The struggles of a Faith-keeping musician, ep. 1

I write this post not to say that I am worse off than everyone else — because each person has his struggles, and sometimes, he'd have no one to turn to. I write this post so that I can relate to the people who are in the same situation as I am, and that they can relate to me too, in future. For us Faith-keeping musicians, our art is purified by suffering. It is through suffering that we ultimately get to the meaning behind what we do: to show people what is good, right, true and beautiful.

I hold this post very close to my heart, especially as a Catholic Christian and as a drummer.

For a long time, even up to this point, I've been lost in wonder as to how to share with people what is good, right, true and beautiful. I say so particularly about my favourite instrument — the drum.

Now, no virtuoso performance has managed to touch me to this point. I have only watched one or two of Dame Evelyn Glennie's videos yet (I will watch a lot more when I have the chance). I have watched quite a bit of Kodo, Ondekoza, Tao... they are good groups, and I have linked videos from each group, but none come close to the drums I heard in last year's World Youth Day, Station 11 of the Way of the Cross.

What I have is the less-powerful version, captured with my Lumix camera.

Several posts back, I had spoken about this video and what it moved me to do. All fine and dandy. The only thing was... what I had captured didn't have the same power the original had. So, this morning, curious to see whether that same video was captured by the Vatican and posted on YouTube, I decided to go and search for it.

It was indeed captured by the Vatican and posted on YouTube............... except that it was a live stream.
Now I'll never be able to watch it again, and I'll never be able to share with others what I really heard.

The simplicity of it at the beginning captured me. Then the progression, as it got louder and more complex. More importantly, the drums were deep, and each beat pierced me right through the heart. That was not a drumming style intended to touch anyone's heart. Those were the stereotypical 'execution drums' — those patterns played when someone is approaching the block (to be beheaded) or the scaffold (to be hanged). Yet, they were given a new meaning when played at that particular station where Jesus was to die after the excruciating pain from hanging on the cross for three hours. I wanted to cry.

I returned home from Madrid....... and wept. That was the effect they had on me. The music team successfully drew me to the meaning behind the Way of the Cross.

I look at my hands and wonder, what are they capable of?......I've had the passion for that instrument ever since I was three. And I now grapple around in the dark, all alone without any guidance, and without a drum kit I can access. Thank God for the drumsticks! I am often lost in wonder at the passion I have, and why I have it. Only God can tell, in His time, what these hands will be capable of. And I am confident about that.

But for now, let me just go and weep.


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