Bobby McFerrin’s Communal Sharing of “Ave Maria”

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 11:47 am

Bobby McFerrin’s Communal Sharing of “Ave Maria”

Remembering these words from Bobby McFerrin today as I contemplate our work at On Being and listen to his communal sharing of “Ave Maria” at the Montreal Jazz Festival several years ago:

“This is what I want everyone to experience at the end of my concert is everyone has this sense of rejoicing. I don’t want them to be blown away by what I do, I want them to have this sense of real, real joy from the depths of their being. Because I think when you take them to that place, then you open up a place where grace can come in.”

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is the cofounder of On Being¬†and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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  • R. Eric Sawyer

    Musically, I’m a hack, a wannabe. I play ukulele. I own a kazoo. I play at various hand drums, because many times when I opened my case, all the real musicians would tell me to “beat it”
    I try to take their advice, and yet still find a way to play.

    I play a variety of different things, mostly so that when the other guys say “that’s OK, we’ve got that covered” I can switch to a different instrument and say “Right. How about THIS!” If really pressed, I will prove how well everyone else sings, by setting a reference point.

    But this quote from Bobby McFerrin, along with the clip of him and his audience singing “Ave Maria” is the absolute distillation of everything I have ever wanted to say or do musically. Sometimes I have touched it. And there is not another experience I have ever had that comes close.

    I have written various things in the past, where I tried to say something about music. But I think I may never do so again.

    If anybody asks me, I may just refer them to this link.

    • Jenny Barrett

      Eric, this is one of the most poignant comments I’ve ever read. Please don’t let any of those “real musicians” silence your beat.

  • Jeanne Tuerk

    Beautiful, especially the smile on his face and in his eyes. Thank you for sharing.