Tag Archives: authenticity

#320 ~ Abimaro & The Free


Very rarely does one hear a piece of music that isn’t just a beautiful concoction of perfectly placed chords, mellifluous vocals with just enough air to make the notes sigh through your speakers, and a subtle but groovy bass line to make you smile, that, on top of all that, also has exquisitely worded and humorously constructed lyrics as Abimaro & the Free. Using conceits such as tea making, in the refreshingly honest and sincerely poignant track Ginger Tea, the three-piece band manage to take the Christian faith and present it in an accessible and stripped down recounting of the heart. The mundane is the simple basis of their lyrics. Tear drenched eyes are described as being like earl grey tea, the process of being refined and purified synonymous to frying lemon till it’s just the right gold to add a zesty flavour to the ultimate brewing of the human spirit. Abimaro & the Free have a solemnity in their compilation of four tracks, Books, which echoes within one’s heart long after the haunting trill of Matthew’s ‘Jerusalem’ hook has faded. The temptations of life are uncompromisingly placed as idols which decorate our rooms reflecting our faces, a reality which most of us can attest to, but can’t quite express. Words don’t quite capture the essence of their music which deserves to be aired on the air waves, or played in cafe’s. There is an intimacy in their music which the pop charts have reduced to sexual antics, and which religious music hasn’t quite been able to express. Instead of lifting lines from the Word, Abimaro & the Free have delicately reinterpreted and represented the Word as a living, breathing and evocative presence in the lives of very real, very normal humans and how they relate to the mystery of God in today’s world. Whether you believe in a benign creator, or just want to hear something fresh, humorous and which makes the grey tinge of the world, if only for a second, flicker into Technicolor, listen to Abimaro & the Free (check out the video below and follow the link to band camp for a free download of their album Books) and remind yourself that honesty and vulnerability can be beautifully captured in today’s music, and wait for the echo of the music speaking back to you.

Abimaro and the Free: Website


Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

#290 ~ Psalm Series.4

A fraud. That is the label that I exfoliate from my skin each morning

peeling blood and fat with epidermis that flowers and litters the shower block

before I sit creaming.

Dawn has hardly broken, but I feel your wind striking my chin as I cycle with broken chains to something

that really is a glorified lake, narrow, and slippery, like my promises of authenticity.

I can rise to ride, but to read your Word and listen to your distant voice

which booms in the cracks and shadows – I have not the strength.

Do you despise me? Grow angry or annoyed?

Or are you patiently waiting for me to hear you within the void

of my deep and gluttonous slumber?

Psalm 119 vs 148-9: ” My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. “

Tagged , , ,

#280 ~ Rebirth

I had been eroded. Sliced up, minced and spat back out into the vacuum of the anonymous. I had stripped my skin away, as though I were peeling the thick hide of an orange. Yet, in exposing the vulnerable, fleshy underside, I hadn’t realised that the wounds we make, bled silent tears of invisible cries.

I had taken my voice and warped it, to sing a lullaby which contorted and ultimately thwarted the song I had been born with. I had taken my eyes and pierced them with holes so black, an abyss surrounded them, and a booming silence roared back at the raging ocean that spoke only  of a lack.

A lack that gnawed at my invisible sides.

She had become a beautiful shade, melding with the facade, authentic, yes, real, perhaps,

yet still without a complete name.

It didn’t deny who I had become, she was still a valid part of the reverberating drum that pulsed within the cardiac soul, buried deep within the ossified bowl that had slowly wept into a disintegrating hole. It didn’t deny who I had become, but it ignored, white washed and clawed at who I had been.

Who was that little girl so raw and wild, untamed and agile, that ran on concrete and asphalt, her mouth wide like a slit of silvery moon, sliced up just for you? Where had she gone? Was she still locked away deep inside, tearing at the rind that had closed around her sides; a straight jacket of reserved formalities and polite smiles, of half-formed names that end on a consonants growl.

I would like to reintroduce her, if you don’t mind.

