The transcendent power of music has long been recognized as a vehicle for spiritual practice and a path to spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. Spiritual music, a universally powerful form of prayer, has for millennia provided human beings with a sense of the greater spiritual universe. Chanting forms part of many religious rituals, and diverse spiritual traditions consider music as a means of opening the individual to spiritual experience.

In this episode of Global Spirit, host Phil Cousineau explores the transcendent qualities of spiritual and sacred music with guests Rev. Alan Jones and Grammy-award-winning singer and member of the Native American Onondaga tribe Joanne Shenandoah.  Experience the power of liturgical musical performances in Latin from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (where the Rev. Jones serves as Dean) and witness powerful, live studio performances by Joanne Shenandoah and her daughter. This episode also includes a hauntingly moving, seven-minute sequence from Peter Brook’s film, Meetings with Remarkable Men, in which the young mystic Gurdjieff learns the power of sacred sound as it resonates from the Afghan mountaintops.

Among the many forms in which the human spirit has tried to express its innermost yearnings and perceptions, music is perhaps the most universal. It symbolizes the yearnings for harmony, with oneself and with others, with nature and with the spiritual and sacred within us and around us. There is something in music that transcends and unites. This is evident in the sacred music of every community – music that expresses the universal yearning that is shared by people all over the globe.”   
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Joanne Shenandoah’s official site

10 thoughts on “Music, Sound and the Sacred

  1. What a wonderful breath of fresh air this show is for TV.
    Thank you to all who take part in it.

  2. …I think music, as a component of religion ,best serves as a stimulus to ‘jump start’ the soul into the inner contemplative mode so necessary to entering Gods presence…As with all religious practices/rituals ,There is always the ever present danger of becoming ‘dependent’ on the strong feelings evoked by spiritual music ,thus in essence identifying, or in some cases, replacing God with a particular feeling or mood…Music is such a powerful medium that Its not uncommon to observe it being used in certain religious settings to manipulate vulnerable individuals…

  3. I look forward to seeing this production in its entirety. As a video producer, what I see in the excerpts online looks very well produced. As someone of Native American descent, I am especially drawn by the content. Very nice work!

  4. I’m really enjoying the series so far. The guests are diverse and insightful. I’ve been uplifted with each show. Thanks!

  5. This short video snipet is an appetizer of delicious pleasure and I now hunger for the main course.

  6. As a member of the Oneida tribe, I have always proudly considered Joanne Shenandoah to be one of ours. Maybe she has some Onondaga in her, but I don’t know about that — I think there are some typos here, because I know there’s no “World Clan” — she’s a member of the Wolf Clan.

  7. Thank you all for a beautiful invocation about the spirit of sound and music. Truly healing.

  8. This wonderful program was appropriate and enlightening for mainstream people as well as those rooted in a native spiritual circle. Perhaps those who have no understanding and display ignorant comments will reap the benefits of a seed planted and slowly taking root – whether the spirituality within organized religions OR spirituality connecting through native ceremony…. Sad to witness the angry and disconnected amongst us! Proves how we are on the right path, and lots of work still to do…. thank you for this program and the beauty in connection, especially through music…from one who is blessed not only to walk but to SING on the RED Road and also the Methodist Church…. Peace.

  9. Amazing programme- having amerindian roots in South American, found it very touching! I would like to know the title or name of the film Sketch about the singing contest among the mountains
    Thank you

  10. What was the name of Joanne’s last song on Global Spirit program? Where can I get that song? Moved me to tears. Love this blessed singer. Thank You for Sharing this woman with the voice of an angel.

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