Music connects us all to each other and to the divine. I have written many times, here on this blog, posts on music and the effects it has on human beings on a whole and also the response it gets from beings within time and space. There is nothing spiritual or traditional which can be done without song or music involved. In Jamaica, we have our beautiful spiritual kumina, which is the beat of the drums, one is the playing caste, which weaves all types of complicated rhythms but it is what tells the story during the kumina, and the other is called kbandu which keeps a steady rhythm, hypnotic like, and I believe this is the one that places many people, during the kumina, in trance or spiritual possession. The drums played in Kumina, Revival, Spiritual Baptists, or in any other traditional or spiritual religion, while beating, seems to have the ability to send the practitioners or attendees into the world of time and space while they still exist in the physical realm. The drum calls, it pulsates, it dictates, it is magical, it is sensual, it is commanding…. and when coupled with voices singing in unison and in tune, it has the ability to rise or create some particular type of energy, that when brought forth, can do anything.
It makes a gloomy and dark day become alive and happy. In Yoruba culture, when the drummers play for each Orisha or to the Eguns, a competent drummer, Babalawo, Awo, Practitioner, or ever just a worshiper, will be able to hear the “words” of the drums as they beat. Because to the uninformed, it would sound as if the drummers are just drumming out a tune (often times when the drums are being beaten, no one sings, it is just pure drums), but I’ve been witness to the drums being beaten and my husband, a Babalawo, will point to the drums and start to repeat words in Yoruba, either of an oriki (prayer), or a Eulogy (praises to the Orisha), as to what the drums is saying because they, the drums, “speak.”
When I first started receiving messages, prophecies, and making predictions, it always started off with prayer. I would pray for someone who seeked my help, but before I prayed, I would sing (I was practicing Christianity back then, so of course those were the kind songs I sung). Many times as I sang the words from the songs would be a message for the individual. I remember a time when I was praying for a young lady, who was incarcerated at the time, and her boyfriend who was deported and had some how found his way back to America, was home. While praying for this woman, the song which Sting and P. Diddy (which is a church song), performed in memory of Biggie, “I’ll Fly Away,” was the song that I sang to the woman as I prayed for her. She knew me as she was my client for a very long time and as she listened to the words of the song:
One bright morning,
When my work is over,
I’ll fly away…
I heard the woman breathe a deep sigh in anticipation of what I would tell her. The message from the song was that she should listen out for news of a death. Nearly a week later, her child’s father, the same one who found his way back to America, was gunned down and killed. For a while, when I was spiritually younger, I realized that almost all my messages came to me in song; and it brought me back, one day when I thought about it, to when I was a little girl. I’ve always made reference to my mother in all my posts because she was spiritual woman who only practiced her art for her family and close friends. She was ashamed of the gift she had, not wanting to be stigmatized by the Jamaican community as an Obeah woman. But my memory of her singing throughout the house all day, especially while she cooked, I noticed that those songs of old that she would always sing, because they were repeated so often, I knew them. And as I trod the road of spirituality, receiving my messages in songs, I realize that the songs most often would be the songs my mother sung.
This, also, is how I know that although she was my mother, she was one of my greatest teachers, if not the greatest. Although she never knew this. God moves mysteriously. And as child I used to mimic my mother while washing in the back of the yard as she sung old Jamaican folk songs, I in turn would take those songs and sing them opera style. I laugh in memory of that because I didn’t care who heard me, busying about doing my chores, singing opera.
But I was in training. Spiritual training. Unbeknownst to my mother, myself, and my community.
The English language has a very low vibration when spoken. Language takes away from a persons spirituality because the strength of communication is within thought, telepathy. But there are languages, such as Yoruba, and many others, that are tonal and as such, raises vibration when it is spoken. This is why when prayers are prayed in these languages, they are often responded to quickly. I say this to make you understand that it has to do with tones, melody, and rhythm, as to why music, instruments when put together well, creates such a high vibration, high frequency, that it opens portals unseen to us and creates light. It stirs something within us as human beings and connects us within the moment to our higher selves.
