Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

for discussing revisions in the history of the Brahma Kumaris and updating information about the organisation
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Upaya

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post11 Jan 2022

Those Early Songs are very beautiful works of art.. thanks to the muso's

I found some of them at

https://archive.org/details/beyond_sound

Are any of the musicians in the forum and could share the story behind the songs?
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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post11 Jan 2022

Both Louis Cennamo & Eugene Romain left the BKs a long time ago, Louis in the 1980s. It was a professional musician before BKism, & it seems he's still alive today.

You can find his blog, here. It seems to be active. He coyly refers to the BKs in it as "Himalayan Yogis", even though there is no connection between BKism and the mountains.

Eugene was part of this forum in the early years as 'eromain', when he discussed his experience. I don't know what he is doing now but he married & had kids. He almost got signed by a record company, as a recording musician, but the deal fell through. I think he was a teacher for some time, but also became a financial trader for a while. Still making music though, may be you can contact him via his site?

May be 'Pink Panther' played guitar on it? Ask him.

I can remember when it was made but don't know the backstories. It was an epoche making movement that challenged the orthodoxy of Hindi movie soundtrack noise, & gave some kind of identity to Western BKism. Perhaps it was a key moment in the realignment of BKism around Western aesthetics or 'new agey' values? It happened around the same time when BKism was taught in a very traditional Hindi matter, often with original Hindi teaching materials.

Upaya

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post12 Jan 2022

There is a very transcendental song on the Beyond Sound album .. 'A place to Stay'... does anyone know who the female singer is? on several of the tracks louis's? yogi bass...is like living heart timepiece of the universe and many subtle instrumentations in the mix along with profound lyrics make it a joy to listen to...
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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post12 Jan 2022

I'd guess it was Dr Sarah Eagger who is still with the BKs, at least to a certain degree, although she also had her "holidays" in the past.

Independently, she also played the guitar & sang, & had her own songs, which were very also good & heartfelt. I don't know if they were ever recorded.

An Australian blonde, fairly attractive at the time. A freerer spirit to the more uptight London scene. She and Eugene were close.

Do you know Louis's earlier music career, like with Renaissance (pre-1970) or with Illusion ? He definitely had a "cosmic" element to him pre- and post- Gyan. He lived on the ground floor of the Pandavbavan, the Brother's house in London. For a while he tried to juggle BK life and rock'n'roll but it did not quite work out.

It seems he stayed in touch with the BKs, I found this from 2008 published by the BKs. Note the bass, which is his.



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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post12 Jan 2022

This is also a non-BK Louis track (on guitar). It's by the band Stairway (1986 to 1995) he set up with Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds, and a track 'Sunset Point', which could refer to Mount Abu I guess. Stairway was an English new-age music band who did "healing" music. You may also like "Louis's Theme" which he composed. Reading the lyrics (below) you can see the BK influences.


Or, from just prior to his BK involvement (or perhaps at the start of it), with Keith Relf of The Yardbirds.

Are you a BK?

Lyrics

A place to stay where time is still
Soft golden light is all around
Here nothing changes and never will
Silence so deep an ocean found.

See how the world spins
Around and around
Now is the end of the night
And the beginning of another day.

I see a beautiful garden near
Is spread as far as eyes can see
And everything in it is so clear
This vision turns to ecstasy.

Upaya

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Thank You Ex-I for your informative replies

I noted a seeming reference to the Norse Tree of Life in, I Spent a Day with God
Dreaming of that Sweden Tree
I wonder what time will hold for me?

An ash I know there stands,
Yggdrasill is its name,
a tall tree, showered
with shining loam.
From there come the dews
that drop in the valleys.
It stands forever green over
Urðr's well

I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.

1970's London was a time of the punk revolution ... and social turmoil... were there Punk BK's and Celtic Druid Mystics among the students, that would be a interesting mix all under the banner of 'now or never' destruction in 6 months. With frequent trips into yogi ecstasy and a mystical radical agenda being taught by the organization.

I Spent A Day With GOD

I spent a day, down by the ocean
Beguiled by its eternal motion
I spent a day among the wood
Lost amongst the flowers....

I spend a day of solitude, a day of happy hours
I spent a day among the birds
Captured by their magic words

I flew to regions, I thought I knew
And there I sang above the view
For I was prince of the golden view
When ‘all’ the world was young and new

I spend a night beneath the sky, heard the soft woods gently sigh
Follow HE who is the sun
Shining on YOU the swan

I sought the stars for life’s direction
What appeared was my own reflection

Having tasted the rise and fall
Having heard the mornings call
I ran to grasp the Summer Star
Floating on the summer breeze
Floating on the summer breeze.....

