Every little thing's gonna be alright. That's the simple message Macklin Lacerda, lead vocalist/guitarist and founder of Open Secret, had asked the audience to send out to anyone going through a low point in life. Job done, hundreds of glowing phone screens flashed in the air. In that instant, cellphones turn into shining beacons of hope as the band launch into their cover of the song by the same name. I heard them a year ago, but hearing the song again this year at St Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra, on March 4, where they kicked off Season Two of 'The Journey Home', their 6-week 14-concert city-wide tour, still gave me goosebumps.
Based on and inspired by the 14 Stations in the Way of the Cross (a step-by-step look at Christ's path to His crucifixion), The Journey Home is a concert to bring new meaning to the season of Lent. "The more we journey on in life, the more the danger of losing our way. The Journey Home is not just about Christ's torturous journey back to His Heavenly Father, it is also about each of us making our own parallel, personal journey back to our Maker. In many ways, it's about rediscovering who we really are," says Macklin. The concerts will remain largely the same as they were last year, with a few new additions. But Macklin intends to keep it that way, at least for a couple more years, as he recalls the words of Fr Allwyn Nazareth, an admirer of the band, "People's experiences and life situations keep changing. The same song could mean two completely different things from one year to the next."
The impact this concert experience has on Christians is deep. But people from other faiths have also been moved by the music and the message. It's the universal truths of faith, hope, love, forgiveness and redemption that have struck a chord beyond their originally intended audience and fan base. As Vinit Koppikar puts it, "Everyone feels let down, isolated and in need of a friend at some point in their life. When Open Secret plays 'Every little thing's gonna be alright', it gives you hope, a feeling of positivity."
So what's really unique about the band? For starters, an evening with Open Secret is not a performance, but an 'experience' to live through and take home. The Journey Home is what Macklin calls a concept concert. Aggi Fernandes, keyboardist and member since inception, elaborates, "Instead of songs merely following one another, these concerts are conceptualised to see a larger story and theme that is then bound together by music. Currently, we have The Journey Home during Lent, O Come All Ye Faithful for Christmas and the upcoming Miracle Maker (inspired by Christ's miracles) for the rest of the year."
It's not just the music (although having a band comprising professionals from the music industry does help), but Macklin's sometimes practical, sometimes spiritual, sometimes philosophical thoughts and insights as he prefaces each song, along with the recently introduced visual content, that helps drive the message home. "This is the first time I have heard Open Secret, and I didn't expect a gospel band to be so amazing. Their music touches your heart and stirs something within you. It's something very unique," says Sacha Lobo, a TYBA student from Sophia College, after the concert on March 4. "I don't know what happens, it's like you're in a trance," says Anant Acharya, who heard them for the first time last year.
They say seeing is believing. In the case of Mumbai's Open Secret, that may well be true. In more ways than one.