The single greatest power of music is the power to unite. Music doesn’t discriminate based on race, nationality, religion, language, or any of the meaningful but ultimately superficial differences that so often divide human beings one from the other. Music brought us, Micah and Melvin, together. And it is our hope and our vision that we return the favor, using our music to bring people together. We need to push past the superficial and get to the heart of the matter. We need to get beyond the surface and look one another in the eyes and try to know and love one another’s hearts.
Were it not for music, the two of us, a rabbi and a Baptist gospel singer, might never have connected. We share a city, we share a commitment to our respective faith traditions, we share many of the same values, we are of a similar age. But even with all these things in common, it took music to bring us together. In fact, music made it impossible for us to avoid one another!
Back in 2015, Micah wrote a song called, “Praying with our Feet.” It’s a song that pays homage to the Civil Rights Movement past and present. Its peculiar title comes from a famous quote from the revered rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., on numerous occasions. When asked how it felt to march, Heschel said he felt like his legs were praying.
Fast-forward a few months to MLK Weekend, a wonderful celebration for our country, but for Atlanta especially. The combined choirs of The Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Temple joined together for their annual interfaith Shabbat service. Micah was the band leader and Melvin was the soloist selected by Ebenezer to sing “Praying with our Feet.” Micah reports that hearing Melvin sing his composition was one of the most moving moments he’s ever experienced as a composer. Melvin reports that he feels like the words of the song and the melody came from his very own heart. Clearly the music had an agenda for the two of us.
Life works at its own pace. It took a few years for us to deepen our friendship and create more music together. But eventually it became impossible to avoid. The mutual desire to explore our relationship through music proved to be irresistible. And at the risk of sounding crazy, we came to feel like the world could use our music and our message.
As the two of us came to know one another as human beings and also as individuals grounded in different but interconnected faith traditions, we discovered that we approach faith and spirituality in complementary ways. We both look to our faith traditions as sources of moral inspiration, helping remind our hearts what is required of us in order to make the world a better place. We both look to our faith traditions for comfort, for insight, and for wisdom. We both realize that faith is there to help fuel our fire as we create a better tomorrow, but always with compassion and a sense of humor.
When people listen to our music we want them to feel inspired. We want them to feel like they are listening to music that is honest, direct, thoughtful, and uplifting. Many of our songs have social justice themes, but not all of them do. Those of us who thirst for a more just world also need moments of levity, joy, and simple beauty. We need to be reminded of our humanity. Our hopes, our dreams, our triumphs, our tragedies. We believe that our music, both existing and forthcoming, is in service of this sacred purpose.
Whenever we have a chance to share our music (and hey, we’d love to share our music with you), we aren’t interested in a one-way exchange. We’re interested in a conversation. We’re interested in community. We’re interested in dialogue. We want to know what’s on peoples’ minds. We want to connect. In that spirit, we’re trying to make it easier for folks to connect with us. For now, the best way to do so is via our website: lapidus-myles.com. If you reach out, in friendship, in fellowship, or simply to share a thought, know that we will be there to greet you. And in the meantime, we wish you blessings, peace, and love.
You can listen to Better Angels, the new album by Lapidus and Myles here.
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