“Towards the Peace on Earth: Projections Manifest” (published by www.afribeat.com, 2018) is an engaging account of one man’s journey of healing, with upfront honesty and attempted enlightenment through a rebirth into Ubuntu Africa from European roots. Struan Douglas, an arts journalist and musician, portrays a fascinating, yet mysterious, plunge into the spirituality surrounding the music industry in South Africa, and why all is not always rosy in the perceived healing abilities of this art form.
Douglas’s own contentious struggle with a severe illness in his youth, compounded by insecurities, outrages, and inferiority complexes, found amazing portals of resolve, as his pathways crossed with innovative and intuitively spiritual music producers. Shamanic healing brought the light of love onto the Cullinan farm outside of Johannesburg, affectionately dubbed the University of Celebration, where Douglas lived out his post-traumatic syndrome with an eccentric Frenchman, ‘Ananda’, and an inventive Swiss music producer, Robert Trunz. Together, with an additional eco-healer and photographer, Lianne, the foursome worked the land as Trunz established a music studio where a host of well-known, predominately African musicians engaged with each other to move their artistry forward. A healing in music took place through Trunz’s music label, MELT2000, and writer/musician Douglas found a much needed home in this Musical Energy Loud Truth space.
Or so it seems.
Unsuspectingly, the story leads into dark passages to reveal truths: gory outcomes as some musicians submit to too much stress; a realisation that jazz may not heal, but do the opposite. Douglas sites examples where the creative wizardry succumbs to devilish forces: like the deaths of pianist Moses Molelekwa and saxophonist Moses Khumalo, where mental illness, drugs, and other demons can take hold. Even the central character of this book, the Buddhist inspired ‘Ananda’, born Andre Masset, and raised in a French orphanage, and found his way into a California prison for 14 years for drug trafficking, surprises the reader with his supposed transformation through African shamanic healing. Here, Douglas becomes his disciple, finding wisdom and healing in his ‘master’s’ spiritual stewardship, until an enormous anger streak totally absorbs Ananda’s psyche and soul, and leads to the demise of this Osho-influenced self-designed healer. Trunz on the other hand invents and promotes sound technologies, namely audio speakers, in Switzerland and the UK, and brings them to the Cullinan farm. When he falls ill, the farm becomes a short-lived ecological experiment with notable outcomes, but is resuscitated as a musical hub when Trunz returns. During all of these transmutations of energy and purpose, Douglas is still faced with quo vadis issues, and this is what grabs the reader. Uncertainties circulate through the enigmas of life.
This book touches the unavoidable real by opening our minds to what constitutes the ‘void’, from entering disorientation that can manipulate the mind, to experiencing the beauties of Ubuntu love and respect found on the African continent. Douglas uses the metaphorical ‘fifth’ to explain: “As the fifth in music harmonically divides the octave, so the fifth dimension in Spiritual terms co-creates.” (p. 113) The Cullinan farm and its various inhabitants provided this ‘nature spirit’ space where African griots, drummers, trance-dancers of the Kalahari, and other newer students of sound in his Forest Jam project could co-create. By 2015, Douglas found a new journey, having manifested projections involving a vast healing from this previous trip through the 1980s to the present.
One of these manifestations was how guitarist Madala Kunene mentored Douglas to revive his trumpet playing skills. A very readable story, the reader goes away amazed, with a revived spirit that co-creation in music can indeed find causes of illness, and bring joy, growth, and healing to the collective consciousness.
In this lies the enigma of music.
Buy the book online through Lulu or kindle versions, or weblog.