Thanks again for your trust and support.
Brian & Katie.
|"A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe||
Thank you so much to our friends and family who have been supporting this project through the album presale. This has been such a humbling album. I'll try to make some time to write about it later. We'll be releasing more videos soon.
Thanks again for your trust and support.
Brian & Katie.
I just wrote a new song yesterday. The song is only 24 hours old - and it's really really rough, but I like it. Normally, I would go and take a song like this on the road for a year or so. But, I had to put it out there. This song is not going to be on the upcoming album. I have more updates coming soon.
Volunteering in Greece and Turkey will forever be a polarizing moment in my life. Think pre 9/11 and post 9/11. Just the way you see life is completely changed - again.
I personally apologize for the delay in sharing more about this trip. To those who supported us - financially, emotionally and spiritually - thank you. Thank you so much. Working with refugees - in the sort of environment we served - really impacted us a lot. It's something that I have trouble writing about because it's a traumatic thing that is still happening right now. Not only inside me, but in the living hell that many many people call life.
We volunteered on Lesvos, Greece and Izmir, Turkey. These are two of the main transit point on the refugee route. Refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria (as well as many other war torn areas) risk their lives leaving their country - with or without their family - to find a safe place to live until the war ends.
Refugees come through Izmir to get connected with a smuggler to get them into Greece (European Union) (aka the EU).
Due to blanket passport restrictions from war torn countries - refugees are not allowed to overland or fly into the EU. Denying safe passage is a direct violation of their rights as refugees.
Refugees have to spend up to $2000 per adult and $500 per child to illegally cross in dangerously overcrowded rafts, boats and dinghy's in dangerously treacherous water (the Aegean Sea). This journey, by the way, costs $15 on a normal ferry - only for those us with passports from western countries.
We worked in the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece. This was where refugees who survived the sea would go to get registered with the EU and transferred to another camp.
This video was filmed on Lesvos. This is the island where we volunteered. Once people came in from the boats they would come over to Moria or Afghan Hill.
Working in Refugee Camps is something that is hard to put into words. One of my fellow volunteer friends said that every day feels like a week, and a week feels like a month, and a month like a year. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Especially in the emotional energy expenditure department.
We got thrown into a dramatic - almost chaotic environment. Despite the craziness of the situation we saw some of the brightest light and hope in those that you would think should be hopeless. We met thousands of people who risked their lives - and the lives of their children - to cross the Aegean Sea. (A journey that tens of thousands of people have drown taking).
We danced and sang with people who made it safely across the sea. We cried with those who saw truly terrible things, both at home and at sea. We endured the smell of rotting corpses, as volunteers we dug graves for an unknown man, just a day after burying a young (8-10 year old girl). Both bodies were found on the beach. The dead are nameless and faceless. Nobody knows who they are, nobody claimed their bodies and since all the graveyards on Lesvos are full, the unidentified corpses are being buried in makeshift graves on a donated piece of farmland from a Greek local.
None of us have ever been to a funeral of someone we didn't know. Surely, not anyone who didn't have any friends or family to also attend their funeral. That was another really sad thing. Was knowing that the people we buried have are not nameless or faceless. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They all have family somewhere that may or may not know they are dead.
The one thing all these people had in common was the hope for safety and freedom. And there are tens of thousands of people every single year who pay the ultimate sacrifice for the simple hope (not the guarantee) of freedom.
Every single day you wake up knowing that you'll probably need professional counseling after this is all said in done. Every single day, you're faced with the cruel reality that this world is not fair. Every single day, you look across that 8-15 mile straight - right over at Turkey - knowing that someone is looking right back at you from the other side, saying they're last prayer before making a life or death choice to take to the waters.
After a few weeks of being in Greece, we had to move over to Izmir, Turkey. We volunteered with a small NGO called ReVi. They worked with Syrian Refugees in the Basmane Village on Syria. Basmane has been known as "Little Syria" as the neighborhood (pictured above) is mostly inhabited by Syrians with poorer Turkish families living among them.
