Sound Effects

This is going to be very short. The video says all. Beyond the video, which specifically addresses the fullness of the frequencies of gongs and their effect on live blood cells, I am interested in doing research with other instruments and frequencies as well as vibroacoustic therapy. Not sure what the details of this project are going to look like yet but I have met a scientist from Brown University who I hope to be collaborating with in the very near future.

Meanwhile… this is very cool and exciting.

Vocal Revelations

Yes, me too… even though in my classes I encourage students to let go of their own self-judgment when it comes to their voice, to let go of the belief that they “can’t sing”, “can’t hold a tune”, and all of the terrible things they might have been told about their voice from childhood (which is mostly where all this negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs come from)- when I hear my speaking voice recorded… yes, I cringe. And I love this article which explains so clearly and obviously the primary reason for that- which is that a recording does not pick up the rich low overtones which we hear internally through bone conduction when we speak. That is why we often don’t sound like “ourselves”- or the way we think we sound- upon listening to a recording of our voice.

Here is the link to the article The Real Reason the Sound of Your Voice Makes You Cringe

I also found this fascinating TedTalk which addresses the same topic.

TB Cello

If you know me and have seen some of my past entries then you may be aware that I totally love Mike Oldfield and think he is one of the most brilliant composers on the planet today. Not sure that I need to say anything about this. Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” played on cello… it’s freaking brilliant. The only bummer is that you don’t actually get to hear the tubular bells at the end- but I was actually smiling listening to this as much as I do when I hear the original. Also I think as much as it is an extraordinary musical composition, a large part of the impact in this case is actually the visual aspect- watching him play and doing the looping. It is very cool… and a really interesting backdrop as well.

Gradient Expansion

Last week I received a shipment of 200 CD’s- mine! My son, graphic designer Joshua Hardisty of The Midwest Visual Agency suggested a collaboration after hearing some sound journeys I had recently recorded in a couple of different studios. We both carry a procrastinator gene but somehow working together worked well for both of us. We were excited and inspired and, once we decided which tracks to use, we pulled it all together in a matter of 2-3 weeks. I did the music. He did the cover design.

It’s on this website if you go to “Shop” and soon there will be more in there! Like the really cool tote bags that Joshua also designed (the purple ones were my idea) which right now you can see on his webpage. He wrote a really great article about the design process HERE. I love that I got to collaborate with my son! In fact that may have been more exciting than creating the CD in the end.

But this is not the end- there is definitely more to come!

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Running- and DBs!!!

Yowzer!!! Busy days… the usual challenge, wanting to write, thinking about what is most interesting and exciting to share in my life and world which is always filled with sound and music. Of course if I wrote every day- or even once a week- I wouldn’t feel like I have to cram everything into one post!

Two great musical events in the last two weeks, one as I was making way to Tallahassee. I called my best friend from boarding school who I’ve seen just a handful of times in the past few years, having been reunited thanks to classmates.com about 15 years ago and told her I wanted to visit her in Baltimore as I was driving through. She was excited and the next time we talked she said she had gotten some tickets for a great concert. Well, we’ve all changed in the past 45 years, right? So I was not sure what kind of concert it might be… I said, Cool! Who is it? The Doobie Brothers! She said she thought we should revisit our high school concert going days… Well, I was all over that! They were so great and we had the best time.

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If you look closely you may notice the tears in my eyes in this picture. I had literally just seen a video and photo from a surprise engagement party my son was throwing that evening for his fiancee in Minneapolis! Unfortunately I was en route to FL and could not delay getting down there so I had to miss the party. (We’re having another one for them in July though with his RI family and friends!)

If you look closely you may notice the tears in my eyes in this picture. I had literally just seen a video and photo from a surprise engagement party my son was throwing that evening for his fiancee in Minneapolis! Unfortunately I was en route to FL and could not delay getting down there so I had to miss the party. (We’re having another one for them in July though with his RI family and friends!)

And here is the aforementioned- and in my opinion what should be award-winning photo taken by my daughter-in-law  Kimberlee Whaley !  From there I headed to Tallahassee with a brief stop in North Carolina. The night after I arrived in Tallahassee i went with a group of friends to see the most amazing band. It was without question one of the best, most exciting and dynamic musical experiences I have ever had.  DakhaBrakha . Another DB band comprised of a group of 4 extraordinary Ukrainian musicians, one man and three woman. Their music is eclectic, their excellence as musicians is awe-inspiring, their joy is infectious.

And here is the aforementioned- and in my opinion what should be award-winning photo taken by my daughter-in-law Kimberlee Whaley!

From there I headed to Tallahassee with a brief stop in North Carolina. The night after I arrived in Tallahassee i went with a group of friends to see the most amazing band. It was without question one of the best, most exciting and dynamic musical experiences I have ever had. DakhaBrakha. Another DB band comprised of a group of 4 extraordinary Ukrainian musicians, one man and three woman. Their music is eclectic, their excellence as musicians is awe-inspiring, their joy is infectious.

And now I’m sitting here at the kitchen table in my friends’ house in Tallahassee with Sound Journeys and workshops already behind me and more ahead of over the next five weeks, here and in St. Pete. Life is very busy, very full, very exciting and I am running to keep up with it all! I am making it my intention to get back to this page sooner so that I can share more of the exciting stuff that is going on.

In and Out of the Depths

Well, I’ve been sitting at my computer for three days working on my website, setting up events for my annual road trip to FL, learning about inserting PayPal buttons and all kinds of groovy stuff so I thought I should take the time to write a little something here. Basically starting with a blank mind. I guess that’s not such a bad thing. Leaves room for endless possibilities.

