Friday, May 18, 2012

The Practice--Intent, intent, intent...

photo by Patricia Herlevi
I watched Jonathan Goldman’s 2004 DVD Healing Sounds (Program 1)--Sacred Mysteries last night.  In this DVD, Jonathan mentions that frequency + intention = healing.  I have come across several articles and books on the frequency aspect of this equation, but not enough research on intention.  It is not a coincidence that in ancient Egypt and other ancient civilizations that musicians and sound healers went through rigorous training and were initiated into their musical roles.  These musicians learned about the power of sound, frequency, and intent, along with the power of words.  Yet, how many educators these days know anything about this power? As a writer and as a musician, my teachers did not teach me about this hidden power in music, at least not the ones, outside of the new age arena.

I plan on founding a music cooperative in the Bellingham, Washington area where these aspects of sound and music will be taught to music students by experts in the field.  This cooperative would also provide a space for musical culture exchange of folkloric traditions and the exploration of purposeful music.  This is way off since I have yet to come up with other founders and the resources to build this cooperative. However, in the interim, I provide a space on this blog for these musical and sound discussions.  This is a blog where musicians, music therapists and sound healers can build a community that fosters the awakening of music consciousness, thus the short description for this blog, “Global Music Consciousness.”

I feel frustrated on some days when spiritual gurus don’t include intention, frequency as in sounds/music in their modalities.  If as Jonathan Goldman says in his educational DVD, that everything in the Universe is made up of sound vibrations and frequencies, then why aren’t humans paying more attention to the responsible use of sound on the planet? That’s like trying to have life on the planet without a drop of water, and yet, only a minority has any musical awareness, including some of your brand name healers.  Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil, and a few others mention music and sound as an important component to our well-being.  The law-of-attraction folks need to manifest more harmonious sounds instead of the cash register bells of commerce ringing, and the power tools building their mcmansions buzzing away.  How can we love the earth and desecrate her at the same time? That sounds dissonant to my ears.

In his DVD, Goldman mentions to important research experiences.  First, researchers produced an ocean sounds recording with energetic intentions built into the recording.  A recorder was placed near the ocean with a group of people sending love, light and peace to the recorder.  Then this same routine is repeated but now the group sent out hateful messages.  Both of these recordings, which would just sound like ocean waves were played to clients who were muscle tested while listening to the ocean sounds.  The muscles proved strong with the love and light recording, and weak with the hateful recording.  Same sounds, but different intent.

An interesting study, Goldman also mentions listening to two recordings of the same piece of classical music.  He felt relaxed listening to the recording conducted by a more flowing conductor and agitated when listening to the same music with an agitated perfectionist conductor.  How many of you listen to classical music hoping to get healing from it? What if the version of a Beethoven sonata is performed by a pianist in a crappy mood? Will this recording leave you thinking that Beethoven’s music doesn’t relax you?
Goldman like a growing number of musicians (Samite, Mary Youngblood, R. Carlos Nakai, Will Clipman, Nawang Khechog, and the late Marjorie DeMuynck), pray or set intentions before recording their music.  You can feel it too when you listen to what these musicians channel from the Divine.  From what I’ve read about Mozart, this composer was deeply spiritual and what would happen if we could travel back through time and listen to this music conducted by Mozart and not an academic who has zero spiritual beliefs? It’s a testament to Mozart’s music that it’s healing no matter who performs or conducts it.  I have never heard a Mozart recording I haven’t found healing.

So as musicians, and even sound healers, we must humble ourselves and wipe away any lingering arrogance before recording music for others.  Certainly, no musicians should go into a studio with the intent of making money.  The money will come but from the love that they give out in the studio, not from forcing the next hit song to happen.  Back when I composed and performed music, my intent might have not always been healthy (I had discarnates attached to me), but I felt music pouring through me from another place or power.  If only I had training in sound frequencies and intent during those days.  Now, I’m backpedaling hoping to bring other musicians to awareness.  Music has its entertaining side, but that’s only a small piece of the pie.  Ancient music educated and entrained; healed and destroyed. The real secret out there isn’t about manifesting through positive thinking, the real secret is that when harnessed one way or the other, the power of sound is used daily to create and destroy.  Music and sound combined with intent can brainwash the masses for good or ill.  Hitler knew this and so did other out-of-balance leaders.  Advertisers use music and sound to manipulate the populace into purchasing their clients’ products--think of all those catchy jingles.  So music awareness is crucial to our well-being.

The secret is out too.  Pick up books and DVDs by Jonathan Goldman, Joshua Leeds, and other sound healers I have mentioned on this blog. Keep a music diary and pay attention to your sonic environment on a daily basis.  Toss out any music that does not serve your highest and best path.  Find the music that does and listen to it often.  View the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto with the water crystals exposed to words, intent and music.  Add music awareness to your other healing modalities then watch your life transform.

Choose from the list of musicians and sound healers mentioned in the article, plus the CDs that accompany Dr. Emoto's books, Gregorian chants, Anonymous 4, sacred Corsican chants, Native American flute music, Native American Church music, and other indigenous music of the world. Listen to Stevie Wonder, Mozart, Gregory Porter... Here's to your music awakening.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In review--Your brain on audio

Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
Music to Change Your Brain
(Sound Healing/Brain Science)
Sounds True

Doctor of Chiropractics Jeffrey Thompson began experimenting with sound scientifically in the 1980s, according to the press notes that accompanied a media copy of Music to Change Your Brain.  Thompson uses audio to alter brainwaves to create feelings of relaxation or alertness.  His audio CDs which include bi-aural devices, intended tempo, and ambient sounds have helped millions of people relax, fall asleep, meditate, and heighten creativity.  Music to Change Your Brain offers six 10-minute tracks that include, Alpha Relaxation System, Healing Mind System, Creative Mind System, Awakened Mind System, Gamma Meditation System, and Delta Sleep System.  So how do these tracks affect a sensitive person such as me?

