Saturday, July 20, 2013

21st Century Musical Healer Series--Jill Mattson

Soaring Music & Ancient Keys

I first encountered Sound Healer/Researcher/Musician Jill Mattson when she joined my Musical Healers group on Linked In.  Since joining the group, Jill has contributed a wealth of information to the group while also sharing her vast array of recordings, books, and sound healing tools via her website and videos.

This is actually a truncated version of the full interview transcript with Jill.  I encourage you to visit her website (listed at the bottom) and check out her e-books along with other materials.  Jill's work is provocative, bold, and insightful.  You'll never think of sound and music the same way again. 

Whole Music Exp: How did you become interested in ancient musical practices?
Jill Mattson: I have been a musician since I was five, so the love of music was a natural thing. Later, I wrote an autobiography of God, thinking I would understand the Bible from God’s point of view; how enlightening is that? Quickly I had doubted what I read in Genesis, as God watched two boys seek to please him, Cain and Able. He only liked one of their gifts. I don’t understand that. After one brother killed the other Adam and Eve and son were thrown out into the multitude. What multitude?  I thought Adam and Eve were all the people there was. The autobiography of God made me rethink today’s understanding of Christianity that teaches the Bible is the literal truth of God.
I sought further for truth and a God of pure love. First I searched for the Serpentine Bible, then the Kabalah texts. Shortly thereafter I found the Hebrew’s neighbors, the Sumerian information and continued to read ancient, mystery school information around the globe. As I went on this transformative quest, not only did my beliefs grow and expand, but every time they wrote about the power of sound and music, my hairs stood on end! I found so much good stuff; I must have looked like a porcupine! This ancient knowledge absolutely thrilled me, as if I found a great treasure, like the arc of the covenant. Over 25 years, I had enough information to write many books! And use many of these techniques I my own music. 
I had many instances of “déjà vu- on steroids.” I often slip out of my body and wake up somewhere else and recognize people, yet they are not the same appearing as they are today. These vivid experiences aided my belief in reincarnation. As I learned this curious and fantastic information about the amazing powers of vibrational energy – sound, it seems like I remembered these practices. They seem strangely familiar. I believe I have been a musician for a LONG time. I also have abundant skills as a healer. Now I am merging the fantastic achievements of our music today and the long forgotten powerful uses of sound and music for people’s healing benefits. 
WME: You break music down to its simpler components while thoroughly explaining how these components (rhythm, tone, and pitch) affect our lives and our bodies.  You even mention (in a video interview) how pitch affects plant growth.   Would you elaborate on this fascinating study?

JM: Making Your Garden Grow. In ancient lure, the ancient Atlanteans danced around newly planted seeds, to vibrate and jump start the seeds. Ancient Egyptians described dances and songs used to enhance crop growth at the time of planting. This sounds quite fanciful, but what would science say?
French Physicist Joel Sternheimer, measured the vibrations created from cells in the amino acids of plants (the building blocks of a plant’s protein). He organized each tone created by each amino acid in the order that the amino acids were organized in the plant to create protein. What a surprise he had when he played these tones. Some were recognizable melodies, such as “O Solo Mio.” Who would think that plants actually sing melodies – with the volume so low that we don’t hear them? Perhaps this is why it is pleasurable to be around plants and flowers! Perhaps our subconscious subtle picks up on these tiny, uplifting songs.
Greater yet, Sternheimer discovered that when he played the plant’s song back to the plant, that the plant experienced up to 250 percent plant growth and resilience to disease! Could music address food shortage in developing countries? Sternheimer advised caution as it was crucial to sync the plant song with the amino acids songs. If the song was synced at the wrong time to the plant, the plant would die. This brings up another idea. Could tones and songs be played to kill weeds, eliminating toxic pesticides?
In California, scientist Dan Carlson discovered that plants absorb nutrients to a greater degree at dawn and their ability to absorb nutrients and moisture declines at other times of the day. What triggered the plants to absorb the nutrients were bird chirps. 
When listening to the proper bird frequencies, plants with low water available and poor soil show increase in root growth, seed germination, plant growth, greater shelf life, shorter growth cycles, and yield. Here in the United States, record yields were harvested of alfalfa, barley, tomatoes in and soybeans. During a drought in the Sudan, where Dan Carlson’s technology was used, the treated plants grew in 130 degrees daytime temperatures with 2 inches of annual rainfall. Wherever the sounds and nutrients weren’t used, the crops failed. These are examples in a long list of agricultural successes. Carlson’s company is called Sonic Bloom, and sells nutrients along with a musical CD.

