Tag Archives: Music

Little steps in the dark

In the auditorium at Jyoti Seva School for the Blind* fourth floor there are 60 of us – 50 ? Unsure. Maybe more. I take off my foot wear and search for words as one of the kids grins wide. They are eager, and cannot wait.

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I have worked with kids at a few levels, but this time it feels I am learning, in this place that is like a piece of heaven. Dearest Lord God almighty, little butterflies fill my stomach and heart. Outside it is Venkateshpura, Bangalore at its’ busiest. Little lanes cartwheeling with vegetable vendors and bullocks, women in burkhas, men in welders’ shops. Every vehicle in Bangalore city seems to be here, and I find it hard to understand how the Polish Prime Minister found his way into these tiny lanes for that visit a few years ago. But then God can do anything.

Sis G (music teacher ) and I  try a few voice routines ; what footwork will work on stage ? This is the very first time for me, for Jyothi Seva, dance and music, even drama is no big deal. I have many ideas, and Sis G among other amazing Daughters of Love here, ( Francescan ) are so generous with my various plans :  some amount of fun- drama : show casing Daily Living Skills, Physiotherapy rings, Hoops, Trampoline, a ladder and a mock door through which six of their best will dance out, onto a mock street scene thick with cut out ( thermocol/cardboard )auto rickshaws, city bus, a cow, a bullock cart, vendors, and two sighted artful pickpockets ) Am I nervous ? Am terrified ! Sis G. the music teacher grins at me.

These are not just any kids, these are 85 + blind kids, brilliant, some do stunning vocals, and oh they can dance !  They are sharp, quick-witted and don’t you arrive without a proper plan.

One tiny tot ( aged 5?) thinks it is time to break the ice. She holds my hand and says, ” Aunty Ray, first you clap !”  Her little face peers up at me thru’ a fringe, then with her small palm in mine she stands on her toes and asks,  ” You are Johann’s Mama, no ?”

” Yes baby”, I nod feeling utterly speechless. How big is God’s university of Life. How infinite His love that we should all be called children of God. How little I deserve to see such beauty thru’ the eyes of little Angels.

We sit in a circle and chat till lunch break. It is boiled rice with potato/ carrot gravy, an omelette and steel mug with cool cool water, little aprons tied to their waist, around neck ; later everyone stacks their plates away and rinses their spoon at low sinks with tiny taps shining in the noon light.

Am humbled by the talent in these kids, humbled by how little I know about their world though our own son is blind and though I’ve been here so many times doing what one can with Personality Development : Uh. Am startled that all our words that try to be ‘ be somebody’ are still so uniquely variant with each individual – and startled is such a limp word.

Aruna ( 9 years old ) is amazingly acrobatic. Am thinking, this one should do a cart-wheel right across stage – can we pull that off ? The 6 minute- choreography underlines Confidence; not something I had planned to think or say , but as we met again, the word came out firm and quiet and firm. ” Look kids, this is more than just about doing a step and I know you are all great dancers and actors, but we’re going to show the world the confidence with which you go out the front door, right ?”

They aren’t jumping for joy but they each nod in quiet as if  glad I’ve finally got it.

” Alright, before we break now, let’s run through some emotions, okay?”

” OHHHHHKAY !”  ( phew)

“Right. JSSchool, can you show us some SAD ?”

Uh uh – the room is too happy to handle that. 2 seconds later they are rolling into each other with laughter. Not anything I could do or say to make them show me ‘SAD’ – what d’you say to that?

As I wrap this Post am uncertain how to end this Post. I wish I could fill this space with pictures.

Outside the gates of JSSchool for the Blind the world is thick with debate on politics, crime. Here we have to work hard at happy face-smile- lines, we have to work out routines that display Goodness, Honesty, Gentleness, Talents…

I’ve brought home a few lessons in those hours spent with kids who cannot see, some have been abandoned, some have parents that do not want them home, others go home on holidays…  what I’ve seen is a thirst for the world outside their gate ;  they love the feel of fabric, footwear, perfume and little things in my bag, my bangles and watch, the buttons in my shirt,dearest dearest Lord God what am I feeling but a huge sense of a Universe so vast I am gagging to grasp it all. How many more people are there in this world in dimensions we haven’t even begun to come near – and what kind of song could I choose to fit into Choreography to show case their life – words that will match, tunes that are rhythms of their life… the reality of their life – what can I teach that I must first learn, live, inhale, digest.

They sang for me , ” Bright Eyes,” ” Tomorrow”, a few songs in Kannada that sounded like heaven – raw sweet voices without the sin of assumption. I just hope and pray the world they grow into will not be a place ridden with power games and disguised crime. That they, all our kids, will be able to cross the street unafraid, pay their own electricity bill and at least one other persons’, with the ability to make each other unafraid…

I have run out of words, but hope and pray oneday you too will find heaven in the lesser known lanes and homes where God’s own babies wait to tell us their story. I hope and pray this world will understand the language of the Father as He sings over our blinded senses. My words are not enough to describe the way I feel – I hope you understand what I have tried to express.

