Listening to the tracks in this album, a collaboration among artists on five continents of songs inspired by the teachings and projects of Mario Rodriques Cobos (better known as Silo, writer, teacher, guide and founder of the Humanist Movements spiritual guide), can spark hope and inspiration as heartfelt music can do.
Organized by Mark Lesseraux & Chris Wells, the album, Songs for the Sala, can be found on https://salasongs.bandcamp.com/releases. It was produced as a fundraiser to help complete the meditation hall or sala at the Hudson Valley Park of Study and Reflection. The album puts together the songs and music of eight diverse songwriters/musicians.
Edge of the Night, by singer-songwriter Mark Lesseraux, kicks off the album. Written on a ukulele in the sala at the Punta de Vacas Park Of Study And Reflection, Argentina, it was inspired by the theme of the Internal Guide and the Guided Experience called “The Protector Of Life” from Silo’s teachings/books and also partially inspired by the movie The Shining.
An album created as a fundraiser for a Meditation Hall that hopes to serve as a beacon of light, an open space where anyone can come to connect with the best of oneself, with meaning and one’s best aspirations, the lyrics and melody set the tone for the album, with a refrain that goes:
“At the edge of the night
When you’re lost and you’re frightened
In the dead of the winter night
I will be your light”
The second track by Chris Wells, a songwriter, actor, teacher and Siloist based in New York City, is about Silo. He relates that he started this song on the 50th anniversary of Silo’s public talk “The Healing of Suffering” which he gave in Punta de Vacas, Argentina (high in the Andes) since public gatherings were not permitted by the dictatorship which ruled at that time. The song is a moving testimony as some of the lyrics go:
“He named the violence ready to explode
Pointed to the exit, it was down the inner road
And all these years later, it echoes in my bones
Echoes in the deep space with faint overtones
A simple truth but a rocky path and every day we start
Change yourself and change the world
The light of meaning heals the heart”
The succeeding tracks are a fusion of different styles, coming from artists of different backgrounds.
Mara Repa, a singer and songwriter from Athens, Greece, contributes three songs. She lives and works in Athens as a vocal coach in contemporary singing. Inspired by Silo’s teachings, Mara aspires to the kind of Art that brings one in contact with one’s self, with the human and with faith in an open future. To quote from the album notes:
“Ena- One was used for the End Titles of the documentary “más allá de la venganza” – 2016. The song sees humanity as an organism and people as its cells making a parallel to the human body and its parts. Any separation and isolation in both cases is experienced as violence while an Internal Look to the profound tendency of the Human overcomes the fracture and inevitably leads back home, to being One.
To Go Ahead is a project – song inspired by the Balkan Route of the World March for Peace and Non-Violence – 2009. The song was written in the summer of 2009, during the preparation of the World March, to give encouragement for the journey of life, a journey in the world of the senses as long as the journey to one’s internal world, to find the other and find oneself.
The Question was written as the music trailer for the documentary “Más allá de la Venganza” – 2016. The song was inspired by the strength of the people interviewed during the documentary who, despite living through severe injustice, choose to put their intention and resolution into going on with their lives free of resentment, opening for themselves and others roads of light.
From South America, there are two Spanish songs by Ernesto and Leo Rodriguez–La Maravilla and En El Silencio de tu Mente.
About La Maravilla, he says “Around the year 2000, we formed a music group called Mezclao with other Siloist friends, and when Silo’s Message emerged, it inspired us to compose songs expressing this new spirituality. This song is inspired by the contact with the luminous center that we all carry within. It is the first song that I composed with my son Leo Rodriguez for the first CD. of the Mezclao group.”
The song, En El Silencio de tu Mente, “speaks of the sacred, which is always present, it accompanies us, although sometimes we cannot perceive it. We can make contact with him in the silence of our minds. It is a very soft song beautifully performed by Alicia Delbón. I composed it with my son Leo Rodriguez for the second CD of the Mezclao group.”
Narco Bourgeois and Jeremiah Hosea’s song entitled Love’s The Highest Truth is “a song about appreciating life. It’s also about appreciating friendship and family relationships – and forgiveness. It’s about the universality of love and the idea that love is beyond words.”
From India is the song penned by Suresh Mehta, entitled “Ahimsa – Peace – Give it a Chance” who also composed the tune. The music was provided by a music teacher, played by him and two of his students, and sung by his family members. And, from Wanaco 32 and Norton Repex, comes a rap song, entitled Kronos.
The last two tracks that round up the selection are from Chris Wells and Mark L Mark Lesseraux.
Every Single Person is about seeing others as fully human, each and every one unique. As two stanzas go…
“What if every life could be witnessed?
What if everyone was loved (even a little bit)?
What if everyone could be solid in their soul?
Every single person in the world
Every single person in the world”
What if every child was nourished?
What if every home was safe?
What if every heart was as fierce as it was true?
Every single person in the world
Every single person in the world
The last song entitled We want peace on earth is an upbeat anthem, an anthem, and a clamor for new solutions and new directions towards much-needed peace and a world without violence.
Should you wish to support the fundraiser, the Digital Album is available for Streaming + Download. This includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
All proceeds will support the construction of a meditation pavilion (“Sala”) at Hudson Valley Park of Study and Reflection (www.hudsonvalleypark.org).
You can also view a short film about the Sala which won the AIA (The American Institute of Architects) People’s Choice Award, 2020 here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9FhTJvloGo
released December 1, 2020
Organized by Mark Lesseraux and Chris Wells
Translations by Trudi Richards and Patricia Rios
Cover Art by Rafael Edwards