Dreaming of that Sweden Tree
I wonder what time will hold for me?

I spent a day in the woodland glade
Lost amidst the silver haze
Paints one circle on the lake
With fairies dancing in their wake
His one’s circled on the lake
With fairies dancing in their wake
I sat beneath the holy tree
Sang the song of destiny
Gliding on the wings of love

Smiling I’d spent a day with GOD
Smiling I’d spent a day with GOD

Spent a day with GOD
With GOD

Smiling... gliding...
Smiling... gliding...

Gliding on the wings of love
Smiling I’d spent a day with GOD

Spent a day
Spent a day with GOD
with GOD

I spent a day, down by the ocean

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Pink Panther

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Hi Upaya,

Beyond Sound had a few "incarnations". ex-l is referring to the one that recorded the album Diamond Harbour. That was essentially the duo of Eugene Romain and Louis Cennamo.

But the song "A Place to Stay" is not an actual BK recording or Beyond Sound, so I am not sure what the copyright and legal implications are, having this recording being presented as a BK tune.

The singer of "A Place to Stay a.k.a. Louis' Theme" is Jane Relf, Sister of Keith Relf, who, with Cennamo, were early members of Renaissance with Jim McCarty. KR and JM were both in The Yardbirds, a group that had many famous musicians pass through. Keith Relf died, accidentally electrocuted, just before the band that recorded this was formed.

It was written by Louis Cennamo but it was recorded by Illusion, the band he was working with professionally at the time. The song was released on the Illusion album as "Louis' Theme". The band was made up of some former members of the band Renaissance, which also had personnel changes and went on to bigger commercial success with later personnel when fronted by Annie Haslam.

Louis' Theme was on Illusion's eponymously titled second studio album.

The others on that link were earlier incarnations of Beyond Sound than the duo that recorded Diamond Harbour. The first of those recordings are from 1977.

That first line up was Louis Cennamo, Aiden Walker, Wesley Nelson (? - I think his surname was) who was a musician-singer with a great voice from Jamaica originally, who wrote and sang most of those early song. Later (not in chronological order) Eugene Romain became involved, Wesley pulled out, Aiden pulled out, Garfield King became involved then went overseas, until only two were left, Eugene and Louis, who recorded the more well known Diamond Harbour LP.
    Track 1 - is not Beyond Sound but by Illusion.
    Tracks 2, 5 - is Eugene Romain.
    Tracks 3, 4, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16 - is Wesley.
    Tracks 6 is, I think - mainly by Aiden but also cowritten with the others.
    Tracks 9 - is lyrics from a poem by Michael Ryan, music by Aiden.
    Track 10 - is not Beyond Sound either, its Ken O Donnell, who was in charge of BK business in Brazil, but I think this was recorded in London.
    Track 11 - is Aiden. He made point of learning to read, write and speak Hindi and wrote this little ditty, based on some Murli points I think.
    Track 12 - The female singer's name escapes me at the moment. She was an American and a professional jazz singer who I think worked the clubs in the USA and was working in London in 1976 -77, when she encountered the BKs. She played the keyboards also.
The problem (for a "religious movement") with attracting people by pretending that you are an eclectic, ecumenical, open-minded religion - rather than a dogmatic sect made up of "the chosen ones" - is that the yet to be indoctrinated (those not fully introduced to and convinced of the doctrines) feel it is as easy to leave the religion as it is to join in.

It only becomes hard to leave that congregation once the person believes the dogmatic exclusive aspects of the religion and they believe the teachings, that there will be negative consequences if they leave. She never reached that stage of being fully indoctrinated.

This pretend attractive openness works great when dealing with VIPs, which is how she (the singer) was treated - like a VIP. No real demands made, a lot of special attention, light hearted cajoling about becoming more married to Baba rather than to her husband. She was married and I remember the husband's face in one moment still clear in my memory, betraying how unhappy he was with his wife being "seduced" away from him right in front of him. I think he may have given her an ultimatum. They went back to America and she did not continue as BK.

ex-l, I was present at some of the recording sessions only as an observer and was a little involved in the original album cover design. Louis borrowed my guitar for the acoustic guitar parts, I did not play anything.

The last thing I'd like to say is on the topic of Western arts & music in the BKWSU. It seems to me that it's often culture and arts, aesthetic and "philosophical stimulation" that attracts people to various religious groups. Consider, for example, the rock concert theatre of modern pentecostalist churches, or even the theatre of the traditional Latin mass.

