Music is something I’ve always considered spiritual, because, as someone who loves music, the reaction I have to it really is inexplicable. Like why does it make me feel good? (I am also Christian, so the conclusion that music is spiritual was not a difficult one for me to reach). Echo of Everything explores the importance of music to the narrator and to different cultures, most of which also attribute some sort of spirituality to it. It looks at music and dance and the ways they are used for self-expression, [exploring] how, in some cases, this leads to a level of ecstasy.
It’s interesting to see how music and dance are used in different cultures, where some use them to express their emotions and others use them for exorcisms. In both, there is the idea of giving up control to the music, an idea that manifests in a much bigger way when the beat is more rhythmic. I’m always surprised hearing about church settings where drumming or dancing is prohibited, coming from a background where both are very much a part of worship. Echo of Everything talks about balancing the rational and ecstatic. Perhaps there is a time and space for both? Where sometimes we have to be intentional and structured with what we’re creating and other times, we let the music move us to explore parts of ourselves that we otherwise wouldn’t.
It’s so beautiful to see that a song created by a musician just expressing themselves is able to connect with someone else in such a personal way and help them in their own situation, even though the musician and listener have never met and might not even be going through the same thing or speak the same language. In some weird (maybe spiritual) way, music moves past our barriers and unites us as only our core human experiences can.
Echo of Everything is now playing at HotDocs ’23. For more information, click here.