When Darbazi first approached us to sing a concert together, I thought this was an unlikely partnership.

We are so different.

Schola Magdalena sings all ethereal and high, and Darbazi sings all earthy and low. Our music reaches for the celestial; their music strikes the heart.

However, when we got together at St. Mary Mag’s, one cold night in the dim December light, we discovered the essence of our music is extremely compatible, even in its diversity. I was reminded of the words of the poet George Herbert who explained that, “all music is but three parts vied and multiplied.”

Schola Magdalena’s first collaboration with Darbazi, moves me to reflect on this mysterious property of music, that it has power to bring together diverse people. So we have fashioned our part of the programme around a theme: ‘Songs of the Spirit.’

Spiritus, the Latin for air , breath and breathing, is an essential element of human life. Canada’s David Suzuki describes humanity’s dependence on life-giving air:

“We are not completely independent and autonomous; when we look around carefully at the interactions at every level between our bodies and the element that surrounds us, we see how completely we are embedded in the air, all of us caught together in the same matrix.” (from The Sacred Balance: rediscovering our place in nature.)

Hildegard, the 12th-century composer, poet, philosopher and polymath expressed a view of the eternal life-giving breath in strikingly similar thoughts:
“Sacred spirit, you are the root of all living things…awakening life and re-awakening all that is” (Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179)

Hildegard’s mystic approach to science is strangely in sync with the modern ideas of Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley who writes from an equally poetic perspective on the inert gas argon, present in every breath we take:

“Your next breath will contain more than 400,000 of the argon atoms that Ghandi breathed in his long life. Argon atoms are here from the conversations at the Last Supper, from the arguments of diplomats at Yalta, and from the recitations of the classic poets. We have argon from the sighs and pledges of ancient lovers, from the battle cries at Waterloo, even from last year’s argonic output by the writer of these lines…” (Harlow Shapley 1885-1972)

We singers breathe and move the air, gathering music from across time and space, across centuries and across the globe. Stay with us for a short time on Saturday night, and we hope in some small way to provoke your thoughts, and move your spirit.

“Weaving the World; Schola Magdalena hosts Darbazi Georgian singers” takes place Saturday March 4th at 8pm in Toronto at the church of Saint Mary Magdalene, 477 Manning Ave. (south of Harbord, west of Bathurst) Come as you are: pay what you can. Schola Magdalena

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2 Responses to Schola Magdalena meets Darbazi

  1. Ray Kinoshita says:

    Beautifully expressed, Stephanie!

  2. Stephanie Martin says:

    I’m looking forward to our concert and bringing these two traditions together in the amazing acoustic of St. Mary Mag’s !

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