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.

 

 was excited to see Inanna again because I knew we were in for a treat. The stage was set with a large array of world drums, percussion and rhythm instruments. There was a big crowd and everyone seemed excited to be there. Last night was the CD release party for their new CD, Jewel in the Heart, recorded at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. The four women, Tori Morrill, Shirsten Lundblad, Lizzy Derecktor and Annagret Baier were dressed in their signature sleeveless tunics with the colorful flame patterns. Even Michelle Obama would be envious of their arm muscles! They are beautiful -- bursting with feminine strength and energy. Inanna’s music is a composite of African, Indian, and world rhythms and original compositions. You can go to their website to find out more about the history of the group and who they’ve studied with over the years: Inanna - Sisters in Rhythm.
Not only are they accomplished and powerful musicians but there is something magical about them. A sort of alchemy occurred last night between the playing and the listening that felt like a vibrational sound healing. The synthesis of the drumming, their gorgeous harmonies and all that they embody were enthralling. We were lifted into a state of euphoria. I believe their music calls forth the secret spheres of the elementals and hidden helpers of the earth to come and join in. Invisible or not, I felt them!
I loved the song, “Bee the Moment”, a title which is a play on words. It began with violin and drums creating a drone like the sound of bees. It should be the anthem for the world:
“…This is what I choose, this is what I know. If I knew a better way, I’m sure I’d walk that road…be the moment, in your presence. All we have is now. Be the moment, in your presence. All we have is now.” 
Maine Poet Laureate, Martin Steingesser, was invited to the stage last night -- once to offer a poem and later to tell a story accompanied by Inanna. Inanna finished the evening with a lullaby, and encouraged us to join in singing the simple lyrics: “Namo Amitaba, Kuan Yin, Bodhisatva”. Then there was one last rousing African drumming song and two standing ovations. We came home flying. I played their Jewel in the Heart CD all morning and danced around the house like a priestess looking for a temple.
Inanna makes music with intention and that’s one of their biggest strengths. On the CD jacket is this quote:
“We are in a time of great transformation on planet Earth. May we move into living life from the heart. May we embrace all cultures as family. May we give back to the Earth that sustains us. May we remember the bliss that is at the heart of our being that expresses itself through our common language of music, rhythm and dance.”

I was excited to see Inanna again because I knew we were in for a treat. The stage was set with a large array of world drums, percussion and rhythm instruments. There was a big crowd and everyone seemed excited to be there. Last night was the CD release party for their new CD, Jewel in the Heart, recorded at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. The four women, Tori Morrill, Shirsten Lundblad, Lizzy Derecktor and Annagret Baier were dressed in their signature sleeveless tunics with the colorful flame patterns. Even Michelle Obama would be envious of their arm muscles! They are beautiful -- bursting with feminine strength and energy. Inanna’s music is a composite of African, Indian, and world rhythms and original compositions. You can go to their website to find out more about the history of the group and who they’ve studied with over the years: Inanna - Sisters in Rhythm.
Not only are they accomplished and powerful musicians but there is something magical about them. A sort of alchemy occurred last night between the playing and the listening that felt like a vibrational sound healing. The synthesis of the drumming, their gorgeous harmonies and all that they embody were enthralling. We were lifted into a state of euphoria. I believe their music calls forth the secret spheres of the elementals and hidden helpers of the earth to come and join in. Invisible or not, I felt them!


I loved the song, “Bee the Moment”, a title which is a play on words. It began with violin and drums creating a drone like the sound of bees. It should be the anthem for the world: “…This is what I choose, this is what I know. If I knew a better way, I’m sure I’d walk that road…be the moment, in your presence. All we have is now. Be the moment, in your presence. All we have is now.” 


Maine Poet Laureate, Martin Steingesser, was invited to the stage last night -- once to offer a poem and later to tell a story accompanied by Inanna. Inanna finished the evening with a lullaby, and encouraged us to join in singing the simple lyrics: “Namo Amitaba, Kuan Yin, Bodhisatva”. Then there was one last rousing African drumming song and two standing ovations. We came home flying. I played their Jewel in the Heart CD all morning and danced around the house like a priestess looking for a temple.
Inanna makes music with intention and that’s one of their biggest strengths. On the CD jacket is this quote:


“We are in a time of great transformation on planet Earth. May we move into living life from the heart. May we embrace all cultures as family. May we give back to the Earth that sustains us. May we remember the bliss that is at the heart of our being that expresses itself through our common language of music, rhythm and dance.”

 

Inanna has a mission and they are fulfilling it. May Father/Mother/God/Goddess bless them a thousand times and may their music fill the earth for millennia.

 

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