Working in Turkey was something else. Katie and I would team up with someone from our team as well as a translator (which almost all our translators were refugees themselves). We would visit refugee families in their "homes" and get to know them on a one on one level.
Officially, our work was to learn about them and figure out how we can help them get their kids in school and if there is any skills they have that we could help them make money from - similar to our work in Kenya, Africa.
We were personally invited into the homes of over 150 Syrian Refugees and many we got to see multiple times and few are now life long friends.
I'm still at a loss for words, even 7 months later. I still cannot put this whole experience into words. There are stories and things that we saw, things that we still haven't fully processed internally. Some things, I don't know if I have the capacity to process yet.
I will say that no matter where you stand on the political spectrum - if you saw what we saw. Which is just a small small glimpse into the living hell that these people have had to endure - you would see that things like religion and politics should never come before our humanity. Making sure that even if we can't actively take care of the least of these, the orphans and widows, and treating others like we would want to be treated - that at the very least believe and support it.
One thing I learned about this crisis is that is absolutely for real. These are real people just like you and I. You cannot sit with a family of 7 (who more or less adopted you) just hours before they risk their lives on the boats to Greece and not think about what it would be like if you were in their shoes.
We stood on both sides of the Aegean Sea. We saw what happens there, and nobody should have to be forced to do what these people have had to do. Nobody.
The people we served are now our family. Some people can understand that, and some people can't. Despite everything that is going on, we met some of the most beautiful people we've ever met in our lives.
The Muslim men, women and chidlren treated us like family. And that is one of the saddest misunderstandings about their culture. How peaceful and welcoming they are.
During our time volunteering, I filmed a small film that has turned into a full on documentary. I was able to edit most of it down and have it roughly half way finished - unfortunately I wasn't able to work on it at all during our summer tour. Hopefully we will get it finished before we go back to Greece and Turkey.
There is much more to be learned from this and we will be releasing more pictures and video soon. Thanks for understanding the sensitivity of all this. And thank you for all of you out there that support this.
I feel like I live a lifetime each year. One lifetime ends and the next one begins and I’m left trying to catch my breath. The things I leave come back in my dreams, my heart is in 100 places at the same time. I am floating in the vast ocean, a speck, but the water around me connects it all. At times I feel small, at times I feel as though I am the water myself and all these experiences and all the people I know and love are me and I am them and we are one.
How does one cope with war? I have fallen in love with the victims. 100s of them.
On one side of the Aegean Sea I gave to them a water, a smile, a hot meal, shoes, dry clothes, a ride to the ferry, stuffed animals. I looked them in the eyes and tried to communicate the inexpressible. The eyes have their own language, connected to the heart, the more time we spend with people who don’t speak English the more we learn about this universal language.
How can you hate someone you don’t know? You haven’t looked in her eyes and if you walked into her neighborhood she would invite you into her home, trusting you even though you are different from her. She would teach you about humanity as everything has been taken from her, but she is still the same. The war has not taken her soul; her love, her trust, her compassion, her ability to put others before herself. You would learn so much from her in just ten minutes.
On the other side of the Aegean Sea these people known as refugees invited me into their homes, they treated me as family, they gave to me as if they had everything to give; they kissed me as if I were their daughter, they gave me their trust, they showed me the depths of their humanity. They told me their stories, we laughed as the children chased bubbles, we sat comfortably as life felt normal for a moment. They invited us to come visit them in Syria when the war ends. They said we would have a feast. A mother told me everyone would be welcome in her home, even those who hate her. She’s heard about people hating her on the news. Hating her because she is a Muslim.
Inside of me is a well of tears. I hate war. I want peace, I long for peace. I want to see these families again, I want to see them in Syria. I want to join together again with volunteers from all over the world to rebuild Syria. But the old men will tell you this war isn’t going to end soon. Many men and women have asked us ‘why are they bombing civilians, they can see who they are bombing and it’s not the rebels, it’s not ISIS, it’s the people. The schools, the homes, the hospitals.” They don’t ask because they think we know the answers, they ask to make us think. From what they’ve told me it seems as though this war isn’t really about one group vs the other it’s all the groups’ vs the people. The children haven’t gone to school for over 5 years now. What will happen to this generation? Many haven’t heard from their family members, they are fleeing as their homes crumble down upon them, they are crawling through smugglers tunnels to get to northern Syria safely.
