We’re delighted to announce that the wonderful Gungor will return to Greenbelt this summer. Last with us in 2011, a lot has happened for Michael and Lisa Gungor during these last few years. With a nod to the great American poet Mary Oliver, their latest musical project – One Wild Life – sees them writing and releasing a trilogy of albums: Soul, Spirit and Body. The project charts their struggle and journey since they released I Am A Mountain three years ago now.
Gungor represent the very best of musicality and thoughtfulness in pursuit of truth and beauty – in pursuit of God. Their work is devotional, beautiful, honest and vulnerable. But to give you more of an insight into the heart and mind of Lisa and Michael, here is Michael speaking about the song Vapour, from the first of the trilogy of albums:
“This song took me over two years to write. For years, doubt was a significant part of my life and my art. While I was able to manage it most of the time, there were times when it was crippling and it would cause me to spiral into despair or depression. So as a guy that made most of my living writing and singing songs about God, it was terrifying and then ultimately incredibly liberating when I finally full let go of trying to believe anything at the end of 2012.
“It wasn’t until my experience of fully letting go of my ideas and beliefs about God and religion in particular, that I was able to engage with mystery in a different way. During most of my deconstruction, mystery was present, but at times it was almost more like a fine print clause that I would remember in certain moments to keep me sane. Other times, I embraced mystery entirely, but again, it was still often rooted in the need to hold on to my belief in some way, even if that ‘belief’ was an entirely deconstructed openness to mystery.
“But, when I finally fully let go of my lifelong belief, I discovered something interesting. God was not ‘something’ that I had to hold onto. God was not this other ‘thing’ that could be analyzed, dissected, and believed in or not believed in. In the absence of belief, I was surprised to find that my heart still had the same strong desires for good; for beauty; for love. Over the course of the subsequent months, I began to bask once again in the reality that my very being is grounded in Mystery, Goodness, and yes, Love. This faith was not exactly the same as the faith that was deconstructed, but it was faith nonetheless. Faith in a way that is beyond me holding onto. A perspective that seems less like the objective observer wondering whether or not I should get in the river (which might be imaginary), and more like a molecule of water within the river itself.
“This was the experience that I needed to have before I was able to finish writing Vapor. It was the first song to that which we would call God that I was able to write after my final chapter of deconstruction. It is the beginning of a reconstruction that sees myself within this infinite mystery, beauty, and love that words like “Divine”, “Holy”, and “God” conjure up. And though I no longer fear losing my ‘belief’ like I used to, I have once again embraced mystery and much of the language that I inherited (God, Jesus, faith…etc), but this time with hands that are genuinely and entirely open and unafraid. And I find that in that abandon, the language of my childhood comes rushing back. ‘Trees clap their hands for you. Oceans they dance for you. You are holy.’ And in the metaphor and language and mystery, I somehow find myself alive. I find God alive. The lines of reality are all blurred, and I am once again, simply home.
The Grammy-nominated musical collective Gungor have blurred genres and broken expectations throughout their musical journey and this compelling tradition continues. We can’t wait to hear from them at Greenbelt again. We are honoured and grateful that Gungor see Greenbelt as a place where they want to come and play – a place where their artistry, devotion and honesty will be welcomed and celebrated.