Friday’s Common Grounds concert with Gungor, The Brilliance and solo artist Propaganda carries the tag “The End of the World Tour,” but it’s more the band Gungor bidding adieu rather than any earthly realm.
Gungor, led by singer-songwriters Michael and Lisa Gungor, started about a decade ago as a free-form Christian “musical collective” willing to push the envelope when it came to musical styles and expressions of faith as well as doubts.
As with many of the subjects Gungor has explored over the years, there are multiple interpretations to “end of the world,” he noted, speaking during a tour stop in Oklahoma City.
“Gungor said what it needed to say . . . so this is sort of the end of us, but there’s more than a decade of Gungor music in the world,” he said. “With climate change and the current political situation, a lot of people feel like it’s the end of the world. For me, there’s a special meaning in that every moment there’s a newness that follows the end of the world that was just before.”
Gungor, a pastor’s son, started his California-based band as a way to explore faith through creative music, some of which is drawn from a musical palette not often used in worship or contemporary Christian music. Over time, his own faith changed, including a period in which he felt he lost his Christian faith, but now feels back in a different spiritual territory.
Some of that journey involved a group of like-minded creatives who called themselves The Liturgists and actively explored a territory where science, society, human nature and religious faith intersected. Gungor still participates in The Liturgists, which maintains a podcast and periodically holds live meetings/concerts called Gatherings. Those audiences experienced community, yet one different from those defined by churches. “A lot of these were people who felt accepted as they were,” he said.
The new listeners pulled in from Liturgists conversations offset others who felt Gungor heading into faith directions with which they weren’t comfortable. “When we started off Gungor, a lot of our songs dealt with doubt and not knowing what to believe,” he said. “I think doubt is very human and a healthy accompaniment to things . . . For some, it’s being able to have some gray in your life. Or all gray, for that matter.”
Winding up Gungor comes after the Gungors’ ambitious “One Wild Life” project in 2015, in which they released three album’s worth of related songs in “Soul,” “Spirit” and “Body” collections within little more than a year.
Michael, who plays guitar, and Lisa, on keyboards, will borrow players from their touring partner The Brilliance, whose John Arndt once played with earlier versions of Gungor.
What’s ahead after the end of the world? Michael has a new book out, “This: Becoming Free,” which charts his journey with faith and spirit over time. There will be music of some sort, as always, though the form is yet to be determined. Even in a world of grays and mystery, music has meaning and power.
“It enriches and enhances the experience of the world and I love that,” he said.