They are leaving behind everything, well almost everything. One woman proudly showed us her tea cup from Syria and another father gave Brian the watch off his arm. Now the borders are closing. People are trapped in war. Life as they knew it is no more. Resources are few, many have starved. Macedonia closed its border a few weeks ago and many who thought they were on their way to Europe where they could seek asylum and become legal free citizens again are stuck in Greece. 2 men hung themselves in Athens. Children sleep on the streets.
These people don’t want to come to Europe or the States and take our jobs, they don’t want to change our culture. They want to be free. They want to know their children are safe and can go to school. They want to be able to feed their children and give them all they need. They want to make new friends, they want to be listened to. Their dream isn’t to come to Amercia or somewhere in Europe, their dream is to go back to Syria because they all say, “there is nowhere like home”. The people I met and I met thousands are peaceful, humble, generous, giving, grateful.
If you treat someone with dignity they will be dignified. If you show someone kindness they will give you even more kindness in return. You would think that war has the potential to strip away humanity. But I have found the opposite and it makes me hate war even more. Perhaps when all the things that are temporary are taken from us we realize what truly matters and we value not just our own lives more but the lives of everyone else as well.
We have this amazing ability as people to find hope. Perhaps it’s planted in us from the beginning, this inner knowing that there is more than this life. Walking away from this time this is what comforts me. There is more than this life, I have no proof or logic to offer you but I know this in a way I cannot explain, it’s the language of the heart that has no words.
For some this life is nothing but suffering but somehow this suffering refines them, strengthens them, and brings out the best in them. But one hour of pain can feel like a lifetime so I cannot ignore suffering, I cannot dismiss it even though I recognize it as a teacher. Too many genocides have happened even in our lifetime and too often the world has remained quiet. Please don’t be quiet. Speak out against hate, speak out against prejudice, challenge people who may be trapped in fear, help them realize our shared humanity. It’s these attitudes of prejudice and hatred that lead to the mass suffering of so many innocent people.
Prejudice and hatred is where it starts so when you feel like you can’t do anything to end this present war or help the millions who are now displaced teach tolerance, teach compassion and don’t just teach it, live it. If you don’t know where to start spend time with the poor, spend time with the marginalized, they have always been my greatest teachers.
Sometimes we forget how important our lives are. How every breath matters. How every thought impacts those around us, contributing to the good or the suffering of others.
Right now, we are facing a major humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of people. It's easy to get overwhelmed when we think about this politically or try to understand the horrible violence or ideologies such as ISIS. The reality is many things; war, gross violations of human rights, drownings (as people try to flee to safety), children dying, too many lives being destroyed, fear, corruption and so on. What is the root of this? How can we possibly make sense of any of this? I think as people, our vision is limited, our understanding inadequate, and our beliefs so closely tied to our own experiences.
Yet the one thing that binds us all, the one thing I can continuously bring my mind to is our shared humanity, to ubuntu; the reality that we all belong to one another. We are all one body, and in my own belief, created in the image of God. A God that is love, a God that is abundant, a God that is redeeming, a God that is forgiving, a God that restores, renews and always sees the full picture. A God that loves each of us the same and gives to all who seek. A love that is not based on what we do or don’t do, a love that is beyond our performance, our mistakes, our achievements, a love that is mightier than life itself, a love that created all of life. Ultimately this is where I rest and find hope.
Whether or not you find your hope in this source of love, I think we can all agree that we are all human; we all have heartbeats, we all bleed the same color, we all laugh, we all cry, we all have dreams, we all have families, we are all kin.
If we focus on this, can we experience more love, more compassion? Less fear, less weight? Can we imagine the people fleeing Syria as our own family? Can we imagine walking hundreds of miles in the shoes of a refugee? Can we image the woman on TV as our own mother, or sister, the child as our own?
If you can imagine this, it doesn’t mean you are responsible to fix these problems. It doesn’t mean you have to go there and tangibly show this love, although it might.
