Picture it: A storyteller. A band. An evening of mongrel sorrow, dappled by magic and wonder, fringed with regard for the gift of the tongue, harkening and hortatory and bardic and greying, steeped in mortal mystery. What would you call such a thing? Nights of Grief & Mystery.
Die Wise, is Stephen’s award-winning book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life. He brings teachings of the ramshackling kind, about honour and grace under pressure, about elderhood in an age of age-intolerance, about the withering World Tree, about how we might learn our darkening times.
This will be a concert of sorts, because he has Gregory Hoskins and Band to lend their music and road-tested grace to the cause. This evening will be part poetry, part lamentation, part book reading, part ribaldry, part lifting the mortal veil and learning the mysteries there; that’s what’s in store. Purchase Nights of Grief & Mystery CD – link
Consider printing out this poster and hanging it up where you work, where you enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon tea – your local community news board and send it along to friends.
Tour Video Trailer:
Concerts for Turbulent Times they surely are, sonorous hours and rapture, served by whatever talents of tongue and timbre have been granted the band, by the reckless labours of friends and accomplices who fashion genuine gigs in their home towns from their dreams for a better day, and by the raucous willingness of the sold out houses to be drawn into wonder and poetry and the kenning.
The doors are pried at night’s end, and still many linger and can’t leave or won’t, and there is something like victory in the air, and a weary, luminous midnight rumour that, people heretofore unknown to each other, can still join for the sake of the young among them and for the world entrusted to them, and that the Mercies count us kin, and that wonder is the currency of the Gods.
About the CD: It is powerful business. The recordings from previous nights turned into something like dry lightning, like something somebody who wasn’t there might want to know about. The band went back to business, made offerings to the dance hall Gods, gave them their proper seat at the proceedings, brought all the road-tested learning to bear, tuned the whole thing up. What you have in your hand is something like thunder and a far-off storm, faithful to those strange, merciful nights.
Stephen Jenkinson told the stories + played piano on Mother Canoe. Gregory Hoskins sang the songs + played guitars, piano, trumpet, drums, loops.
Die Wise – Video TrailerWith lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Die Wise is for those who will fail to live forever. Dying well, Jenkinson writes, is a right and responsibility of everyone. It is a moral, political, and spiritual obligation each person owes their ancestors and their heirs. It is not a lifestyle option. It is a birthright and a debt. Die Wise dreams such a dream, and plots such an uprising. How we die, how we care for dying people, and how we carry our dead: this work makes our village life, or breaks it.
For years Harvard Educated Culture Activist, Stephen Jenkinson headed the counselling team of Canada’s largest home-based palliative care programme. He was assistant professor at a prominent medical school. Working with hundreds of dying people and their families, care-givers, nurses, doctors and social workers, he witnessed a ‘wretched anxiety’ at the end of life, and paid professionals stymied by it all. His inquiry led him to examine the dominant culture.
“A night of being bathed in sound, tendrils of song winding through the words of a steward of deep wonder; at times a distant wail, and then a love song breathed right into the ear. These two skilled practitioners of rhythm could teach a stone to swim…” ~ AS
“I had no idea what lay ahead of me, apart from my naive expectations. With a heavy heart that Mr. Cohen’s days in person are now gone, I sat quietly, with a bit of a childlike curiosity and excitement to be in a dark room, with piercing words hung gently on musical notes – with a precision so accurate, my breath was stopped many a time. This was big. Everything about it. To me – Magical. Enlightening. Piercing. There is a brilliance that shone that late Saturday night – and I pray that the light continues to shine for many many nights to come. Bravo. Hearts Broken. Hearts Mended. All on one Dark, Luminous Night.” ~ RB
“A rich and powerfully nuanced evening woven together by deep storytelling, wondering and music. I laughed , I cried and watched as the night unfolded, a room full of strangers, that perhaps by the end of he evening, did not feel so much like strangers anymore. What Stephen and Gregory were able to conjure is something rare and mysterious. A true gift…” ~ ZD
“Toss all the big questions up in air and then listen to masterful and wise wonderings offered by Stephen Jenkinson and echoed in the rhythmic musings of Gregory Hoskins. An evening like no other and not to be missed” ~ BB