I was rifling through my iTunes library the other day and came across an old download of the Cold Mountain soundtrack with the religious chant “I’m Going Home” sung by the Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church (fast-forward to about 0:45). Do you remember this scene from the movie, when Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and the rest of the congregation fill that tiny white church with this robust a capella chorus until it’s as if they’re going to raise the roof off the rafters?
The lingering shot of Jude Law as the diffident Inman singing with such gusto stuck with me, probably because he does it with the kind of abandon I usually reserve for belting out tunes in the privacy of my car.
“I’m Going Home” (lyrics here) is so exuberant it reminds me of the Melanesian chant “Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi” from Chants from The Thin Red Line (the movie soundtrack). I dare you to listen to it without finding yourself smiling or your skin tingling, no matter what your religious affiliation.
I don’t know that the two chants have anything in common other than being Christian in nature (and both in films about war), but the sheer joy in them is so moving. They’re also very different from the more sedate church services I grew up with. Makes me recall my onetime goal of attending the services of other religions and denominations, just to experience how other people celebrate God.
I would love to find more music like this, too, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!
(Photo: Yahoo! Movies)