The support and encouragement Brian and I have received from so many these last two weeks over our decision to go to Greece and serve has been like a gentle wave of hope washing over us; reminding us of the good in humanity, reminding us that so many people do care and are willing to contribute to this crisis; some financially, some with encouragement and prayers. Don’t feel pressure by the enormity of the world’s problems, just choose love, moment by moment; love for yourself, love for your family, your neighbor, love for the entire world.
The more you choose love the more you will experience love and slowly slowly (as they say here in Thailand) the world will be filled with gentle waves of love, healing and washing over all.
May we all experience more peace, more light, more unity, more love in this year to come.
With everlasting hope,
Brian and Katie Ernst
Hello everyone. Katie and I are doing well. We have spent the last 3 months living in northwest Thailand. Near the Burmese border is a small little town called Pai (pronounced pie). We found a small jungle house and have adapted quite well to the "sabai sabai" lifestyle. ("sabai" is Thai for 'easy going, happy, comfortable'). This is a picture of our home.
We arrived in Thailand the beginning of September. We spent a month in Chiang Mai. Which isn't nearly as big as Bangkok, but compared to our current home, Chiang Mai is somewhat of a bigger city. We spent a considerable amount of time living in the backpacker hostels. They're relatively cheap ($5 - $6) a night. one thing I realized, Katie and I keep getting older and the backpackers stay the same age.
Katie and I were super excited to get back to Asia. The thing we love most about traveling is culture. Which SE Asia is rich in. Even though we got burned out on traveling, there is nothing like getting off an airplane and being in a world that is completely different than the one you came from.
Both of us were extremely exhausted when we left the USA. The last thing I thought I would be doing is playing guitar and writing music. I suppose what goes in, must come out.
I picked four new songs and started recording a small EP. It's going to be called Spirit Song. I can't wait to share it with all of you. It'll sound same same, but different (compared to my other albums).
The one thing we love to do more than anything is go on a motorbike ride. You can rent a cheap/slow scooter ($41/month) and take off in any direction you like. Pai is in a valley. It almost looks like a fishbowl. There are gorgeous mountains, waterfalls and hot springs anywhere you go. Petrol is also affordable. We spend about $2/week in fuel.
2 miles down the road from our house are the elephant camps. It's an odd thing to see. First and foremost, these elephants are magnificent creatures. So wise and powerful. And although you can literally drive right up to them and pet/feed them bananas (which is really entertaining if you're a westerner) they are slave animals. The greater majority (meaning almost every single one) of the elephant camps illegally buy the elephants from Burma/Myanmar and force them to give rides to tourists on the trails.
The baby elephants are taken away from their mothers at birth and are then subjected to brutal torture so that they can be trained to listen to humans. Although it's nice to be able to pet and feed these elephants, you can't ignore the pain you see in their eyes.
There was one day that we did a sunset drive and found an elephant just standing on the side of a mountain grazing. We kept distance between the three of us. It was beautiful watching her just stand and try to eat in peace.
Katie and I are really enjoying our time in Pai. After going through craziness (that as been our life) for the last 8 years, this is exactly what we needed.
We have a few ideas of where and how we'll tour when we get back. It's hard for us to justify fixing our bus and trying to tour on the back of 20 year old school bus.
It's been one hell of a run, that's for sure. I am grateful that we've been able to tour (and meet so many people) from all over the world.
I have been really focused on finishing this EP so I can start practicing all my other new material.
We'll try to do a better job blogging and keeping everyone up to date with our situation. As always, thank you for all the love and support. Sincerely, Brian & Katie.
Many years ago we had a dream to travel the world, play music and share our passion with people everywhere. Our hope was to make a living for ourselves and to support a growing number of people in Kenya.
We've been doing this now for 7 years. There have been many days where it has taken everything we have to continue on, however, there hasn't been one single day that we haven't gone to bed without gratitude. Without a doubt we wouldn't have been able to do any of this first without the support of our family and closest friends but second from so many people we have met along the way. From all of you.
It’s hard to ask for anything when we feel we have been so blessed in this life. We know the opportunities before us are rich and we believe that our needs will be met and we will also be able to contribute towards meeting the needs of others.
