S.J. “Sooj” Tucker’s official bio states she performs with “a unique alternative-rock style, flavored with a dose of blues, a dash of celtic, a taste of punk, and even a hint of folk for good measure. Her music is interwoven with mythic lore, avant-garde poetry, and modern storytelling.” Having seen her perform, I’ll sign that. She was kind enough to write a piece on what music means to her. Find out more about her here.
I think of music as my native spiritual and verbal language, more than just about any other form of communication. I truly believe that music can move mountains, heal hearts, and open minds, when it is properly focused. As a performer, a witch, and a healer, I consider music a magickal tool- a magickal partner, even.
Rewind to 2003. One afternoon on my way to a recording session, I had a major spiritual and musical epiphany. I was recording my first full-length album at the time, at a studio near my home in Memphis, Tennessee. As I drove from the office (my then day job) to the studio (my dream job), I listened to NPR. The “Earth & Sky” segment began, and I heard the reporter describe new data from NASA and scientists in Cambridge about a black hole in the Perseus Cluster of galaxies: using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, they had measured the frequency of the soundwaves coming from this black hole and discovered that the waves register a pitch.
That pitch is B-flat.
Specifically, it’s B-flat fifty-seven octaves below middle-C.
I wasn’t used to scientists speaking my language.
I was so excited that I nearly ran off the road.
Here’s a link to the corresponding article.
At this news my head was full of fireworks, connections being made, and joy run rampant. “Music really is part of everything,” I thought. “Black holes, clover patches, highways, me: everything in the universe, made up of atoms, has a vibration, and therefore registers a pitch. Music really IS part of everything!”
When I sing, I believe I’m tapping into the source–the divine, Spirit, Universe, whatever you’d like to call it. On Facebook, the “religion” field on my profile reads “musician.”
At the Starwood festival in New York a few years ago, I attended a talk on String Theory, where I learned, among other things, that music and the history of the models of atoms that we are all familiar with from school have been linked for years and years. Many articles about the history of our awareness of the atom compare particles to vibrations on a violin string.
The gentleman who gave the talk put it all in these terms: Atomic models tells us that the whole universe is singing, while String Theory tells us that the whole universe is a song.
I came out of that workshop with my mind in a whirl. I wandered back to camp and sat with my friend Jason Cohen, lead singer of Boston-based tribal rock band Incus. He asked me what was on my mind, so I told him about the talk I’d just attended. “I don’t know whether I’m a Pagan or a physicist anymore, right now,” I said.
Jason put things into beautiful perspective just moments later when he responded by saying, “You know what? As long as you keep singing, I don’t really give a rat’s ass.”
This, it turned out, was exactly what I needed to hear.
I have always sought to give healing with my music, to use my powers for good, as it were. There’s a reason that lullabies work, that you can hear a song in a language you do not speak and still be moved by it.
If the documentary The Singing Revolution is to be believed, and I think it is, the nation of Estonia would not exist today if its people had not held onto their folk music traditions so very fiercely, all the way through World War II and the Cold War.
We use music all the time in small ways, to lift our mood, to make our day better, to offset powerful emotions. When I go onstage, I am aware that the audience has put itself into my care- mentally, emotionally, magickally, and spiritually.
My listeners are volunteering to go on a journey with me. At just about every concert of mine, there is at least one person who experiences an epiphany, a bit of healing, or just comes out of the concert recharged and feeling better. Many of them share their stories with me afterward. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is no more powerful proof than this for me, that I am doing my job well.
In the One Giant Leap documentary, which is both very world-conscious and very deeply tied in with the music it contains, Kurt Vonnegut says “Music is proof to me of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic.”