Cloud Cult: Weathering Life’s Storms Through Song

Cloud Cult

The French word for bread is le pain. I’m no linguist, but I imagine the etymology has nothing to do with the English word for pain. Still, it’s interesting to think of pain as something to be taken in, swallowed and digested, that it might even have salutary effects, like eating bread.

I’m hesitant about posing this query. I’m no masochist, and have long believed that pain is a warning sign of death, its evolutionary role to sound a clarion against ongoing harm. On the other hand, it’s obvious that many of the world’s religions teach us to accept, if not embrace, pain and suffering as a necessary and unavoidable part of life; that doing so puts us on the path towards wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Seeking out pain is obviously not the answer, but neither is avoidance. Accepting, swallowing, chewing and digesting those morsels of le pain is apparently good for the soul.

Which brings me to Cloud Cult. This is a band principally known for its profound environmental ethics. Early in their career they refused a label deal because the band insisted that the packaging of their CDs be as benign as possible. Organic farming, solar energy, biodiesel-fueled touring — these are the hallmarks of Cloud Cult.

And then there’s the aesthetics. For me, this includes the use of cello and violin in the arrangements — as I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m a sucker for the cello. It literally makes me weak in the knees. The visuals are also stunning, whether it’s the album art, the stage lighting, or the awesome use of video. And, of course, there’s the beautiful canvasses painted by Connie Minowa and Scott West, auctioned off each night at the end of the show.

These are obvious threads, immediately discernible. Digging deeper, however, one discovers more.

In 2002, Craig and Connie Minowa’s two-year old son Kaidin died inexplicably in his sleep. It’s every parent’s nightmare, and it was theirs to endure. Craig, the band’s founder and principal songwriter, nearly went crazy with grief. Most of the songs that followed were the cathartic expression of this horrible tragedy.

Craig and Connie’s personal travail is revealed in the band’s DVD released last year, No One Said It Would Be Easy. The film starts with testimonials from those who have found in Cloud Cult’s music the courage to face their own tragedies. If you haven’t seen it, please do. I’m in the film briefly — part of it was filmed at the High Noon Saloon in 2008 — but that’s not why you should watch it. You should watch it because it’s the story of a young couple facing horrific pain, and somehow persevering, somehow managing to swallow that pain, digest it, and transform it into incredibly powerful art that brings wisdom and healing to the lives of others.

I’m thrilled to report that last fall, Craig and Connie gave birth to their second child, a son, whom they named Nova. The two also have moved to Wisconsin, not all that far from Madison. Where exactly, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m just glad they’re here, and wish them blessing upon blessing.

I love Cloud Cult, what they do as artists, and who they are as people. I invite you to share in that love this Friday at the Majestic.

-Tag Evers

___________________

Friday, April 16, 2010

CLOUD CULT with ROMA DI LUNA

The Majestic – 9pm show ( 8pm doors ), $15 adv $17 dos – all ages

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One Response

  1. The show sold out. Thanks Madison and thanks Cloud Cult!

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