For centuries, philosophers, scientists, and theologians have debated the age-old question: Does a person have a soul, and if so, is there food for it? The Trinity River Campus presented an opportunity to explore the issue at the Soul Food and Music event, featuring some traditional comfort foods and an eclectic mix of jazz and soul music from the band Ultra Sound.
Defining Soul Food
Although there’s also some debate about what actually qualifies as soul food, the Riverfront Café made an admirable attempt with an offering of fried chicken or sliced beef and onions as the entrée choices, along with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and collard greens on the side. Originally born from African Americans making do with the ingredients at hand, soul food can now be any of those dishes you may remember from your childhood that refresh your soul; or that cause the synapses in your brain to fire in such a way that produces pleasure, depending on how you look at it.
Defining Soul Music
The definition of soul music, which evolved from gospel music and rhythm and blues, can be equally hard to pin down, but Ultra Sound lead guitarist Shake Anderson said the band prefers not to be tied to a particular format. “We have fun,” he said. “We tend to do the songs we like. So you’ll hear Hendrix; the R & B greats; Earth, Wind, and Fire… you just never know.”
TCC student Jay Robinson, who had the idea of inviting Ultra Sound to play during African American History Month, said he was happy with the band’s selection, ranging from Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 hit “If You Want Me to Stay,” to an original by Ultra Sound singer Taylor Pace from his solo album Rise of the Phoenix.
In a Good Place
“We needed to do something for Black History Month, you know, and the music is such a big part of it,” Robinson said. “It’s really an oral history for the most part. So hearing these songs has really taken me back. They all have very special meanings; so I’m in a good place right now.”
Being in a good place is what soul food and soul music is all about, and everyone has a different way of getting there, whether it’s through a soul or a series of nerve endings. I have to admit that I was in a better place by the time the event was over. And my soul needs that every once in a while.