Podcast interview: Angel Bat Dawid responds to the episode 'Is Music A Religion?'

Podcast interview: Angel Bat Dawid responds to the episode 'Is Music A Religion?'

Thu Apr 8th
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For Episode 1 of our new podcast 'The Big Playback', we interviewed musician Angel Bat Dawid regarding the question Is Music a Religion? Dawid shared her thoughts on participatory music, her philosophy on people being creatures of habit and her idea of inner attainment. 

Clarinetist, piano player, and composer Angel Bat Dawid is a prolific free jazz musician whose practice is rooted in improvisation and participation. She is an active member of Chicago collective, Participatory Music Coalition, as well as Damon Locks’ Black Monuments Ensemble. Preaching music as a daily practice, vital to life and open to all, her own work with Tha Brothahood continues a lifelong reflection on Spirituality and Music, investigating in particular, Black Spirituals and hushed harbour services, traditions of creating safe and sacred spaces to express this necessity. She also serves as teacher and mentor to Black youth musicians in Chicago. 

Angel Bat Dawid at Le Guess Who? 2019; photography by Rogier Boogaard

Dawid answered our questions in a prepared text, and as no voice but hers would do it justice, her words are here separately, pure and unedited, a thought-provoking addition to the audio:

Can you share your thoughts on participatory music, and your philosophy on people being creatures of habit-  getting in the habit of making music instead of thinking only a "musician" can make music?

Participatory Musix is the reason musix exists. It exists to engage community and connection to earth and all the sounds that harmonize and create our existence. Yes we are just creatures of habit..whatever you repeat is what will be. Keep doing anything for a long time and you will increase in strength in that thing. So that makes it a very easy thing to do...not easy in the sense that the task isn't difficult and the journey aint long n'hard, but in the sense that If we keep at it for a long time...we will gain strength in that thing. So what do we want to repeat? Now habits can be formed and used and switched and changed anyway we like. Just as we form habits by repetition...when we discontinue repeating that thing we decline in power of that thing. So if you stop stealin, lyin, being a bitch and a dick and jerk, manipulative, murderously selfish, annoying rotten to tha core racists malicious and evil entities...that is the world we will have. Im sick of that shit! So lets violently repeat love with a vengence and trample such stupid shit that money with white slave owners on the tattered pieces of colony filth can really save the world. let's repeat something else.

Yes! Let's get in the habit of making music as you make a  meal, as you sip some cool dreamy drink, as you gaze at  colorzz reflecting orange and cobalt blue radiantly off the glass pipe of an oyster egg. Music is not an elective or optional thing that you can choose to live with or live without. It is a thing that all the ancients and mystics and sciences of all mankind use as the vessel to transfer very important information about the purpose for humanity and what we are to do. It's a necessity for your body to live, for the blood to flow it's not notes on a page or some secret society( even tho there are millions of music secret societies...and you can know all secrets...if you want to know a thing just keep asking questions (repetition)  and then it will lead you to all the secrets and then you will automatically be apart of that secret society cause you  looked for the ancient secret things)  music is an important ingredient in that journey towards the secrets in the mythologies in the fables in the lore....the Revelation of the Mysteries.

During your performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s InProgress concert series last year, you mentioned the idea of 'entertainment vs inner attainment'. Can you describe what this means to you?

"This statement about Music...not as entertainment but inner attainment comes from an elder in my musica community who is a legendary and incredible percussionist. Avreeayl Ra! Avreeayl told me this on our way back from a rehearsal or show or something.... and when he said this statement, it struck me as one of the most profound assessments and clarity about what a real musician is. Avreeayl is an amazing drummer he always sounds so good and he puts his all into every note, and when I thought about who told me this statement it made me look and hear his music in a different way. It was never about him being an entertainer or getting the applause or being the show man or.... hey look at me....look what i can do!!  It was and is and is to come was still deeper than that for Avreeayl...he is using music to attain something higher within and without himself. That is quite a profound way to experience music....that it is chiseling and molding us into whatever we choose to be. it's our choice and our choice alone to be whoever we  choose to be....who do you choose to be? That is the question that music poses to you, cascading on  the beautiful reflecting pool...

a sea of glass with creatures never seen 
and 24 elders with robes the blood made clean.  
This right here is innerattainment!

Do you have questions about or answers to this episode? Our aim with this podcast is to initiate conversations, and hear as many voices as possible. 

Feel like sharing your thoughts? You can write us at letters@leguesswho.com.

Main photography: Juri Hiensch

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