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5 Questions with Philip Glass

Philip Glass

Philip Glass by Steve Pyke

Composer Philip Glass culminated almost two decades of exploring sacred indigenous ceremonies with an album and concerts with two Wixarika musicians from Jalisco, Mexico. See the review.

1. What’s the spiritual connection to the music you’ve created with Wixarika musicians?” I once said to Daniel (Medina de la Rosa), “If the text you’re singing were a few words shorter, I could make it fit to the music better.” And he said, “No, no, no. I can’t do that.” I said, “Why can’t you do that?” He said, “They’re not my words.” I asked him, “Well, whose words are they?” And he said, “Those are the words of the poderios.” That was the beginning of my understanding of what he was really doing. He was not singing something that he made up; he was allowing the poderios to enter his mind stream and to influence it in his music. It’s not a new idea; people have often talked about channeling music. 2. What are poderios sagrados?  Poderio means power. Sagrado is sacred. The Wixarika say that powers like the sun, the moon, the sea, or the wind—the elements of nature—bring the music. We’re familiar with these elements but in modern times we don’t talk about them this way. We give names to storms but we treat them as if they’re foreign entities that have nothing to do wit …

About the Author

John Malkin

John Malkin is a musician, journalist, activist, and father who lives in Santa Cruz, California. His writing has been published in many magazines, including The Sun, ascent, Shambhala Sun, Sojourners, Namarupa, adbusters, Punk Planet and Ode. He’s published two books: Sounds of Freedom: Musicians on Social Change & Spirituality (Parallax Press, 2005) and The Only Alternative: Christian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America (Wipf & Stock, 2007). He’s currently completing a book about punk rock, spirituality, and anarchism.

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