Ben Lee has made a lot of albums since recording his first songs as a teenager in Australia, but his most ambitious might be his latest – a children’s album entitled “Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam For The Whole Family.” These songs are thoughtful, educational and catchy. Lee hasn’t composed religious songs as much as songs about a religion.
Several years ago, Lee, who now makes Los Angeles his home, had an idea to make a children’s album that explored five different religions. He changed his plan and zeroed in on just Islam after President Donald Trump acted to ban people from several Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S. “I realized that to stand in solidarity with the philosophical truths at the heart of Islam, not the institutionalized religion, was important,” he says.
The album’s concept felt quite natural to Lee. “I love children’s music and love religious and spiritual diversity,” he says. “I could feel the album in my imagination before I’d ever written a note.”
Lee believes the philosophy behind Islam can be very relatable to kids, and says he has used Islam’s “path of the warrior” concept with his daughter when she feels defeated at school. “The internal dialogue that was traditionally called prayer can be one of strength and power,” he says. You can hear him tapping into this uplifting spirit on tunes such as “Happy Heart,” “Assalamualaikum” and “The Straight Road.” Lee says he hopes his songs will help kids think “more symbolically and psychologically about religion, rather than taking the sacred texts literally.”
Lee says some people have wrongly assumed he is endorsing Islamic fundamentalism, but that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. “I see fundamentalism in all religions to be the source of much suffering,” he says.
Asked if he plans to return to his original concept of an album that explores several different religions, he responds philosophically. “It will happen in time,” he says. “Everything happens at the right time.” For more information about Ben Lee, please visit https://www.ben-lee.com