In this album Brawl in Paradise, I am trying to make sense of the gods and devils in all of us. Like a Katak dancer unravels a story that makes no separation between mythical greatness and the bloody fleshiness of our bodies, or a Sufi who spins until his body and mind realize the ethereal matter in which is part of everything. There is an atomic vibration that allows the universe to communicate, when we organize it into music we warp the time and space of the world around us.
It is my hope that by channeling the atomic energy that flows through me into music I can somehow spread the universal connection of love and contribute in some humble way to the relief of suffering, not only of humans but of our patiently observant host, Earth. When we dance, we tumble between a heaven and earth, which can never be separated.
To write this album I quite literally shut myself in the top of the old GDR Radio Broadcasting center, in a tower overlooking Berlin, and began to filter through the questions and sounds that came to me. From my windows I could see the beautiful paradise of our world, the drama of the sky, the timeless flow of the Spree river. The beauty of our world is so moving it can be almost overwhelming, like being in a dream state. I could feel the weight of our history as humans in this garden of Paradise we have been given to inhabit. And I began to question why, given this perfection to be free in, we choose to brawl in it constantly, to fight and destroy. Maybe the weight of natural perfection, the terror of accepting it and truly connecting to the oneness of all matter and energy is too much to bear. I can’t answer this, so I look to art for the answers, this is what art gives me.
Brawl In Paradise is a collage of my observations and questioning of the world filtered through some of my favorite writers, filmmakers, painters, dancers. Some of the songs are meditations, others are incantations. I was helped immensely by Mikhail Bulgakov, George Orwell, Edward Albee, Salman Rushdie, everything and anything written by Arundhati Roy – a thinker and writer I hold in highest esteem, Akram Khan, Pina Bausch, Jean Renoir, Werner Herzog, Salvador Dali, the political pundits and corporate double speak surrounding The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (aka BP Oil Spill) that unfolded as I began writing this album, the story of an ex-prostitute recovered drug addict friend of mine whose immense dignity had a deep impact on me, as well as the story of an African poet and his two friends who overcame being orphaned in an HIV/HepC ridden post war country to produce art that speaks to the world, and my early years singing in the school choir in London.
This album is my attempt to raise part of the shield of imagination, to embrace, to protect and to connect. And of course To Dance.