“It’s the language of the soul, bringing mankind together is a glorious goal.”
—Moja, A Music Saga
Moja is important if music is important. To some, music is just noise and has no value at all. I had a teacher like that once. She had no stereo, no radio, never sang, and had to endure music if someone else was playing it—and that would aggravate her until she’d leave or ask them to stop.
I’ve met a lot of people like that.
Moja is important in proportion to a person’s love and understanding of music: those who make music an essential part of their existence. In my view, these are the blessed people because music can take them to a higher, more emotional, and complex state of being. It can illuminate, educate, and exhilarate. Music can elevate the mind of mankind to something ethereal, ineffable, and spiritual. It can lift us high over the mundane vicissitudes of daily life: from Wal-mart isles to islands in the sky.
But why is Moja important to someone who already appreciates music? What does it add to their musical perspective that hasn’t already been written, played, and digested “a thousand kisses deep,” to quote Leonard Cohen.
The sweet spot of this Saga is a doorway, that you open of your own volition, that takes you deeper—ironically, down a dark path to enlightenment. Those who quest, whether knight or pilgrim, must venture on a journey filled with unknowns, excitement, and peril, howbeit in this case the danger is in one’s preconceived precepts wherein lie the obstacles to illumination.
In my relatively few orbits around the sun I’ve discovered that most academic or scholarly learning is seldom fun, often written with dead words, and about as exciting as an Episcopalian sermon from the Right Reverend Balderdash. Educational documentaries usually require a specific interest by a zealot of that particular study and are otherwise unwatchable by anyone with a pulse.
I have always suspected that inside every human soul is a desire to discover. Those who delve deep are excited by truth. Would a person with focused interest in old cars want to discover faux spark plug gaps and timing points? Contraire! They would be pissed off and feel betrayed and deceived.
The obstacle to discovery in our education is boredom. Banal writing, teachers dull as mannequins, curriculum written by academicians whose pens are the weapons of zombies intent on conquering us with intentional dearth of personality. But they would defend that style with aplomb and dignity, saying that to make scholarly study entertaining, and to allow a certain verve or flair, would make it immediately subjective and embellished with fluff and flimflam.
Well, I don’t have such austere restrictions. I have an almost lifelong love and curiosity about where the music originated that I came to revere. Who invented it? Why did they? How did it travel and change over time?
I dreamed of a better way to learn about something so fascinating and important to human potential. Music is a common human language. We can be of any race, religion, status, gender, political view, age, language, or career—and understand it, be enthralled by it, elevated, inspired, and moved. What other field of study can say that? Any convention held for a given interest group will draw only birds of a feather. But not music. It is a language understood by anyone, anywhere. Witness the babies dancing on Tik Tok. It has an inherent appeal to something in our souls.
Human beings have to unlearn this inherent language. And sadly, they do. It’s a shame because it has the potential to bring mankind together in a tower of Babel-like unification where we don’t care about our differences because we are having such a fun and inspirational time with our great collective music language. People next to each other at the concert stage railing don’t ask what political party you are, they just bounce up and down and clap together.
The saga of Moja endeavors to make learning fun, allowing you to take an intellectual plunge to exotic places, introducing you to intriguing characters, while drawing you deep into adventure, pathos, excitement and exhilaration.
I chose the forum of allowing the lyrics to carry the story and the music to generate feelings such as joy, sorrow, empathy, love, and triumph. Words alone seldom galvanize the human soul and pierce the barrier of indifference, but powerful music can and does do this. The force of music can impale a person and leave him or her mesmerized, having traveled to a nether world unreachable by any other means.
I felt that placing these powerful song-stories into an overarching saga told through fascinating characters with whom we could directly identify, would not only tie it all together over nearly 200 years, but make it humorous, pitiful, poignant, and puissant.
There’s nothing lightweight or shallow about this saga. It is a Thor’s hammer of reality. It soldiers down the river Styxx and pummels the walls of hades before returning to daylight and triumph. Moja is important because people can transform their understanding of music history while enjoying an exciting hero’s journey, with an enormous sense of gratification at the destination.
Moja is being told by a storyteller who cares—one who went to the locations, talked to the people, walked the trails, sat in the dungeons, rode the boats, felt the seas, and smelled spices, earth, and death.
Moja is told with an abhorrence of the agendas that contrive history to fit a motif, much like a professional wrestling match.
Moja is written in reverence to those whose lives and stories have perished being unhonored and untold, and whose fortunes, good and bad, have provided the material for this epic.
Moja is a story, not a document. It never happened the way it is written—with a few exceptions. But it happened. A hundred times, maybe a thousand, and in some aspects, millions of times.
Africa is a huge continent. It has ineffable beauty, majestic volcanic mountains, and a titanic desert bigger than the United States. Africa has enormous resources and exotic animals. It has fun, talented, intelligent, beautiful people. Yet Africa has been plundered and pillaged and raped for hundreds of years. But it has always been rich in its music, and no one has been able to strip it from the soul of the people. Music has, through slavery, that horrid diaspora, been exported to the world as grist for the mills of new circumstances and conditions, as the matrix from which we draw its nourishing of our souls. Africa has willingly given its music and asked nothing in return.
Moja is not a diatribe, nor an accusation. It is a journey of music. Along the way we find out that people created and changed and promulgated that music for definitive reasons. Some of those reasons were horrifying in their cause. But that is the human story since the beginning of communication. We as a human race have done some real bad things, but sometimes good comes out of it. This music is exactly that.
The Moja Saga has music and history and revelation, woven into its story fabric in multitudinous layers. You can’t just hear it once and discover its depths. You can be entertained, but Moja will reveal all its truths and subtleties only upon immersion and keen observation. It is entertaining because it is fun, it is important because music can bring mankind together, So, ultimately—if people are important, then Moja is important. Music is the language of the soul.
“I am a Civil war buff and have read about it for decades, but I never felt the sad, beating, heart of it, until I listened to ‘Things a Young Boy Should Not See’ from the Moja Saga.” — Anonymous fan