Tomme Suab exists to connect people to the emotionality of music. That’s the “official” purpose statement. But, what does that mean?
You know that old cliché about how, when you hear a certain old song on the radio, it takes you right back to a certain memory? Like when I hear LL Cool J’s Going Back to Cali, I can see myself sitting in a Chevy Suburban riding around Virginia Beach with a bunch of high school friends. It takes me right there. Music is pretty powerful, and it’s power lies not just in nostalgic connections. It’s bigger than that.
At the Eaux Claires festival in 2016, Phil Cook said the words “Music is sacred.” While that statement took me off-guard initially, I think he was onto something and I have come to agree wholeheartedly. Music, along with all other forms of creativity, is sacred. “Sacred” carries with it the idea of uniqueness, specialness, and/or holiness. Something of this sacredness is seen in the ancient story of King Saul. The king was being tormented by an evil spirit and the only thing that would calm his soul was music. The special, divine dynamic in music changed the king’s mood and demeanor, and it provided a sense of peace.
The sacredness of music, however, is not somehow generated within the act of playing or listening to music in and of itself. No, music’s unique power originates from a particular Source. All creativity flows from the first Creator. There is a Being who started all of this creativity stuff. And that creative nature and bent has been hardwired into each of us. Being creative, and engaging in others’ creativity, is part of what it means to be human. So, there is God-likeness in the creation of and engagement in music.
There are divine dynamics at work when music is made and played, and when that music is then processed by the human ear and heart. One potential dynamic involves, quite literally, feeling better. Creative expression and engaging in others’ creative expressions can lead to emotional healing. There have been a multitude of studies, by people much smarter than I am, which tell the story of how beneficial music can be to one’s mental and/or emotional state. While there may be significant value in reviewing some of that research, my instinct here is to shy away from academics and align with a pretty simple statement: Music can make you feel stuff (if you let it).
Rage Against the Machine can stir up righteous anger against injustices. The Civil Wars can guide you into the depth of sorrow over lost love. And yes, LL Cool J can take you back to joyous memories from your high school days. Such emotional connections can be very meaningful for the listener and can lead to the recognition of battles that must be fought, wounds that must be healed, memories to be celebrated, and hard conversations that just need to happen. We are not built to suppress our emotions; we are built to feel them fully and process them. Finding healing from emotional wounds and responding to our emotions in a healthy way lead to a significantly better quality of life. Healthy emotional processing is an avenue to experiencing shalom.
If you’re not familiar with shalom, it is a Hebrew word commonly defined as “peace.” It is more than an absence of conflict, though that idea is certainly an aspect of shalom. Shalom, or what I sometimes refer to as “real peace,” is an overall state of well-being. Yes, this well-being, or “abundant life” if you will, includes relational peace with other people. However, it also includes peace with the Creator and within oneself. When those three types of peace are present in someone’s life – peace with God, peace with others, and peace with self – that person is experiencing the good life. That person is experiencing shalom.
All of these elements – the sacredness of music, the Source of creativity, the connection between creativity and healing, and the importance of processing emotions in a healthy manner – speak to a larger truth. This larger truth is the endgame for Tomme Suab, when all is said and done. Here it is: The Creator’s desire is for us to experience shalom. I can tell you, from my own personal experience, God is good, loves us deeply, and longs for each of us to know real peace. And this truth is the foundation for Tomme Suab’s purpose and everything that is done on this blog or under its banner.
All of that may be a little heavier than what you were expecting. That’s okay… you can engage here on whatever level you like. If you just want to listen to some stuff that may be new to you, please do so! If one of your favorite artists is profiled here, enjoy that story. But, if you want to go deeper, that invitation is always open. My heart is for you to, through engaging with Tomme Suab, feel your emotions and experience healing and real peace.
PS – If you have questions about any of this and would like to connect, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to connect with you!