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Monday, 26 June 2017

Light the Well and The Secret Chord

I will be giving the reflection for Bread For the World, 6.30pm, at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Wednesday 28 June. Everyone is welcome at our weekly informal Eucharist, an evening service with prayer, music, word and reflection. 

I will be reflecting on our ‘treasure in clay jars’ project, a community art installation. ‘Light the Well’, is a community art project which Anna Sikorska is undertaking together with the artists and craftspeoples group. The project involves making porcelain lanterns (glazed ceramic globes). The size, surface decoration and character of each lantern will differ, although the base material - and overall look - is consistent white ceramic, roughly made. The lanterns are made by laying strips of porcelain onto a round support. Porcelain clay glows with a transparency individual to itself. Once made, they are fired and the lanterns are then suitable for being outside. They develop cracks in the firing, through which the light inside will also be seen. In the Light Well at St Martin's these lanterns will be joined together with cord covering the stone floor in a random constellation. The cord also connects a light bulb within each lantern, so each one will shine from within. There will be a lantern-making workshop with Anna Sikorska after the service.

In my reflection I will refer to Leonard Cohen's 'Anthem' which includes the line 'There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.'

I will refer to another Leonard Cohen song on Sunday at St Peter's Chapel Bradwell-on-Sea at 6.30pm, Peter Banks and I will lead an Evening Prayer based on themes drawn from our co-authored book, The Secret Chord. The book takes its title and key theme from Cohen's 'Hallelujah'. 

James Weaver and Peter Banks are Café Musica, who will provide music for the service. The combination of their two voices provide a rich emotion, drawing out the best in both the quirky covers and original songs they perform. With an essentially acoustic multi-instrument approach, Café Musica captivate audiences and listeners alike.


Café Musica - Dark Side.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Windows on the world (350)

Brussels, 2016


Sixpence None The Richer - We Have Forgotten.

Art awakening humanity

Art awakening humanity is a conference organised by St Stephen Walbrook in partnership with Alexander de Cadenet and Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine that will explore the relationship between art and the spiritual dimension by taking words spoken by Eckhart Tolle in an interview with Mind Body Spirit Magazine as inspiration:

“Beauty arises when something more essential or deeper, something that underlies the world of sense perception shines through. It is what I call the ‘underlying Intelligence’ that is the organizing principle behind the world of form, a hidden harmony, as it were”.

”True art can play an important part in the awakening of humanity.”

The conference will be held in the context of an exhibition at St Stephen Walbrook of Alexander de Cadenet’s ‘Life-Burgers’, works which question the vanity of worldly existence and explores the “cultural hero system” proposed by philosopher Ernest Becker.

  • Jonathan Evens - Modern art & spirituality – a brief survey
  • David Cranswick - The role of integrity in traditional craft practices and the ancient cosmology of the pigments, metals and planets
  • Edward Lucie-Smith - An agnostic’s view of art & spirituality
  • Theresa Roberts‘Jamaican Spiritual’: spirituality in Jamaican art
  • Jonathan KearneyArt, theology & the digital: creating new understandings
  • Mark DeanConcerning the esoteric in art
  • Jonathan Koestlé-Cate - Art & Church: ecclesiastical encounters with contemporary art
  • Alexander de Cadenet - The Origin and the purpose of the Awakened Artists Group – a new group exploring the relationship between art and the spiritual dimension
To register for this stimulating conference, click here.


Gungor - Beautiful Things.

3 Mothers: Latest ArtWay Visual Meditation

For my latest Visual Meditation for ArtWay I reflect on icons depicting contemporary saints or church members, focusing on 3 Mothers by Regan O'Callaghan:

"O'Callaghan ‘believes in representing the sainthood of all believers by painting living Christians with the same care and honour that you would reserve for painting a saint.’ ...

In doing so he is consciously building on the tradition of iconography, having studied the technique of icon writing for 6 years, specifically focusing on the Greek and Russian traditions. The ‘Sainthood of all Believers’ series is therefore a contemporary response to an ancient tradition. Religious icons belong in the realm of what he calls a ministry of encouragement, whether this is experienced in their writing or the praying before them. It is this spirit that is of interest to him."


John Tavener - Fragments Of A Prayer.

Les Colombes artist Michael Pendry in Artlyst interview

Les Colombes: The White Doves, an Art for Peace Project by Michael Pendry is at St Martin-in-the-Fields until Monday 3 July.

Michael is a multimedia artist, who was born in Stuttgart in 1974, draws on his experience as a stage designer in the theatrical installations he regularly creates for cultural institutions. Having created installations for an increasing number of churches and having stated that he is driven by a desire to get through to those people for whom visiting cultural facilities is rather unusual, I took the opportunity provided by the installation of his ‘Les Colombes – The White Doves’ at St Martin-in-the-Fields, to explore these motivations more fully with the artist in an interview which has been published by Artlyst.

In the interview I note that ‘Les Colombes’ has become an installation which is touring the world – installed in Munich and Jerusalem prior to London and travelling on to San Francisco and Berlin. Michael thinks ‘Les Colombes’ “is easy to understand, has a simple and, most of all, a very emotional message which is so relevant in our times... the doves in their unity stand for such a fundamental human right. The time has come to announce and to stand up for this – for the right to peace and freedom! May the flock of doves grow, from place to place, from country to country, and across all borders.”'


PLastic Ono Band - Give Peace A Chance.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Spiritual Jazz now and then

Colin Marshall writes that 'Jazz has inspired a great many things, and a great many things have inspired jazz, and more than a few of the music's masters have found their aspiration by looking — or listening — to the divine.'

