TURN IT ALL AROUND (Songs for Justice & Peace).
This was my first recorded album - originally recorded and published in 1984. After living in England for many years I returned to Australia in 1982 with my wife Madge and two children. At this stage I decided to have a go at making music my work. The songs on ‘Turn it All Around’ were written in the period 1982-1984. They were mainly inspired by my friendship with Fr Ted Kennedy of the Redfern Parish in Sydney. Ted was a great friend and advocate for Aboriginal people.
RECORDING: Recorded 1984 at Platypus Studio, Brogers Creek, New South Wales, Australia. Engineered by Nic Lyon. Produced by Peter Kearney.
SINGERS: Peter Kearney, Claire Parkhill, Nic Lyon
MUSICIANS: Peter Kearney: guitar, mandolin, recorders, penny whistle, synthesiser, percussion. Roger Ilott: acoustic guitar, Fender Telecaster. Nic Lyon: strings, mandolin, synthesiser, harp, bass.
Arrangements: Peter Kearney, Nic Lyon, Roger Ilott, John O'Brien
WORDS & MUSIC: All songs composed by Peter Kearney © 1984
COVER: Karin Donaldson's beautiful painting of the crane as a peace symbol became the central image for the cover of 'Turn It All Around'.
TITLE: The title 'Turn It All Around' comes from a poem by my long time friend, Gordon Biok:
Who has the love to turn all this around?
Who has the heart to stir the fallow ground?
Who has the time when there is no time at hand?
Who has the power of woman and of man?
It's up to us who can hear the sound,
It's up to us to turn it all around.
TRACK LIST & NOTES ON THE SONGS
1. The Man God Chose: A passage adapted and set to music - from the prophet Isaiah 52:14 - 53:12. The passage is sometimes called the Song of the Suffering Servant.
2. The Magnificat (Mary's Song): Another passage from scripture adapted and set to music. Luke 1: 46-55.
3. Isaiah 58: My setting of a passage from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 58. "Now I'll tell you the fast that is pleasing to me- to break unjust fetters, let the captives go free".
4. No Right to Crush God's People: Weaving together some strong sayings from the prophet Isaiah.
5. Simon Son of John: From scripture. Three questions from Jesus - three answers from Simon-Peter.
6. A Confession To Jesus The Poor: Written as a contribution to Marie Grunke's edition of the 'Bread and Wine' magazine 1983. As stimulus material, Marie sent me some sayings of the early church fathers such as St Basil (AD 330-379): “the bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it”. And St John Chryostom: "Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not honour him here in the church building with silks, only to neglect him outside, when he is suffering from cold and nakedness." A penitential song for rich people and rich nations too.
7. Heal Me, Help Me, Save Me: "You are all part of one body, so you can't be healed by yourself"
8. Unless the Grain of Wheat Falls: Seeking hope in the midst of tragedy. The text incorporates ideas and images from an address given by Fr. Dick Buchhorn at the funeral of an Aboriginal youth, shot down in Moree, New South Wales, November 1982. Permission to publish the song was received from Dick and the parents of the youth. The use of the word 'martyr' in this context is unusual but worthy of consideration.
9. Come Now Holy Spirit: Written for Pentecost, 1983. Ted Kennedy showed me a translation of a beautiful old Latin hymn, 'Veni Sancte Spiritus'. I adapted the translation for this song.
10. The Refugee Carol - Christmas carols are usually either sweet or triumphant, but this one takes account of the historical circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus (ie. colonisation by the Romans)
11. Hiroshima (Never Again!) A graphic account of August 6, 1945. The song was written to be part of the Hiroshima Day commemorations on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, August 6th 1983.
12. The Prayer of St Francis: "Make me an instrument of your peace." This song is also included in 'Good Morning Good People!' my folk-oratorio on the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
FOREWORD by FR. TED KENNEDY:
In my childhood, the hymns we Catholics used to sing reflected the theology and devotional emphasis we heard from the pulpit and in the classroom. The congregation hardly ever sang during Mass. The parish choir would sing motets at Low Mass and sometimes it would attempt a polyphonic rendition at the occasional High Mass.
Congregational singing seemed more appropriate for Evening Devotions. The popular hymns, all imported from other countries, were in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Name, the Sacred Heart, Our Lady and the saints. We children learned them by rote, noting that they had stood the test of expressing and supporting our grandparents' faith for a lifetime.
It didn't seem to matter too much if we could never quite muster the sentiments found in 'Oh Mother I could weep for mirth... Oh could the transport last' - although at times some of us did screw up our faces and try. Nor were we deterred by the semantic problems which came to a child's mind when we sang the first Communion hymn 'I love You, oh little white Guest'. The fact that the same Guest was contained within the Host was just one off those divine conundrums that came within the Mysteries of Religion. So we sang on regardless.
