While envisioning our documentary film series, In Search of the Great Song, my wife Doris Laesser Stillwater and I contemplated who might add to the narrative. We were seeking people of integrity who were attuned to a perennial creative pulse underlying this world.
Learning of an upcoming assemblage in Australia- a joining of Indigenous elders together with world religious leaders (the Parliament of World Religions) - I flew to Melbourne in December, 2009, to arrange interviews.
In the midst of my journey, Doris called from Switzerland with news that a potential speaker for our film - an elder from Greenland, deeply connected to the Earth - was presenting a workshop in Basel.
After contacting the host and speaking of our film’s intention, Doris was granted an interview following the workshop. As she waited for another journalist to complete his interview, Doris prepared her camera and contemplated who she was about to speak with.
Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, a Kalaallit Shaman, traditional healer, and storyteller, is a carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum). His family belongs to the traditional healers from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland. His engagement for the environment and indigenous issues has brought him to more than 70 countries in the world. His spiritual task - given by his mother - is to "melt the ice in the heart of men".
During her video interview, Doris asked Angaangaq the question that we presented to all our speakers: “What is the Great Song for you?”. He expressed his response through song, drum and powerful words.
This recording became a treasured segment of our film, In Search of the Great Song (2016). We were honored on two later occasions to meet him - a conference in Austria and a spiritual gathering in Assisi, Italy, where the waters of Greenland and the Ganges from India were brought by spiritual leaders and symbolically merged together in sacred ceremony.
What remains with us from our connection with Angaangaq is the sincerity and depth of his connection as a Shaman to the Earth and his homeland of Greenland, and his abiding trust in the power within people to transform - as he puts It - “melting the ice in our hearts”.
Following are his words:
The Great Song is around you for every breath you take. Without the Great Song, Man would have no voice expressing.
Remember when the mountains were living, and they spilled out, that’s their voice, in modern day language we call it volcanoes. That’s the mountain speaking, it comes out in incredible sounds.
Where I come from, where the big ice is- not too long ago, a few years ago, a big chunk of Greenland shifted for a moment, and the scientists were very excited to realize the ice is really moving. But the native people got more excited because they heard that language no one has heard before. It’s the sound, which no one ever heard before.
When that speaks, you pay attention to it. You don’t just say, ‘O that’s exciting!’ - it’s something you listen to deeply, because no one had heard that language before.
The breeze, the wind, ever so gently comes around you. You can feel it on your skin, on your body. Then she’ll become stronger and stronger, and become a roaring wind, where no one can stand against it.
That’s the power of that song all around us.
And you can see it when the animal world is preparing itself for the next generation. They have their own song, you can hear them from miles away.
You can see the swimming ones, the crawling ones, the walking ones, and the flying ones all have their own songs, and of course when the plants begin to grow and flower, you see their song blossoming. And when the snow melts away, and the mineral world becomes visible, it shines the beauty of the creator.
So everything and everyone has a song.