Benefiting from the publicity of the Nether Edge festival, this event on 22nd September at St Andrews Psalter Lane Church attracted about 70 people, including all the presenters. Not quite a concert, but neither an act of worship, the evening provided insights into different traditions of chanting or repetitive use of music and human voices in spiritual ways.
It started with Sikh Simran (remembrance of God), which included both hymns and sections of the Guru Granth Sahib, accompanied by tabla drums and harmonium, producing a beautiful sound.
The Amida Buddhist tradition contrasted with this by reciting short phrases repetitively, Nembutsu (calling the name of the Buddha), but with various voices creating harmony. They pointed out that their tradition varies around the world, using local music as well as that of Indian origin, and demonstrated this by using a Christian tune from the Taize community in France for one of their chants.
After refreshments we then listened to some more songs from Taize, and joined in with ‘Bless the Lord my soul, and bless his Holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into light’- English words that summarise the role and thoughts of chanting and recitation in many faiths.
The final presentation was Islamic Nasheeds (spiritual songs) which, like the Sikh Simran, were longer songs involving epic poems and hymns, some very ancient, others more modern.
The whole evening was a moving and spiritual experience, a beautiful musical concert and an opportunity to learn about the practices of other faiths and to see how much we have in common.