Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Troubadour of Truth

Last night Pat and I celebrated Valentine’s at the swanky Triple Door. The guest artist was Vusi Mahlasela, a South African freedom singer known as “The Voice.” We had previously seen him on a fantastic documentary called “Amandla!” about the pivotal role of music in South Africa during the anti-apartheid revolution. What a treat to have the opportunity to see and hear him live. A few rows behind us sat a fellow South-African songwriter, now Seattleite, Dave Matthews, who had also come to pay homage to the sheer power and purity of this amazing poet.

Vusi’s songs took us on a journey through brutality to beauty. I wept and laughed as I was reminded of my own brief but moving encounters with the people and places of South Africa last summer. But his songs encompass more than the trials and victories of South Africa, indeed they speak to the deepest struggles and desires of humanity.

His presence—his voice—is so full of healing and hope. Here are just a few of the poignant messages he bathed us so eloquently in…

Forgiveness is more about the forgiver than the receiver.”

We are all now immigrants to a global village. Your neighbors troubles are your troubles.”

I can never fully enjoy my freedom until the (oppressed peoples of the world) are also free.” (Here he spoke specifically of the plight of Indigenous Australians.)

Thank you, Vusi, for renewing my hope that one voice really does make a difference, and for giving me courage to raise my own!


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