On Saturday John and I attended a concert, “The Feminine Voice in Music: Past Meets Present.” It was an evening of music by female composers. All of the singers and instrument-payers were also women. We drove quite a ways to attend this concert–two hours up to Ventura thru LA traffic.
–a poem written by Julian of Norwich (1342-c.1416). It began, “As truly as God is our Father, so just as truly is he our Mother.” and in the middle of the singing switched to a solo where a lovely older woman gave voice to the divine feminine, “It is I, the wisdom of Motherhood, It is I, the light and grace of holy love…It is I who teach you to love. It is I, who teach you to desire. It is I who am the reward of all true desiring. And all shall be well.”
In this woman’s eyes I saw my Mother–the Heavenly Mother that Mormons believe in and revere.
–An original composition called “Mama” that is part of a requiem written by Naomi Stephan about her mother. The song had only one word, “Mama,” but was incredibly complex. Sometimes sung with joy, sometimes with reverence, sometimes with pain and fear. All of the choir members at once giving voive to that same word, repeatedly, in cacophony and harmony. It made my heart ache. I thought of the many times that I was in so much pain that the only thing I could say was “Mommy…Mommy…Mommy” over and over again like a mantra. I thought of the times when my kids both yelling “MAAHHHMMMEEE!!” at the same time was so wearying that I wanted to lock myself away to some private place where I could no longer hear their cries. I recalled the joy at hearning “mamamamama” for the first time from each child–speaking the words to my breasts as I fed them. Such a sweet and powerful word!! Naomi created magic with that song–to evoke such complex emotions with just one word…
–Another poem set to music–this one a delight for its imagery:
“And maybe I shall go with you, my glimmering girl
To the land of Glyn, to the land of Myrrh
Where cats wear gleaming fine faces and purple fur
And the daisies bend down singing lowly: murr, murr.”
This poem made me think of my daughter. She is (and always will be) my ‘glimmering girl.’ :)
All-in-all, it was such a delight to hear from these women. Almost all of the singers and composers were crones–not the women that our society usually values or reveres. But their music was so moving. And they women themselves were quite dynamic. Their bodies were of all sizes and proportions, their hair many shades of color from a bottle or a variety of natural grays. They were all so beautiful to me.