In the book Secret Life of Plants, Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird claimed that plants may be sentient despite their lack of a nervous system and brain. They hooked up polygraphs to plants and recorded their reaction to situations, making one think the plants had consciousness. If this be true, perhaps they enjoy their songs as much as we do!
WME: In your work, who are your biggest influences? You mention Sharry Edwards, Joel Sternheimer, Alfred Tomatis and Hans Jenny in your videos so I'm curious. 
JM: Although Sharry Edwards and Sri Swamiji Sachinanda Ganapathi were the most influential to me, my influences are characterized by an open and broad array of sources. I read a thousand of selections from antiquity/ancient mystery schools. Reading and interpreting these are quite a job! It took me 25 years! And I am not done. In addition I love science, especially physics. Being a voracious reader I devoured physic books. In my book Ancient Sounds Modern Healing, I interviewed leading sound healers in the field today, creating beautiful friendships with some. My psychic abilities, including channeling, allow me to access other means of interpreting ancient and modern data, putting many of the pieces of vibratory science together in a unique way! I have learned to access ideas – seemingly form thin air – and use them in my musical compositions and recreating ancient musical and healing practices. 
WME: With your own work with sound/music what was the turning point for you where you tapped into the consciousness side of music? I think most musicians are aware of the vibratory nature and some musicians even report curing themselves of colds and whatnot by performing music, but a greater awareness is still needed around music. 
At first I could feel someone (ghostly thin) entering my body from behind when performing the violin. It felt masterful and my performances were always better than when I had practiced. I began to be more conscious of this as it put subtle pressure on my body, my bladder and I had to pee. (ha, ha, funny but true) So I got in the habits of going to the bathroom before performances! 
Later I learned to channel and recognize beings in my presence. I have a great story about how I wrote a song on the Deep wave Beauty CD, entitled Symphony of the Stars. My husband and I were at the Cleveland Symphonic orchestra. I felt a being come in from behind. I let these experiences happen as they had only been uplifting and enlightening in the past. 
This time was different. The male energy that wanted to express through me was feisty. He insisted that he conduct the orchestra. (Oh my, wouldn’t that be a hoot if I conducted the orchestra from the audience?) I was holding to the chair with all my might to prevent this from happening. Seems funny now, but I was sweating bullets. When the song began (a Hayden piece), my hearing opened up. I could hear what I normally hear, plus each player individually and whether or not they were performing perfectly or not. My guest conductor was screaming at the players, He was riveted with excitement as the piece progressed. At the end of the musical selection his wrath was evoked, as someone rewrote the last portion of the song. And! What poor bedside manners he had. As soon as the last note was over, he was gone. No goodbye or small talk. I was left sweating and holding on to my chair with all my might.
The next day, I was alone and he came back. I let him in and we started to conduct the dining room table. (Wouldn’t you like to have been a mouse in the corner watching this?) Again my hearing opened up and I heard inside my head the most gorgeous music. Being consistent, as soon as the music was over, the conductor vanished, but I was left with the music. I quickly ran to the piano and wrote it down. It is the Symphony of the Stars. Now I could claim credit for writing this song, or I could suggest that a bit of “cosmic plagiarism” occurred. I got so much help to write this that I feel guilty signing my name to it! 
Edgar Cayce
WME: You include an article of Atlantis on your website and what I've heard about Atlantis is that this society was involved with advance use of sound healing even working with sound and crystals.  Have you delved into the sound healing uses with this ancient civilization?

Edgar Cayce told channeled stories about healing chants in Atlantis. People intoned sounds such as Arrr, Urrr, and Ouuu, while using crystals and symbols to obtain purity, raise their vibrations to a higher level and absorb more light for healing.
Music was a central component of the Atlantean society. Part of training for the priesthood included learning to perform musical instruments, such as flutes and harps. The Muses taught students chants for healing and ceremonial purposes.
 Like the Lemurians the Atlanteans enjoyed a descending musical scale. This descending pattern of sounds encouraged them to lower their spiritual frequencies and associate to a greater degree with physical energies. 

