Light Rafts for Flagging Spirits | Vol 15

An ode to "Saint Coltrane," watch Irish police nail the #JerusalemaChallenge, take an aural field trip to Scotland, and a spin thru snowy Vermont; teeny, tiny origami; dragons, a new poem, and more.

1. Saint Coltrane: The Church Build on ‘A Love Supreme’ | San Francisco

From Jazz Night in America, a creation of NPR Music, WBGO, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, comes Saint Coltrane—a fascinating short documentary film about the eclectic, surprising history of The Church of John Coltrane in San Francisco, and the spiritual-artistic influence of the late, great John Coltrane on jazz, faith, and popular culture round the world.

"I have seen God – I have seen ungodly – none can be greater – none can compare to God."

John Coltrane composed these words in December 1964, as part of a poem he called ‘A Love Supreme.' He included the poem in the inside gatefold of an album by the same name, released the following year.

That same year, a young couple in San Francisco heard Coltrane in concert, sharing a jolt of higher purpose when he seemed to fix them in his sights with the bell of his saxophone. That couple, Franzo and Marina King, went on to establish a church devoted to Coltrane and his spiritual message, incorporating 'A Love Supreme' as their chief liturgical text.

Their house of worship — known today as the St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church — has survived decades of change in a gentrifying city, while making a few notable revisions to its charter. … [The film] pays a visit to the Coltrane Church, thoughtfully tracing its winding history—including a tumultuous period when Alice Coltrane, John's widow, bestowed and then revoked her support. We'll delve into the spiritual mysteries of 'A Love Supreme,' from "Acknowledgment" to "Psalm," and consider what it means to be of service—to a calling, to a community, and to the music that sparked it all.”

Learn more HERE.

Listen to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme via Spotify below:

2. An Garda Síochána put Irish spin on ‘Jerusalema challenge’ | Ireland

The police force in the Republic of Ireland, known as An Garda Síochána (aka the “Garda”) picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the Swiss police last month to produce their entry in the viral #JerusalemaChallenge. And they NAILED IT.

The Jerusalema Challenge began with the unlikely global hit song by South African artist Master KG with the vocals of singer Nomcembo Zikode. The song, performed entirely in the South African isiZulu language, first dropped in 2019, but last year it “quickly became a symbol of hope amidst all the fear brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Rolling Stone magazine.

When nurses at South Africa’s Netcare Alberlito Hospital performed their version of the dance, one person involved said that “‘Jerusalema’ is more than just a dance. This is a celebration of survivors. It’s a victory from difficult and unknown times. This is a unity, formed like never before, for national and international people.”

On TikTok, #Jerusalema has 418 million views while #JerusalemaChallenge has nearly 200 million. According to a TikTok representative, the song has garnered more than one billion video views on the platform all together, as well as 812 million creations. As for Spotify’s charts, the track has gone Number One in Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Romania, and Belgium, while cracking the Top 50 in “many” markets, according to a Spotify rep.

Read the entire Rolling Stone report HERE.

Read the report about the Garda’s #JerusalemaChallenge video in The Irish Times.

3. Chicago’s Snow Dragon finds delight in a polar vortex | Chicago

After heavy snowfall in Chicago earlier this week, Alex V. Hernandez of the Chicago Block Club reported on a “snow dragon” (complete with glowing eyes) that had appeared in the city’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, much to the delight of neighborhood children of all ages.

Hernandez reports:

Lincoln Square couple Alexis Hoffman and Warren Window created the dragon when they were shoving the sidewalk in front of their apartment building during the first of the heavy snowfall Saturday.

“I wanted a snow beast,” Hoffman said.

As the snow kept on piling higher, she told Window the lumpy snow pile in front of their apartment had the rough outline of what looked like a dragon. 

“It was already kind of there, we just carved away whatever wasn’t dragon shaped,” Window said….

Hoffman even headed to a garage down the block where she previously noticed large icicles — she wanted icy spikes to form the scaly spine of the snow dragon.

“I was standing in the alley like five houses down grabbing icicles from the garage door. They have no idea who we are and the garage door opens ….” Hoffman said. “I told him I needed the icicles for my yard dragon.”

The couple also placed small, battery operated tea lights in the sculpture’s eye sockets to give the dragon its distinctive gaze. 

4. Speaking of dragons…here’s a new poem: ALARIUS

Inspired by the snow dragon and a recent lecture by Richard Rohr, James Finley, and Cynthia Bourgeault at the Living School.

Alarius by Cathleen Falsani


5. Treat Williams takes us on a snowy drive in Vermont | Twitter

6. Field Recording: Waking up the neighbors, dawn chorus | Scotland

As you know, we’re big fans of the Field Recordings podcast and website where you can take as many sound adventures as you’d like, all over the world, and even time-travel while you’re at it. On Feb. 1, it was Glenshee, Scotland (in June 2019)

And here’s a bonus, because it’s February everywhere and some places are more frozen than others, so here’s a dose of summery nostalgia from Enchanted Circus at the Rye Summer Carnival, Rye foreshore, Victoria, Australia recorded by Jaye Kranz on 17th January 2021.


7. Cherie B Tay makes tiny and EVEN TINIER origami cranes | Brooklyn

This week on the Artist Care & Feeding Project, Kaitlyn, Mark and I welcomed Cherie B Tay—a true Renaissance person, Cherie’s CV includes voice actor and multimedia creative artist, Broadway stage manager, professional photographer, videographer, ukulele teacher, puppet-maker, puppeteer, and origami enthusiast. During the show, Cherie and Kaitlyn reminisced about the tiny origami cranes Cherie used to make occasionally when they toured together and how some of the cranes were so small, they could perch on the surface of an M&M. We had to see this, so Cherie graciously made a couple of demonstration videos. Prepare to be astounded.

Cherie is a wonder. She has so many skills and talents it’s almost hard to keep track. At one point in the podcast, our producer Mark asked her, “Is there anything you’re not good at??’' Have a listen to the whole conversation or check Cherie out on her busy YouTube and Tik Tok channels, or on her website.