Spark & Echo explores Psalm 126 this in their song, “How to Be Free.”
When you saved us from our captors
We were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were full of laughter,
Our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“Oh lord you’ve done great things for them.”
You have done great things for us
And we are filled with joy.
You taught me how to be free,
Free as the river in the spring.
Now those who sow with tears,
Will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
Carrying seed to sow
Will return with a harvest
Carrying songs of joy.
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2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
The Spark & Echo Band
This song is both a response to Psalm 126 and in honor of Jonathon’s Grandfather, Al Roberts. In this psalm we see the Israelites rejoicing in their return from exile, and their freedom from oppressors after many years. We see the reversal of tears to joy. It reminds us of Al, who taught the people he knew how to be free. His joy and sense of play were contagious, and it was hard to wear a frown when he was around. The sounds that eventually take over this song reflect that playful quality. We like to see this song as a large party, from its height around midnight, to the last dwindling revelers at 4am.
The Spark & Echo Band is a family outfit of songwriting-storytellers led by husband and wife duo Jonathon Roberts and Emily Clare Zempel. Their music brings forgotten poetry and wild stories from the Bible to life: visions of sparkling wheels in the sky, hunger and thirst, and legends of love as strong as death weave with memorable melodies and captivating rhythms. Drawing from a classical background, influenced by the pianism of Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, and emulating Paul Simon’s narratival techniques, Spark & Echo sings epic tales of love and adventure.
The duo has collaborated on three full lengths albums (Spark&Echo, Inheritance, Cities Project), one video album (In the Clocktower), in addition to many theatrical collaborations, this very nonprofit, and two children. They live in beautiful Beacon, New York, with all of the above.