Daily Archives: September 17, 2011

“Contigo en la Distancia”

Celebrating another milestone: the two-year anniversary of David’s “Contigo en la Distancia”:

I’m also reprinting my emotional review, itself a reprint from The David Chronicles.

Just a little context: This was composed while I was still on a high from CELD and had a moment to really meditate one early Sunday morning.  It is an article I promised to post first at TDC, which got pushed back twice.  So, here it is finally. 

Arch Angels are notorious for using hyperbole whenever we’re enraptured by David’s Voice.  There’s even a running joke – “David is the second coming of Jesus.”

Child, please.  Let me dial it up a notch:  With David on Planet Earth, who needs the second coming of Jesus?

That’s right, I said it (church-going rebel that I am).  And no, David “chrianyday” sweetie, don’t take it personally.  Keep staying grounded as you read Job 38 (“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations … while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”).  See, David is here representing, and in his Voice I hear those morning stars and angels rejoicing at the earth’s foundations.

“The kingdom of heaven is inside you and all around you” (The Gospel According to Thomas).

See, I could forget how toxic and near-the-brink-of-destruction our world is when David sings.  When David sings, I could forget the circling of the wagon that descended on Washington on September 12.  When David sings, I cannot hear the hate-filled messages seeping through the cracks of our information overload society, nor the corporate-controlled noise pollution passing itself off as current pop music.  Amidst the din of this social and cultural breakdown is the Voice crying out in that distant wilderness:

Cuando no estas junto a mi -iii-iiii.

And there in that extended note, my heart melts, and my soul opens.  It’s those little “Soul David” licks that spice up a song.  A Latina in the fanbase helps a sistah out with the translation: “When you’re not by my side [the world seems different].”  And when David is not by our sides, the world is different.  It’s just noise that our tone-deaf ears have become accustomed to with our corporate-sponsored hearing aids.  But one graceful note, one seductive vocal run, takes us back to the origin of music – the invocation of spirit, the deep-down rumbling where body meets soul in ecstasy, the transcendence from our material world onto another plane.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound… We were once deaf, but now we hear it loud and clear.

Es que te has convertido / En parte de mi alma  (You have become part of my heart)

The first whoop and holler rises up from the Spanish-speaking audience, as my hand raises to testify to its meaning before I understood the words.  Sing it, David!

And not once, not twice, but three separate times, the audience erupts into spontaneous applause before he even finishes the song.  In a week filled with political and musical controversy, hate, rudeness, and disrespect – a week that was designed to celebrate the best in music – David reminded us what music does best.  It closes the distance, it fills us up with exultation and longing.  It reverberates in its acoustic rendering of love, peace, and soul.  A voice in the musical wilderness providing the balm to the heat and a prophecy for all our lost souls.

But the words of the prophets are not written on subway walls.  As novelist Toni Morrison once wrote, “In the beginning, there were no words.  There was only sound.”  And David sounds the trumpet:

Amado mio estoy, oh / Contigo

No translation needed.