Marion St Releases Debut EP
Marion St is a brand-new sacred arts project by Mikali Anagnostis and Gabi Cadenhead, which has just released its debut EP. This collection of four worship songs, titled ‘Whole’, is original music by Mikali Anagnostis and features musicians Erin Lewis, Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White, Sophie Van Dijk and Gabi Cadenhead from Leichhardt Uniting Church. Mikali spoke to Insights about this exciting new project.
“The idea behind Marion St was to create worship music that fits with the theology and experience of the progressive church,” Mikali told Insights. “We wanted to bring together artists whose creative perspectives are not often heard in mainstream church music.”
The project takes its name from the street behind Leichhardt Uniting Church, rather than the one it faces, as “[Marion St] is trying to resource music that comes from those creative corners in the church’s periphery.” Mikali said, “I think a lot of people in the church broadly are hungering for music that sounds a bit different too, lyrically and musically, and I believe people who are marginalized in the church have a special ability to create something that feels different.”
Mikali’s song ‘Garden’ which was released on the Leichhardt Uniting Church YouTube channel in 2020. The EP features a studio recorded version of this track, a song that emerged from Mikali’s reflections “about the people in my church community who are all doing the slow loving labour of growing beauty and goodness in the world. I felt part of that bigger story of renewal.”
Marion St’s debut EP ‘Whole’ invites listeners to imagine this world made new, with single ‘Shaping a New World’ released in mid-June. Mikali told Insights, “All the tracks on the EP are reflections on what the restoration of the world could look like. The last couple of years pushed us to imagine how the world could be reorganised and renewed. [This EP] emerged out of that space. In a word, it is really about hope.”
Mikali’s creative process centres on imagery. “I personally connect a lot more with worship music that is very visual. In my writing I try to focus on the imagery that has originally inspired me, usually of the land or my community being together. Part of the joy in writing for me is bringing those images from my experience together with stories from our tradition about God’s movement in the world,” they said.
Many of Mikali’s songs explore how hope can be held better together than alone. They told Insights, “A lot of the lyrics in these songs are speaking about people in [my] community, so it’s really powerful and quite humbling to hear those exact people singing them… That reciprocity in community is so sacred; the way a community gives creative life to people and then that is given back to the community.”
Mikali cited the “safety and diversity” of Leichhardt Uniting Church, where many members of the congregation have left churches where they were not welcome, as providing a nourishing creative space. It was important to Mikali that the musicians who recorded the tracks in the studio are also part of this community and know and love these songs as well as they do.
“It’s so gratifying seeing something that has started inside you become bigger than just that. The EP is about being a part of the broad story of what God is doing in the world, so it feels fitting for it to be a collaborative process.”
‘Whole’ is the first EP released by Marion St, and more are in the works, including a collection of three songs by members of Christian Students Uniting past and present, coming later this year. Mikali said of Marion St’s future, “The exciting part of a collaborative project is that new things will appear from corners I can’t see around. The vision of the project is to sit in those creative edges and be faithful to what emerges out of that space.”
‘Whole’ is now available to stream on Spotify and YouTube. Communities interested in incorporating these songs into their own worship will also be able to purchase lead sheets soon. Stay up to date with future Marion St releases and live events on Instagram.
Gabi Cadenhead is a mission worker for Christian Students Uniting at the University of Sydney.