Dear May Erlewine,
The problem, for me, with language all too often is that it cannot keep up with the pace of my feelings and can become a distraction to staying with a clear and open channel of thoughts and true voice. In times such as this when I am nearly mute with my astonishment, I fumble splendidly. Forgive me dear, I am a devourer of language, a word hunter and gatherer, but for this occasion, I may just go hungry.
But I digress, there are some things I want to say to you. And perhaps it’s best left to the raw and unrefined stuttering, because who can explain the beauty and wonder of the sky with mere words? Why do we try?
I started listening to your music in 2006 and was immediately enchanted by your earnest and heartfelt songwriting and musical ambition. I was intrigued by the reflective juxtaposition of your offstage quiet/calm/introspection and the high gear shift to that big voice and smile that showed up to every performance I saw– and I saw a lot of you. Your songs and your astute observations and your pure poetry have stuck with me through some of the highest highs I’ve known; I walked arm in arm with my daddy and my sonny boy down the aisle toward the man who became my husband, to one of your songs. I danced so gracefully, so fully present, on the 4th of July in some tall grass beside the headwaters of the Platte River to another song blaring from my car stereo–a moment that will forever hold a space in my heart for a beautiful day well spent. There have been times of unbearable heartache and unrelenting darkness, and your songs have been both anthem and beacon. All the while, it just seemed like a lucky coincidence and happenstance that your music could be one of the (many) soundtracks to my life– so many good memories of sacred moments flash before my eyes when I listen, I was in the right places at the right times to watch you and your music grow into a woman, alongside my own evolution, with different mythologies and narratives, but enough resonance to connect the dots– to make a song fit me intricately at times and other times to simply marvel and feel inspired. I appreciated your abundant talent, got goosebumps, and counted you among my favorites– globally.
And then came Mother Lion.
Transformational–transcendental– transmutational– inner galactic– interiorly amplified–holy shit sister–Mother Loving Lion. Oh sister. I feel you. I hear you.
I hear you speaking my mother tongue– which I don’t get to have conversations in with others who are fluent, very often.
This album feels like someone followed me around and lived inside my heart and felt inspired to write poetry about what ever beauty and truth and grace and humility and pain and redemption and gratitude they observed– the tiny moments that add up to a woman coming into her fullness– embracing her wholeness– revealing her sturdiness– acknowledging her journey by removing all the skin and sinew until only the bones of her bones remain– the truth and the glory and the aching and the bearing down– the joyful discovery of her nakedness & simplicity– the hunger for justice, the tender and the fierce– the mighty street fighter and the resilient honeybee. You shined a light inward and illuminated all of us doing the work of staying human– of loving and crashing, grieving and celebrating, starting and stopping, searching and becoming.
These songs rip me open and lick my wounds at the same time. You want to shake the world? Well I can only speak for me but I am shook. I am trembling. I am a witness to the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to first do no harm and to as above so below all playing out at once. To call you courageous or vulnerable feels shallow– and neither of those things are shallow whatsoever. Listening to this body of work has caused me to either ascend to a new vibratory level or else peel down a few layers more than I’ve ever been. I’m not sure which because I’m still trying to wrap my head around it– but I have a hunch this can’t be thought out– it demands to be felt–you are the creatrix of extra sensory music– nothing I have ever experienced– and I’ve listened to lots of music. I didn’t know THIS existed– I didn’t know it was missing.
This album feels like discovering a water tower after crawling across the desert for 41 years.
Its been 5 days and I just keep drinking it up; feeling every deep thirst quenched with each gulp.
Thank you for your calling out into the wilderness. Thank you for your call to action. Thank you for your unbelievably gorgeous and generous and honest and heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive gift of your incredible humanity to my own.
Christina Luna Mama