Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Music from the Old

Sound haunting and familiar?
“The world of the hymns has been with us right from childhood,” recalls Wimme. ”I’m from the part of Sámiland where the Laestadian movement is strong: even in our homes we had meetings for worship and sang hymns. And on church festivals such as Christmas and Easter, we sang hymns continually from morning till evening, we listened to sermons and we sang. The hymns are deep inside me, just as yoiks are.“

This is an excerpts from a description of the new album Soabbi by reknowned Sami joiker Wimme Saari (who partners with Tapani Rinne). Read the whole thing and listen to the sample above.

There is much I do not miss about Laestadianism, but I do miss the singing. This is one way to reclaim it, with a most soulful voice and a bass clarinet (on high quality headphones borrowed from my son the technonerd).

Right now I'm listening to the familiar, plaintive hymn Children of the Heavenly Father (reinterpreted in the track as "Mii leat dorvvus buoremusas") and hearing it in an entirely new way, as if standing by a mountain stream with a couple of friends, reminiscing about bygone days. But this doesn't just take me back to the OALC. It takes me way, way back. I feel as if I'm joining hands with my ancestors, sharing in their grief (there is so much sorrow in these notes). I want to tell them "it gets better." And I imagine them saying the same thing to me, and smiling.

Heartfelt gratitude to Wimme and Tapani.

The album is available on Amazon for $8.99. If you decide to buy, please go through the Extoots Amazon page, as this blog gets a few cents for successful referrals.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Visit

The building seems smaller now, as if its physical size somehow had shrunk along with its significance. This is no looming Mount Sinai, just a simple structure that is lovingly maintained by people who have grown up sitting in its pews. There is probably no other single place, outside the childhood home, in which a typical Laestadian will spend as many hours of his life. It is not just empty talk to call it a spiritual home, a sanctuary.

Just as pangs of nostalgia fill the adult believer who sees the humble house where he ran and played with a swarm of siblings and harassed parents, the sight of the church evinces its own memories grown fonder with time: beloved old preachers with their sleep-inducing sermons and funny habits, weekly gatherings of lifelong friends, hasty communal lunches with fellowship shouted over the squalling of fussy babies. God’s Kingdom nourishes the spirit with the unchanging Word, and the body with hot dish and Sloppy Joes, iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. Variety is not a prominent feature of either menu, and that makes the memories uncomplicated, easy to come by.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Twenty Years Later . . .

It's been almost twenty years since I left the LLC.   Most of the time I don't think about it much, but lately I’ve been pondering about the things I miss and the things I don’t miss about the church. I have to say that the sound of dozens of voices singing in harmony is one of the things I most miss about the church now. Music has always been a big part of my life. Song services were my favorite church activity. Even now, almost twenty years after leaving the church, hearing people sing Christmas carols brings back a rush of nostalgia.

The thing I find so interesting about the songs, though, is that it seems like Laestadians quote song verses more often that they quote Bible verses. I’m guessing that this is because maybe they sing the songs so often that they have them memorized, but also because the songs speak of a shared experience that they can all relate to.  Maybe they sing the songs more often than they read scripture, and that helps it stick, too.