The BK teachings themselves are "dry". If adhered to as advised, there is no room for disagreement, questioning. The vibe in the music is brought by the musicians to the religion and not really the other way around. The belief and the meditations etc simply give an avenue to explore that side of our nature. The curiosity and questioning of the BK Gyan is what is intellectually stimulating. The straight laced - this is how it is, no questions and no doubts - view of the Gyan is as boring as batshit.

This artistic and intellectual creativity can come from other sources of inspiration - and you can find similar cultural works in many traditions. The BKs take the talents of their followers and so-called "co-operative souls" and use them to create the sense of the BKs having a culture, that otherwise would not exist. Remember that for years all they did was use songs from Indian cinema!

Upaya

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Hi and thank you for the reply, Pink Panther.

Who is the poet Michael Ryan you mention? Is it this chap ..?

Were these songs performed in public events?

Reading the history and listening to the songs full of youthful zeal and enthusiasm, How, When and Why did the Brahma Kumaris change from what was a dynamic and very radical group with a message and forthright presentation of radical immanent world transformation through Yoga power ... to become on the face of it a safe sedate corporate self help and positive thinking organization teaching a message lifted from the pages of Woman's Weekly magazines

Did you feel betrayed by the change?

Did anyone feel it was Like the weather underground selling out to big Brother?

Eugene's song is very beautiful, in it he seems like a powerful shaman working through a transformative experience of existencial angst ... watching the changing youth ... finding himself
Lyrics

Watch the changing Youth
Of the dawn of my Eternal Day
Emerging from the tranquillity of my mind
Suddenly in the distance the sound of music

I looked but I could not see
I listened but I could not hear
I tried but I couldn’t feel

Then into my dream walked Baba
Gently lifting the veil that clouded my eyes
Filling the end with music

From my heart came the words
Sweet Sweet Baba, how could I have doubted you?
I reached out for him but there was silence

I looked but I could not see
I listened but I could not hear

I tried and I feel the words
Child don’t you remember that your place is in my heat
Child don’t you remember that your place is in with me
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Pink Panther

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Haha! No, not that Michael Ryan! if you read the poems there that you linked to it's a completely different style.

No, this is BK Michael Ryan, one of three Ryan Brothers who became BKs.

Yes, the songs were performed at pubic events (haha! I will keep that typo! They were all a bit of a wank!) - called service programs, a euphemism for proselytising events and activities for the BK minions to keep them occupied. Usually included some songs and/or dances or short play, usually some guest speaker with some name recognition, then a keynote talk by one of the senior BKs, Jayanti, Sudesh, Janki ... and the invitation to attend the centre for "free" courses in meditation (and later "positive thinking" etc) ...

The songs are the expressions of a young adult's confusion at the state of the world left to them by previous generations and a search for purpose & identity in that world, and the feelings had when some simple idealistic certainty that gives direction and purpose is finally found. You can hear similar work in other "spiritual groups"

All good works of art are transformative, drawn from a deeper well. The muse lives beyond normal consciousness but she demands conscious effort and skill to transform inspiration, ideas and emotions into physical forms that cause some sensation in the audience.

I will let ex-l answer the question about what happened to the BKs.

Did I feel betrayed?

No, they were only ever going to change the world (actually, their actual belief was to wait for it to destroy itself then take over).

You know people by their actions. The shift from fringe Indian meditation group with a strict set of disciplines to a global "new religious movement" that, like McDonald's, is actually a franchise model for property acquisition and a pyramid scheme that supports the lifestyle of those higher up the pyramid, such actions revealed what they, the organisation, really are. Seeing the truth sets me free.

Here are two of my favourites - on the same theme as Eugene's song but non-BK, no cult, no gods need to be bothered, praised, glorified or invoked, no externalised projections to some other being needed, except maybe as metaphor.

From deep within the self and our relationships we can find a mystic's song from Greg Lake - "The Sage".
https://youtu.be/5AXxQGai4JU

From inherited culture, ancestors, long standing traditions received by Robbie Robertson's through his Cherokee matrilineal heritage we have a humble, shamanic mystic's song "Sign of the Rainbow" https://youtu.be/FqUFRUQ8uZI

And his next album, Music for The Native Americans - Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoDYyzq ... hzuF_Eb0cj
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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Upaya wrote:1970's London was a time of the punk revolution ... and social turmoil... were there Punk BK's and Celtic Druid Mystics among the students

I can only think of two people in the UK, & hence probably the world, who might have been described as ex-punks, & I was one of them! (I saw most of the first tours of all the original bands like The Damned, Clash, Jam, Buzzcocks, Ramones etc ... basically everyone except the Pistols as they couldn't get gigs outside of London). However, Punk & New Wave moved through society at a lightning speed, & was an underground. It probably only lasted 18 months at most, & effected a tiny percentage of the population. Not so much among the Willesden Green Hindi community.