I think this body has grown strong enough to take the bastardised, and correct you, without pride or malice, but a quiet acknowledgement that who I am, is to be prized.

To become vulnerable and honest and whole once again, and let the sweet juice fill your insides,

so when you come over, you really see everything, from my side.

Tagged , , ,

#53~ Fading Purity


So soft, like a whisper coaxing a roller coast to dance in the

Light, filled with the ephemeral weight of a breath

So sweet.

Pure. Clean, patiently drawing out each note

with eyes lightly shut, lashes hovering, daring to exhale


Integrity and authenticity in the simplicity.

A releasing breath of clean purity –

and it brings a hesitant joy.

Quietly drawing it out, softly coaxing it to dance

before it glides, once more.



Written whilst listening to this beautiful song below. Hope it touches you as much as it did me, and you support the artist. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#32 ~ Shame

Shame. It’s an obscure word. Sometimes people tell you to be ashamed of yourself – often you don’t know why. Sometimes we admit that we are ashamed of ourselves, but what we really mean is we are embarrassed, mortified, upset, saddened, disgusted. There’s a vast lexicon of words that could adeptly substitute for the place shame takes in our regular speech.

Shame, with it’s harsh beginning that sounds like a violent ‘shush,’ before disappearing into the softness of an ‘mmm’, it’s a complex word. When have I ever truly been ashamed? I’ve been embarrassed, mortified, felt uncomfortable…

Once, that I can remember. I was in the middle of a stage, a theatre stage. I had just won a singing competition. I walked on to collect my award, slightly dazed, sweaty and conscious of a range of spotlights illuminating my face. It was me. Not the identity i carved when I sang, but just me. They asked me to give some words of thanks whilst accepting my award. The first person i wanted to thank was God. Then I cringed. What a typical oscar opening line – “I just wanna thank God for my life, my mom, dad, just, everyone who ever loved me” blah blah blah. No, the audience didn’t need to hear that. It would appear disingenuous, contrite, inauthentic. They wanted something quick, easy and unmemorable, they wanted to go home.

I thanked three people in quick succession. My mum, my twin and my singing teacher, then I skeddaddled out of there quick sharp, or at least, retreated back into myself whilst I waited on stage to take photos.

Today I spotified Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged Album. It got varying, and often condemnatory reviews when it launched in ’93. She had let her voice go, she had become moralizing, the songs were unfinished, undeveloped. These are all astute and evident observances. Her voice has taken on a taught, contracted quality that strains when she attempts to reach into a higher register. She does spend a good amount of time talking about herself, life lessons, God and his redeeming love, hope, liberation and contesting the confining music industry that wanted to prostitute her for all her worth.

But there is one track that struck me. Just in the last few minutes of ‘Gotta Find Peace of Mind,’ something breaks. The emotion bursts forth like a dammed river, her voice cracks, but it cracks deep inside the being of the voice. There is a mental, emotional gear shift because what she is singing about, what she is proclaiming, is resonating within her like close harmonics. She can’t but admit how merciful he is. Her Coda just is: “merciful, god you are so merciful.”

She bared her soul to the world and was unashamed to say something unattractive: simply exactly what she was feeling.

So often we try to compartmentalize ourselves into what people want. What they want to hear. Everything has a time, place, and audience. And yet, we cry out for authenticity, to know one another, to be in relationship, friendship. We revolt against the manufactured images that plaster our inportable world. The unattainable ideals. We want to see real women, we cry, real men, real jobs.

Shame comes when we suppress our voice and produce a lip-synched sound that fits with what we assume our audience wants to perceive.

I was ashamed when I left the stage that day. I wanted to proclaim in the most corny, cheesy, and absolutely overdone fashion the words – thank you God for my life and this opportunity. Thank you for blessing me with this gift.

Maybe no one wanted to hear it. But it was what I wanted to say, and considering they asked me to speak, it was my right.

Miss Hill seems to have lost her shame and become all the more attractive for it. She’s found her voice, and, most importantly, she uses it – constantly.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,