Thank you for reading this.

*Jyothi Seva School for the Blind, Bangalore

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‘Yes, but don’t go.’

Last night, all plates and dishes put away, the lights low in the bedroom where our youngest son went into his blanket ; the girls were yet to fall asleep, I peeped in at Joh, and he lifted that dark head calling me for a second kiss, then a whisper –

“Ma,I feel lonely.”

My heart missed a few beats ; it had been a long two months, there had been illness, a trip, school year starting over, uniforms that did not fit, unfinished assignments, a lingering cough and so many unfinished things…

“Why son ? We’re all here aren’t we ?”

“When you ‘re all busy with other things, I feel lonely,sometimes. “

Speechless, I hugged him close, closer, a third a fourth kiss.“You feel good now ?” 

“Yes, but don’t go.” He said nothing after that just smiled and the room filled with feelings I have no words for.

Human touch. How abused, misunderstood those two words are : and so very easy to ignore in all our busy-ness. We sat there an hour, not just Joh and me, but all five of us, an hour in that quiet gentle dark as the little ones fell asleep.

Dearest Lord God, the worst disease on earth : ‘loneliness’ and such a simple cure right from the mouth of Babes.

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Wh -aaat ?

At the Music shop everything stood silent ; everything except chords within. Have you heard your soul sing ? Almost against your wish ?  Haven’t you ?

C’mon, Your soul – it raved, ranted, fought, wept, swore when ever it could, would. But then again it sang when it willed. When the tide turned, when it hit rock or sky, it soared like an eagle on wings you never knew you curled within, yes there – right there…

then it sang.

The words startle, shove you off the  cliff, off the shelf you built over the years, flings you off your fortress, your strongholds – It sings for you with words never uttered, chords untouched just lying there waiting wanting plucking at your throat. This morning as I write this there’s music in my skin seeping through as if that were normal. As if there’s more to a planet than sunrise and mortal joys. I don’t know much but this is getting clear – we have soul buddy, we have soul. And that soul has gates waiting to be opened …

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“Christmas like no other !”

408503_466640510051894_1511555378_nThis December I found myself saying, ” Dearest God  please  give us a Christmas like none other ( not imagining our dear friend Johnston Richard was onto an Album with the same  title , and asked if our visually challenged son Johann Noel would sing and do a small narration for him).

For those who know my family personally, much as we adore our kids and would promote them to the stars, there are often limitations..esp with 2013-03-24 10.20.36

Johann who has never really sung with studio headphones on, leave alone narrate  ‘cold cold snow’ not anything we have experienced. I now understand ‘snow’ is for the cold of the human heart…

Johnston Richard you raised the bar on this mother’s faith, on a  challenged kids’ sometimes lonely existence. Christmas is not exactly a festive season for everyone – for those who are disabled physically, emotionally, financially, socially,oh so many ways…

not everyone gets Christmas trees laden with gifts, banquets and new wardrobe, or Love…

1466022_1387241388187524_205367003_nnot every one is given a chance to be who they are. God reminded me/ us at the Noel home, He did create some really good people on earth, making for Peace, Joy, acceptance, of each other, and the Room for another to also shine.. ( rare ! )..

Listen to ” Cold Bethlehem” and our home visual -mix on U tube 🙂 of the song, also below, a brief from Johnston Richards

Talking about his new album and the Title :

JR  : People around the world give gifts to their loved ones and share the joy of family reunions. For many people, it is a season of give and take. However, the true essence of Christmas is the joy that comes from knowing the truth that you are loved unconditionally by God. No matter how others treat you or how you look at y0xourself. This love shatters all logic and liberates you from self-condemnation and leads you to self acceptance. Through the unseen power of the unconditional love that moves the universe, you are propelled to love ‘yourself’ and then other people unconditionally and give of yourself without expecting anything in return. Christmas like no other is the moment of history when time stands still and you experience selflessness and accept the intense and unconditional love of the creator of the universe who loved the world and gave his perfect gift of love to an imperfect world.

If you could make a wish for the world today – 

 JR    While Christmas is a time of joy and is celebrated around the world, to several people around the world it is a time of loneliness, financial hopelessness and emotional brokenness. But celebration and life doesn’t consist in the abundance of things or plethora of friends. Christmas is a message of hope. A message to the lonely : the Unseen power and love that moves the universe came down to earth in human form on Christmas day to save those who were ‘lost’. Without hope, without a future. Christmas is a time to go back to the basics and accept that love and feel the completeness. Love knocks on your door this Christmas and my wish for the world is that the people open the door and let the creator, who is love personified, fill their hearts with the completeness and euphoria of that blissful unspeakable joy.