Stones were thought to have consciousness and absorb energy. Healing ceremonies were conducted near circles of big rocks, while people chanted. The priests added tantalizing, hypnotic music for tranquilizing effects. Gauss meters, which measure static magnetic field strength, record elevated energy around ancient stone circles. Further tests suggested that the stones acted as amplifiers. 
Black magicians and their music were credited with the destruction of Atlantis. Afterwards the information regarding subtle and spiritual energy went into hiding, especially information about powerful sound vibrations. The vibratory and musical secrets were hidden deeply, because unscrupulous people could use it to control and destroy others. Only those who proved themselves to be virtuous were allowed to carry the torch, keeping the information alive though verbal transmissions. The rest of the population was denied access. They did not want a repeat of the disaster in Atlantis. 

I have lots more on Atlantean music in my book Lost Waves of Time Volume I, but this is a teaser! (Since this response was edited for size, I recommend reading Jill’s book).
Hildegard von Bingen
WME: Last question, have you researched the musical offerings of Hildegard von Bingen and why do you think she was composing such advance music during early medieval times? It amazes me that her music is still intact today, many hundreds of years later.
JM: First let’s look at the big picture of medieval times. When you look at the bird’s eye view of music throughout the ages, cultures have rich components of music that accompany facets of daily life. There are songs for working, playing, eating, seasons, weather and ceremonies. Much music is designed to copy patterns found in nature, tuning people to the harmony of Earth. 
An extraordinary thing happened in the Dark Age--music stopped--well almost. The Catholic Church banned the teaching of music to young children. Musicians were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. Playing instruments was deemed the work of the devil. It was forbidden to use music that copied patterns found in nature, such a phi, termed devil’s diabolis. The documents describing the Greek music were burned, along with all of the writings of ancient musical traditions around the world. Music was only allowed in the church at prescribed times in their prescribed way. 
Music was called Plain Chant - one singer with no accompaniment. (This is the beginning of Gregorian chant.) This thin arrangement of one singer is in direct contrast to the rich chorus of vivid music that accompanied so many parts of older societies. Music that was used for so many purposes went from rich and full music to only one singer. Music almost became a vacuum, a void. But “the phoenix rises from the ashes”. In the Middle ages (starting about the time of Hildegard), progress was made as music became fuller until the renaissance when the most glorious full music burst into the scene – representing the phoenix rising from the ashes.
There needed to be a forerunner to the renaissance music. Someone needed to bore through the emotional barriers by composing beautiful music in medieval times! In my earlier story about my trip to the Cleveland orchestra, one can understand that a lot of “inspiration” can be given to musicians. I believe Hildegard was given such inspiration, and in her musical efforts, the way for the emerging renaissance was made ready. Hildegard was known for her visions. She wrote that they came through all of her five senses, including hearing! I believe her music was perfect to lift the hearts of people in her day – giving hope, peace and meaning to their difficult lives. 
Now let’s look at Hildegard’s music. It would not have sounded the same in her day as it does now. In the middle ages they did not use the Equal Temperament scale. Our scale today has an interval close to phi, and reoccurring number/frequency found within nature. This was strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church – perhaps to separate their music from the music of the older religions and traditions. Hildegard created beautiful soaring melodies that would have been pushing the limits of what was musically allowed. Remember if she got too pushy, they church could ban her music and her too.
Hildegard wrote plainchant – just one voice singing with no accompaniment. This was acceptable in her day. If there was a drone in the background as is found on many of her recordings today, it would have been “racy” at that time. Music was recorded with neumes instead of our musical staff with dots. Therefore the rhythm is up to our discretion, and not what she prescribed. Hildegard paid close attention to the music and the text, making them support each other. This was also highly unusual. Hildegard is “arm wrestling” with the iron grip that the church had on music!

