|CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE CIRCLE AND TO MAKE DONATIONS!|
“When we take a look at our history, we see some things we don’t like to see, like violence theft and slavery, so we need to protect equality.”
~The Common Good, From The Circle
We have inherited many legacies of violence, racism, and discrimination in this country. We have also inherited strong and timeless legacies of peace, nonviolence, diversity, healing, and understanding. Which seeds do we water in our daily lives? Which do we cultivate and share with the world? What direction do we choose to follow as individuals, families, communities, and as a country?
The choice is ours to make in each action we take, in each step, in each breath, and in every song we sing. We have the power to create peace in ourselves and our world. Of course this is no easy task. It takes diligent effort, resilience, and community support.
I continue to find a safe and healing refuge in music, creative expression, in nature, and in my work with children and youth. I am fortunate to be working on a new children’s album entitled The Circle, which joyfully integrates all of these healing elements. I hope to release the album in the fall and am so excited to share it with you.
The Circle has been enriched with the talents of many musicians young and old, including students from Ann Arbor Public Schools and the Boggs School in Detroit,Red Tail Ring, the Detroit Children’s Choir, May Erlewine Bernard, Max Lockwood,Allison Radell, Jamie Rusling, Lori Fithian, Gayelynn McKinney, Marion Hayden, and Mark and Lesley-Anne Stone.
The songs on The Circle water seeds of hope and community through messages of friendship, diversity, common good, healing, and gratitude. This album will be a humble contribution to the garden of humanity in our country and around the world that seeks to cultivate peace and grow inclusive community through love and understanding.
I am asking for support in helping this musical vision to fully manifest. Financial contributions of any amount are very helpful and are greatly appreciated (my budget shortfall and fundraising goal is $1,300). Click the yellow button below to make your donation and/or pre-order The Circle.
I will also need help publicizing the new album and spreading the word to children and families who may appreciate the music. I would love to collaborate with a videographer in producing a new video for the album.
And of course I need your continued spiritual support to keep on the path of music, love, and peace. Truly, this is a team effort and I couldn’t do it without you!
Whatever ways you are able to contribute, I appreciate your willingness to stand together in the circle and bear witness to the peace, compassion, and inclusiveness that we can create together.
Yours in the music,
Rain falls gently onto the soil, soaking into roots and seeds and helping to generate the mysterious, surprising, and miraculous rebirth that is spring in Michigan. This annual transformation inspires a few questions in me for reflection and contemplation.
What will I work to cultivate during this season of earth awakening? What needs to be weeded and composted into fertilizer for new growth? Who will I ask to be my co-gardeners?
Certainly I will ask the sun, the rain, and the soil to help in these endeavors. I will also ask my fellow musical, spiritual, and community gardeners to lend their hands and hearts.
My gardens this year include both physical manifestations of plants and roots as well as metaphorical gardens of love and creative collaboration. As Allison and I continue to cultivate our “love’s garden,” we will also prepare the soil to grow vegetables and berries. As I turn the compost in my own backyard, I realize the work yet to be completed on my latest musical project.
I am listening to the evolving soundtrack of this new children’s album, Diversity. I hope to grow this collection of songs into a musical orchard that in turn waters seeds of inclusiveness and acceptance within families and in our world. I am so happy to be able to offer songs that help remind us of our interdependence, of the simple fact that we need one another.
In addition to my band the Community Gardeners (Allison, Mark, Lesley-Anne, Marion, and Gayelynn) who have already generously contributed to the making of this album, I am so happy that the Detroit Children’s Choir and Kalamazoo folk music duo Red Tail Ring will also add their voices and instruments to the mix.
I am fortunate to have many garden beds that can benefit from the loads of compost that are created from the fear, loneliness, anger, and misunderstanding that are prevalent all around and within us. And I am so grateful for the help of loved ones and strangers in this life-giving gardening process.
One song, one breath at a time, we work together with our Mother Earth to transform the refuse into food, the garbage into flowers.
With love from your fellow community gardener,
Yes its an emergency
When those in power trample our democracy
Oh let’s take our state back again
Power to the people of Michigan
Rise up together now hand in hand
Protect our children, water, and sacred land
I’ve been working on a song for Flint, Detroit, and Michigan. A healing song of racial and environmental justice. It is a work in progress, just as our democratic values of justice and equality are not yet complete.
The Flint water crisis has brought to the national consciousness institutional racism, classism and oppression that continue to exist as part of the fabric of our state and of our country. A society that was built on dispossessing our Native American ancestors of their lands while exploiting their natural resources and enslaving millions of Africans will continue to operate on levels of great disparity unless we intervene.
We must continue the legacies of intervention championed by abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Indian Movement, and the Environmental Justice Movement. We must strive to be Christ, Buddha, Spirit, and Love in our broken world as we work towards justice. We need to compost the rotten parts of this fabric in order to create rich soil for new growth.
How can I be part of this sacred composting? How can I respond to this situation of poisoned water and poisoned children with compassionate action rather than angry rage, with love rather than fear?
All I know at this point is to keep singing; to sing for the children of Flint and other communities that are disregarded in our economy and disenfranchised in our American culture. To sing for the families that are forced to face yet another level of financial, emotional, and physical hardship. To sing for the water that is polluted and poisoned and disrespected. To sing to hold accountable those in power who refuse to do what is right and just. To sing to build communities that celebrate diversity in many forms and that lift one another up, finding strength in our differences.
I am working on organizing a benefit concert for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Please stay tuned for further details and if you would like to make a direct donation, please give to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund.
I have also been steadily working on my next children’s album, Diversity, and look forward to releasing it some time later this year. I see now a new urgency to share its message of building inclusive community and supporting our core democratic values.
I am now getting ready to head west for my annual tour of Washington, where I will have many opportunities to share hope and love through music. Wherever I go, I take the water, land, and people of Michigan with me. I’ll be singing for our resilient healing nature, and for the children, land, and water.