WE ARE YOU

 

As the nation was absorbing the shock of the March 15 Christchurch Mosque shooting in which 51 people died, horrified by the brutality and blind hate that could kill so many and scar others for life, I found myself focussing on the gunman.

If he was driven by a sense of superiority, judging his own race better than others; if he was intolerant of difference, or felt threatened by a culture or faith he couldn’t accept or understand, I wanted to let him know that he was inextricably part of everything and everyone.

The fabric of life is a cloth that wraps creation in a multi-hued reality, amazingly beautiful, if also profoundly mysterious.  What happens to one affects all.

Every life was harmed by the actions of this one person.

“You are us” was a phrase that sprang up almost immediately after the tragedy, directed at the Muslim community, reassuring them that the rest of Aotearoa-New Zealand stood with them.  I wanted to place the phrase in the mind of the killer and others who think the same way:

You are us  – and we are you.

Chris Skinner’s music reflects this theme very well, giving energy to my words, and also emphasising their urgency.

The musical arrangement and production enhance the tune even more, inviting a meditative response.  There is rawness and sadness in this combination of music and words; there is also a glimpse of the hope that lies beneath the suffering, gentle notes tugging us to reach beyond the present pain to a time when we can all recognise our family connection.

 

James Lyons

22 June 2019

I have collaborated with James on several other projects namely the album ‘Angel of the Forest’. When he emailed me the words to ‘We are you’, I immediately made a start to compose the melody to his powerful and striking message and emailed him a rough demo. 

 

Taking this raw material of voice and guitar, I was once again captivated by the working and musicianship of Stuart Pearce who laid the foundation of the song in our recording space at Good Shepherd College, further developed, enhanced and sensitively produced by Peter van Gent. ‘We are You’ is certainly a collaborative work on a most tragic and dark day in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s history. 

 

I wish to thank all those involved, Stuart Pearce, keyboards, Rimi Pitman, guitars, Sam Jones, Clarinet/Flute, Peter van Gent, producer, arranger and percussion for both ‘We are You’ and ‘Garden on the Street.’

 

Chris Skinner

WE ARE YOU

 

As the nation was absorbing the shock of the March 15 Christchurch Mosque shooting in which 51 people died, horrified by the brutality and blind hate that could kill so many and scar others for life, I found myself focussing on the gunman.

If he was driven by a sense of superiority, judging his own race better than others; if he was intolerant of difference, or felt threatened by a culture or faith he couldn’t accept or understand, I wanted to let him know that he was inextricably part of everything and everyone.

The fabric of life is a cloth that wraps creation in a multi-hued reality, amazingly beautiful, if also profoundly mysterious.  What happens to one affects all.

Every life was harmed by the actions of this one person.

“You are us” was a phrase that sprang up almost immediately after the tragedy, directed at the Muslim community, reassuring them that the rest of Aotearoa-New Zealand stood with them.  I wanted to place the phrase in the mind of the killer and others who think the same way:

You are us  – and we are you.

Chris Skinner’s music reflects this theme very well, giving energy to my words, and also emphasising their urgency.

The musical arrangement and production enhance the tune even more, inviting a meditative response.  There is rawness and sadness in this combination of music and words; there is also a glimpse of the hope that lies beneath the suffering, gentle notes tugging us to reach beyond the present pain to a time when we can all recognise our family connection.

 

James Lyons

22 June 2019

I have collaborated with James on several other projects namely the album ‘Angel of the Forest’. When he emailed me the words to ‘We are you’, I immediately made a start to compose the melody to his powerful and striking message and emailed him a rough demo. 

 

Taking this raw material of voice and guitar, I was once again captivated by the working and musicianship of Stuart Pearce who laid the foundation of the song in our recording space at Good Shepherd College, further developed, enhanced and sensitively produced by Peter van Gent. ‘We are You’ is certainly a collaborative work on a most tragic and dark day in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s history. 

 

I wish to thank all those involved, Stuart Pearce - keyboards, Rimi Pitman - guitars, Sam Jones - Clarinet/Flute, Peter van Gent - producer, arranger and percussion for both ‘We are You’ and ‘Garden on the Street.’

 

Chris Skinner

WE ARE YOU - LYRICS

 

Silent as a dream in sleep

You came into the sound of prayer

And broke the dream by causing death

Destroying so much living breath

 

But little did you know that day

The truth that we are one

That even you are part of who we are

You spoke the death of each of us

by claiming to be right and others wrong

 

You are us and we are you

Sisters yes, and brothers too

Caught in the crossfire of fear and hate

Do not believe there’s no escape  

With kindness and trust let’s start anew

You are us and we are you

 

Sheltered in the sacred space

A time of prayer, a home of grace

Worship turned to sacrifice

As hate destroyed the gift of life

 

Silent as the dream awakes

We gather now more resolute

To seize the chance and together stand

A family strong throughout the land.  

 

James Lyons

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GARDEN ON THE STREET

When I first heard about the atrocities in Christchurch on March 15th this year, I was shocked as so many New Zealanders were. That such carnage could occur in our country and that so many innocent lives were lost, and families affected, was heart breaking and beyond belief. 

How to respond to this unprecedented event and to show support and solidarity for our Muslim brothers and sisters was in the fore front of many people’s minds and hearts. The day after the event, I purchased a bunch of flowers and with a priest friend of mine went and placed them outside the mosque in Ponsonby with a simple message of support and prayers for the Muslim Community. Already several bunches of flowers had been placed by the fence. A week later there were thousands more as there were all around the country especially in Christchurch itself outside the mosques where people had lost their lives.  

For me the floral tributes provided a beautiful display to show the Muslim Community that they were not alone in their grief and trauma. We were standing with them.

The image of so many flowers inspired the song ‘Garden on the Street’. The lyrics are below. 

My hope is that the song will support and comfort the Muslim Community and that it touches into the hearts of all New Zealanders who stand for peace and believe and uphold the gift of our common humanity. 

 

Chris Skinner

GARDEN ON THE STREET - LYRICS

 

We place these flowers here for you

We lay them down here at your feet

We stand united at your door

We plant a garden on the street

 

Garden of love to sooth and heal

A simple act of how we feel

Peace, Rangimarie

Love, aroha the way

Peace Rangimarie to you

 

We plant a garden on the street

Bunches of flowers at your feet

We hope they comfort and help to ease your sorrow 

We hope the garden on the street

Will remind you when we meet

Of our longing for a new tomorrow

 

We know these flowers will wilt and fade

And soon the garden will be gone

We can’t conceive the price you’ve paid

But hope the bonds we share live on

 

Garden of love to sooth and heal

A simple act of how we feel

Peace, Rangimarie

Love, aroha the way

Peace Rangimarie to you

 

We plant a garden on the street

Bunches of flowers at your feet

We hope they comfort and help to ease your sorrow 

We hope the garden on the street

Will remind you when we meet

Of our longing for a new tomorrow

 

We place these flowers here for you

We lay them down here for you

We stand united with you

And plant a garden on the street

 

 

Chris Skinner, June 2019

 

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