By Margit Resch

Joel Karrabo Elliott

When you hear of an event called Roots Grown Deep, what do you envision? I imagined an exhibit of paintings depicting mysteriously intertwined tree roots. Was I wrong. It’s not a visual art exhibit. It’s a concert! Roots Grown Deep is the name of a group of thirty-three musicians from eleven different countries whose musical sensibilities, often even their instruments, are firmly rooted in their respective culture. However, the group’s origin hails from South Africa. Some of its members’ roots grow in fertile American musical soil (i.e. folk, jazz, blues), and five of these musicians will come to Fripp Island on Sunday, March 24 and entertain us. Oops, did I say “entertain us”? If Joel Karabo Elliott, the taproot of Roots Grown Deep, heard me say that, he would not be happy, because his aim is not to entertain, but to heal us, to heal and strengthen each individual, and to heal and unite the community—through music.

Joel heard about Fripp Island Friends of Music, its concerts and its Music-in-Schools program, when he toured the area last year and played on St. Helena Island for the Gullah community. He clearly felt a kinship to our mission—“I do this all over the world,” he said—and he contacted us. So now Joel is going to bring the following “remarkably experienced and sensitive quintet” to play for us on Fripp and take us on “a journey of inner awakening through a fusion of roots and classical sounds emanating from India, the Caribbean, and Appalachia-Americana.”

Joel Karabo Elliott (voice, guitar, trombone) is a renowned South African-born international musical composer, multi-instrumentalist and arts educator who now resides in the United States. Joel believes that music is a universal language, and “serves as a vehicle for spiritual and mental progress.” The music, the right kind of music, creates unity amidst diversity by aligning hearts and minds. Through “melody and with celestial-divine assistance” we are connected and can regenerate, i.e. heal, our confused world.

Scott Sheerin (flutes and saxophone) is the musical visionary behind Healing Music Now. “My deep interest in healing and the spiritual dimensions of music,” he said, “have led me to a long apprenticeship in learning the ways of music as prayer and music as medicine.” He studied traditional Chinese medicine and became an acupuncturist. He learned some of the profound spiritual practice of chanting and the devotional music of India. Over the past two decades, Scott has served at shamanic healing retreats as a healing musician around the US and has played and recorded “healing music.”

Paloma Devi (voice and shruti) is of Cuban, Spanish and Asian descent and has spent much of her life traveling the globe, embracing many cultures, providing thousands of classes in Yoga and Sacred Sounds & Dance Embodiment workshops around the world with the intention of “uplifting others in their artistic expression and finding joy in their bodies.” Paloma developed the Vocal Moksha Method, a synthesis of Sound Healing and Vocal Liberating Techniques,” intended to expand the voice and heal through song. Shruti, by the way, means hearing, listening, a call to listen to any form of communication.

Jay Brown (strings, harmonica) has played guitar since he was seven and written more than a hundred songs since high school. He hails from North Carolina and describes himself as a “roots music one-man-band,” but he does play with many multiple-men bands, such as Lazybirds or the Indian folk fusion band Shantavaania, both of which he formed, the later with his wife Aditi. He studied and performed traditional African music on multiple trips to Ghana; all of which explains his eclectic, intriguing style.

Jahidi (tabla and percussion) is an alchemist and sound healer, who wants us to experience sound as medicine. A drummer since childhood, Jahidi explored shamanic sound healing for decades, and for the last fifteen years, he has been providing sound- healing sessions for people in physical or mental distress, allowing for “their inner guru and inner physician to emerge.” Jahidi’s Sonic Soul Journey is a sound-healing experience like no other. Please bring your own yoga mat for laying down during the sound healing journey. Oops, no, not for the concert on Fripp. Only for Jahidi’s Sonic Soul Journey.

After their concert on Sunday, Roots Grown Deep will spend two mornings at St. Helena Elementary School teaching and playing music, a longer than usual Music-in-the-Schools program that is made possible by FIFOM through the Hildy Aldrich Fund and our patrons’ support of said fund.

Experience the healing power of Roots Grown Deep on Sunday, March 24 at 5:00 pm at the Fripp Island Community Centre, 205 Tarpon Boulevard. This more than musical  concert is sponsored by Fripp Island Friends of Music and supported by the SC Arts Commission. Attendees get a free pass at the Fripp gate. Tickets at the door: adults $30, students free thanks to the Peg Gorham Memorial Fund. You are invited to join the musicians at a complimentary reception after the performance, catered deliciously by Harold’s Chef Services. Questions? Email or text Vanessa Peñaherrera at or (704) 807-0255.