I’ve been uploading a few old songs to my YouTube channel. I’m hoping to have some new content in the next few months. Check it out here and, if you’d like to be notified of new content, subscribe.
A couple of weeks into lockdown here in the States, I got the sudden itch to do something concrete and conquerable – namely get my stuff out of storage and sort through it. I had a few caches of things with friends and family from when I moved to Japan in 2017. Before returning, I needed to sift through all this stuff and decide what to do with it. So, wearing my homemade bandana mask and taking social-distancing precautions, IRead More→
Last fall, I got together with a diverse group of Sojourn Midtown folks (myself, a black woman in her 50’s, a 20yr old man from Nigeria, and an almost 30yr old man from Egypt) to write a song on the theme of unity, rooted in scripture. Both times we met there was a point at which things shifted from four people writing four different songs, to all of us writing one song together. It felt like the Holy Spirit wasRead More→
I learned this game from my friend Darcy. Basically, you write out a set of 10 constraints and give yourself 2 min to respond to each – write them out, toss them in a pile, draw one at random, start the timer, write, repeat. Just like the songwriting game, the goal is to get yourself out of your head. You can use this as a warm-up, or, if you like what you come up with, shape it up into aRead More→
This game is based on a poetry writing game I learned from Darcy. Basically, you’re choosing random constraints and giving yourself a time limit (say 5 minutes) to write with them – just enough time for a rough verse or chorus. The goal is to get yourself out of your head. You can use this as a warm-up, or, if you like what you come up with, use it as a seed for a song. I’ve loaded this up toRead More→
This was our first song in Japanese. Since our group was mostly more comfortable in English, the writing process was a bit more analytical. We still started out worshipping together and meditating on the Psalm, but then we split into two groups – one group working on lyrics using Japanese translations of the Bible, and one group working on the instrumentation, inspired by the Princess Mononoke soundtrack.
Psalm 25 was the second Psalm our group in Nagoya worked with. This time we started, musically, with a bluesier progression and the verses became the expression of our common struggles. But when it came time to work on the chorus, we were stuck. We continued to pray and talk and eventually found the common missing piece in God’s response to Job. The image that accompanies these videos is a photo of a painting by Sarah Moor. Read more fromRead More→
In the Fall of 2018, I started meeting with a group of folks in Nagoya to spend time making music together and trying to write songs, based on Psalms. We shared a desire to see new music written for the Japanese church, but we also needed to start with what we could do. Since English was the most comfortable language for the majority of our group, we started writing in English and our first Psalm was Psalm 139. The PsalmRead More→