Singing in tunnels, voice in caves. The value of human voice in modern music, in ALL music.

I have been a bit of a vagabond for a while now and have found myself on many occasions connecting deeply into the world of sound, by listening and singing in tunnels, caves and churches across Europe. One such listening, receiving and giving with my voice and heart followed a deeeeeeeep catholic ceremony I attended, dedicated to the pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. We sat being blessed by millions of angels. After the ceremony as people were starting to leave, a couple who had heard me sing at the same church alone earlier that day urged me to sing. I obliged, and for a small moment I became the voice of the pilgrims, thanking our source for all of the many blessings it seems to continuously bestow upon us (If we allow it). Everyone in the room stopped moving, including the priest, everyone bowing their heads as my shaking scared little voice and body let waves and waves of love and eternal goodness flow through me into the space. I cried quite a lot while singing, it was so intense!!!

What is it about the vibration of a human voice, in a beautiful sounding space, that moves us so much?

I studied singing in university in NZ, and for a few years I kicked myself for that decision. Why aren´t I playing an instrument?? I noticed how instrumentalists would speak about and treat vocalists and women as lower skilled musicians. I even had a teacher once (after unfairly giving me the worst grade I had received at that institution) tell me that I deserved a lower grade because it was harder to be a drummer than a singer. We had to do the exact same work that the instrumentalists had to do, except we didn´t have the help of buttons to push. There was NO WAY that after 4 years of intense jazz study, all of the people who got good grades, could hear the shit that we needed to hear in order to be able to sing it. They had simply memorized motorskills of how to play a descending lydian dominant scale from the 3rd around the cycle, chromatically and in minor 3rd steps, for example. No small feat, absolutely, but my point is that we had to HEAR that shit internally before it would come out. And we still had to perform it. I mean 8 hours a day in a practise room, memorizing 5 simple licks, and STILL failing in the class. First year jazz school, you were wonderful! Many tears and fears and sleepless nights. Loved that shit.

However, I was blessed to be able to meet and perform with amazing artists such as brilliant drummer/percussionist/soul seeker/musician Bob RAKALAM Moses, who totally inspired me and reminded me of who I am, and what I am doing. His first masterclass in front of the school was without an instrument.
He stood, and his opening words were, IF YOU NEED YOUR INSTRUMENT TO PLAY MUSIC, YOU ARE NOT YET A MUSICIAN." At this time I also experiemented with a lot of different cultures and musics, I met Kiwi legend HAYDEN CHISOLM, who does excellent work in the field of just intonation and the overtone series, and was introduced to a book (The harmonic experience) by WA MATTHIEU, who John Coltrane called the greatest theoretical mind of our time.
I discovered that in other cultures, the human voice is considered the most scared, most pure instrument. Instrumentalists entire sounds and techniques are often created around trying to emulate the sound of the human voice. *REVOLUTIONARY*

Its kind of funny, because for the past 4 or so years since I finished that degree, I have focused on learning how to produce, bandlead, and play a bunch of instruments to prove the jazz arseholes wrong. That I AM good enough. That I CAN kickarse as a woman in music. That I CAN play anything I want. And because I learnt how to sing, I learnt how to BECOME music itself, to allow what I am hearing (Or being gifted from my genie above) to flow through me. And because, out of neccessity I learnt how to LISTEN FIRST and play SECOND, I have learned that I can MAKE MUSIC on any instrument after 5 minutes of figuring out the basic technique. (Not to my friends levels of course, some of which BLOW MY MIND with their technical profieciency and genius, but they have also needed to learn how to listen first, working backwards from having technical mastery at such young ages.)

The funniest part is, after going around the entire circle to almost back where I started, I have realized that the human voice is INCREDIBLE, and the skill I have with this AWEINSPIRING instrument is so flucking invaluable, and that I am so BLESSED to be able to sing like I can.

The height of my musical experience, I feel, comes when I can put my own self to the side, and focus instead 100% on listening. I become a channel for the music to flow through me. Rather, God (or whatever you want to call that big, loving, beautiful mysetrious thing) plays ME. I become the instrument.





Singing in Caves, tunnels and churches. Do it... And SHARE your experiences!!


Life is funny in the ways it twists and turns us into where we would love to be.
I thoroughly enjoy the act of asking life for some new kind of experience, and practising the art of letting go enough to allow life to fulfil it for me.


Today I let my feet walk me into this experience. I must get out of the house more!! Check out the video below:



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