Deborah Venable



I’ve wanted to do this piece for some time now.  About a year ago my son introduced me to a musical group that I had never heard of.  Now, since he was barely eighteen at the time, you’re probably saying, “Wow!  Big deal that a teenager would have musical tastes that his much older mom wouldn’t necessarily share or even know about.”  Well, folks, you don’t know this particular teenager.  He listens to and can tell me more about Classical music than I ever learned – and I studied music appreciation a long time ago in school.  Anyway, he can also tell me more than I want to know about other more modern genres.  (Small snicker allowed here.)


Anybody that reads much of what I have to say knows how proud I am of my kids, and that isn’t the whole point of this piece, although it is definitely woven into the theme.  My son is a connoisseur of beautiful female voices, (as well as beautiful females in general) and he showed me some clips of “Celtic Woman” which fit both categories perfectly. 


Their beauty and talent are stunning.


Celtic Woman is a group of five young Irish women, one of whom is an extremely accomplished violinist.  They have enjoyed a smashing success worldwide with their albums and live performances.  In fact, they are currently touring the United States again, and their dates are often sold out.  My son and his sister, Heather, attended a concert in Birmingham this past spring and enjoyed it immensely.      


My kids all love music and appreciate a large variety of it, which shouldn’t be surprising since there is an age difference of twenty years between the oldest and youngest.  I have always thought that music is the universal language, and if appreciated and understood can bridge many social and cultural gaps in humanity.  It can inspire and awaken senses in that mysterious thing we call the human soul. 


Various religions have their own rules and regulations concerning music and the activities it encourages.  Within the Christian religion alone we find a wide ranging set of taboos – from no musical instruments allowed, to dancing condemning one to hell, and even the simple admonition of frivolity to anyone involved in the production or enjoyment of music.  I believe our current president stated that the sweetest sound he ever heard was the Muslim call to prayer, which is a kind of music I suppose.  We’ve seen music, (which isn’t really music to some of us), reach down to the poorest ghettos and lift hopeless poverty to the pinnacles of wealth with a sometimes irritating rhyme to rhythm – as is the case with much of the “rap” industry.  Inspired by the devil or a gift from God, no matter what you think, music is perhaps the only language that has the ability to speak to the universal soul.


Sometimes it is the only language I wish to hear.


As we are approaching the holiday season here in America, I know we will be inundated with stories about the Christmas carol battles.  How much ground will Christians lose or gain back this year I wonder?  How many stores will be brave enough to pipe Christmas carols throughout their shopping areas as they ask individuals to spend their ever-dwindling funds on Christmas gift giving?  How many schools and city halls will allow the existence of nativity scenes on their public grounds? 


One battle has already been waged and won when the U.S. Forest Service initially banned school children from mentioning Jesus or Christmas on the ornaments being prepared for the Capitol Christmas Tree, which was chosen this year from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona.  That order was rescinded.  Now that’s something to sing about, although it was an ill placed order in the first place.  It makes as much sense as if Christians demanded that Muslims not mention anything religious in their call to prayer in their own countries – much less here in America!


No doubt we are a sick country, my fellow Americans.  Perhaps now, though, we are in a long, slow awakening process.  Much of the sickness has been just that – a sleeping sickness that has made us all too often unaware of what was going on around us.  Generations have been raised while we were under this veil of sleep and this sickness of spirit.  Far too much of our language has been lost to it.  Our roots have been starved of the nutrients of cognizant heritage, and we have trouble communicating with our past or translating to our future. 


But there is the universal language of music.  It can touch your soul if you let it. 


Celtic Woman has a song in their current repertoire called, O' America.  Watch them perform it from this link.  Remember their beauty and sincerity that comes across in every lyric the next time someone tries to tell you that everyone hates America.  These women are not Americans.


After you’ve viewed that video, then click on this one and listen to the same song again, but with a beautifully told story of America in pictures.  If your soul is not touched, if some of your hopelessness and bitterness are not soothed, then you are to be greatly pitied, and I doubt if there is any language that can get through to you. 


Awakening?  Yes, I think we may be awakening.  I must be hopeful that my children and grandchildren will have the chance to experience the full spirit of what has always been America, even though many of those in power right now would do everything they could to limit the ability to do so.   



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