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Karsten Klemme

German musician Karsten Klemme lives far from the desert. But he recently discovered Tessa Bielecki’s “Wild at Heart” cds and she reminded him of the power of the desert in his own life. “When I was about twenty years old,” he explains, “I left crowded and fat-green Germany in search for a new way of life.” He had been an atheist, but an elderly monk helped him become aware of the reality of the spiritual world and the divinity of Jesus Christ.

As I travelled south I read the entire Bible and developed an increasing desire for a remote place where I could contemplate Christ and learn to pray without many outward distractions. In the Desert Mountains of Spain I found an abandoned cabin where I stayed for forty days, living the solitary life of a desert monk. It was a life changing experience.

This voyage occurred over twenty years ago and now Karsten is back in Germany with his wife Angelika and two children. He works part-time in a nursing home caring for elderly people with dementia. In his spare time he creates music, and in 2007-2008 he collaborated with photographer Zane Paxton to produce a series of videos, including “Shifting Light.” (See below for video.)

I composed some instrumental music and added some desert pictures by the photographer Zane Paxton. He also wrote about his desert experience as a photographer and I asked Dolores Thompson to record and recite some parts of this text. With Dolores I also produced a series of CD’s under the name ‘Transcendence’ which can be previewed together with some other of my stuff at www.jonsong.net.

The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, and continues for forty days, until April 4, Easter Sunday. During this time Christians recall the Jews’ forty-year sojourn in the desert before arriving in the Promised Land and Jesus’ forty days in the desert before he began his public ministry. It is a time to simplify our lives, ask forgiveness, give to the poor, fast and pray. The images, music, and words in Karsten’s “Shifting Light” may help you enter that inner land of stone, sand and sky, a vast open space of “harsh clarity” that is also a sacred place of transformation.

 

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