To my embarassment now, I blush at the thought of it, I once even played a punk parody at some Xmas party &, no, the Hindis really did not get it!

Punk really wasn't the defining culture of the 1970s, it's had FAR more influence since. What is remarkable about the 1970s is how many musical or cultural influence raced through society; Prog, Glam, Disco, Funk, Rock, Reggae etc (on top of commercial pop) but, even then, you still had Rock'n'Roll (rockabilly/teddy boys) revivals present. I remember reading somewhere that Stiff Records, a huge influential punk/new wave label, only ever sold a total of 100,000 records, & you can be sure many were bought by the same people, i.e. total consumers in 5 figures.

I would have described myself, age-wise, as among the "second generation" of Western BKs, as in the first to be taught by the "first generation" of Western BKs, rather than directly by the Indian BKs &, truth be, the majority of Western BKs coming in were surprising "straight" & older. More in the line of square pegs, cranks & odd balls.

Pink, I think, has the right to call himself the older "first generation BK" & can comment but I'd say there was a higher proportion of post-hippy/long hair traveller types among them, i.e. they encountered BKism while traveling in India.

There were literally a handful of Celts but none I'd describe as natural mystics, & BKism doesn't - & did not much less so at that time - tolerate non-BK spirituality. It was all just "Bhakti", & condemned as "stumbling in darkness"; useless, valueless, & pointless. There was one Germanic Steiner-influenced type. The leadership were really keen to straighten us up even more; e.g. cut hair, shave beards, wear suits or Indian pyjamas. They wanted to make us look respectable, largely to impress other Indians (White man Ju-Ju ... "Look, even Westerners follow up"), & often exaggerated our status to do so, e.g. a hospital porter became a "doctor", a high school teacher, an "educationalist".

They certainly did not tolerate drop outs or alternative lifestyles.

Around the same time, the BKs did have a tense relationship with the "Mind, Body, & Spirit" or New Age movement - & gradually its influence seemed in, e.g. New Age or ambient music instead of not just Bollywood music, but 1930s Bollywood music that was Lekhraj Kirpalani's favourite, & defied by them (it was deemed special because it reminded the old ones of their days in Om Mandli & the Sindi but it sounded like a drunk, out of tune, brass band being kicked down a flight of stairs. Not what you'd want to try meditating too). The New Age crowd was a key target market for the BKs but they had a hard time with all their "hippy hugging" etc.

BKism did, however, get it's first public opportunities from the spiritualist movement in the UK, e.g. mediums & spirits type.

It took a long, slow, incrimental battle for all the cool, Western "angelic" influences to seep in.
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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Pink Panther wrote:ex-l, I was present at some of the recording sessions only as an observer and was a little involved in the original album cover design. Louis borrowed my guitar for the acoustic guitar parts, I did not play anything.

I was actually asked to transcribe the lyrics for the album, so got trusted to be among the first to hear it. I don't remember it or them though. Culturally (within BKism), it was a big thing for Westerners to have a Western orientated product they could give as a present, use as PR etc, that did not make them look like they were in a weird Indian cult (which they were)!
The vibe in the music is brought by the musicians to the religion and not really the other way around. The belief and the meditations etc simply give an avenue to explore that side of our nature. The curiosity and questioning of the BK Gyan is what is intellectually stimulating. The straight laced - this is how it is, no questions and no doubts - view of the Gyan is as boring as batshit.

I think that was true of far more than just the music. BKism was interesting & attractive BECAUSE the people were, not it & the leadership/model. We got hook - albeit slightly narcissistically - on ourselves, herded into & held in the corral by the leadership.

And let's be very clear, the BK leadership was very much against cultural & artistic expression ... unless they worked out how useful & profitable it could be.

Many an artist & music was destroyed by them in the early phase. There was very little to no room for free expression. It was all "service, service, service" & nothing else matter.
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ex-l

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post13 Jan 2022

Upaya wrote:I noted a seeming reference to the Norse Tree of Life in, 'I Spent a Day with God'.

