In 2009, we got something from Tina Turner which we did not expect at all. What happens if a rock star, a member of the entertainment business and your personal hero suddenly confronts you with personal and even religious beliefs? As you somehow cannot ignore what your hero is doing you have to deal with it….
After years of (near) silence…
All these years Tina Turner did not really participate in ongoing political discussions, and I personally thought that this was a good decision because compressing a complex political issue in a one-sentence-statement for the media is quite a burden. A philosopher, a sociologist or any writing politician has a full book to express his/her thoughts in as many pages as s/he thinks are necessary to deal with a specific topic. But if you have only half a minute during a promotional interview for your next album to answer questions about human rights, economic injustice in the world or ecological issues, you cannot do more than simply state that you are in favor of world peace. But then this important message is so short that it seems to be a weak, pale, and nearly forced statement without any substantial thought put into it.
But of course, we must not forget that Tina Turner did a) perform at the Gay Games in 1982, b) participate in “Live Aid” (both “We Are The World” and concerts) in 1985, or c) is involved in various charity activities like the Caudwell Bedrock Ball in 2007. So, she lets her activities speak for her involvement and her opinions but she is not an orator or theoretician.
And finally, her interest in Buddhism and her religious belief turned out to be a constant topic in various interviews but were always overshadowed by the rather commercial aspect of the occasion (typically a TV/radio interview). So, these decades of silence cannot be characterized as an absolute silence but she had a tendency not to get involved with certain topics.
…finally a personal message
But then in 2009, we did not get a “I, Tina Volume 2” book which could have provided us with an inside view of her personal beliefs and her thoughts on the world, her achievements, and how to find the inner strength and will-power for definitive self-realization (the art of becoming, so to speak), no, far from it, we got “Beyond”. I guess, we were all sure that there is much more inside her than just the show act. Somebody with her biography can only be seen as a well of valuable and helpful experience.
My personal question was: Do I really want to get involved with Tina´s religious opinions? Of course, at first, we did not have the CD in our hands and it was just a very abstract project which allowed for nearly any interpretation and expectation. The mere thought of “she won´t sing but speak” and “a spiritual message” was at first more disturbing than enlightening.
The power of inter and intra
The “Beyond” team – not only Tina but also Regula Curti and Dechen Shak-Dagsay – even addressed my critical thoughts in the booklet of the first “Beyond” release. They particularly point out that violence and injustice has been caused in the name of religion. But – and this “but” is what finally made me interested in that project – they share a mutual understanding that on a certain abstract level, the various religions possess a message which is beyond the absolute True or False. The project combines elements of Buddhism and Christianity and is therefore based on the pillars of intercultural and interreligious beliefs. I like to call that “the power of inter and intra”. These three women do not approach religion or specifically their individual religious beliefs on a fine-grained level of theoretical details and they especially do not present it from a political point of view other than democracy and freedom. Far from it, they approach religion on a rather coarse level, a high level of abstraction where we find simple and therefore true and helpful messages. It is in the simplicity of the general message which “Beyond” transports where we can find ourselves and with which we can identify ourselves.
The power of simplicity
The project itself is its main message because it is full of the power of inter and intra. “Go beyond fear”, “Go beyond revenge” or “Go beyond the rights and the wrongs” form the bullet points of their agenda. And nothing is wrong with that. Quite the contrary, the simplicity of these statements rightfully reveal its inner truth. Religion is presented here as a form of meditation, as an entry point to your inner world (which maybe is rather the spiritual outer world which can only be accessed from within yourself), as a way of clean and pure thinking and dealing with obstacles, challenges, or even fears. And the final and again quite simple message is summarized by “What does love have to do with it?” – everything.
And therefore, I could make peace with this project and I am highly curious what after the first release and “Children Beyond” will now follow. Apparently, an extension to the general idea as for the third installment of the series Sawani Shende-Sathaye from India will provide another aspect of religion and belief and integrate Hinduism into the project. We can only welcome that and should expect a new dimension of the power of inter and intra.