However, we find ourselves at a cross roads in life. For years we’ve been acknowledging and whispering to one another about the need to really take a season of rest. Our intention was to take that time this winter. We’ve been pushing aside a health threat with Brian’s mouth that is only getting worse by the week.
We’re also exhausted. We've traveled through 23 countries and 48 states. 9 cross country tours and over 250,000 miles of driving. Neither of us have lived in a home for over 7 years. We’ve lived in tents, vans and school buses. We aren’t complaining, we chose this lifestyle and have been inspired every single day by the people we meet and the beauty we’ve seen. Our souls have been overwhelmed by the goodness we have experienced here and our hope in humanity is always growing.
Two weeks ago the transmission on our new bus went out, the mechanics said our engine didn’t look too strong either. This is our second bus, we bought it at the end of March and spent a lot of time and pretty much all our resources making this new home. After losing two buses in less than a year, we’re re-learning not to be attached to anything. We’re trusting this happened to re-direct us and push forward this season of healing and true rest that our bodies and spirits desperately need.
We’ve decided to rest in Thailand. The reason being is that we can afford the medical treatment Brian needs and we can manage to live there comfortably for less than $20 a day. Originally we were going to go in December but now we believe it is time to go now. Brian’s health can't be pushed aside any longer.
We've learned a lot in the last 7 years. This journey has been amazing, however we need to go back to the drawing board. We would never completely walk away from the music or Journey4YOUth but the way we do it in the future may look very different than the past. We don’t know what to expect so at this time we are not making any plans (or booking shows). We want to remain open, trusting God will reveal these next steps to us.
We are on our way to Asia right now with almost nothing. But we’ve lived like that for so many years that we’re not worried about our needs being met; somehow they always are. Our biggest concern is being able to raise the funds for our non-profit Journey4YOUth. We have over 100 kids in our sponsorship program. We also have 15 kids who will be graduating 8th grade this year and we’d like to see them go on to high school which is $300-$500 in Kenya. The average person we work with makes less than $1 a day. (So even an entire years wage couldn’t even send their child to high school). In addition we are giving micro-loans to women so one day they can meet these needs themselves. The women will also pay their loans forward to another woman in 2-3 years. Generating lasting change from within.
Brian and I can live simply, we can live with little but it has always been hard to justify taking the break we need to take because we raise money for these children and these women at every single show and we don’t want their needs that are far greater than ours to fall through the cracks.
We share all this with you with no expectation for anything. We know how loved and supported we are. Thank you. If you want to help please consider donating to Journey4YOUth. You can sponsor a child for $30 a year (nursery-8th grade) or if you’re really ambitious you can find a way to send an adolescent to go high school ($300-$500 depending on the school) or engage your community to fund a micro loan for one of the women we work with.
Those links are here:
Another great way to support Journey4YOUth is by setting up a monthly donation. There are already several people who give between $15-$25 (which all adds up). We're grateful for these donors because it really helps us maintain our daily programs as well as the larger programs (educating children and empowering women). Daily we take care of 7 older widows and 1 total orphan. http://www.journey4youth.org/donate.html
Brian and I have never taken a single dollar from Journey4YOUth. This keeps our administrative costs below 3%. Giving more to the people we serve, with the ultimate goal being one day they won't need us, and they themselves will be the ones giving to many more.
As challenging as it is to cancel the tour and as much as we don’t want to miss out on seeing so many people (especially our families), we have peace that this is what needs to be done. We’re confident that we’ll be able to come back renewed and ready to give more of ourselves.
As a token of gratitude, Brian wants to give away all his music. Since we can't continue to spread the music ourselves at this time, we want to give it to all of you and let you spread it for us. For the next few weeks you can go here and download Brian's 1st, 2nd and 5th album. He will upload the other two albums in another week or so. It is completely free. Noisetrade (the website we're giving the music away on) gives people the option to leave a 'tip' please know that this is not necessary but if you want to help us personally through this time you could do so there.
