This song was written in 15 minutes while waiting to come on stage somewhere in Central Canada, land of the prairies. It is very simple, starting with her husks of wheat voice, recapping the stars, the sky, the seasons, the heart of the prairie weather cycle. By verse two something has shifted, and we feel we are there, we are her, her voice is that of the spirit of that place, and she for the moment its embodiment.
The ayatanas (see Vastness in the Minute Particulars) are the perceptual worlds we inhabit – the mutual coupling of sense organs with sense objects, and the qualities of those perceptions. More than that, the ayatanas are limitless, metaphorically onomatopoetic, harmonizing, arousing, breathing. Art has a way of connecting us to that, of becoming its symbol, of participating in its reality. Shakespeare slays us with two words, cutting to the human; Mozart finds and celebrates the sad and humorous truth in our deceptions.
If you are able to relax – relax to a cloud by looking at it, relax to a drop of rain and experience its genuineness – you can see the unconditionality of reality, which remains very simply in things as they are, very simply.
Jill Barber has a gift for connecting with that, and for transporting it in echoes of sound and emotion. But she does more than connect: for a moment she captures that drala, or it captures her; it enters her music, and that music is its. That spirit of the prairies has found her, and she is its child, and more that that: she is that drala.
This is how the world works. You can tune in to it in Saskatoon. You can find it where you are. You can hear it in Jill Barber.