Music of Hope and Peace

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jun 15, 2020 / 0 comments

In times  of turmoil, of anger, of pain, songs of protest have their place. In times of protest, of turmoil, of pain, there is also time for seeking peace, need for solace, for reflection and connection, even when --perhaps especially when --circumstances seem bleak and dangerous.

That's how the music in this episode of Music For Shifting Times is meant to work. There is hope in the midst of turmoil, ways to find rest and seek connection in the midst of upheaval. May this music help you find and share these things.

Music of Hope and Peace

Understanding Love is a song Cathie Ryan and Gerry O'Beirne wrote. The central character seeks hope and rest in the midst of hard times. The possibilities are there. Ryan recorded the song on her album The Music of What Happens. You may also want to see Ryan's recent album Through Wind and Rain and Gerry O'Beirne latest recording, Swimming the Horses.

Mary Black gives a fine interpretation of Steve Cooney's song Just a Journey, with Steve along to play guitar at the performance here, recorded at The Olympia in Dublin. It's a mystical song, with poetic images and much room for listeners to reflect. A few lines:

"What has only come to pass
is just a journey of a spirit
through a lifetime's changing
re-arranging your own self
in accordance with the light
and may peace be yours

A good place to find Just a Journey recorded is on The Best of Mary Black, volume 2.

Tunes -- that is, music without lyrics, in traditional music -- are gateways for imagination as much as songs which tell their stories with words.

The Gentle Light That Wakes Me follows on from its title as a quiet, reflective piece. Phil Cunningham wrote the tune, and it has been recorded by many. Here, classical violinist Nicola Benedetti invited Cunningham and his original collaborator on the tune, Aly Bain, along to join in, with Benedetti and Bain on fiddles and Cunningham on piano. All three artists are native Scots, and you will find this version of the tune recorded on Benedetti's album Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy.

Brad's Honeybees, paired with Hare's Paw, is a set of reels you will find on Matt and Shannon Heaton's album called Lovers' Well. Hare's Paw is from Irish tradition; Brad's Honeybees is by Shannon. They make up a set that' suggests summer time reflection. You may also like to explore Matt and Shannon Heaton's recent recording Tell You in Earnest.

Blue River Waltz is also a tune that's quiet while being uplifting at the same time. Peace, hope, and  a sense of moving forward all come through in the tune, which is by Jay Ungar, who usually plays fiddle, and Molly Mason, whose instruments are most often piano and guitar. One place to find it is on their album The Quiet Room. There's a good story about how that album came to be, too.

The song Chi Mi Bhuam is in Scottish Gaelic.You could call it a song of vision; the title translates as I See Afar. Though it is about visions of a specific landscape, the Isle of Mull in western Scotland, the aspect of seeing what might not be immediate, of remembrance, and of hope, come through beyond one place. Karen Matheson is the singer, with Donald Shaw on piano. You will find it recorded on Karen's solo album Downriver. You may also wish to look for Karen's recent solo album called Urram, and her and Donald's work as part of Capercaillie, recently on the recording At The Heart of It All.



Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times




Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.