Friday, June 10, 2011
This blog was orignanlly posted in September of 2010. Michael Franti will be playing at Bayfront in Duluth at the Twin Ports Bridge Festival on July 9th, 2011. Don't miss this opportunity! To get tickets visit: www.laughingstockdesign.biz
I have been following musician and activist Michael Franti for a few years now and remain in awe of his journey, his talent and his committment to grassroots peace activism.
I recently saw him perform with his band "Spearhead" at the State Theater in Minneapolis and am still reverberating from the experience. Once outspoken about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Michael has found a new route down that path...singing about love and humanity.
His journey parallels my own in that I used to get so much satisfaction from sticking it to "The Man." I used to attend rallies and protests, write angry, verbose editorials and loved to argue about politics, international affairs and the tyranny of the US government.
At that time Michael went to Iraq and Palestine while I traveled to Afghanistan, desperate to see the war unfolding with my own eyes. I returned heart broken, aloof and despondent and began to let go of politics all together. I was in search of something deeper and more meaningful, something that would help me make sense out of the world in which I found myself.
That something ended up being yoga. Michael ironically also found yoga and began to practice with his teachers David Life and Sharon Gannon in San Francisco. I watched his music and his message change as the music in my own life was forever altered. The cracks and fissures once blown open by witnessing 9-11 and attending George Bush's second inauguration were filled in with quietude, calm and a settledness that flowed through the cracks down into my bones. My angry voice became a sweet, chanting voice. My writing became more curious rather than authoritative.
A year or two later I found myself standing in front of a set of massive speakers watching Michael sing about the common threads that bind us all together. I watched the room sway in unison as if we are at some kind of fundamentalist revival. No one sat down for the entire show and I was beaming, elated, on fire with the power of the undercurrent that ripples beneath all of our lives. He has turned madness into joy and he feeds it back to his fans spoonful by loving spoonful in uplifting lyrics and reggae beats.
He has stumbled upon something more powerful than hate, more powerful than bombs, more powerful than raging against something be it a system, mindframe or political party...he has tapped into that which makes us all human and it is undeniable. He leads by example and proves that all of us are capable of making that leap to love.
For more information on Michael Franti, his music and his connections to the yoga community visit: www.michaelfranti.com