Freedom's Children: The Celebration
There are special moments in life when the unexplainable happens. On May 26, 2011, we experienced this phenomenon. From the engineers and producer to the musicians, the entire cast used words like spirit, energy, vibe and special to describe the recording session. The spirit walked in the room and inspired the musicians with pure crystal light. The music that you hear takes you through the stages of life and provides audible testament for the journey of "Freedom's Children: The Celebration." Picture yourself as a child sitting by the parade route on a beautiful Caribbean Island. You are excited to experience all the joys of a parade especially designed for you. Your friends from school are in various troops and you wait eagerly for the parade to start. After the officials complete their formalities, you begin to hear the music coming up the street. First you hear the drums, then the bass, then...more until you find yourself dancing in place with a friend or family member to the groove. Not knowing or caring about the words, you begin dancing wildly (as children do) to the sounds of the "Children's Parade." Soon after, the band pulls off and you are left overjoyed by the rhythm. After the parade of innocence passes, the roller coaster of life begins. Close your eyes and imagine your sacred place. Do you remember when self-awareness took shape? The Caribbean has been the back drop for beautiful and painful stories. But to this day, even with the rise in violence and corruption, one can still enjoy the relaxed people, rich culture and the crystal clear blue waters, white sand beaches, huge clouds kissing the tip of the ocean, blue skies over head accented by a breeze just right for the spirit. In these moments, the gentle waves serve as a metronome for the song "Relaxing." Do you remember growing a little older and asking "Why?" At this stage in life we become inquisitive. "Sankofa" is an example of when we ask questions and go back to fetch the story of our ancestors from our elders. Can you hear the story in the music? The energy fused with polyrhythmic ideas from a rich past. Are you reclaiming what is rightfully yours? As we travel back in time, imagine a group of women organizing a powerful labor movement for equal rights. Can you picture 1878 for a woman? Rape, racial caste system, social injustice... as the imagery comes to mind, you realize that we are still facing these issues in 2011. Women still have unequal pay. Women still experience mistreatment. "Queen Mary" represents the women who led an influential movement for equality and justice. This traditional Virgin Islands song is revisited to explore the nuances of then and now. Can you see the women getting together to organize and create change advocating and inspiring the strength of the womb? With knowledge of where we come from the 'Sweet and Sour' of life becomes aparent. As you listen, can you hear the ying and yang of human nature? As the plot thickens, we grow and open our minds to a vast amount of cultures. We realize that we are connected by the tree of life. If you cut one branch, the other branches feel it. The roots are our ancestors. This is the point in life when we become aware of the injustices around the world. We see the pictures of various types of international genocide. You reach a level of consciousness where the atrocities forced upon women, ethnic groups and social classes becomes even clearer. We cry "Peace and Love," but there can't be peace without justice. Some of us become activists, others practice sedative agitation in isolation. Listen to the song and let the mantra conjure up images of social justice. Live love because love is the most powerful force on earth... Break time...Amin, Herman, Victor and Warren exited the studio while Lenny stayed behind to ensure things were straight with Jimmy, Christie and Tosin. The musicians talked about how the session was going and took pictures while cracking jokes about life, love and each other. Our engineer, Cephas', head was moving while we listened to "Peace and Love." One would think that we would have lost the vibe while on break but spirit was everywhere. And spirit said... We are all faced with choices when we reach a crossroads in life. Imagine feeling lost then receiving a glimmer of hope. After you take the steps needed, you finally reach your destination. "Daybreak" paints a picture of the sun slowly setting on confusion and rising with newfound self-awareness, self-respect and self-love. Sit back, relax and feel the time change as we experience a new day together. On this day, we have arrived. Emancipation! "Freedom's Children: The Celebration." We played, reflected, loved and meditated. Now we realize that unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith will lead us to a better community. With increased understanding comes greater clarity. As mature adults, we notice more corruption while "Strollin" down any Main Street. Can you hear the characters interplay? Listen, you will hear their deception. But, they don't last long... Why? Because we know what our "Ancestors" have done to ensure our freedom. We recognize that our purpose is to give unconditional love. We know that like our elders, we can mentor a child today and save a life tomorrow. We are all freedom's children. Let us ensure a brighter tomorrow for future children before we transition to ancestry... The plan was to record over two days but we did everything in one night. After we recorded the last tune, the energy lingered inside the room. I stayed behind in that moment and thanked spirit for speaking through us. I reflected on the rehearsals, the fundraising (online and offline), the musicians' artistry, the planning, the community support, family, friends, elders and mentors. I thought about all the souls that made this project possible and with a prayer I said "I appreciate you. Thank you. I love you." Peace, Paz, Paix, Paco, Santi, Selam, Shalom, Salama, Udo, Amani...Many languages, one people, one love... Reginald Cyntje June 2011.