Last night we saw Elephant Revival at the Ogden Theatre in Denver. It was exquisite.
Rhythmically robust and so beautifully simple. This group is anything but boring: their style melds bluegrass, gypsy, rock, folk, Celtic, and has the spiritual depth of an indigenous chant. One song might have Bonnie Paine’s antique-leather-clad hands dancing across washboard to accompany five voices weaving a harmonious chant while the next number might feature Bridget Law deftly spinning a story on her violin, supported by a chorus of washboard, djembe, cymbal, stomp pad, mandolin, bass, and guitar. And every song emanates an undeniable energy.
They even incorporated their long-time friends who are aerialists into the experience. What a night! Walking out of the venue, drenched in the joy of such an artful experience, we were shocked to see the clock. It was hours later than I’d thought. The concert elevated our evening to transcend time.
Long story short, if you call yourself a lover of music, then you should absolutely look up Elephant Revival. And if you ever have the chance to see them live, do it.
So moved by the experience, I found myself contemplating why. Surprising, I know.
Confucius emphasized the role of the arts and humanities (especially music and poetry) in broadening human nature and aiding li (etiquette, the rites) in bringing us back to what is essential about humanity. For Friedrich Schiller, appreciating art and beauty is the most perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of human nature.
So, I think I say this…
Experiencing art like that created by Elephant Revival stirs our soul and reminds us what it means to be human:
powerful, capable of creating community, listeners, full of energy, delighted and able to delight, imaginative, focused, fun.
Being experientially reminded of what it means to be human is beautiful. It added depth to my daily life. However you define “art” (that’s a whole other conversation we can have another day), how does art affect (or not affect) how you experience and understand life? Does it elevate you too?