Are those lyrics from Diamond Harbour? No, I'd be an oblique or hidden reference to the BKs' own version of "The Tree" (of life), along with "holy tree", which itself was borrowed from other contemporary influences (Gandhi's movement). It was one of the lessons in the 7 Day Course, there explanation for the evolution of world religions which, of course, put them at the very top as the source of them all. Even though they started 1,000s of years after them. We have pictures of it here, if you don't know it.

I am not attacking you when I ask this, it's only to assess how much I have to explain, but are you a BK or 'BK curious' now?

In BK terms, "the Ocean" & "Sun" are titles or references for their god spirit. The "regions" are the 3 Worlds according to BKism, e.g. World, Subtle Region, Paramdham, & a reference to one of their meditation practises, "prince of the golden view", is being Krishna in the Golden Age (according to BKism) "when ‘all’ the world was young and new", "sought the stars for life’s direction" is seeking guidance from other religious avatars (stars = souls), "rise and fall" is the Kalpa Cycle (according to BKism), "Summer Star" is their Baba spirit again.

One needs to translate all the symbolism that might be opaque to non-BKs but works like seeds preparing them for the teachings, or dogwhistles for BKs who would immediately get the references.
How, When and Why did the Brahma Kumaris change from what was a dynamic and very radical group with a message and forthright presentation of radical immanent world transformation through Yoga power ... to become on the face of it a safe sedate corporate self help and positive thinking organization teaching a message lifted from the pages of Woman's Weekly magazines

Without wishing to appear negative or critical of you, you appear to have swallow the likes of BK Tamasin Ramsay's revisionist & romanticized history of BKism which is, in itself, just PR & marketing.

We weren't liberated. We were suppressed & oppressed. Stripped down & made to fit within their mould, one that had hardly changed from its 1930s - 1950s Sindhi/Hindi roots.

Firstly, BKism is not - & especially never was back then - about "radical imminent world transformation". It was about ' imminent world destruction'. Nuclear Destruction & total annihilation. The remarketing of Destruction to Transformation only came decades later. The End of the World was going to happen in 1976, then 1986, then 1986 to 1996, & it was a mad rush to purify your soul & earn a high status in the Golden Age to follow by surrendering to their authority & conforming to their backwards orthodoxy.

There was nothing "radical" about it. BKism was about living like you were in 1950s India, subject to the leaders total, undemocratic theocracy.

Time is short, I've written a lot, I'll get back to you later.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post14 Jan 2022

Upaya wrote:I noted a seeming reference to the Norse Tree of Life in, I Spent a Day with God

I wouldn't invest too much into looking for such specifics unless you are especially curious.

A tree is an archetypal symbol. Cycles and circles, triads and hierarchies, references to nature, heroes, Father or mother figures, or simply "we are family" etc etc - these are all common enough experiences and relationships so they will inevitably appear in myth, metaphor and art all around the world, whether theistic or non-theistic.

How they are used is what is revealing about the artist or culture - (as per ex-l's "translation" of the BK use of these words) - but what that universality reveals is that human beings operate from a common (archetypal) human template from which we have all evolved and which makes us see the world as other human beings see it (and not the way a fly, pelican or a lion can see it).

Unfortunately part of that "being human" template is the dynamic to construct and maintain an ego, an sense of identity. It's a useful tool for survival and a foundation for relating to everything that's not-I. But also, by its nature, ego is an inhibitor of openness to unbiased learning, of changing opinions and beliefs when the facts change, it's a manipulator of loyalties and values, the source of desire for immortality.

Upaya

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post15 Jan 2022

Thanks for the replies very interesting and informative.

I liked the song very much.

The experience of musicians and poets moved by the spirt throughout time is a rewarding study

Yes, I also was into the punk music 1976-78.

That teenage angst ... the message of rebellion was cool in a climate of increasing economic inequality and the scaling back of post-war socialist reforms.

As in the song the dust of the journey, the revolution continues ...
I carry the dust of a journey
that cannot be shaken away
It lives deep within me
for I breathe it every day

You and I are yesterday's answers
the earth of the past come to flesh
Eroded by time's rivers
to the shapes we now possess

Come share of my breath and my substance
and mingle our streams and our times
In bright infinite moments
our reasons are lost in our rhymes
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Pink Panther

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Re: Diamond Harbour - Western arts & music in the BKWSU

Post15 Jan 2022

Hi Upaya,

It's good, i'n'it?! Robbie Robertson brings more atavistic energy (what you might call shamanic or primal) into his music than the restrained anglo-bred Greg Lake.
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