He quotes Andy Beta who noted that: 'This culminated in John Coltrane's masterpiece A Love Supreme, which opened the gates for other jazz players seeking the transcendent, using everything from "the sacred sound of the Southern Baptist church in all its ecstatic shouts and yells" to "enlightenment from Southeastern Asian esoteric practices like transcendental meditation and yoga."'

'It goes without saying that you can't talk about spiritual jazz without talking about John Coltrane. Nor can you ignore the distinctive music and theology of Herman Poole Blount, better known as Sun Ra, composer, bandleader, music therapist, Afrofuturist, and teacher of a course called "The Black Man in the Cosmos." NTS' expansive mix offers work from both of them and other familiar artists like Alice Coltrane, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Gil Scott-Heron, Ornette Coleman, and many more (including players from as far away from the birthplace of jazz as Japan) who, whether or not you've heard of them before, can take you to places you've never been before.'

Steve Huey adds that 'Albert Ayler conjured otherworldly visions of the spiritual realm with a gospel-derived fervor.' Jaimie Dougherty expands by saying: 'It’s no secret that Ayler’s ecstatic style of play was informed by his Christian spirituality (however unorthodox it may have later become), and many critics in the ’60s compared Ayler’s style to speaking in tongues. Ayler’s style is expansive—he finds power in fiery arpeggios running across tonal boundaries, notes drawn to time-stretching length, and pushing the timbre of the saxophone into strange new territory. Similarly, Peacock and Murray explore on Spiritual Unity the limits of their instruments, and the limits of rhythm and time. It’s at these limits that they manage to suggest both eternity and a kind of time-rootedness or temporal contingency.'

Spiritual Jazz continues to inspire the likes of Denys Baptiste, Martyn Halsall and Dwight Trible:

'The Late Trane is the powerful and commanding new album from British saxophonist Denys Baptiste, a giant of the UK jazz scene. Reimagining and reworking ten carefully chosen composition from John Coltrane’s late music (from 1963 – 1967) with a fresh and modern new interpretation, The Late Trane perfectly balances Denys Baptiste’s unique artistic vision with the visceral emotions and cosmic references that encompasses Coltrane’s late music.

The later works of John Coltrane, preserved in both studio and enigmatic live recordings were some of the most emotional and spiritually charged music of the 20th Century. Written at a time of tumultuous change in America and the world: the civil rights and anti racism movement, the Vietnam war, the peace movement and space exploration inspired a great flow of creativity of which Coltrane was at the heart. As Denys explains: ‘John Coltrane continues to be one of my most important influences and his late period has always intrigued me and has stimulated my work over many years. To play this music, with these incredible musicians alongside me is hugely inspiring’.

During the mid to late 60’s, John Coltrane’s music was inspired as much by the spiritual as the cosmic and a series of ground-breaking studio albums marked the last phase of his musical odyssey. Crescent, Ascension, Interstellar Space, Meditations, Om and Sun Ship all exemplified this period of explosive creative growth, where the boundaries of jazz were shifted forever.'

'Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and producer Matthew Halsall has carved out a unique niche for himself as both a band-leader and producer delving deeply into the worlds of spiritual jazz and string-laden soul. His latest project finds him playing with and producing the legendary LA jazz singer Dwight Trible, who first came to international renown with his 2005 Ninja Tune release Love Is the Answer. Trible, whose deeply soulful voice has seen him compared to Leon Thomas and Andy Bey, has worked with the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Horace Tapscott and Kamasi Washington (he sings lead vocals on the Epic) and brings a deep-rooted soulfulness to everything that he sings. Halsall and Trible first met at the Joy of Jazz Festival in South Africa back in 2015, when a chance encounter backstage led to Trible sitting in with The Gondwana Orchestra for an impromptu reading of the classic Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas anthem 'The Creator Has A Master Plan', and a lasting friendship and respect for each others music was born.

The relationship started to bear fruit in July 16, Trible was performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival and Halsall invited him to guest with him at a memorable show at the, newly re-opened, Jazz Café in London. A recording session at 80 Hertz studios in Manchester followed, providing two tracks that feature here: The timeless standard I Love Paris, and the traditional spiritual Deep River, featuring Halsall regulars pianist Taz Modi, bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Luke Flowers. Inspired by what he heard Halsall offered to produce a Dwight Trible album for his Gondwana Records imprint. Together they selected some of their favourite songs and in November last year they went into Fish Factory Studios, London with new recruit Jon Scott taking the drum chair. They recorded an impassioned reading of Donny Hathaway and Leroy Hutson's classic Tryin' Times (a song as sadly relevant today as it was in 1970), a vibrant, soulful version of the Nina Simone smash Feeling Good and a beautiful take on the timeless Bacharach classic What The World Needs Now Is Love featuring harpist Rachael Gladwin. They also laid down two spiritual jazz masterpieces, a powerful re-working of Dorothy Ashby's Heaven and Hell (from the legendary The Rubiyat of Dorothy Ashby album) and a heartfelt version of Coltrane's beautiful ballad Dear Lord, with lyrics by Trible. Lyrics that have an extra poignancy after they received praise from none other than Alice Coltrane, who heard Trible perform his version of the song shortly before her passing.'


The Bobby West Trio & Dwight Trible - In The Beginning, God.

Welcome to the June HeartEdge Mailer ...

Welcome to the June HeartEdge Mailer ...

At HeartEdge our passion is growing Kingdom communities - via congregations, culture and commercial activity and acts of compassion. Join HeartEdge - become a member here

This month - Benjamin Blower on art and the grotesque and a clip of Broderick Greer on Mary’s rebel anthem. Links to Catriona Robertson talking about extremism and terrorism and Sam Wells and Jackie Kay about faith communities. Also, Luke Bretherton writes on citizenship . Plus lots of fundraising ideas and hear about Soup. Also HeartEdge news and Sam on building assets or addressing deficits.
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Mark Heard - Strong Hand Of Love.