“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”― LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Listening to the sweet and soulful songs of Alana Levandoski is prayer itself. I discovered Alana through the Center for Action and Contemplation and have used her contemplative songs and chants in retreats I have led and in my own prayer practice. Whether setting music to her own words, or lyrics drawn from poetry or scripture, her singing is elevated prayer.
Ring Out, Wild Bells, a poem sung by Alana, is a heartfelt, prayerful intention to ring out the old of 2020, a year of great challenges, and to ring in the new of 2021. The poem, In Memoriam, (Ring out, wild bells) was written during a time of grief, nearly 150 years ago by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). The lyrics ring true for both letting go and welcoming in—letting go of the false, feuding, dying, grief, pride, partisan divide, and civic slander WHILE welcoming in the new, true, noble, sweet, pure, love, truth, light, and peace.
(Image above taken at St. Jacob’s Church bell tower in Telc, Czechia)
Enjoy Alana’s new video of Ring Out, Wild Bells! And at the bottom of this post, learn more about Alana, how to find her music and some additional prayerful songs to start your new year.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Alana Levandoski is a contemplative Christian composer, song and chant writer, and producer. Levandoski, who grew up in an evangelical church in western Manitoba, heard what she calls “the spirit speaking,” calling her to take a break from music to focus on her spiritual life. She went to live at St. Benedict’s Monastery, north of Winnipeg. She spent time reading about the Christian desert fathers and mothers, men and women who sought God in the wilderness. “I wanted to fall back in love with music,” she said, adding she also wanted to find a way to incorporate music into her newfound sense of contemplative and mystical spirituality. “The language of contemplation was thrumming in my heart,” she said. The result is a mix of spirituality, contemplation, mystery, and an authentic Christian faith. Alana’s music has been commended by Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Brian McLaren, Fr. James Martin, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, Daniel P. Horan, Image Journal, Danielle Shroyer and more. She believes in “music’s illuminating power to catch glimpses of incarnation in and through all of life.”
I was not familiar with supporting artists through Patreon, but I believe, as Alana does, we must support artists:
“We need artists, the poets, the healers, the carriers of stories that are as endangered and as alive as the forests.”Alana Levandoski
I am grateful to have discovered her and have committed to support her art monthly. Listen to Alana’s testimony about being a sovereign and empowered artist HERE.
“Move Slowly” is one of my favorite meditative songs with Alana and James Finley. Practice Visio Divina with the “Just Float” card and Lectio Divina with the lyrics of “Move Slowly”. Find song and image HERE. Find prompts for journaling, collage or contemplation HERE.
“There is a Peace” is a mindful meditation from Sanctuary, an album of recorded music, chant, and spoken word by songwriter Alana Levandoski and James Finley. I used this song during a retreat called “Sanctuary” during Advent last year. More songs and ideas for honoring Sanctuary HERE.
Find out more about Alana Levandoski
Other posts on music: