Finding Alignment through the Music of Ben Sollee
by Maria Borghoff
Kentucky-born cellist and composer, Ben Sollee, contains a creative superpower. His artistry pulls on my heartstrings in a way that language cannot articulate. But that's how music works, right? It contains an inherent, magical ability to invoke a visceral response, drawing from the memories of our past, pulse of our present sensations, and wildest dreams for the future.
Sollee's work contains a sense of familiarity that feels just beyond my reach, and I cannot get enough. He weaves together personal stories with collective experiences, mundane activities with emotional moments. He engages the cello's versatility to create a spectrum of sounds, each one infused with a quality that is both palpable and indescribable. His music is captivating and nourishing at the same time, dancing effortlessly back and forth between strength and sturdiness, softness and fragility.
Ben Sollee is not only an artist whose work moves the hearts of many, but his kindness bleeds through in every moment. I was fortunate enough to attend an intimate performance at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Georgia on a Wednesday night. Intense thunderstorms flooded the streets all day long, yet I arrived to a room full of quiet and eager listeners.
As I stood and watched, I felt my whole body slowly shift back into alignment. I felt my spine lengthening with each note, and my heart overflowing with a rare type of creative energy. Sometimes, when I witness a fabulous artist, I feel overwhelmed with inspiration and my head spins with ideas of what I can and should be creating. But when I get the opportunity to witness a true artist, I feel a stillness fall over me, and I feel the sense of being whole.
Ben Sollee's music is not only aesthetically enlightening, but it is also grounded in personal, social, and environmental progression. In Learn to Listen and Boys Don't Cry, he reevaluates the way we think, speak, and live (in the most beautiful and poetic way, of course). In one of my personal favorites, DIY, he beckons us to stand up and take action.
It's safe to say that Sollee is a master of his craft, but it's more important than ever for us to be aware of why we love a certain style or piece of music. Sollee's work speaks to the heart of our current condition and invites us to connect with ourselves and each other in a positive and more meaningful way.
How do you find alignment and a deeper connection in this mad and beautiful world?
Here’s one last tune to help set you free…