Download the music and tell your friends to download it. Take it and continue spreading it around the world. http://noisetrade.com/brianernstmusic
Someone told us recently, you can't burn out if you were never on fire.
That is so true.
We're going away for a while but we will come back stronger.
Thanks again, and God bless.
Katie & Brian Ernst
Katie and I are sad to announce that we're pulling the plug on the upcoming South Africa tour. In the last 8 years the music has taken us through 23 countries and 48 states. We've done 9 cross country tours, played over 1200 shows and driven somewhere around 250,000 miles. All this, on top of running a 501(c)3 non profit organization.
It's literally been one - long - endless - summer tour.
To be honest, we've been running on fumes for the last couple of years, but now it feels like we're almost out of gas.
The last chapter was 'Give Until It's Gone.' Which we feel like we (gave) until it (was) gone. The next chapter is Ubuntu, which again, requires one too 'give until it's gone.' The problem is we don't have anything left to give...
We've known for a while we don't have the energy to continue. It's just really hard to take a break from something you love so much.
Katie and I are going to ground ourselves and take a good three or four months off. It might be a little weird for us (as we haven't really spent more than 2 weeks in any one place in over five years).
We feel a sabbatical is necessary in order to maintain long term mental, physical and spiritual sustainability.
To our friends in South Africa, we are so sorry that we won't be coming back to see you this year. Our memories from the last trip are still fresh in our minds. We hope and pray we will be able to return as soon as possible. Trying to deliver (and practice) Ubuntu is a challenging task. Katie and I have so much to learn.
Thank you to everybody who has supported us over the years.
We're going to finish the USA tour strong and be ready to come back next year even stronger.
United in vision,
Brian & Katie.
Aotearoa (New Zealand) is an amazing place. It truly is. It's changed a little since we saw it last (5 years ago). A little change is good. That place is magical. You can see it in the rough and rugged coastline. You can also see it up in the mountains and down in the rainforests. I'm talking about that magical and mystic side of our Creator. From cobalt blue and turquoise lakes to glacier valleys. To clear rivers with bush fairies flying around (and yes, I'm serious).
600 cd's sold.
12,000 miles driven.
We had a pretty good balance between work and play. Although we still had a pretty busy schedule, there was always something breathtaking to go and see.
I have to also give a huge thanks to Olly Knox (my booking agent and PR guru). Well done brother. Well done. We took care of business and made a solid friendship along the way.
This was our van/home 'Wimpy.' I'll tell you what, after living in a van (for the last 6 months) I'm glad to be back in a bus. But, that being said, I would still trade the comforts of a traditional 'home' for the adventure of boondocking any day of the week (for the most part).
Wimpy was less than 15 feet long. Inside the van we had a mattress (with storage underneath) and a cooking stove and buckets (for washing dishes). Believe it or not, boondocking (aka traveling/living out of your vehicle) is fairly common in NZ. In fact, when you pull up to any gas station (or busy parking lot) most people don't really bat an eye at you.
The great thing about NZ is there are heaps of freedom camping spots all over the country. Freedom as in you have to have self containment (toilets, grey & black water) and a $200 sticker on your car. So, not entirely free. But pretty close. It's sweet to park for the night and wake up to views like this.
We would always try to find a good spot just before sunset. Our routine was simple; cook some food (usually kumara) and veggies. Go on a walk, talk about dreams, go to bed, wake up, make (french press) coffee and go on another hike before we have to hit the road.
We saw amazing things and met amazing people. To be honest, Katie and I arrived o NZ kind of exhausted from last summer tour. We really wanted to stay focused (and introverted) so as to try and maintain balance. But, we learned something. We've learned it long ago. "It takes a village." But, more on that later.
Not being connected to the interweb 24/7 was a very nice change. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I always have to be connected in order to take care of the things I have to take care of. Not being connected allowed Katie and I to take advantage of that sort of 'freedom' that comes with having the time to go out and simple be.
We talked about a lot. (Which I'm grateful and still encouraged that after being literally together 365/24/7 for the last 5 years, Katie and I still have a lot to talk about). We found ourselves full of dreams. Some old and others new. Including a plan to launch another business (or two) completely separate from the music/non profit.
