NZ Music Month - Bathe in the river by Mount Raskil Preservation Society ft. Hollie Smith
This song featured in the critically acclaimed NZ film No. 2 written and directed by Toa Fraser. The song was written specifically for the film by Don McGlashan (who you would've seen in his younger days in a blog post I wrote called There is no depression in New Zealand as a band member of Blam blam blam). This song features Hollie Smith as the soloist. Don McGlashan recorded his own rendition of the song on a solo album three years later.
The song opens with the piano playing accented chords with a bassline before the drums and hammond organ joining in when the lyrics unfold.
Like a bird
Through prison bars
And behind on the long highway
Lies all that I've forsaken
I've written before about the need to be free, that we don't really understand how good we have it in comparison to others where their freedoms are being constantly denied - the plight of West Papua being a major concern for her Pacific neighbours who have seen the human rights violations and genocide of a people. We get so wrapped up in our personal daily dramas that we forget about our responsibility to help and care for others who are not as free as we are.
Cool river flow
I am bound for wherever you go
I don't feel afraid
For now I see
That if I believe
I will be free
Wide river, flow
I'm gonna learn whatever you know
We all have our own personal rivers that we need to go through. I've lost of how many rivers that I've had to cross. The most immediate river is looming in a few hours when I get to remember that it will be 2 years since the death of my late husband. I've been reliving the week that was two years ago. I learned so much about myself as a woman, as a wife, as a human being - trying to deal with a private pain in a public forum. They say time heals all wounds. I have learned that in order for wounds that only grief leaves behind, that the only way to heal those wounds is to launch headlong into more rivers. I've developed the resilience to tackle tougher situations and contexts that I never would have seen myself involved in, never would have thought possible.
Hear that rushin' sound
Cool clear water
Lay my burden down
This is the pivotal part of the song. We know this because our senses are assailed by all of the thick texture of everything all at once to tell us so. Sonically then, this suggests to me a few questions. Are you preparing yourself for your own rivers? Would you know how to navigate your way through mighty rivers? We've had cool rivers, wide rivers. but mighty rivers - surely that suggests that the force of this one is much stronger than the last few.
I'm gonna bathe in the river
Gonna hold my head up in the river
Not gonna worry anymore
Till I reach that golden shore. . .
Until I reach that golden shore, that's when I know that there will be no more rivers to cross.
There will be no more rivers for me to bathe in. And I guess with the act of bathing in rivers, I get to cleanse myself from whatever residue that might cling to my skin in the hopes of stopping me bathing, being clean and being renewed again.
I hope that you don't ever let anybody stop you from bathing in the river. They can go and jump in their own rivers and go on their own journeys without trying to tell you what's what. They have their own rivers to cross and bathe in. I guess if you were so inclined, you could invite people to bathe in the river with you, but only if you want them to and only if you trust them. There's nothing worse than trying to bathe quietly in your own river, minding your own business and some clown comes and tries to do "bombs' in the river while you're in it.
Just hold your head up in the river regardless. It means you'll be able to breathe and survive, no matter what. . .