Like all ideas, it started as a tiny spark.
- What if the wisdom of nine ancient sayings could speak right here, right now?
- What if these words, spoken by Jesus and included in the Bible, were found to be tender not toxic, inviting not divisive, a welcome not a weapon?
- What could that mean to our lives in the face of this wild, wild world?
- What if a soundscape album was the way to bring these sayings to a new generation?
What if it was just TIME for this?
I just say had to say yes, and keep saying yes, to the invitation of these NINE BEATS!
“Especially with the current political climate, many people are feeling a pull towards the alternate message of the beatitudes: trust not fear, lament not denial, cooperation not comparison, agency not despair, compassion not judgment, honesty not pretense, embrace not us vs. them, surrender not retaliation.”
Across USA, Europe, into Uganda, I threw myself into conversations with an array of sublimely talented people – such kind, gracious listeners who were willing to join this adventure.
It was random but somehownot random. These were the right people, with real stories, whose high-level skills were matched by the depth of their humanity, and their passion for faith, life and love.
“What if there really is a call for a counter-cultural move for the world? I really believe the beatitudes are that. This message is so profound, so impactful, that it can tap in to whoever you are, wherever you are.”
ERIC LEROY WILSON
Some became key shapers. Mark Scandrette, especially, helped find some wonderful artists. Friends made recommendations. Random connections turned into friendships. The momentum grew until it was time to bring the NINE BEATS Collective together.
“These are sayings that speak to those who are on the outskirts, recognising that this is for everyone, that all are welcome … a different way of being that invites all in.”
ROZELLA HAYDÉE WHITE
Gathering at a retreat centre in California, we began to explore the beatitudes together. It. was. Lit! No divas, no egos, no agendas – suspicion put at ease as we found ourselves fused by the beauty of the beatitudes. Collaborations began, forged in shared experience, shared faith journey, shared creativity.
“There’s so much that tells us we’re not good enough or we should be this way, or we should do this or whatever … I think the beatitudes are a beautiful way of inverting a lot of those messages, so that we can begin to perceive our lives and our reality differently.”
The beauty of NINE BEATS is the diversity – of culture, music, perspectives, backgrounds, race: a gloriously wide canvas to create from. It shouldn’t have worked – but with these beguiling, subversive, inclusive words spoken by Jesus 2000 years ago as the common thread – it did, it does! And if it works here … why not everywhere?
With producer Tony Bean at the helm, writing and recording the NINE BEATS album took place over several months. To capture the ‘vibe’ of each artist, we decided to record in their home city, extending the Collective to include brilliant engineers, session players and vocalists. Via NY, Chicago, Minneapolis, & LA in USA, to Kampala Uganda, Copenhagen Denmark, and Birmingham, Worcester & London UK, the soundscape was pieced together.
“I like the idea of a soundtrack to the beatitudes … you have a collection of songwriters, artists, musicians, that aren’t trying to set the beatitudes to music – or even necessarily be inspired by them, but rather try to find the essence of what it is, and write around that … it’s almost like we’re writing in between the cracks of the beatitudes. There’s a space in between each beatitude that I think this project is trying to fill.”
REV VINCE ANDERSON
With a double album of material, the narrative (which had to work over four sides of vinyl) was vital. The arc moved through awakening, purgation, illumination to union: spoken word linking a pilgrimage from broken empire, to lament, the invitation of the beats, and walking into the future ‘nine beats to the bar’.
With gatefold concept artwork and a killer symbol design, the album was released in summer 2016 – and the 5-star reviews keep coming! It’s a slow burn project – but worth getting into!
In 2017 a showcase ‘full-band’ gig of the album with many Collective members illuminated Greenbelt Festival in UK, followed by a short tour. Heatherlyn, Rev Vince Anderson, Mikael R Andreasen and others have featured their collabs in their gigs. Mark Scandrette, Aaron Niequist, Christine Suh, Eric Wilson, Rozella White, Danielle Welch & Matt Valler have brought NINE BEATS (and The Ninefold Path) to numerous gatherings across UK/USA/Australia, etc. With live events featuring the Collective in different configurations being planned for UK/USA in 2018/19, there’s so much more to come!
“The voice of the beatitudes needs to be heard in today’s society: the whole human side of life is being more and more ignored … the beatitudes are like a gentle breeze of something true.”
MIKAEL R ANDREASEN
NINE BEATS is so much more than an album – it’s a haunting, a cry, a new beat. It’s a soundscape filled with soul, adventure, lament, and rage. It’s a love song, and most of all, it’s a movement.
The NINE BEATS Collective begins here, but there’s room for anyone on the trail of this ancient wisdom. These beats might hold the keys for our liberation wherever we are, whoever we are, however we are, today.
– Steve Bassett, founder and Executive Producer