Everything is energy. Human beings are energy, the whole world pulsates, vibrates, the earth is alive and well. Time and Space is indeed a reality. There are portals, vortexes, dimensions, beings of light and beings of darkness, and they all respond to music. Have you ever gotten up in the mornings and listened to the birds outside your window as he chirps a melodious tune? Or gone to the ocean, when no one is there, to sit silently, and listen to the patterns or the rush of the waves. Or when the wind blows, and if you’re keen enough, you will hear it’s own melody. Even nature sings it’s own songs and communicate to each other through songs. If we are wise enough and listen, we, too can also enjoy natures music, natures songs.
In Zion Revival, notes are blown to entertain the messengers when they are invoked, and Yeye Osun (to whom I am an initiate) loves when we sing and dance before her shrine. In the mornings my daughters and I would go to her, greet her, and singe to her, calling all the praise name that we know to our sweet mother. Within the moment of our reverence to Our Sweet Yeye, we can feel her response in the energy created by our musical efforts, and it vibrates throughout our whole day, OOre Yeye Osun OOOO!
The Rasta man beats his Nyhabingi drums and connects to Africa in a way his genetic memory shows him how, and it can be seen as they chant, drum and sing that they are in a place far off as they smoke (de far off, space out look may be de ganja smoking, chilom pipe and ting) and allow themselves to reconnect with their root, their God, their spirits.
There was a time when this song played in the dance halls, walls fell down ( when man and man start beat pon dem) when Half Pint voice came through the sound box and shouted this…click the video:
oonuh done know reggae powerful, fi si mi dem time deh pon mi toe pint, ah tip and bubble up! Just imagine me now as I type, rocking and singing, ah dat mi ah do! Onnuh done know mi full ah vibes!
Some years ago, I was speaking to a female client of mine, minding my own business when an old-time Jamaican chorus, came out of no where and had me singing: “Mi mumma nuh waan nuh rice, nuh peas, nuh cuknat oil. Mumma nuh waan nuh rice, nuh peas, nuh cuknat oil. Mumma nuh waan nuh rice, nuh peas, nuh cuknat, oil, all she want ah dandy shandy all di while.”
For all those who do not understand, this song translates basically to the woman/or man always wanting sex and has no ambition for anything else with his/her partner. The demand for good sex takes the precedence over food. When I had finished singing I said to her “you said something to your boyfriend about sex that offended him.” To which she replied, “I know exactly what it is.” When I had graduated from my first phase of spiritual schooling, I would often hear this song, which seemed to be coming from a far and the words were “We shall know…as we have known…never more..to walk alone…’cause in the dawning of the morning on a bright and sunny dayyyyy…we shall know each other better when the mist have rolled away”
For all those who knows the song and the words, please forgive me if all the words are not the same. I never knew this song before hearing it repeatedly in my mind until I finally figured out that it was a sweet message for me from my astral mates and my ancestors. What that song meant to me was that, when the time comes for me to cross over and join my ancestors, it is then and only then that we will meet. “WE SHALL KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER WHEN THE MIST HAVE ROLLED AWAY”
Music assists us in creating meaningful connections with ourselves and with others. It ignites within us something happy, it is a connection which uplifts, even an innocent baby will dance to a cheerful tune, and grumpy old men and women will shake their heads to a smooth rhythm or a lively song. It is the universal language of all. Like water, music must be present in all celebrations, spiritual and traditional. It has the ability to heal and unite countries together in celebration. While on your spiritual path, many of you will be guided by music, either that which you find yourself attracted to or enjoy, or that which comes to mind at random times. Pay attention to them. Most often when a particular music is playing over and over in your head, there is something, a non physical, a guide, a deity, an entity, a divine source, speaking to you. Listen to the words. Hear it’s message. This is the path of your growth.
Ẹja wẹ́wẹ́ ló ńtan ẹja ńlá lọ sínú àwọ̀n. /
It’s the attempts at preying on the little fishes that gets the big fish lured into the net…Yoruba Proverb!
[Decrying greed; contentment is crucial]
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.