The Living Lives Not Among the Dead. Why Seek It There? (2002)


These words begin the second volume of Chief Fela Sowande's 'The Learning Process.' 'The Learning Process' is an outgrown of the 'Standard Rules for the Student' which he began writing in 1968. From the time that I first knew Fela (1972) until 1985, he worked on writing 'The Learning Process' and he finally handed it to me in the middle of 1985. The two volumes cover 488 pages and are as complex reading as Fela was as a person. The first time I read 'The Learning Process,' I was struck by the words of 'Living Lives' because of the way it was written and the meaning of the words. The words read like poetry and the meaning is so important to our contemporary times. There are so few real leaders in the world and the ones who profess to lead believe that physical confrontations are the only answer to the world's problems. Might makes right. 

It took several years to think about the words and then to find a way to present them in a musical format. I knew from the first time I read them that this was wonderful material to set to music. 'Living Lives' is only one page long but it has two distinctive parts. The first three-quarters deals with the state of the world as Fela saw it and the last part speaks to the responsibilities of the human species to preserve and cherish the potential for the beautiful world we were born into. I hope that we can successfully honor Fela's words and that our performance spells out both the dangers of today's world and the human potential for solving the urgent problems that we are confront with in our times.

The performance is dedicated to Wilber Morris. An outstanding musician and a wonderful person. He died too young.

-- Bill Cole 

This album features Bill Cole, leader and composer (Asian double-reed horns & didgeridoo), Warren Smith (Percussion & Asian double-reed horn), Joseph Daley (baritone horn, tuba, trombone & Asian double-reed horn, William Parker (acoustic bass  Asian double-reed horn), Cooper Moore (hand crafted instruments & flute), Sam Furnace (alto sax, flute, Asian double-reed horn), Atticus Cole (percussion) and Patricia Smith (vocals).