Velsum offers a duet of captivating and spiritual harmonies


Jack Austin/Daily Senior Staffer

A view of the crowd at The Christian Community Church.

Jack Austin, Senior Staffer

A crowd of about 50 convened at the Christian Community Church in Ravenswood for a spiritual performance by vocal duo Velsum on Sunday.  

The show, the sixth ever for the group, featured 10 songs that will appear on its upcoming album, “New Nightingale, New Rose.” Vocalists Lucien Dante Lazar and Ultra-Violet Archer said love and wisdom inspired the show, which they call a “Passage” to reflect the intimacy of their performance.

The two call the shows more of a spiritual practice than an entertainment product.

“We are trying to develop our souls in a way that allows for our voices to really serve truth and love,” Lazar said. “If we can follow that call to sing to those qualities of truth, beauty and goodness, then we will be doing the right thing for Velsum.” 

Velsum’s 2022 self-titled debut EP featured musical influences from across the world, including Gregorian chants, American folk and jazz. During “Passages,” the group solely performs a cappella harmonies. 

Lazar said Velsum becomes one mind as the duo writes lyrics together. He said a cappella performance allows for intimacy, which aids their performances dedicated to inner transformation. 

Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Archer’s mother, said Velsum always fills a room in a healing way. 

“It brings me up to a higher self. I feel like I’m between the worlds — that I cross the threshold into the spiritual world,” she said.

James Taylor, a Chicago Waldorf School teacher, said he began introducing his second grade class to Velsum’s music because of its lyrics about how all humans are connected. 

Taylor said his son is one of Velsum’s biggest fans. The father and son listen to the band on the way to and from school. Taylor said his son receives a sense of peace and understanding from the music.

“I don’t know where he goes or where he thinks he is,” Taylor said. “But … for those moments in time, he is found. It’s the most peaceful place that you will ever find a young man on this planet.”

The crowd at the Ravenswood performance included Christian Community Church members, members of the Chicago anthroposophy community and the performers’ family and friends. Anthroposophy is a 20th century spiritualist movement. 

Naomi Harpest, a church member for more than 40 years, said she “revels in the beauty” of the pair’s voices. 

Wisconsin resident Chris Thelen said the “Passage” was like watching “Lord of the Rings” through an interpretive pageant lens. 

Philadelphia-based Velsum fan Rick Ruffin could not attend the show but said he appreciates the group’s dedication to high-quality production.

“It’s just recorded so cleanly and transparently that it really sounds like the two of them are in the room with you,” Ruffin said. “When you’re listening, it feels like you’re in one of these grand cathedrals.”

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