album cover of Shar's latest cd, "Rumors of "Peace"
Shar Leahey: The Same Old Songs? or Rumors of Peace?
Folk singer, song writer, poet, and guitarist Sharleen Leahey is back with new and old songs with the same message: war sucks, where is peace, why don't we have it when all reason and emotions long for it? Ask any Neocon. I did.
So shall we dismiss this holdover from the sixties? Or shall we listen yet again and realize that her message transcends time, that the longing reaches back to the Old Testament, that Virgil, amid all the bloodshed prophesied in book 6 of his "Aeneid," bemoans these events as "bella, horrida bella"--anaphora adding to the lament: "WAR, HORRID WAR."
The sixties kids changed so much and then moved on, but who could blame them? The American dream was still within their grasp. Today the same type of kids are moving back home, saddled with debt in a newly evolved nightmare, candy from babies is lining the wallets of the real babies, the "top" one percent, or are they the bottom one percent? Let's face facts and trample on that grim reality, as we finally are.
And so Shar was glowing at a recent Joan Baez concert. Joan travels the world singing of peace, even as Shar wanders as far as she can with the same message. Her songs are her own--lyrics, melodies, and arrangements.
Shar glowed with energy after Joanie wearily left the stage, longing for sleep. She need not worry. There are others, like Shar.
With Shar the sixties are alive. A few of us keep the torch burning despite the cold, polluted wind of hatred.
There are eight songs on the new cd of Rumors of Peace. Well, these days, it seems that we may anticipate less war, though the Egyptian dissidents are tiring of the military takeover and beginning to assert themselves again. I cannot fathom the bravery of such people, only write about it.
"Direction," the first song, is all about love and separation. Are they symbiotic? Joan Baez sang longingly of her imprisoned David, but once he was freed and they were reunited, divorce followed.
What do we really sing about, listen to--the ultimate mystery? See my review of Greg Palast's Vultures' Picnic. Maybe if we really learned to love, as the peacemakers do, then we'd really learn to love, the ultimate mystery we've learned in the face of the rank pollution of morals we call war. In Greek mythology Love and War are symbiotic--Venus married to Mars (Aphrodite + Ares).
"What Would Woody Write?" asks Shar's second song. She calls him a "mystic" who always paid his dues and brought us together like a gathering storm. He'd be right at home, Shar. He left his wife and kids in search of peace, fighting for it on the roofs of freight trains, unable to rest while things weren't right. "People are sick of fighting back,"
she claims. Some of us are. If Woody reappeared, would some of those "some" regain the heart that's needed never to stop fighting?
Perhaps Woody would sing the same songs. Human nature hasn't changed, just the American dream, a goal that distracted rather than empowered ideals. But we need it back. Can it live in peace or must it live off of poverty?
"Corporate News" calls on journalists to tell the truth, a hard task even during the days before the Truth Sleuth joined our ranks, up against the cement wall of death threats. At least he lives on.