As I walked the dusty roads to a friend’s camp, my ears were met with something new. In the earlier days of the fest before the scheduled bands get going, there is a lot of heavy music and metal. While I love a good, active punk show, metal just isn’t my thing. The sound of a guitar sound checking with a reggae beat and a walking bass line was enough to draw me into the tent.
Men As Trees Walking combines a great reggae feel with honest and beautiful lyrics of praise and adoration to, as they call Him, the Lion of Zion. This 8-piece group dressed in steam-punk garb will make you want to sway, clap, and have a good time in general.
As a new song began, the two female vocalists in the front began swaying their arms back in forth in front of them. They explained that the people of Ethiopia praise by dancing in this way, much like the way we might raise our hands. As the song built, they raised their arms above their head, still swaying. When the song would decrescendo, they would bring their arms back to waist level. Seeing the whole group praise in a way that was new to me was a truly beautiful sight.
The diversity of acts at Cornerstone gives you a never-ending flow of things you’ve probably never seen before, if you can only step outside of what is comfortable and familiar to you. Although I never would have guessed that reggae praise music was something I would enjoy, I was delighted to find that with a band as great as Men As Trees Walking, I could feel right at home swaying to the rhythms of the Lion of Zion.