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"Lifeblood" is a harmony-infused telling of the story of God's post-flood covenant to Noah from the point of view of a bird, performed by the Spark+Echo Band.

Genesis 9:1-17



The Spark & Echo Band


Written by Jonathon Roberts
Musicians: Jonathon Roberts, piano/vocals; Emily Clare Zempel guitar/vocals; Jay Foote, bass; Alexander Foote, percussion
Mixing by Alexander Foote
Mastering by Matt Shane of Masterdisk, NYC
Artist Location: New York City

Curated by: 

Jonathon Roberts


Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth.
The fear of you and the dread of you will be on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the sky. Everything that moves along the ground, and all the fish of the sea, are delivered into your hand.
Every moving thing that lives will be food for you. As I gave you the green herb, I have given everything to you.
But flesh with its life, that is, its blood, you shall not eat.
I will surely require your life’s blood. At the hand of every animal I will require it. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, I will require the life of man.
Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in his own image.
Be fruitful and multiply. Increase abundantly in the earth, and multiply in it.”
God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,
“As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,
and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the livestock, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ship, even every animal of the earth.
I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off any more by the waters of the flood. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud,
I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:1-17

This piece is a reaction to Genesis 9:1-17 where God makes a covenant with Noah after the flood, promising that never again will the waters of a flood destroy every living thing.

What we didn't initially notice about this text, and what inspired this song, was this covenant was also with every living thing (verse 9-10) including the birds, etc. We started to think about what that meant for a bird to have this covenant with God. We also wondered what the bird felt like to see the rainbow in the sky for the first time (apparently they see colors well). We also were inspired to think about the importance of lifeblood, that it is special and handling it should not be taken lightly.

The image featured with this song is a watercolor created in 1916 by Spark+Echo Arts leader Charis Carmichael Braun's grandfather. After hearing this song, Charis was reminded of her family's heirloom artwork. She thought that it embodies much of what the song describes. The redness, perhaps symbolic, of the birds' feathers, their dedicated communion with each other, the blooming rose, the distant town with a steeple, what Charis has always imagined to be a "houseboat" half-sketched in the middle ground, her grandfather's unexpected creativity, "has always been a special reassurance to her of the close relationship she has with her family."

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

The Spark & Echo Band is a family outfit of songwriting-storytellers led by husband and wife duo Jonathon Roberts and Emily Clare Zempel. Their music brings forgotten poetry and wild stories from the Bible to life: visions of sparkling wheels in the sky, hunger and thirst, and legends of love as strong as death weave with memorable melodies and captivating rhythms. Drawing from a classical background, influenced by the pianism of Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, and emulating Paul Simon’s narratival techniques, Spark & Echo sings epic tales of love and adventure.

The duo has collaborated on three full lengths albums (Spark&Echo, Inheritance, Cities Project), one video album (In the Clocktower), in addition to many theatrical collaborations, this very nonprofit, and two children. They live in beautiful Beacon, New York, with all of the above.

The Spark & Echo Band

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