Video interview with Jill Mattson on pitch
(This is included on Jill's website)

In review--Big, Big Beat

Maracatu New York 
Baque Do Brooklyn 
Nation Beat Music

There’s nothing quite as enticing as Brazilian poly rhythms married to New Orleans jazz and that’s the best way to describe Maracatu New York’s CD Baque Do Brooklyn.  This soulful stew of Afro-Latin grooves gets the heart pumping and the feet dancing.  The music feels like a samba parade entered the room followed by a Mardi-Gras band.  The opener, Roda Baiana sounds pure carnival with New Orleans brass kicking into full gear.  With Samba Lê Lê Brazil beats and vocals meet New Orleans brass and we feel Yoruba gods hanging around.
American percussionist Scott Kettner and his crew of horn players, drummers, and vocalists introduce listeners to the delicious world of drum jam sessions such as on Parada with its power samba drums.  We’re off to the Bayou on Voo Doom with Mark Marshall on slide-guitar.  And we hear a Yoruba chant backed by oomph pa of a tuba on Quem Vem Lá.  I’m reminded of the the Gangbé Brass Band and even African funk to some extent.  The only track I don’t like is the Led Zep cover Over the Hills and Far Away which interrupts the flow--loud and abrasive (except for the opening which sounds Appalachian).  I skip over it.

July seems like the right time to release this CD, during the height of summer heat and celebrations.  Catch this band live on the street if you can.  I can only imagine from my corner of the world the fabulous show this band puts on, but judging by the power beats on the titular track, it’s time to get uninhibited and groove, baby.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Practice--Vitalize with Upbeat Music

Photo by Patricia Herlevi, Bellingham, WA
Since my previous post on relaxing with classical music has attracted attention, let's experiment with the opposite--that is let's add vitality to our step and energize our bodies.  Psycho-acoustic experts tell us to charge the nervous system with high-tones and to increase the beats per minute to above 80 beats per minute (not that I ever know how many beats per minute music is).  However, by increasing the tempo, we raise our heartbeat rate, and increase the overall tempo in our bodies, thus giving us more energy.

We don't want to get our adrenaline rushing or create fight or flight in our bodies since this isn't healthy.  So I'm not asking you to increase the volume of music, play booming bass and drums or blast yourself with screeching electric guitar.  But then I doubt any of you were planning on doing that since you already know what's healthy for you and what causes you tension and unease.

I'm going to give you five examples as a start-up point and I'll tell you why I think these particular songs energize.  These are just examples and I trust that you will find your own energizing songs based on your musical preferences and experiences.  People with a Kapha dosha (Ayurvedic medicine) who feel sluggish anytime of year, but especially late winter and early spring could use more upbeat and uptempo music to keep them on their feet.  Vata Doshas might find upbeat music draining after a while and Pitta Dosha could go on overdrive if it is already out of balance, unless there's some kind of workout involved such as dancing to the music.  But follow up with cooling and relaxing music to balance this dosha.

Let's start with bluegrass and bluegrass swing.  We're heading to Canada for the first example.

1.  The Bill Hilly Band (The Bills), Shostakoverture and Francis, All Day Every Day, Borealis Records

Upbeat with high end banjo, accordion and syncopated vocals--foot-tapping with a little twang  The melody swings.  Try standing still to this song--you can't.


The Good Lovelies, Kiss Me in the Kitchen, Let the Rain Fall, Warner Group Canada

This song has a strong melody that swings, with a shuffling beat, upbeat and uptempo (moderate) and the lyrics are cheerful.

The next sample comes from Russia and I'm included it for fans of classical music.

2. Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 movements 1 or 3

Just listen to this piece and you will see why it's on my energizing list.  (Note this music might be too rigorous for some listeners).   It's a complicated piece with a variety of timbre and themes competing with each other, moving from moderate to very quick tempos.   High end tones come from the piano, strings, woodwinds, horns, and percussion.

The tempo slows in the middle of the movement with romantic sweeping piano solos recalling Tchaikovsky's Late Romantic work.  However, the piece picks up speed and momentum and by the end's climax you'll need to catch your breath.

The next examples comes from West Africa while providing us with poly phonic rhythms which is the main feature.  We're heading to Cape Verde and will be listening to the Portuguese vocalist Lura.  Music from Cape Verde has a sunny and bright quality to it (there are exceptions).  Here you have lilting guitar, poly phonic rhythms and husky vocals.

3. Lura, Vazulina

Now we're heading to Finland where the country shares a border with Sweden.  Gjallarhorn combines tribal drums, didgeridoo, fiddle and mostly low-end sounds played at a quick tribal tempo. The high tones come from a flute (sounds Celtic) and Jenny Wilhelm's soprano vocals.  This song has rave and trance qualities.

