Parallel Voices

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
112th St. & Amsterdam Ave., New York City
Presented by Parallel Voice Productions in association with World Music Institute and The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Songs of the Spirit is a concert series that combines contemporary popular music and spoken word performances with traditional sacred music of diverse faiths and cultures. Through an innovative fusion of genres, styles and traditions, the program focuses on the shared spiritual ideals of an interconnected, interdependent world.

Songs of the Spirit 2007 With major funding from the New York State Music Fund, the third season of Songs of the Spirit is scheduled for November 2007, featuring Hugh Masekela, Odetta, Craig Harris, Frank London & Lorin Sklamberg of The Klezmatics, Haale, Tracy Grammer, The Shangilia Children's Choir of Kenya, and the Tibetan Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery.  The 2007 tour will be presented from November 11 through 18 at venues throughout New York State, including The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.  The program includes both individual and collaborative performances, blending a range of genres and styles based in the spiritual traditions of diverse faiths and cultures.  Complete tour information and program details will be posted shortly.

On Friday, December 7, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA will present its annual co-production of Songs of the Spirit, with performances by Pakistani rock star, Salman Ahmad, of Junoon; renowned composer, conceptualist and Captain Beefheart guitarist, Gary Lucas; and North Adams's own singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Jamie Choquette. Songs of peace and hope will be sung by the Gabriel Abbot School Children's Choir of Florida, MA.


With religious violence and extremist rhetoric on the rise throughout the world, popular perceptions of faith and culture continue to become more dangerously polarized and distorted. As a unifying voice amidst the conflict and confusion, the international performing arts community can be a deeply inspirational force for clarity, fellowship and healing. 

Songs of the Spirit builds on the experience of music industry veterans Brian Young and Jonathan Secor as co-producers of the Candlelight Concert of Remembrance and Hope, presented at New York City's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks.  That evening, a group of performers and clergy representing a wide range of musical and spiritual traditions came together before a capacity audience of 2,400 for a night of music, readings and prayer. The program included performances by Joan Osborne, Richie Havens, Sussan Deyhim, DJ Spooky, Jason Robert Brown, Pharaoh's Daughter, Eileen Ivers, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and many other artists.  The impact of that event inspired the development of the Songs of the Spirit concert series, as a vehicle for the promotion of interfaith and intercultural unity through music.


Songs of the Spirit premiered on December 6, 2005 in New York City, with musical and spoken word performances by Odetta, Meshell Ndegeocello, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Sussan Deyhim, The Klezmatics with Joshua Nelson, DJ Spooky, Craig Harris, Graham Haynes, Sekou Sundiata, and the Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery.


About the Artists
The 2005 premiere of Songs of the Spirit featured performances by Tehran-born Sussan Deyhim, a remarkable vocalist and performance artist whose work blends traditional Middle Eastern music with cutting edge technology and a progressive sensibility; trombonist/composer Craig Harris, whose musical adaptation of James Weldon Johnson's "God's Trombones" combines Johnson's classic text with the energy and emotion of the old-style trombone shout bands; The Klezmatics with virtuoso gospel singer Joshua Nelson, performing a genre-bending fusion of gospel, klezmer, rock, jazz, and world-beat styles; the socially and spiritually conscious Meshell Ndegeocello who constantly continues to push boundaries with her sophisticated mix of sweet, raucous, and deeply personal rock, jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul; the "Queen of American Folk Music," Odetta, who has been hailed as the "Mother Empress of Folk and Blues" (New York Times) and one of the 20th century's most influential artists; Paul D. Miller, better known under the moniker of his 'constructed persona' DJ Spooky, a conceptual artist, writer, composer and musician; Harlem-born poet Sekou Sundiata, who was featured on Bill Moyers' PBS series, "The Language of Life," and as part of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO; and the Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery, who are renowned for their fascinating multiphonic singing in which each monk holds multiple notes simultaneously. The 2006 Season of Songs of the Spirit
included performances by Ollabelle, Niyaz, Pharaoh's Daughter, and Frank London of The Klezmatics.
© Copyright 2005, Parallel Voice Productions, LLC