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Johann with Daddy Noel at the Studio

 What’s the toughest challenge being  ‘Johnston Richard’?

JR            Writing and composing songs is a gift that God breathed into me. I am strongly compelled that the songs that I receive from the throne should not be kept under a bushel. As any trustworthy steward, as the guardian and scribe of the songs, I am strongly inclined to get my music out in the open and put it on a lamp stand. My mission is to play in what I call H.O.P.E, which stands for Hospitals, Orphanages, Prisons and Educational Institutions. The toughest challenge I am faced with is acceptance. The industry has changed and it is tough to survive, let alone thrive, as a Gospel solo artist. Somehow, I believe that bands gain favourable responses as compared to solo artists. When you are soft-spoken and humble, the world takes meekness for weakness and tried to ride on your back. People tend to judge a book by its cover. You can be judged by the colour of your skin, your nationality, and stature. And there’s another thing. It’s a catch 22 situation -You cannot become recognized if you don’t have enough people buying or supporting your music; and on the other hand, people don’t want to buy your music if you are not well known. So far, I have been funding my music from my own pocket. It’s a challenge to do  huge promotional shows on a shoe string budget especially when you have a family who depends on you. I personally know what sacrifice means. Through it all it has taught me respect for others in similar endeavours and has built in me strong values, character and  gratitude. I praise God for His faithfulness, and thank my wife and daughter, and my dear friends for their incredible support. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my story in here  God Bless what you do…

 
Richie Johnny This is the Best Christmas Gift I have ever received. Thank you so much. I am so moved that God could use someone like me to make something that turned out so beautiful this Christmas and for all other Christmases to come. I was 16 when I wrote and first recorded this song on a tape recorder;) God had his child Johann in mind and I am so overwhelmed with emotions for the love and support extended to me and my family. A special hug to Johann. Merry Christmas and a blessed Newyear. The best is yet to come.

Johnston Richard lives in Bangalore ; besides his 9-5 job as a Professional Writer, he is a singer-songwriter, worship leader, author, producer and a guitar teacher. He has written and composed over hundreds of songs and has released two studio albums.Johnston partners with Besso Orphanage for destitute children. WWW.JOHNSTONRICHARD.COM. His second album, which is a Christmas Album, was released on December 7, 2013

 

http://youtu.be/MvW2-t1ARME

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Held by a Whisper

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….  like He had only one of me to love !

some things remind me of that feeling

even here – looking at a lake with one

just one lotus bud on tender stalk

in such deep water, as if held by nothing

nothing at all….

except a knowledge of a holding

inside..

….

( In passing a Lake with just one lotus bud)…

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Shhh .. listen to those Feet

 

..on these mountains, like the rhythm of hoof

shedding miles, with good news

of Peace – how beautiful those feet, shedding light

NoelJeff

like blood on pale faces,places;

like the trample of fresh new wine

cellars in the valley new with grain song unheard

like dawn fire among stars that pale

against Your sky, oh God, my God –

how beautiful the feet of those who bring… good news

on these mountains of division, despair, destruction, 

shredding miles of lost terrain,

with good news…

oh how beautiful these feet…

..

( re-written, suggestions  Abhra Pal thank you )

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What is it

A blacksmith removing rust with sand prior to ...

A blacksmith removing rust with sand prior to welding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

..what is it about early mornings

and late dusk, bud, falling leaf,

silver/ gold edges, and rust

shores and planes, even valley shade,

what is it580512_633690916658762_18640815_n

about the rain, and dust

the heat the cold, steel and

spring flowers, like May and

June, summer monsoon, what is it

about everything…

everything

what is it..

English: Insects swarm around a lamp after a m...

English: Insects swarm around a lamp after a monsoon downpour, Don Khon island, southern Laos. June 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

why am I constantly

looking at everything

can’t I just mind my own business

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‘Open the Eyes of my Heart’

Uploaded on Oct 20, 2011 

MUSIC STARTS AT 3’00..

10 YEAR OLD Christopher Duffley is an amazing kid with an AMAZING God! Born premature, blind, and autistic, Christopher was adopted by his parents before they realized God has gifted this young fellow with the gift of music!

This recording is from the 2011 “New Hampshire Night of Worship” celebration
Christopher’s website at:http://duffley.com/christopherduffley…

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Faith that can move a mountain

..

faith that can make me see the impossible, 

that is faith. Else it is not faith

at all.

……

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Everyday you write a new line

Everyday You write a new Line of Love
into these places called my life
I am amazed by
Grace.

VALLEY OF SONGS 24″x 36″ > oil, acrylic, RN, of my TRIBES series, in progress, yes some Oils take a while to finish, for me. Unsure why. Maybe the drying process between layers of my life.

VALLEY OF SONGS. RNoel

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