Then in the 1940s, Pope Pius XII began writing encyclicals which indicated a liturgical renewal. As a young priest in the early 1950s, I introduced Richard Connolly to James McAuley and asked them to write liturgical hymns, initially for the parish of Ryde. It was a fruitful partnership producing the fine hymns published in the Living Parish series. They helped to bring about a better awareness of the theology of the Mass, the Sacraments and the Seasons of the Church; and they encouraged lay people to take their rightful place in them.
Some of the old hymns which were theologically inaccurate died hard, even when they were authoritatively suppressed. Some members of one American parish were dismayed when their Bishop suppressed the old favourite which they had sung as the tabernacle was closed after Benediction- 'Good night sweet Jesus'. They appealed for exemption. This Bishop granted it - provided that, as they sang it the priest and people stood on their tiptoes and waved!
In the 1960s there was the Vatican Council. Shockwaves went through the Church when Pope Paul VI, in his first encyclical, admitted that the Church had begun to question its own identity and was striving to gain deeper self awareness. The old profile of a Church which had seemed to exist outside of time and for its own sake was beginning to fade. The Church was now being seen not so much as a sanctuary as a sign or sacrament; not so much as a safe enclosure as a daring disclosure pointing to the presence of Jesus in the world, especially in the poor and oppressed. Pope Paul, like Pope John, confessed to the Church's own guilt. He lamented past 'dolorous polemics'. A rather haughty, self sufficient image of the Church was being replaced by a humble servant image. Witness had been seen largely in the context of religious pugilism, proselytising for the sake of conversion to the Church. Now conversion was being seen for the sake of witness to Gospel values. Jesus was no longer being thought of, since his ascension to heaven, as stationary as a sanctuary statue there, or confined to a tabernacle imprisonment on earth. Many old hymns, with their sanctuary language, were inadequate in expressing the new spirit
About this same time, the young Peter Kearney came to Sydney University with a song in his heart. He began to write songs which sprang directly from the Gospel. There was great enthusiasm among the students as they waited for the fresh songs which he produced each week. These songs were published as 'Songs of Brotherhood' and they have remained fresh for twenty years. We were heartened to hear 'Fill My House' sung at one of the Papal Masses at Randwick in 1970.
In his second publication 'Songs of the Lord's Travellers' (later re-titled 'Where Is Your Song My Lord?') Peter continued to write with an ever more penetrating understanding of the Gospel message. These have become very popular in Redfern parish and Aboriginal people have adopted as their own songs like 'A King in Rags' and 'Where is your Song my Lord?' This is perhaps some indication that the Australian Church, which has been a Church only moderately for the poor and hardly at all of the poor is beginning to change. Peter's most recent songs reflect the deeper understanding of spirituality which must take root in the Church if the change of heart is to endure.
(Ted Kennedy, Redfern, May 1984)
PREFACE by PETER KEARNEY:
'Turn it all around' means, inwardly a change of heart and mind and outwardly. changing the world. It is interesting to note that in the original language of the Bible, 'conversion’ meant 'to turn around'. Repentance is turning from, and faith is turning to. Most of us are part of the rich minority in this poor and hungry world. Within our own country there are many, such as the Aborigines, who are poor, the victims of the same system which makes us rich. This concerns us all, whether we know it or not, as does the fact that we, as a nation, are co-operating in preparations for nuclear war which could put an end to all hope.
We need to set our heads clear to see the heartless values, structures and process which cause suffering, poverty and injustice, to see our own part in these. Only then can we do our bit towards the ultimate revolution (ie. 'turn around') which is the coming of God's Kingdom.
These thoughts are well summarised by Jim Wallis: "Conversion marks the birth of a movement out of merely private existence into a public consciousness. Conversion is the beginning of active solidarity with the purposes of the Kingdom of God in the world. Our prayer becomes, 'Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". If we restrict our salvation to only inner concerns, we have yet to enter into its fullness. Conversion, then, is public responsibility- but public responsibility as defined by the kingdom, not by the state". (Jim Wallis, The Call To Conversion, Albatross Books, 1981, p.9)
I am glad Jim Wallis sees conversion as something gradual because I know I fall far short of really living by the principles of the kingdom as stated by Isaiah, Jesus, Saint Francis and given musical expression in these songs. A friend, Christine Smith, knowing well my uneasiness about this, jokingly suggested an alternative title for the collection - ie. 'The Gap'. Madge, my wife, says these songs are my 'tussles with God', my prayers and that's about the truth of it. God, revealed through the words and example of Jesus calls me and you, weak and reluctant as we may be, to 'turn it all around'.
As a songwriter, I see my role as giving lyrical and musical expression to the values, thoughts and dreams of my faith community. I put my name to these songs, yet they are more than my own, owing much to the influence and inspiration of others. These include Ted Kennedy (parish priest of Redfern, Sydney where most of these songs were sung for the first time), Christine Smith. Gordon Biok, Karin Donaldson, Michael Fallon, Chris and Anne Donaldson. Dick Buchhorn, Marie Grunke, Claire Parkhill, John O'Brien and Nic Lyon, my wife Madge and many others. My thanks to all of these.
(Peter Kearney, 1984)