Local concert venues being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped David Segall from spreading his message of peace and healing.
The local singer-songwriter took to the A.C. Postel Rose Garden across from the Santa Barbara Mission Thursday evening, hosting a free concert and offering peace to the community through music and dance.
When his gigs were canceled for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic, the 38-year-old musician accustomed to playing at tasting rooms and restaurants said he relied upon his spirit to persevere. Just before the lockdown went into effect, he traveled to Oregon to spend time with his father and wound up spending six weeks in a small town, writing music and hosting concerts on Facebook and Instagram.
Outdoor shows like Thursday night’s provide him with the chance to connect with his audience, albeit from a safe social distance, to provide positive vibes and share his effusive energy. His exuberant presence in the garden was shining bright despite the May gloom overhead.
One of the first songs he played was “Blackbird” by The Beatles, which some have said Paul McCartney wrote in the wake of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He dedicated the song to Dr. King, George Floyd and other victims of racial injustice, holding a moment of silence upon the conclusion of the song.
He also performed several original songs, including “Give Me a Song,” “Hummingbird” and “Young Again,” which he played for the Class of 2020.
The popular garden was buzzing with energy even prior to the show, playing host to a child’s birthday celebration and providing the space for friends to catch up and enjoy an evening while lounging in the grass next to the roses.
As Mr. Segall got deeper into his performance, he was joined by John Payne on guitar and a percussionist who goes by Jericho. Several attendees rose to their feet to follow along with the tunes as the show continued.
It was the second time in as many weeks Mr. Segall took his talents to the outdoors, as last week he played a show at the beachfront across from Chase Palm Park. While some friends have hosted free house concerts, he realized that not everyone is comfortable hosting small gatherings indoors due to the pandemic.
“In light of all the current events that are going on in our country and in our world, I just wanted to offer some healing music, some music of peace. I know a lot of people are really upset right now and a lot of people feel traumatized, and rightfully so, I just wanted to come offer some music as a token of peace and healing,” he told the News-Press prior to the show.
“I really believe in the power that music itself holds to bring us together when there’s divisiveness, differences or ideological issues. Just to find the common humanity in us again, you know?”
Mr. Segall said to him, music is synonymous with life, happiness and joy. He considers it the most powerful form of expression, allowing him to spread love, share his feelings of a higher self and express peace.
“I really believe we all have a healing power within ourselves to heal ourselves and to heal our bodies and our minds. I just believe that music is able to be a catalyst for that,” he said. “It sends chills up people’s spines. It helps people cry and release. Release is such an important part of it. Without release, there is no healing. If we’re holding on or gripping too tight, we can’t heal.
“Music helps with the releasing process, and that in turn promotes healing.”