"Music to me is joy, healing, salvation, redemption, escape, fun, fills the voids and helps heal the wounds. One of the ways I connect with God. Music to me is how we can connect with each other, with Spirit. How we can heal our hearts, minds and souls. How we can keep the Revolution going and bring about the Peace God intended for us.
Healing is one of the steps toward Freedom, and Activism is another. Music has historically been a part of the Revolution. Song lyrics told directions and instructions on the Underground Railroad. Protest songs, spirituals and Gospel have inspired, uplifted and incited people to action. Some of my music is very political, I address police murder of Black people, community violence and the hood, etc. Some of it is very spiritual: depression, suicide, healing, God, prayer. Some of it is love songs, heartbreak, lost love, ballads. I want to help continue that legacy of musical activism, of Spirit, Love, Peace, Freedom. I want us to inspire each other to join the Revolution for Peace and bring about Freedom in this lifetime.
Healing emotionally and spiritually on a mass level is more than personal, it is political and revolutionary. When we do the work to heal, we are able to see that we are not only traumatized, we are enslaved, and then we begin to want to free ourselves. Music is one of the best, most powerful gifts God has given us to really feel our feelings, to heal our wounds, to transform our pain, to connect with our spirits and with each other, and to come together in song. If anything can transform our world, it is music. ”
Aisling (pronounced Ashleen) Peartree grew up in Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston MA. Aside from school concerts, her first on-stage experience was in the renowned gospel musical Black Nativity. She fell in love with it- the music, the connection to God, the spirituality, the lights, even the nerves of stage fright. She went on to study classical piano, music theory and performance, and later classical voice, while also singing in school choirs. She began writing songs with the piano at 14 years old. All the while, she was studying on her own without even realizing it, by listening to and loving the greats: Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke. She loved the emotions, the depth and the stories in not only Soul music but also the music of folk singer-songwriters: David Gray, Fiona Apple, Natalie Merchant. Music was her first and lasting love.
College brought her to New York City, where she received a Bachelors in Political Science and African American Studies from Columbia University. Her dream of being an activist led her to consider a career in civil rights law. She continued singing, performing in Columbia's Black Theater Ensemble and gospel choir, and later around the city with a band she put together.
Back in Boston after seven years in NYC and a year in Miami, Aisling sang wherever she could: showcases, weddings, corporate gigs, weekly restaurant residencies, as a background vocalist, busking downtown, as well as gigs all over New England, in NYC and Miami. She performed with amazing musicians covering the classics of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and more, collaborated with emcees and was featured on multiple projects, and wrote several albums worth of songs. Aisling's music is Soul R&B with hip hop, blues, jazz, gospel, classical and folk influences. Her songwriting is honest and personal, and focuses on heartbreak, lost love, self-expression, healing, social justice, and revolution.
Aisling met Shalom, a phenomenal female emcee, at a Freedom Cypher in 2014. They bonded over their feminist and activist philosophies and started writing together, featuring each other on their debut albums and working together on a mixtape about freedom and revolution. All three projects are to be released soon.
Aisling has always hoped her music would give her the opportunity to be an advocate for social change, especially on issues that affect women, children and people of color, including violence against women, police brutality, and the criminal injustice system. As part of her activist outreach, Aisling facilitates group workshops in schools and youth programs, performs at peace concerts, and speaks to student groups about cultivating healthy relationships and combating domestic violence. For years she volunteered with different organizations, worked at a foster care agency and a public interest law firm, was a tutor, mentor and guest speaker- but she often felt that schools, organizations, agencies, groups were either exacerbating existing problems such as the schools' dumbing down of our children, or responding to problems in reactionary ways, seeking to do damage control by putting band aids over bullet holes rather than addressing the root causes.
Her older sister Nikomo, a former public school teacher tired of the education system's abuse and neglect of our children, created an ideology known as the Freedom School Movement. Together they formed the Freedom Movement, a growing resource and network for freedom-minded people, and with that Aisling felt she had finally found the path of activism God intended for her. They, along with organizations, artists and individuals across the world, know that 'the system' is inherently and deliberately oppressive, hence the need for a brand new revolutionary way of life. Poverty, hunger, violence, abuse, self-harm, can all be alleviated with a revolutionary system of community, love, healing and peace. Community, self-sufficiency, sustainability, harmony with ourselves, each other and the planet, healing, peace, self-directed learning, education as a natural part of life- these are some of the elements of the Movement. Their aim is to connect with people around the world and share these ideas through peace circles, peace concerts, creative arts and music therapy, self-care, healing practices such as song healing, meditation, yoga, journaling and songwriting, cooking for and feeding people, pet therapy, group counseling, mentoring, prayer, ritual and ceremony, alternative and revolutionary educational approaches, learning how to live self-sufficiently .......