I know my readers and colleagues are weary of my aversion to synthesizers, but I wouldn’t practice integrity if I ignore the fact that synthesizers and programmed voices irritate my nerves.  How am I supposed to relax when a synthesizer drones in my ears and in the case of Healing the Mind System, 8-minutes into the track, a high-pitch overtone that reminds me of a table saw appears?

Fortunately, three of the tracks worked for me which include the Creative Mind System, Delta Sleep System (I fell asleep listening to this one), and Gamma Meditation.  The Creative Mind System features synthesizer, but this electronic instrument is balanced with acoustic guitar and a subtle melody that seemed folksy to me.  The Gamma Meditation System provided an audio (I would not call this music), background at the right tempo for going deep with meditation.  Since I prefer to have drone or some type of spiritual music playing in the background when I meditate, I appreciated this track.

However, and this is a big however, many of the people undergoing stress and tension these days are super sensitive to EMFs and electronic sounds. Music with heavy synthesizers in my case comes off as an annoying buzz and the last thing on my mind is relaxation when I hear these sounds.  I prefer the acoustic CDs of the late Marjorie DeMuynck, another sensitive aware of the dangers of EMFs or the psycho-acoustic chamber music of Joshua Leeds and Dr. Andrew Weil.  I also prefer a sound healing duo from Norway (their names escape me at this time), who produced a relaxation CD with acoustic overtones and drones around 10 years ago.  I loaned this CD to someone who never returned it.

For those of you not sensitive to electronic instruments, I recommend Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s CDs, but for super sensitive types, go with Marjorie DeMuynck’s CDs produced with acoustic instruments and sound healing tools. In my humble opinion, with all the knowledge we have on brain science and sound, it’s time to move away from synthesizers and employ acoustic musicians who know how to work with intention and sound healing/ psychoacoustic principles. I would love to see Dr. Thompson move in an acoustic direction, then I could take advantage of his brain-enhancing recordings.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In review--Music of the Atlantic Diaspora

Pancho Alvarez
Sonche Atlántico

My sister introduced me to Galicia, a Spanish province, over a decade ago when she loaned me her copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, but Angel Romero, Founder of World Music Central, introduced me to Galician music several years ago.  When many people think of Spanish music they think of flamenco or gypsy music.  I have not met many people outside of music journalism and world music audiences who even realize the diversity of musical traditions hailing from Spain’s provinces.  For instance, in Asturias and Galicia, bagpipes and large frame drums are prominent, but so are various types of lutes, accordions, strings, and instruments from other folkloric traditions.  The music ranges from jaunty sends-ups to haunting ballads.  At times, music of northwest Spain resembles other Celtic music of Scotland and Ireland.

Multi-instrumentalist Pancho Alvarez features mostly original compositions on Sonche Atlàntico, and similar to Galician musician Uxia, this musician prefers to spice up his songs with influences from Africa (North mainly), Portugal, Brittany while also including inspiration from South America.  Alvarez performs most of the instruments on this album which include: violin, viola, guitars, accordion, viola de gamba, Venezuelan cuatro, hurdy-gurdy, bass, percussion, bouzouki while coming off as a one-man orchestra.  He handles most of the vocals too with Maria Solleiro pitching in vocals on the bouncy A Cantiga da Segada de Miranda.  Danceable songs such as, A Camposa and the Arabic-tinged Rumba de Alì appear along side, misty-eyed songs, (Galicia Malicia).

Hispanic listeners not familiar with Spain’s Gallego dialect might feel lost while following the text, but anyone looking for an authentic Spanish folkloric experience will feel at home with this album portraying the Atlantic Diaspora.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In review--Learning how to swim in French

Irène and Francis Jacob
Je Sais Nager (I know how to swim)
Sunnyside Communications/Universal France

Brazilian bossa nova diva Astrud Gilberto and French actress Brigitte Bardot, though from two parts of the world, shared soft understated vocals in common.  In mainly the realm of Parisian actresses, breathy vocals were transformed into a vocal pop art.  Even the English alternative pop band Stereolab made this music hip back in the 1990s, then dubbed as French lounge music.  The days of Edith Piaf belting out torch songs had ended, replaced by film stars turned singer-songwriter.  French actress Irène Jacob (Trois Coleurs Rouge and Double Life of Veronique) has joined the French pop music tradition while joining forces with her musician brother Francis Jacob on Je Sais Nager.

This world pop album combines suave bossa nova with North and West African flavors, while never allowing listeners to forget the French origins of the songs.  Certainly, this breezy collection of songs feels right on a hot spring day.  I can see these songs playing in the background at a cafe or at a late evening dinner party, or even playing on headphones while a listener reclines in a lawn chair or a hammock.  Reminiscent of Michel LeGrand’s movie music, take a listen to the track, Communion with its brother-sister duet.  The rousing opener Jihad et Cruzada with its West African groove and gospel backup vocals lets listeners know they’re in for a sophisticated listening experience and listening to the West African-style acoustic guitar that opens Ouvre Les Yeux feels like Putumayo Presents territory.  The album closes with Communion Interdite, but the duet is now with Irène and alto Agnes Jaoui--it journeys into bossa nova territory.

I wish this brother and sister duo success with their classy French pop.  I’m feeling too lazy to look up the lyrics on the PDF document that’s embedded in the CD so I’m at a loss to critique lyrics.  Musically, this album makes a wonderful music companion for a relaxing day.  Chances are someone is going to find this music romantic just as they did with Astrud Gilberto so long ago.