This is a picture from one of of our favorite nights in NZ. We met a younger couple, touring around NZ in a school bus converted to take travelers on tour for up to 3 weeks. All the best and most amazing spots NZ has to offer. It's called the Road2Adventure bus. Check em out!!
During this whole tour Katie and I kept talking about how great it'll be to come back to NZ next year. After all our shows, it actually made sense.
What we didn't expect is what our mind and body and spirit told us when we left. "Trying to go back to Africa and New Zealand is crazy."
We thought about it long and hard.
We prayed that we could find discernment as to what and where we're supposed to do after this fall. The more and more we prayed the more we felt the calling and the clarity.
Africa is calling our name, again.
Within a month, we flew from New Zealand, through Fiji. Played a weeks worth of shows in Salt Lake City then flew to St. Louis, bought a new school bus, drove it to Cincinnati, converted it to veggie oil and renovated the inside so that it's livable. After that, I left for South Carolina to record my fifth album. It's called Ubuntu.
Somehow, in that blur that was known as March and April of 2015, I managed to get into the studio and work with some amazing people to make what I think is my best record yet.
I don't like to self promote (any more than I already have to) but this record is something else. I brought in three other musicians; Dave King (on bass), David Lessing (on keys) and Matt Pizza (on congas & washboard). These guys, combined with the mastermind of Cinch dB, really brought this record to another level.
I hope that all doesn't sound arrogant or overly confident. But I don't know how else to express in words how excited and proud I am of this next record. I hope you all love it as much as I do.
Ubuntu (/ʊˈbuːntʊ/ uu-BOON-tuu; Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼú]) is a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to "human kindness." It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness," and is often translated as "humanity toward others," but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity"
Ubuntu can easily be explained as 'I am because we are.' It essentially means that I am because of you. If you're hungry than I am hungry, if you are thirsty than I too am thirsty. You can say that what effects you effects me and that we're all in this together (whether we like it or not). Here are two quick videos of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu speaking about Ubuntu.
Katie and I have decided that we're not going to go back to New Zealand at the end of this year. We're going to take the Ubuntu spirit (and the record) and bring it around the world. To be clear, this is not a 'world tour.' I don't have the ego (yet) to call it that. Instead, we are embarking on what will be known at the Ubuntu Borderless Tour.
We know that we'll be touring South Africa sometime between November and February. We also know that we will be going back to Kenya to follow up with the Journey4YOUth projects currently on the ground.
After that we're thinking about checking out Uganda again and Ethiopia, but more than anything we're answering another calling to India and Nepal.
Our hearts break seeing the destruction and fury of this planet reign hard upon an area that has already been stricken by poverty, inequality and injustice. We're not ready to put a timetable on things yet, but our intentions have been set and our spirit has given us the green light to continue praying about all of this.
So we're back in the southeast hitting it hard. We have the majority of our USA tour dates posted, so if you haven't checked them out yet, go to the tour part of this website. On April 29th (my 31st birthday) I was asked to sit in and do a guest article for Paul Daughtery's 'The Morning Line' in the Cincinnati Enquirer. You can read it by clicking here. If you didn't know, I am a Cincinnati sports nut.
Katie and I cannot express the amount of gratitude we have in our heart right now. We're trying to accomplish a lot right now. The key word in this is 'we.' I don't mean 'we' as being Katie and me. We as in all of us.
We came back to this country with A LOT on our plates. Buying/converting a school bus, recording an album, touring, booking etc.... We're stretched past our limits right now. The only way we've been able to get as much done right now is because of the dedication, love and service from our close family and friends.
I can't list and name all the people who have helped us with our bus. From our family up in Ohio to our Fernandina family down south. All of you who gave us tools, trouble shoot problems, picked up a paint brush, or even gave us a bed with AC to sleep in. Thank you.
It takes a village. No matter what you do or set out to be. It takes a village to support, encourage, and uplift each other. Although our village is composed of many small villages around the world, we're overwhelmingly grateful and humbled.
Thank you again for really supporting us.
It's much more than we deserve.
Take care everybody.
Brian & Katie