky" attitude, an air of ungrounded liberalism and a negative connection to "idealism' (I love/hate how capitalist corporatocracy jerks its knee to the very idea of ideals!). If we are to look even a breath beyond the re-grounding of indigenous social and spiritual strength on the earth, the inevitable destruction of rampant patriarchy, sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism and machine-culture (and the inevitable failure of the "inevitability of 'the singularity'"), we would be able to see the harmony, peace and love that this song projects and that each of us has the ability to envision even from within some of our most limiting and limited perspectives. Even the seemingly insane assertions of the recent failed rapture predictions seem to be born of a deep desire to be in a state of harmony, peace and love with the god and saved-ones of their narrow-minded choosings.

How that played or plays out is not so important in this moment as this one phrase that speaks to me, speaks to us of sweat, of toil and frustration, even in the midst of the sonic and reverberant beauty of the song as moves through the air and into my water-based being. It is very telling that even this song is difficult, that coming up with one that the "whole wide world" could sing is a difficult proposition.

It's important to remember the context of the creation of this song. Hugh Masekela is the son of indigenous traditions in a nation, not so different from the United States of America in its intentions and historical similiitudes. Hugh Masekela gave and gives voice to a people grounded historically and spiritually and ancestrally in a place upon which a new and destructive paradigm was violently placed, subverting the sovereignty and cultural power of indigenous peoples in a tremendously wide swath of geographic space on a continent upon which this sort of tragedy was not unfamiliar. Hugh Masekela has given voice to a struggle in a place where even the indigenous name of Azania has become unfamiliar and foreign. So we can be clear, even though Hugh Masekela may not be a Zephania Motopeng or Mangaliso Sobukwe or Stephen Biko, that Masekela is aware of the grounded reality of the dire conditions into which his/our people have been thrust by the machinations of settler-colonialism and capitalism on a continent that Kwame Ture had always asserted would have developed beyond the cultural limitations of the capitalist context due to the near universal and deep cultural engagement of communalism and conscious interdependence.

That Masekela's lyrical songwriter is working "very hard" is understandable and behooves us to consider the hard road ahead as we look into a future in which we can joyfully and fatiguedly say good-bye to discrimination, prejudice, known well, all too well, in the Azanian context. When an Azanian says its hard to write a song of love that the whole wide world to sing - believe them. It also brings to the fore a need to respect that forward and positive vision of something beyond the destructive nature of the present ideological and structural regimes that dominate our unconscious and consciousness and clearly make it difficult to even see over those seemingly distant horizons.

There are trees that we are intimately in relationship with that obfuscate our enraptured view of the sacred forest of our human becoming. And that tree, the same tree that breathes out the very oxygen that we (need to) breathe in, is not in and of itself our enemy. It is our temporocentrism and geocentrism that prevents us from seeing beyond, through and in spite of the necessity to live amongst those ideas, beings and people that often seem to be our immediate, persistent and selfishly-defined vexations.

"I’m working very hard on a pretty little song of love

for everybody to sing

a song of love (for everybody)

for the whole wide world to sing

about love and happiness, peace and harmony...

for the children of tomorrow, the fishes in the sea

the birdies in the sky, for the creatures in the forest and the jungle...

good-bye discrimination...let the world be ruled by love and happiness

good-bye prejudice...good-bye"

It is no small thing that an Azanian is "working very hard" to create and sing that universal human song and it is informative that it is coming yet out of the struggle for liberation of an indigenous people.

And there was a universal song sung on the earth before this recent and temporary derailing of the indigenous world. There was a song sung in all of the forests, across all the plains, from each and every mountaintop, across each lake and river and ocean. There were constant, persistent and abiding songs of love and respect sung about the earthly and the spiritual reality of life and the concomitant challenges that that reality daily revealed. There was an indigenous human song that resounded clearly, mirroring the heart beat, the pulse of the Great Mother earth, having been borne of it, in it and in harmony and resonance with it. There is still a song of indigeny that lies within all of us. We are borne of it, in spite of the disrespect of it and with all wondrous and idealist hope and possibility that we can again be in harmony and resonance with it. There is yet a song of love, of peace and harmony that the whole wide world can sing precisely and simply because there was and remains a dwindling connection to a multiplicity of songs of love, peace and harmony that the whole world sang for the children of our Ancestors' tomorrows, for the fishes of the sea, the birds in the sky, the creatures of the forests and the jungles.

We ARE the children of our Ancestors' tomorrows.

When we (re)learn these, our songs of love and harmony once again, we will realize that our children will learn them quite quickly, so much so that we will come to the easy assumption that they already knew them somewhere in their bones, in their DNA. And as we sit with them, beaming with pride at the hope, power and wisdom in their voices, we will come to the understanding that the human Ancestral song in their bones, in their DNA, had to come through us. We will then truly know that we simply forgot to remember the songs still alive in our indigenous human soul, that we are carriers yet and still of those songs of harmony and peace and that they were, are and will remain songs of love.

May we receive sacred assistance from all directions to work very, very hard, again, on these songs, better still, the song of love that the whole wide world can sing.

(posted also as such at and on facebook)

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