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Inanna Sisters In Rhythm "One Love, One Heart" Winter Solstice Concert

Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland ME ~ December 21, 2014 ~

Dec 31, 2014
Kimmy Sophia Brown

On December 21st, Peter and I went to see Inanna Sisters in Rhythm’s “One Love, One Heart” Winter Solstice Celebration - our third time seeing them at One Longfellow Square. My, my, my they get better with age. What a group of gorgeous, talented women! Annegret, Lizzie, Shirsten and Tori began our evening celebration with darkness and silence. They invited local ceremonialist Deborah El’elia Knighton Tallarico up on the stage to strike a crystal bowl and give a beautiful invocation to release our burdens and call in the light on the longest night of the year. Ten pillar candles were lit and placed on the stage and then the music began. 

Lizzie read the myth of Inanna – about the Sumerian goddess who went into the underworld to learn about wisdom and understanding. Inanna instructed her servant, Ninshubur, about what to do in case she was unable to return. The Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, was enraged when she saw Inanna’s beauty. She forced her to surrender the jewelry and clothing she had created and worn to protect herself during her descent. Once she was naked, Ereshkigal killed Inanna and hung her corpse on a wall to rot. Ereshkigal (unbeknownst to her) represented an aspect of Inanna’s spirit and personality.

Ereshkigal was a suffering being, and mourned and wailed about her own existence. Ninshubur sought help from Inanna’s father and paternal grandfather for help to rescue her, but they refused. She finally received help from Inanna’s maternal grandfather, Enki. He took dirt from under his fingernails and created two beings called the kurgarra and galatur, who went into the underworld and lamented and cried with Ereshkigal. She was so moved by their sympathy and compassion that she offered them whatever they wanted. They took the rotting corpse of Inanna back with them, where she was resurrected. There is much more to the story, but that is the essence of it. By the end of the reading, I could see that Lizzie was visibly moved by the story telling. I felt that their decision to name their group after Inanna was by no means arbitrary.

inanna sisters in rhythm on stage
Shirsten began to throat sing in the tradition of Mongolians and Tuvans. Annagret joined in with the violin and they played “Bee the Moment,” possibly one of the most uplifting and mesmerizing songs I’ve ever heard.

For the rest of the evening we enjoyed the most beautiful music imaginable. They embodied the spirit of joy, playing djembes, frame drums, small tambourines, and other percussion instruments, and singing in four part harmony. The venue was sold out, and even though there was not a lot of space for dancing, there were little clusters of people dancing their hearts out in wild abandon. I kept thinking of cartoons of Snoopy from Peanuts, dancing uninhibitedly with the caption “To Dance is to Live.”

They gave some stage time to Amanda "Panda" Parkhurst, the founder of the organization, “Music & Magic Maine.” (http://www.musicandmagicmaine.com) Her mission is to give musical instruments to children who might otherwise not be able to afford them. They showed us a hot pink violin that was going to be presented to a little girl who couldn’t be there that night.

During the second set, a Brother in Rhythm joined them on stage, the nephew of Annegret’s teacher from Guinea, West Africa. He wore a shirt and pants made of African fabric, and his face shone with light as he smiled and played his beautiful djembe with them.

Lizzie commented that African drumming causes a “soulgasm.” Lots of laughter ensued from that comment.They played a rendition of "The Little Drummer Girl," which they had also performed at the "Magic of Christmas" event at Merrill Auditorium in early December.

They performed original compositions, adaptations of indigenous songs, and spent a lot of time drumming spontaneously, queuing off each other. They did a cover of Bob Marley’s “One Love, One Heart," for which the night's event was named.

Their final song was based on the Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness,"Ho'hoponopono." We sang along: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” I could feel a shift in the atmosphere in the room as we sang it over and over.

Their music reaches into the primal soul of the listener. I wondered if each of these women had experienced their own descent into the underworld and come back victorious like Inanna – it seems so. The strength and heart that emanates from each of them suggests suffering and wisdom, growth and triumph. Each of them is fully present, powerfully feminine, enthrallingly joyful, energetic, and beautiful. I want to be like them when I grow up.

If you ever have a chance to see them live, don’t miss it. They are a living blessing among us.

Press Photos from inannasistersinrhythm.com
Click the image to see larger image

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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