4. Gjallarhorn, Bonfire, (also on the album Rimfaxe), independent release

5. Let's head over to Cuba where we listen to call and response vocals set over Afro-Latin poly rhythmic percussion, horns covering the high end.  This one has some Yoruba or rumba elements with some delicious horns.

Sierra Maestro, Sangre Negra

Disclaimer: My practices are only suggestions and not to be used as diagnoses or treatment.  Please see a medical professional for medical conditions.  Whole Music and Patricia Herlevi are not responsible for use of this material.  Anyone with a heart condition needs to consult with a medical doctor and music therapist before experimenting with uptempo music.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Practice--10 Classical Movements for Relaxation

Face it, many of us are feeling like we're a high wire act these days so staying balanced and grounded feels challenging.  When we feel stress, tension, or too much chaos in the world we need to take time out and retreat either into silence or with relaxing classical music.

You could even listen to new age or other types of music, but I choose classical music specifically because we know the key of each piece.  Also with classical music, you can bet that the second movement of a concerto or even a symphony will slow down and provide a respite, but more so with the concertos.  I feel that chamber music provides the most relaxation since the brain doesn't go into overdrive keeping up with several musical themes.  Solo instruments provide the most relaxation, especially instruments playing low tones--the low end of the piano, a prominent bass ostinato, cello, bassoon, etc...

I'm providing you with a list of composers, compositions and 2nd movements (or whole pieces) so you can get started.  I'm even providing video samples, but you can just as well, slip on your headphones and close your eyes.  Get lost in the music.  For relaxation purposes look for slower, simpler, and lower tone music.  Not all these tracks fit all those qualities, but I still find the compositions relaxing.  Since we're all different, play around with this and see what works for you.  I advise you to keep a music journal since moods and situations change.  A song that works for you now, might not work for you at 6:00 p.m. or at bedtime.  Fortunately, you have plenty of choices even within the realm of classical music.

1. Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No. 2, Second Movement (Adante)

2. Rolf Lislevand, any track from Nuove Musiche, ECM, but especially, Arpeggiata addio and the closing track, Toccata cromatica (with Arianna Savall on vocals)

3. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto (second movement)

4. Ludwig van Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata

5. Claude Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun (or Claire de Lune)

6. Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G major (second movement)

7. Johann Sebastian Bach, Partita No. 2 in C minor (piano), *1st movement, 2nd movement, 4th movement

8. Antonio Vivaldi, Cello Concerto in G minor, Adagio, 2nd movement 

Not able to find this specific movement on YouTube.  There is a similar piece for double cello

9. Joaquin Rodrigo, Concierto Aranjuez, 2nd movement

10. Felix Mendelssohn, Concerto for Piano and Strings, 2nd movement  

Not able to find this one on YouTube

One warning, YouTube videos some times have commercials preceding the video

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In review--Folk Espana! (Feminine and Galician)

Co Xenio Destrozado 
(With a Broken Spirit)

Never judge a CD by its cover.  When I first laid eyes on the cover for Galician folk musician Ses (Maria Xose Silvar)’s sophomore album With a Broken Spirit, I thought I would be greeted by hard rock music.  Thankfully, the CD features delightful Spanish folk music and no hard rock. While Ses provides a few old-style rock and roll songs towards the end of the CD, clearly her forte is the folkloric material that resembles Mexican rancheras at times, regional Galician at other times, and she sneaked in a Cuban rumba, Canto aquí, canto na Habana, and a tango, Rebelarse ā conciencia (beautifully performed).

Ses (a nickname given to her by her family) has a good ear for jaunty melodies and an expressive voice that wraps around strings on the tango, guitars, bass, percussion and folkloric instruments on other tracks.  A simple arrangement of acoustic guitar, voice and Celtic flute such as the closing track, Unha mañá de setembro sounds delicious and aches with beauty.  Whereas, Milonga de aquí reminds me of Mexican border ballads and Boto en falta unha ilusión could easily appear on one of Pedro Almodovar’s dramatic movies.  While I don’t care for the old-style rock songs here, Ses offers more than enough folkloric songs to please my palette.