On this blog, a companion to "ArtSoPotent," I will write about the connection between visual art and other art forms, including cinema, dancing, poetry, and specifically music. This space will also serve to display images of my commercial work: Calligraphy, Collage, Note Cards, Hand-painted boxes, Handmade books,and other mixed-media works.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spiritual Music

Whenever I'm feeling down, music is a sure way of lifting me up. Since childhood, I have turned to music for comfort or for answers to nagging questions. Certain songs have made me cry, laugh or just feel so alive. I cannot remember a time when I did not have an intense, curious and sensitive personality.  Music has often been the catalyst validating my emotional make-up and connecting me to the spiritual inheritence of so many types of songs.

One of the first songs I remember waking up to each morning was "Green Door," which I think was by the Statler Brothers, but haven't yet been able to confirm through research. Mahalia Jackson, Rosetta Thorpe and The Rance-Allen Group were some favorites when I was growing up. These days, I am just as likely to listen time and again to spiritual songs by R&B singers or songs that are not labled as spiritual, but have an inspirational, soulful "feel" to them. Here are a few spiritual songs that will always be my favorites:

Nearer My God to Thee/ Al Green- My mother sang this song when I was a little girl, sitting nearby watching her iron my dresses. To this day, I love to iron, and love Al Green's version of this song because it's sung with so much emotion.

His Eye is on the Sparrow/ Marvin Gaye - To me, Marvin was the quintessential spiritual singer. Even his R&B tunes carried that flavor.

Suzanne/ Nina Simone - Best version of Leonard Cohen's famous song. Creative, innovative, brave.

Suzanne/ Harry Belafonte - Second best version of the Leonard Cohen song. Lost my copy, and haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Gospel Medley/ Destiny's Child - Hearing the meshing of the voices of Beyonce',Kelly and Michelle lilting this tune is pure pleasure.  I always think how much they must have enjoyed singing this, which is composed of three songs, You've Been So Good / Now Behold the Lamb / Jesus Loves Me.  

The Storm is Over Now/ R. Kelly - This song transcends any of his transgressions, and testifies to the God in most of us.

O Happy Day/ The Edwin Hawkins Singers- I love the contained, steady emotion of this song, which always makes me feel good.

Bird on a Wire/ K.D. Lang - Her version of Leonard Cohen's song sounds like an honest prayer to me.

Say Amen/  Howard Hewitt - This song is such a testimony to how we often give praise to a higher power within us. I love Howard's rendering of this song, but I have to buy an udated copy because the YouTube version sounds a bit grainy.

Mary, Don't You Weep/ Aretha Franklin- If you can sit still while listening to this song, please check your pulse. I have to at least clap, sway and/or moan whenever I hear this.

There are other spiritual songs I love by Aaron Neville, Solomen Burke, Jennifer Hudson and Patti LaBelle, among many others, which I hope to write about at another time. Please share some of your favorite spiritual songs in the Comments section at the bottom.


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

My favorite uplifting spiritual songs are:

Yolanda Adams:Open my heart, Don't give up, Be blessed, Victory, just to name a few.
Crystal Lewis - Fearless Cd.
Donnie McClurkin - Speak to my heart Lord.

All types of music whether its spiritual,reggae,pop,rock or r&b has truly been an uplifting source of joy in my life.

Dori said...

I share many of your favorites I see. I especially love "Say Amen" and "O Happy Day" from your list. Also, whenever I'm down I love to listen to "Optimistic" by the Sounds of Blackness :)

Georgette Jones said...


I want to get the digitally re-mastered version of "Say Amen." Also, Thank you for sharing "Optimistic" - haven't heard that one. I'll check it out.