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JourneysAsiaCover
JourneysAsiaCover2JourneysAsiCover3

Journeys 3 – Asia

Description

Available to buy as CD or MP3 download at GingerDog Records here

 

Track List:

 

1. Shadows in the Mist

2. Dancing the Polka in Tiananmen Square

3. Road to Freedom

4. I Want to Cry Out

5. Stronger than the Storm

6. She Sang Bayan Ko

7. Not a Love Story

8. Walk in his Shoes

9. Imelda Marcos Disco Dancing Shoes

10. The Living God

11. Broken Image

12. Water Water

13. Nero’s Watching Video

14. Five Loaves and Two Small Fish

15. Trailing Clouds of Glory

 

CD sleeve notes:

This is the third of Garth’s albums in the series ‘Journeys’.  The first featured the Holy Land, the second – Africa, this one is about Asia and the final album will be on Latin America.

 

On this album, Garth includes songs about India, Sri Landa, Bangladesh, the Philippines and China.  Themes such as freedom, dignity and the value of human beings made in God’s image, constantly reoccur in the songs.  The songs are a cry against injustice and a cry for the values of God’s kingdom to be established throughout our world.

 

Garth’s notes about the songs:

Shadows in the Mist

Written in Manila, Philippines, January 1989,

Smokey mountain was a notorious rubbish dump in Manila where 20,000 people lived and scavenged for survival.  Though this started for me as a song about people in Manila, it has become a song for the forgotten wherever they may be, whether in the streets of our own cities or further afield.  This was written as part of the Tear Fund presentation ‘Broken Images’ as were most of the songs on the Philippines.

 

Dancing the Polka in Tiananmen Square

I read a newspaper article soon after the massacre in Tiananmen Square which was about the celebration of 40 years of that particular regime, and the journalist put a headline ‘Dancing the Polka in Tiananmen Square’.  Obviously there was some sort of dance that went on that looked something like a polka, and it seemed like a dance to forget – a dance to rewrite history, and I thought there should be a dance of a song to remind us never to forget the massacre that occurred there.

 

Road to Freedom

Written in Calcutta, December 1982

While there, Vijayan and Premila Pavanmani of Emmanuel Ministries hosted my visit and took me to meet Mother Teresa.  She talked about her work in terms of giving dignity to the poor which sparked off the thoughts of this song – that it’s not enough to simply patronise or pity, nor indeed is sympathy enough, but we must offer people the chance to rediscover their dignity and value.  The Bible starts and ends in liberation and the last verse of this song reflects the words from Luke 4:18-19, where Jesus first describes his ministry in terms of ‘good news for the poor’ and ‘setting free the oppressed’.

 

I Want to Cry Out

I was shocked to hear the report of what happened at the massacre of Tamils at St Peter and St Paul in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.  I wrote this song for an event a year later that was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London to remember those who died.  I was told the story by a Tamil called Shanti and his words struck me forcibly.  He said it was like being in a nightmare where your voice wouldn’t respond, and the world couldn’t hear the message of their pain.  I then went to sing at the Round House on Maveerar’s Day (Martyrs Day) to remember those Tamils who died in recent times in their struggle for justice.  My thanks to Dierdre McConnell for making me aware of the situation and for Shanti for giving me the background for this song.

 

Stronger Than the Storm

On 21st April 1994, I flew into Dhaka, Bangladesh in the midst of a raging storm – it symbolised the time I spent there.  On the Saturday, I was filming with World Vision in a slum area called Balurmath which had been flooded to halfway up the huts up to only a few hours before we were there.  It was a tragic situation and their story is told in the song.  They were trying to organise and work together to make change and to bring hope.  It was an impressive sight to see green shoots of dignity arising out of overwhelming odds.

 

She Sang ‘Bayan Ko’

Bayan Ko is the name of a famous folk song in the Philippines that expresses a longing for freedom and also talks of the beauty of the countryside.  On my first visit there, a pastor’s wife, down in Surigao City, Mindinao, sang us this song and I wrote this song as a response.

 

Not a Love Story

This was written in the Philippines in May 1989.  On our way back from filming down in the south, with Philards (Philippines Relief & Development Society) we had an hour or two to spare in Manila so we asked to be put up briefly in a hotel to have a shower before our flight onwards.  The hotel was an odd place and at first we couldn’t quite work out what it was.  Then we realised that it was a place for people to take prostitutes or to meet someone secretly.  At first we laughter, and then somehow the sadness of the place overwhelmed us.  I wrote this song on the onward flight to Malaysia.

 

Walk in His Shoes

This was a song that I wrote adapting some words of Mother Teresa that she had adapted from Matthew 25.  Then I adapted some words from Isaiah for the chorus.  I tried to sing it to Mother Teresa when I met her in Calcutta but sadly, just before I arrived they had taken a vow of silence!  This not the version I first recorded in 1974.  It’s a new version I recorded for the Bible Reading Fellowship cassette of meditations ‘Pilgrims and Peacemakers’.

 

Imelda Marcos Disco Dancing Shoes

Visiting Malacanang Palace in Manila on a conducted tour, you come to the shoes that belonged to Imelda Marcos.  The dancing shoes are on a plinth and the guide actually used these words – “These are Imelda Marcos’ disco dancing shoes.”  The extravagance of the shoes and the lifestyle of the Palace in comparison with the conditions in which most of the country were living, prompted this song.

 

The Living God

Vinay Samuel, who I first met in Bangalore in India, asked me to write a song to illustrate a sermon he was giving for the National Evangelical Anglican Conference a few years ago.  Our meetings were somewhat hurried and as I recollect, seemed to take place at airports! – This, however, was the song.

 

Broken Image

Written in the Philippines in 1989.

 

Water Water

Written on my first visit to India in 1982 after visiting Gujerat which had just been hit by a cyclone and in particular, a village called Vankiya where a wall of water had gone through the village as a result of the cyclone.  The we went to Hamirpur, not far from Karnpur, where we heard stories of the floods sweeping through a village.  Then down in the south, there had been a drought for five years and I stood on a huge dried-up river bed wider than the Thames.  Also on this visit I saw the drilling of a well by EFICOR (Evangelical Fellowhsip of India Commission on Relief) and was there the moment that they struck water.  I shall never forget the exhilaration of this moment particularly as it was done in part of the village where the Dalits (outcast community) lived.

 

 

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