Various Artists - Healing the Divide: A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation
Record Label: Anti-Music
Release Date: July 10, 2007
Healing the Divide: A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation is a live recording of a performance at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center on September 23, 2003. That it was released four years later is a bit puzzling but also slightly intriguing. Beginning with an introduction from Richard Gere and then a few spoken words from His Holiness the Dalai Llama, the first real music of the disc is an invocation by the Gyuto Tantric Choir. It's an interesting invocation in that most of the voices in the choir are gruff and smoky. For the closest comparison, it's akin to listening to the character Cookie Monster or a chronic smoker. Anoushka Shankar performs the 11 minute "Nivedon" next, and it's a great sitar-based ditty that ebbs and swirls but leaves a bit to be desired. Certainly the musical prowess is there (there are few better at the sitar than Anoushka Shankar), but compared to her performances at the George Harrison Tribute concert, this one falls a bit short. Nawang Khechog and R. Carlos Nakai (a Navajo flutist) perform eight-minute peace chants, that much like the Tantric Choir, take a lot to get used to and/or sit through. Thankfully, they are more listener friendly.
One of the album's best tracks follows as renowned composer Phillip Glass and Foday Musa Susa (African harp lute player) perform the seven-minute "The Gabmia," which is a beautiful, lilting taste of acoustic/world music that chimes and rings and chirps along. Then the real fun begins. Living legend Tom Waits takes the stage to a burst of applause, and with accompaniment from the Kronos Quartet and Greg Cohen, performs four gravelly-throated, country-tinged salvation songs. The first two, "Way Down in the Hole," and "God's Away on Business" are some of Waits' best performances on disc. And the latter two, "Lost in the Harbor" and "Diamond in Your Mind," are also quite strong, with "Diamond in Your Mind" being the better of the two.
Though it probably won't find much of a home among the AbsolutePunk crowd, it's a great disc to listen to and get inspired, motivated or even meditative. Listening to any of these songs pushes the creative boundaries and lifts up the soul. Just hearing the Dalai Llama speak on a record is something worth possessing. Having heard little about this album insofar as press or reviews, its probable that it wasnt much of a commercial success. However, for the lucky few that own this disc, it's an absolute gem worth sharing with all those that surround you.
Dude, laugh all you want.
I tried SO hard to not crack up listening to these monks chat.
It's really hard to sit through five-plus minutes and not just break out into laughter.
In hindsight, that takes away from the "seriousness" of it, but whatev, it's relateable.