Tuesday 10 April 2018

Point Vierge: Thomas Merton's Journey in Song - Alana Levandoski, James Finley, Thomas Merton

Point Vierge: Thomas Merton's Journey in Song
Alana Levandoski
James Finley
Thomas Merton

A friend emailed me about this project. You can sign up for an email a day and receive individual pieces of the projects and videos with Alana and James talking about the pieces. If you join up for early access you get all 9 days, and access to all 16 tracks. The tracks are a mix of song and spoken word. I have listened through the album a number of times now. The tracks are:

Mother Father
Immense Depths
Little Flower
To Disappear into …
John Paul 
4th and Walnut
The General Dance
We Do Not Attend
Only Fireflies
Strange islands
Here is Something …
What We Are
Palace of Nowhere
Latin Missal in the …

Most of the pieces begin with music, song and end with spoken word to accompaniment. It works well together. My introduction to Thomas Merton, other than as a name I knew in passing, was in class in the summer of 1998 with Michael W. Higgins, in a course called Faith Quests. I have read books by Merton, and about him off and on since them. I have a more than passing interest in the man, and his work, but am by no means a dedicated Merton scholar. I know that many had a renewed interest in their Catholic faith, and many others were drawn to it by his earlier works especially The Seven Story Mountain. I also know that his later works and even his death are much more controversial. I also know that some say he should be canonized, and many others say it will never happen. Of course, the same was said of Oscar Romero. So honestly only time will tell. 

This project is part album, part audio book, and part meditation. It is a reflection on Merton's life and works; and done as a mixed media project. It works very well. It is a pleasure to listen to. I have listened to individual songs, and also to the whole album through even listening to it on repeat for a number of hours today. The final track is Merton in Latin. Some of the tracks list James and Thomas and some just James. I was uncertain if those where his words about Merton, or some of it is extracts of Merton speaking, except as mentioned the final track. (Note from Alana: All the lyrics from the whole project (that I sing) are Merton's words. James Finley's spoken word are James Finley's words except for The General Dance which is an excerpt from New Seeds of Contemplation!)

The album comes in at 1 hour and 1 minute in length. And it is a wonderful contribution to canon of Merton scholarship. If you are a fan of Merton's work I am sure you will enjoy these 16 pieces. If you are into contemplation or reflection they will appeal to you also. And if you are just into cool art projects by all means give it a try.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Related Articles:
Thomas Merton, The Man, the Monk, on Monasticism
May Crowing, Mass and Merton: And Other Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly
The Wisdom of the Desert: by Thomas Merton

Point Vierge: Thomas Merton's Journey in Song - Alana Levandoski, James Finley, Thomas Merton

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