Amplify Peace - Musicians United
Pussy Riot Attached in Sochi
Home Recordings, Vol. 1

Rubblebucket » Sufjan Stevens

John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

We met Rubblebucket a couple months ago and had that experience of running across old friends who you just hadn't met yet. Their immediate and empathetic response to the situation in Central Africa and to how music is being used there reflected in their choice to take on a song that deals with a difficult subject matter.

We had talked a bit about the song, how it deals with a killer but not in the obvious ways, how it tries to penetrate to the humanity of the situation. That humanizing, the struggle for that understanding is what's been dealt with in Uganda, and now Congo, CAR and South Sudan on a daily basis - the challenges and the nuances of reconciliation, child soldiers returning from a fight that often was brought to them, but one nonetheless they have had to participate in. Peace and forgiveness are easy words to toss around, to advocate, but given the scope and brutality of the atrocities it can sometimes seem distant and difficult to visualize when hearing the story of how it is really happening. It seems if we are to learn from what's going on, it's up to us all to humanize and try and understand that process at a real level.

In this conflict there are victims on both sides, and even the word sides loses its meaning when the attacked become the attackers and are placed in that seemingly impossible situation of being made to kill and a system within the LRA where there are structured rewards for that compliance. Home returns and reconciliation are a difficult journey for all involved, physically and emotionally. Restitution and compensations are made when possible, responsibility accepted and repentance made, but one of the key features is how responsibility for the process is shared. The formal ceremony which is truly a cornerstone of the reconciliation process in Uganda is the "Mato Oput" ceremony. It involves all parties sitting down together under the oput tree, victim and offender but also the families, tribes and the communities, to drink the bitter juice extracted from the tree. The bitterness of the root symbolizes the bitterness of the conflict, and the red color the blood. Both the offender and the offended take turns drinking from the same calabash, and the community members as well share in the process. It reflects the central value of the culture, that we are all in it together, being employed when it is most needed. And maybe that's where part of the learning is for us in all this. Our tendency to demonize and dehumanize especially in the media, it so easily serves to marginalize, to separate us and objectify both offender and the offended, and in the end that serves no one. Humanizing, sharing, rolling up one's sleeves and being willing to accept the humanity and the situation of all involved, and even the difficult feelings that come with accepting that in ourselves, that's where forgiveness and its necessary precursors of empathy and understanding come from. The quotation from Terrence that says "I am human, nothing human is alien to me," it seems that's the wisdom the Mato Oput ceremony can teach us, and what a song like this can help us speak to even when we can't find the words ourselves. Thanks so very much to Rubblebucket and our friend Tatiana McCabe who shot this.
Gulu Widows Choir covers Joe Purdy
Joe Purdy covers REM
Mike Mills covers Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg covers Joanna Newsom
Gulu Women's Choir covers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Cillie Barnes covers Dawes
Dawes covers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Ian Axel covers Dawes
Dawes covers Blake Mills
Blake Mills covers Lucinda Williams
Gary Go covers Joseph Arthur
Joseph Arthur covers Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel covers Tom Waits
Tom Freund covers Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen covers Citizen Cope
Angélique Kidjo covers Hugh Masekela
Andrew Bird w/ Priscilla Ahn covers Cass McCombs
Priscilla Ahn covers Benji Hughes
SoKo covers Donovan
Emmanuel Jal covers Damian Marley
The Submarines covers The Beatles
Kitten covers Cat Power
Naked Hearts covers Air Waves
The Black Swan Effect covers Charlie Winston
Steel Train covers La Roux
Babaluku covers Wax Tailor
The Moor covers Broken Bells
Jesca Hoop covers Bon Iver
Har Mar Superstar covers Julian Casablancas
Maria Taylor covers O+S
O+S covers Sean Na Na
Delta Spirit covers AA Bondy
Deer Tick covers The Shivers
The Shivers covers Cameron Hull
Cameron Hull covers Quinn Walker (Suckers)
Backwords covers Parts & Labor
Parts & Labor covers No Age
LA Ladies Choir covers Leonard Cohen
JBM covers M. Ward
DJ Spooky + Joshua Roman covers Radiohead
Paul Dempsey covers Nicole Atkins
Nicole Atkins covers The Avett Brothers
Voxhaul Broadcast covers Smashing Pumpkins
Ben Sollee covers Joan As Police Woman
Joan As Police Woman covers Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene covers Modest Mouse
Greg Holden covers Greg Laswell
Greg Laswell covers Rachael Yamagata
Katie Costello covers Matthew Perryman Jones
Matthew Perryman Jones covers Patty Griffin
Koji covers Ted Leo
Rubblebucket covers Sufjan Stevens
ARMS covers Sun Kil Moon
Garrison Starr covers Joey Ryan
The Milk Carton Kids covers Cary Brothers
Cary Brothers & Laura Jansen covers Ryan Adams
Paddy Boom and Felice Rosser covers Bing Ji Ling
Mason Jennings covers Bill Withers
Firehorse covers The Low Anthem
The Low Anthem covers Phosphorescent
Rachel Platten w/ Caleb Hawley covers Brandi Carlile
Katey Brooks covers Ane Brun
Ane Brun covers Arcade Fire
Spirit Family Reunion covers Sonny & the Sunsets
Robert Francis covers Leslie Stevens
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers covers Will Hoge
Sydney Wayser covers Caveman
Denison Witmer & Devin Greenwood covers Nada Surf
Mike Bloom covers Here We Go Magic
Here We Go Magic covers Gillian Welch
Jason Heath And The Greedy Souls covers Jill Sobule
Jill Sobule covers Wayne Kramer
Rick Barry covers Rosi Golan
Rosi Golan covers Ryan Adams
Bowerbirds covers Doug Paisley
EELS covers Leon Russell
Wake Owl covers Arn Rhys
Landon Marcus covers Family of the Year
Fossil Collective covers The Flaming Lips
Old Man Luedecke covers Bedouin Soundclash
Bedouin Soundclash covers K'naan
Marie Miller covers Sara Watkins
Sara and Sean Watkins covers Glen Phillips
Arc Iris covers Fiona Apple
Freedy Johnston covers The Replacements
Cate Le Bon covers White Fence
Red Wanting Blue covers The Trews
The Trews covers Dave Rave