If there is one thing I am certain of it is this one notion. God speaks to us through music. Well actually God exists all around us, the essence of creation speaks to us through multiple venues. From strangers who embrace you to magical moments which bless you—the love of God is within us and around us if we only pay attention. Now I’m not saying this to preach to you on this beautiful Friday morning, I’m just sharing some of the hard earned wisdom I have learned. So if you allow me a few moments, sit still and listen to the words I’m strumming to tell you about this group called Satsang.
Remember how i said a few sentences ago that God exists through the embrace of strangers, magical moments and music. Well let me recount of yesterday’s experience and bring into existence the theory I presented atop. While I was at a coffee shop typing “Revolutions are Written on Paper Napkins” 24 hours ago, I was at once writing about the history of uprisings and simultaneously writing my hopes for a rebellion of the soul. As I was writing the article midstream, all the sudden the water of inspiration broke as I noticed a commotion in the back of the coffee shop. This coffee shop reminds me of Busboys and Poets—one of my favorite bookstores owned by Andy Shallal of my once home DC. In the back of this coffee shop, there is a stage where local artists and aspiring musicians perform. As always, I got distracted by curiosity and decided to ask the barista who was performing in the evening and she walked me over to the manifold.
The group that was performing was Satsang. I made a little wager with the barista as we were both skimming the musical group’s prospectus. By the way, the barista—though her name escapes my mind—is the same lady who wrote “Revolutions are Written on Paper Napkins” on a napkin that I used in the aforementioned article about Paper Napkin Revolutions. I told her that the magic of life is such, that the group that was going to perform is somehow going to be related to the very same topic I was writing about. And just like that, words said in jest are manifested into the sublime reality. The following words are taken verbatim from Satsang’s bio:
Satsang is a Conscious Music Collective based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Creating a unique blend of Soul, Folk-Rock and Hip-Hop, Satsang delivers lyrics that come from and are rooted in change, growth, awareness, and imperfection. The live show is everything that the band name suggests: a gathering of people to assimilate and share their truths. The rhythms put forth by the band keep everyone on their feet, and the lyrics leave them craving active and positive change. Satsang has toured all over the country and has shared the stage with the likes of Steel Pulse, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall, Chris Berry, Mike Love, Jon Wayne and the Pain, Tubby Love and many many more.
Just like that, the trifecta materializes in one melodious moment. A band of three strangers were getting ready to perform and envelop the coffee shop in magical moment through the spiritual medium that is music. I shook my head in the delicious irony of it all, the more I observe the more I realize that God is standing right before us. The world all over declaring wars and fighting to prove whose God is greater when all the while the greatness of God is within us. God is love and the love we give to strangers and friends, when we realize this as a species the specious aspects of our human id will be washed away. We don’t need to kill in the name of God because God is only evident through those who create life not those who take it. A philosopher once said “the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr”. Likewise the music of artists is more sanctified than the rhetoric of pundits.
I decided to walk back and find out more about this group. The first person I ran into was a guy who was busy setting up the stage. I asked him if he was with the band to which he responded by shaking my hand and introducing himself as Karl the guitarist with Satsang. I told him that I would love to stay for the concert but that I have prior commitments. But I told Karl to email me and also asked him if the group had music on YouTube. As busy as he was in the moment, he paused to talk to me as though I was a long lost friend and promised he would email me his group’s info when I shared with him that I was a journalist. Karl kept his word; the same night Satsang was blessing the audience with music, Karl sent me an email with the blessing that comes with a simple “thank you”.
Parenthetically, this is why I love aspiring stars more than I regard established supernovas. I mean the megastars are either too wrapped up with ego or being inundated with fanatical praises to notice the acknowledgments given to them by random strangers. Moreover, the magic of live music is lessened in my eyes when musicians perform in arenas as opposed to performing in humble settings. There is nothing that matches the intimacy that is shared between artist and audience in small venues. Musicians are able to see and feel the warmth of their audience when they are separated by a few feet instead of being partitioned apart from their fans by barriers and security guards. Perhaps the spirituality of music is drowned out the more we climb the stairs of fame and fortunes. In humble beginnings there is found love but the higher we ascend the more we ground ourselves into the ego.
I was initially thinking about interviewing Satsung before I wrote this article. But then last night, as I was reflecting on the day I decided to listen to the music of Satsung and as Jason Mraz sung once, everything went quiet. I mention Jason Mraz for a reason, when I heard Satsang’s “Life Goes On” it captured the essence of my day and really the essence of life. I no longer had to interview Satsung or get more information from them, Karl the guitarist already told me that they are from Montana but in reality I saw that their song was about the world. “Life Goes On” spoke to me and my travels, this is the blessing of music when you think of it. Who among us has not turned to music to either find consolation from a torpedoed heart or to revel in moments of happiness. Music is a shaman of sorts, each music note like an elixir that soothes the soul and mends broken souls.
You know, the revolution I talk about all the time is not one of bullets and bombs. Violence does not solve violence, the revolution I pray for is the revolution of the mind. This revolution shall be led by artists, an army of soldiers armed with guitars, paint brushes, and pens. Politicians use words to bury us into chasm of hopelessness, one day we will be led by artists who will one day walk with us into the arms of creative deliverance. These things are all interconnected, nothing happens by happenstance, want me to prove it to you? Satsang means “a spiritual discourse or sacred gathering”, a Hindi practice of enlightenment through communal experiences. God is not an accident and blessings are not random; if we just sit still and satsang we would see that God grace is evident through the music that is humanity. Life goes on. Listen closely and you will hear synergy—thin seasons give birth to the abundance of musical redemption.
Let me put a bow tie on this article, remember how I mentioned Busboys and Poets at the outset of this article? Typing the #PaperNapkinRevolution yesterday at this local coffee shop made me whimsical of sorts. I forced myself on a couple of occasions to stop reminiscing about the past for looking in rear view mirror will always lead to missed blessings evident through the windshield that is the future. When I get home and sit down to write a few pages of “Broken Water” I decided to check out Satsang and see what they are about. The music that catches my eye was a song called Life Moves On. With the guitar strumming in the background, Satsang was singing my reflection into poetry and turning my blues into jazz. All of this ties together, strangers embracing me with music in a suddenly magical moment. Thus the essence of Satsang, we are a community who can mend through the spiritual potion that is music. #LitsenSatsang
The music of love is within us, the melody of God is around us, we will find both when we stop looking and listen.
Follow Satsang on Twitter @SatsangMusic, Facebook page HERE, visit their website HERE, and check out their music on YouTube HERE.
Please support local musicians and independent artists, the big stars don’t need your support and will never appreciate it the way humble artists and fellow strugglers in this journey called life do. God bless and Satsang.
Meet Karl Roth, the humble guitarist with Satsang who I befriended yesterday, click on HERE or the picture above to visit his personal Facebook page.
Give kindness outward and the universe multiples kindness back seven fold in your inward.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.