Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People: “We believe in the good things comin’ comin’ comin’ “
Nahko Bear’s view from the stage at Sunday night’s finale
Ok, truth be told, Ubud is having a love affair with the headliners of last night’s final concert at BaliSpirit Festival. Since they played at the 2012 BSF, Nahko and Medicine for the People have become a favorite for a variety of reasons. Who can’t find something to love in a compelling lyric, charismatic musicianship, and danceable songs? You gotta be a corpse. And of course, the audience was packed in like sardines in front of the One World Stage at last night’s performance, wiggling rhythmically to the tunes of the hometown favorite. I could review the concert and tell you all about the band’s riveting act, but it would be syrupy… I was standing with everyone else, dancing to the irresistible music. Suffice it to say that the beauty of Nahko and Medicine for the People is that you can listen to their intelligent lyrics, sing along with the woop-de-do choruses, dance to their manic charms and beats, and get the full infusion.
Nahko and crew love Bali back, too. They have stayed and played on the island for extended visits, most recently for New Years 2013, and we hope they decide to come back often. The band seems to be on a trajectory. They arrived back in Bali from a successful 2-month tour of Australia and are returning to homeland USA in mid-April to begin a tour there. They obviously love to perform and we wonder when they will find the time to create and record new material, which you can feel bubbling up in their performances.
Medicine for the People is headed for a larger international audience, traveling on the coattails of the gifted genius of 26 year-old leader, Nahko Bear. Perhaps what is most inspiring about Nahko, besides his vocal excellence and his impeccable energetic delivery, is his poetic lyricism. Not that the other members of the band are insignificant. Hope Medford‘s vocals and hand drumming on the Bajo Cajon drum and West African Djembe carry weight and are a joy to behold, and Chase Makai on lead guitar squeezes the most amazing driving rhythms from his beat-up electrified acoustic guitar. But the band is a sophisticated delivery system for the truth in Nahko’s lyrics. For instance the chorus of Manifesto, a political plea, encourages faith in the face of discouragement:
“Don’t waste your hate/ rather gather and create/ be of service/ be a sensible person/ use your words and don’t be nervous/ you can do this/ you’ve got purpose/ find your medicine and use it.”
Nahko’s beautiful video, Aloha Ke Akua, with inspired lyrics and incredible images, has had nearly 1/2 million hits on YouTube. (Check it out Aloha Ke Akua at http://youtu.be/YsgP8LkEopM.)
The message is unequivocal:
Lend your ears, lend your hands,
Lend your movement, anything you can.
Come to teach, come to be taught.
Come in the likeness in the image of God.
Because, you can be like that.
With all that humbleness, and all that respect.
All of the power invested in me,
be it hard to love my enemies.
* * * *
The more I understand about the human race,
the less I comprehend about our purpose and place
and maybe if there was a clearer line the curiosity would satisfy.
Time based prophecies that kept me from living,
in the moment I am struggling
to trust the divinity of all the guides
and what the hell they have planned for us.
I cry for the creatures who get left behind
but everything will change in a blink of an eye
and if you wish to survive,
you will find the guide inside.
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Written by : Jeremiah Abrams