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Music by Kim André Arnesen Lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri
Our world is wounded. All around us we see the cracks: the effects of the environmental crisis, mass migrations, global pandemics, political polarization, growing income inequality, the rise of authoritarian regimes, unprecedented social change, and the reluctance or resignation of many people to do anything about it. And yet our world is also a place of wondrous beauty, a beauty that surrounds us when we have the eyes to see it. More than ever, we need messages of hope and unity, messages that remind us what we already know – that the world is beautiful, that people are beautiful, and that when we come together, we can respect one another, bless one another, and open our hearts to be blessed in return, heal the despair and mend the cracks that threaten our fragile world.
In “TUVAYHUN – Beatitudes for a Wounded World” we try to address this fragility and the role we are called to play in its healing. “Tuvayhun” in Aramaic is the first word in each of the Beatitudes, “Blessed…”. In the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus probably said this very word when pointing out those who are especially blessed in the eyes of God; but his list was not predictable. He didn’t say, “Blessed are the big spenders,” or “Blessed is the church leadership,” or “Blessed are those who pray the loudest.” Instead, he shocked his listeners by blessing not the joyful, but those who mourn; not the righteous, but the poor in spirit; not the powerful, but the peacemakers and the meek. He blessed the sinners, the brokenhearted, the marginalized. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
TUVAYHUN responds to each of Jesus’ blessings as if to say, “Yes, and…”. These new texts illustrate how this blessing applies in the real world. It seems that Jesus’ words from two millennia ago still resonate, and the people he sought to comfort with his blessing still need that blessing, and the social ills he called attention to then still challenge us today.
TUVAYHUN’s music takes us on a journey through deep emotions and profoundly human situations. The music moves in the border area between antiquity and modernity, between the sacred and the profane. We move from semi-liturgical chants to lively folk dancing, from rich orchestral layers to strong solos, from the familiar to the exotic and back again. The music illuminates the many different peoples and experiences that the texts evoke, and serves in sonic form as a reminder of the universal and enduring message of the Beatitudes.
One might think that each of the eight verses of the Beatitudes concerns a different group of people: the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful. However, these are not eight different groups of people, but eight moral qualities that we can all possess. We are all in need of these blessings, and we are all called to act as agents of blessing.
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