Sunday, December 4, 2011

Irish Sufism: Van Morrison

Van Morrison

“silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation.”

In the early 1980’s Van Morrison turned out a series of amazing records that seemed to be deliberate and contemptuous steps away from the popular music industry of which he was a gold-plated superstar.  His music had always been woven with mysticism. Spiritual things are not strange elements of Van’s music. But starting with Common One in 1980 and stretching across the next half dozen albums to Poetic Champions Compose in 1987, Van the Man seemed unable to sing about anything other than God, the spiritual quest and his experience of mystical ecstasy.

I’ve always loved the two bookends of this series, which coincided, not surprisingly, with a dramatic slowdown in the sales and broadcasting of his music. Common One, which is the focus of tonight’s post reminds me of a dervish dance. Free, twirling, absolutely oblivious to all but in sync with everything. The record’s essence is joy and peace and fulfillment and its styles cover free jazz, proto slam poetry and sweet hymns.

As he sighs at the end of the epic Summertime in England, “Can you feel the silence?, he connects with Jalaluddin Rumi the greatest Sufi poet whose famous couplet about God opens this post.

Who said Sufis always have to be Muslim long beards?

            Track Listing:
            01 Haunts Of Ancient Peace
02 Summertime In England
03 Satisfied
04 Wild Honey
05 Spirit
06 When Heart Is Open
Listen here.


Rebecca said...

Another GREAT album.

Miguel said...

Irish Sufi ?!


kokolo said...

Irish Sufism!!
love the introduction

ajnabi said...

Kokolo and Miguel!
Hi gents!
If you can have African Catholics, why not Irish Sufis? :)

kokolo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kokolo said...

I am sometimes afraid it is all poor translation.

Marian said...

Awesome!!!!!! Who knew???? Van Morrison is another one of my handful of soulmates when it comes to loving their music, but the connection of Sufism!!! "Into the Mytic." Of course!!!!!!!!! Now it all makes sense!