Sometimes music is entertaining. Sometimes it’s the background noise that keeps us company. Sometimes it is an escape. Then there are those other times. The music takes us somewhere. It returns us to ourselves, taking us into the “deep heart.” That’s how I experience the music of Divna.
I was, therefore, delighted when Valley Entertainment sent me her newest album, In Search of the Divine Light, and asked me to write a review. The album is available from Valley Entertainment, Amazon, and the iTunes Store.
Valley Entertainment describes the album as “a collection of sacred chants from the Byzantine, Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian traditions.” I don’t know the words Divna sings but I understand them. She sings in the “native language” (Acts 2:8) of Pentecost, a language that is heard and understood with the ears of the heart. That is the paradox of really good sacred music. It presents a language beyond the words and “deep calls to deep” (Ps. 42:7).
Divna Ljubojević is a Serbian cantor and “is considered one of the leading interpreters and performers of the liturgical traditions and Byzantine chant.” This type of music is often associated with the deep, heavy, and muscular voices of men. That is not Divna and yet she brings to this sacred tradition music that is every bit as profound, beautiful, and transcendent. Her voice is a carrier not just of words and musical notes but of the human soul, hers and ours.
The first track, for example, “The Day of Resurrection,” carries and guides the listener into new life. One can feel the stone being rolled away, the dawning of a new day, and the emptiness of death that is now filled with the light of God. Track five, “Cherubic Hymn,” is one of ethereal beauty, each note a stepping stone on which the divine and the human meet. Below you can listen to track six, “Blessed is the Man (Blahzen Muzh),” a setting of verses from Psalms 1, 2, and 3. The album concludes with “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is the kind of album that invites one to surrender, to be present, and to say, “Amen.”