by Edie Weinstein
Deva (a.k.a. Debra) Troy is a New Hope based singer-songwriter, interfaith minister, hypnotherapist, reflexologist and at her core, a peacemaker. She can be seen performing in the region at area venues, house concerts, in faith communities, at rallies and other peace related events. Her crystal- clear voice is the perfect instrument for spreading messages of love, cooperation, harmony, sustainability of the planet and a connection between people of divergent beliefs. Her songwriting is, at turns, humorous and deeply serious. It always strikes a common chord among listeners.
DRT: How would you describe the inception of your musical talent?
DT: My musical back ground started in my genetic inheritance, I believe. I come from a line of musicologists, a concert pianist, classical and opera music lovers and singers.
My mother was the daughter of a concert pianist and she played piano well by ear. I was never classically trained but sang at home with my mother and sister and began playing guitar at 14. My earliest singing memories are singing at holidays with my family and I have fond memories singing Beatles songs with my sister while she played guitar and then in later years when I played guitar…I sang in school choirs, was a song leader in my youth group. My first two songs came through when I was 27 years old although I had been writing poetry since I was 12. When I was 32, I wrote a song called “Grandma Did the Best She Could,” about my then boyfriend’s grandmother who had just passed away. 48 hours before she died I had this premonition that Grandma Monser had something she was going to give to me, but I didn’t know what it was. When her song came through it was like someone flipped a switch on and the songwriting floodgates have been open ever since!
DRT: Did you grow up in a musical family?
DT: Everyone in my immediate family had some interest in music and some talent with it except for my father. He was a little out of place with the rest of us in that regard, but he put up with it fairly well and I think he even enjoyed having all three of his kids have guitars we bought with our own money that kept us entertained and out of trouble when we were home playing them. My mother played accordion and piano and sang.
DRT: Does your Muse speak to you often?
DT: My Muse taps me on the shoulder and whispers in my right ear when I or someone I care about is hurting, is growing or healing through an experience, when I am railing against a societally accepted moray or attitude I feel is dangerous to me or others, when something is patently unfair, when I feel inspired to share how things could be, or I feel frustrated with how things are…I also have written numerous songs for special occasions or when people I admire or care about pass away and leave a legacy that deserves to be remembered. My Muse does not speak to me incessantly thank goodness!
DRT: How has your social conscience shaped your music and your life?
DT: My social conscience has always been a fundamental part of my essence. I remember having dinner arguments with my father who did not have such a strongly etched social conscience and often railed against people I thought were vulnerable and needed protection, education and direction in life because of their bad circumstantial histories. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and there was a lot to choose from with regards to social consciousness, there was “make love, not war,” the peace sign and peace consciousness was everywhere, walking lightly on the earth came with the advent of Earth Day, When I was 21 I stopped eating mammals for health and cruelty reasons. I was aware about food quality and animal cruelty in factory farming early on and became a vegetarian at 21 and a vegan at 31.
Unfortunately, I developed a hypothyroid condition in my late 30’s and I had to go back to eating some animal protein, which I still don’t like but do from time to time. When I was 31, I met GregLynn Weaver and we started dating and realized we had similar visions about peace and healing, living lightly on the earth and shared an interest in Native American spiritual practices and philosophies. We came together with a desire to create circles of connection around the globe and the Peaceweavers were born.
We moved into a unique building we called “the Roundhouse” on the outskirts of Lambertville in the woods and built a sweat lodge, began holding Talking Stick Circles and created an intentional community. I had been an Interfaith Minister since 1987, doing ceremonies for others and our community and when the Peaceweavers eventually found our permanent home in upstate NY, I stayed on in the Roundhouse with my partner Stan and his son and continued offering Talking Stick Circles and Sweat Lodges for two years.
Music was a big part of the Peaceweaver community for me and many songs made their way to me in those years of living in community, many of which made it onto my first album “Light of Seven Mornings.” “Hold Me Mother Earth,” “Hands of Light,” Light of Seven Mornings,” “Women Honoring Song,” “Meaning of Life” are songs from my Living in community in my Peaceweaver era. My album is still available on www.cdbaby.com
DRT: How does music bring people together?
DT: Music bridges the divide between people much like food does. We all have certain music and foods that have positive associations from our childhoods, teen years etc. that are ” levelers” between class, political biases or even religion. Music brings people together to heal, protest, mourn, celebrate, remember, be inspired and have fun!
It is fascinating to me how every generation has their own music and it is often not understood, liked or appreciated by the previous generation. The music of a generation is reflective of the vibrational frequency that soul group is reverberating at. It is their particular frequency signal! It becomes their “highest common denominator” and has the potential to communicate the feelings, goals, dreams and longings of that particular generation.
DRT: Do you have any well -loved songs that you perform?
DT: My favorite songs I sing… Like many performer singer songwriters, my favorite song is often my most recent one! I do love some of my newer ones like “Living On Love’s Vibration,” “Passion and Power,” and “Walk a Mile In My Shoes.” I still love “What If Peace Broke Out,” getting ready to start singing “We Love These Days, AKA “Summertime,” as we transition into summer!
If you want to immerse yourself in Deva’s music, she will be sharing the stage with Elena Marino in a performance called Indivisible Unity in Hopewell, NJ On June 10, 2017.
DT: Working with Elena Marino is a joy. She is very talented on many fronts, from singing melody and harmonies to playing rhythm instruments she can pick up and innately know how to play without formal instruction! She is also more structure function oriented in contrast to my almost entirely right brain channeled music approach to writing songs, so we complement each other!
Elena is also an improvisational singer and has some of her music on SoundCloud under Intuitive Song. She is going to study with Bobbi McFerrin at Omega Institute at my suggestion as I did nearly two summers ago to learn how to do “Circle Song.” It is our plan to offer CircleSong to our river valley community in the Fall. It is a very exciting format of led improvisational choral singing for those who can sing, harmonize and follow music commands. The result can be purely thrilling musically and is a wonderful way to positively connect with people. More on that in the early Autumn.