with David LaMotte, Dawud Wharnsby, and Billy Jonas
The Music they make together is beautiful, and it grows directly from the authenticity of their friendship. You should book the Abraham Jam only if you hope to be reminded that dialogue/discourse/collaboration/friendships across differences can yield beauty. -Rev. Carol Steele, Montreat Conference Center
A Muslim, a Jew and a Christian walk into a concert hall… and the result is harmony! “Abraham Jam” is a collaborative concert with Dawud Wharnsby, Billy Jonas and David Lamotte blending original music of heart and spirit and traditional music from the three Abrahamic faiths. The concert employs music to build resonance and bridge the gap between current conflicts and the spirit it takes to find harmony together.
Jonas, LaMotte and Wharnsby have performed extensively over the last few decades in their individual careers. Dawud Wharnsby is a Canadian-born poet, songwriter and artist, singing beautifully crafted original songs on guitar and mandolin. Wharnsby’s career includes fifteen solo albums, numerous soundtrack credits and collaborations, and five poetry anthologies. Billy Jonas is an accomplished percussionist, guitar player, pianist, and songwriter, with infectiously whimsical songs and a knack for inspiring audiences to join in. Jonas' touring career has covered numerous countries with concerts and award winning recordings for both adult and family audiences. David LaMotte is a well-loved songwriter, with over 3000 concerts on five continents to his credit, his guitars and drums in tow. Together, they make up Abraham Jam, a band of brothers.
“Not only is every single piece a musical gem, but also the messages of peace, respect and love model another kind of harmony. You will come away inspired.” -Frank Goldsmith, Carolina Jews for Justice
“Harmony is better than unity,” says David LaMotte, who helped create Abraham Jam. “We don’t have to be singing the same note to cultivate peace, we can sing different notes that are beautiful together.” They don’t just take turns sharing songs, but create music together, contributing vocal harmonies, percussion, and instrumentation to each other’s songs. The concert includes stories, original music, sacred songs and chants from the three traditions.
The band originally formed in 2010. LaMotte, who was working with the North Carolina Council of Churches at the time, came up with the concept as a goal to form interfaith respect and cooperation. He approached campus Jewish, Muslim, and Christian student organizations in the area and put together an interfaith student committee that chose which musicians would be involved, as well as the name of the band. Abraham Jam was originally formed with Dan Nichols, an accomplished Jewish musician. Their first concert was at Duke University. Later, Billy Jonas replaced Nichols, which was an amicable transition for the trio.
“For thousands of years, in villages spread out around the world, song was a way for common people to share and pass along their stories,” explains Dawud Wharnsby. “Today, when we’re so interconnected through travel and technology, it is important that we also communicate. We need to sing our world’s ongoing story together.”
Since that original Duke University concert, Abraham Jam has performed for the Festival of the Sacred Arts in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and for the 2016 Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City, UT, among other performances. The band is recording a CD and making the concert available for wider touring with the filming of a kick-off concert in Asheville, NC August, 2017.