Corey Mwamba



Love—which is God—will consider our sighs and tears as incense burned at His altar and He will reward us with fortitude.

G. Kahlil Gibran, 'A Tear and A Smile'

In times like these—and occasionally in times not like these—I fall back to thinking about the writings of Kahlil Gibran. I have been through these times before; seeing people not think, not care, not live, fear. That fear is a fuel and a weapon.

I ran a workshop on silence as a musical act a few weeks ago. The idea is that silence is necessary for music to occur; and that being able to create silence (whether as an ensemble or individually) is an artistic skill that can provide a point of reflection and clarity. I commented about the aggressive act of stopping someone's voice within music, which is not the same as being silent; and how it is important to not give in to the impulse to weaken one's voice, but to convert the arrest into a silence. In such a setting, it was impossible to model being aggressive (it would have been counter-productive to the rest of the workshop) but these times have made me think about those comments again.

If silence (in music) is an event for reflection and clarity, then it must come from a state where the person is willing to rest their faith in themselves and the group who are making music in that moment and going forward.

This is a faith that cannot come from fear. Fear of others' contributions can lead to the aggression I mentioned before; fear of one's own contribution will lead to the weakening of the musical voice. When we experience such aggression, the battle is not against the aggressor but the aggression itself; how we consider that initial shock or hurt and "sacrifice" it to rebuild that hope/faith/love in ourselves and others in the ensemble.

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