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A Spriritually Sanctified Evening

I am truly, truly blessed

Last night, as a belated Christmas present for me, a friend of mine and I went to one of those very rare concerts that comes at exactly the right time and says exactly the right thing.....not just with music and words, but essentially because it bypasses the conscious mind and buries itself indelibly in the soul.

I truly felt Eric Bibb along with Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir in a fairly small and intimate theatre last night. They have appeared several times at a major outdoor folk festival that runs each summer here, but last night's concert was a musical baptism for me. A re-generation. Maybe it was because I've been in a major funk lately, maybe it was because I've so enjoyed them when they've been at the festival before, but most certainly it was because last night my soul was touched, stirred, shaken and soothed.

I was transported from the primal drummings of Africa, to the echoes of the blues from New Orleans and South Carolina. I was invited to be a slave on a plantation singing the spirituals, and I prayed in a deep southern Baptist church.

But they also took us all back to a very special day during the folk festival in 2000. The festival is held each year in a natural, large hillside amphitheatre set in the river valley right in the middle of the city, and draws about 20,000 people each day.

Six years ago, Linda Tillery was making a live recording on one of the festival stages. As is so common at the festival, there is always a lot of intermixing of the various artists who are performing each year on the stages. An unpredictable spontanteity creates itself as they feed from each others' energies and talents. Besides Eric Bibb, Hans Theessink, Colin Linden and others, the great Wilson Pickett, who passed away only two weeks ago, joined them. It was an ethereal performance. So last night, they played a tribute to that moment and to the man himself. It too was ethereal.

But I also had a very personal and private memory swirling in my head throughout last night's experience. Eric Bibb has appeared at the festival several times now. Because I love folk-blues-roots music so much, when I go, I always make a special point of hearing his performance. During one such performance, not uncommonly, I found myself living in a different moment and struggling against the tendency to just let my tears flow openly from my heart. Later that afternoon, as I was moving between the various stages, I spotted him sitting alone up on the hillside. No, I'm not one of those 'autograph-seeking' type fans. I always respect the private space of others, probably because I value my own so much. But I was drawn for some reason to go and sit beside him, introduce myself and share my thoughts about his performance, then listen to him talk of his life for a few suspended moments. I felt as if I was just absent-mindedly chewing on the end of a piece of straw as I chatted with a friend I had known all my life. I realized then, I think, that some people touch you with their music, some with the work they do, and some just with who they are. Eric Bibb is one of those people. Now add Linda Tillery and her Heritage Group to the chemistry and you've created part of the soundtrack to my life.

Thank you, my friend.
I feel renewed.

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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