I have been thinking today about the richness of life, something I think about a lot with gratitude, since I am one of those people who has been blessed with the ability to feel deeply. First thing this morning a video came my way by Nic Askew, a short film in his series of “Soul Biographies”- well worth visiting his website and getting on his email list (click on his name above). The film was an excerpt from a longer film that he is in the process of making called The Soul of Stress. The man speaking is an ex-Navy Seal, Christopher Maher, whose entire life for many years was essentially dedicated to being able to manage stress. The man is clear and soft-spoken and so calm that you think “Yes, this is the person I would want around when the shit hits the fan.” He talks about why he “resonated” with the career choice he made, realizing he started on that path- learning to handle stress- at two days old. He talks about what happened to him then “when the nervous system is as fragile as a butterfly’s wing”. It is a powerful and poignant story.

So I woke up feeling grateful. Later I learned of the death of a dear friend of a very dear friend of mine who passed away almost two years ago. Avedis loved my friend Shin Ae deeply and I know he is so happy to be dancing with her- and we who knew them were all blessed by their presence on earth. I didn’t know Avedis well at all but I know that he was Shin Ae’s rock solid support when she was undergoing cancer treatment and his heart hurt watching her go through her trials.

Tomorrow I am going into a sound studio, Celebration Sound, to record some sound journeys- the first stage of a CD project my son Namdev and i are working on together. You can find him at The Midwest Visual Agency (and he’s all over the internet besides that- Joshua Namdev Hardisty).

I have strayed a bit from my point- it’s a bit of random access tonight- but back to the point is the line that runs through my mind so often from Jai uttal and Ben Leinbach’s beautiful piece “Radiance- Prayer to the Goddess Sarasvati”… “Peace to that huge ocean of emotions and feelings”… Please listen…

And then there’s this, another piece of music I find breathtakingly beautiful… De Profundis- Out of the Depths by flute master Terry Oldfield, with the song of the whales and a most beautiful prayer running through it.

Fortitude, Equanimity and Amazing Grace

Fortitude and equanimity… these are the words that have been echoing in my mind for over a week.

That’s how long it’s been since my son Ben was admitted to the University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a rare bone disease, fibrous dysplasia and has had a series of health issues over the last two years which have kept him wheelchair bound. Last Friday he was on his way to work, which conveniently is at the same hospital, anxious to get to Starbuck’s before catching the train up to the University, when his wheelchair skidded on the ice. He flew out of the wheelchair onto the railroad tracks and broke his tibia. There were some people there waiting for the train who lifted him onto the platform- one man put his briefcase under Ben’s leg to support it and someone else got his wheelchair off the tracks just minutes before the train came. Angels all around, so it would seem.

He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and called me shortly after he got there, told me quite calmly “My tibia is toast. I’m waiting for the doctor and for them to bring me some morphine.” The doctor came, the meds came, and that evening he was taken down for surgery. The plan was to put a rod in his tibia to stabilize it. I talked to the doctor before the surgery and he seemed quite confident that it would be simple enough- basically a routine surgery for the orthopedic department. They had already done five of the same that week. Except those patients most likely didn’t have fibrous dysplasia- they had normal bones and probably fractured them skiing or snowboarding. Four hours later they finally called me. They were done. unable to do the rod although they tried for a long time. His tibia was too bowed for them to do it. They ended up having to do a plate which the doc said was less than ideal but would hold the bone in place until it heals.

So now it’s been just over a week. I talk to Ben every day, several times a day, usually for a half hour or more. I have been consistently astounded by his attitude, calm and accepting. He seems to be healing well except that he has had a fluctuating fever every day, the cause of which is still undetermined. He has blood tests and cultures and nothing has shown up positive. No other signs of infection and they have done several CT scans now to see if there is a possible blood clot.

Through it all Ben remains calm. He doesn’t get upset with his nurses or doctors, he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. Being a mathematician and a scientist he is clear and methodical and able to advocate for himself when necessary. He gets tired. I know there’s some frustration but more than that, bafflement. just trying to figure out what the hell is going on. And he just keeps on keeping on.

Wondering how I tie this all in with my general theme of music and sound healing I decided to post a video of one of Ben’s favorite recordings- Debussey’s Le Cathedral Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral). I remember my music teacher Carl Thorpe playing it in a concert when I was 16. It brought me to tears and I have never forgotten the experience. I confess that I did not post Ben’s favorite recording of the piece- it moved too fast for me and did not have the atmospheric quality that I connect with it so I chose this one instead, which is followed by an orchestral interpretation of the piece- I think Ben will approve!

AA Bondy's Back (or, Where Does the Time Go?)

Seriously I intend to get on this page EVERY DAY! The truth is I have amazing experiences related to sound and music and healing or at least one of those three EVERY SINGLE DAY- and I want to write about them- I want to share them. That is a true desire of mine.

The time slips by so fast. Amazing how real an illusion can feel. Heh heh…

Well, I couldn’t let this one go by. New song by AA Bondy, after 8 long years of… I don’t know. Couldn’t tell you. He’s been quiet. I only know that I loved AA Bondy from the first song I ever heard by him… which was? Don’t remember, a whole lot of his music hit me at once. My son Moose loved him (still does, turned me on to this song earlier today) as did my friend Devon and suddenly there was a lot of AA Bondy around.

So, he has released this one song as a preview to his new album which is being released in full on May 10. I think I have listened to this at least 8 times today- the last time on YouTube through my TV which is hooked up to my stereo. One more thing, his house burned down in the California wildfires the day after he completed the album- which is called “Enderness” by the way. Life is so weird.

On the Nature of Daylight...

It’s late- “past my bedtime”. As usual. But I have to post this video with a short explanation. I watched the movie Arrival tonight. I wanted to see it so badly when it first came out but for some reason couldn’t make it happen. How I wish I had seen it on the big screen! So beautiful… And the soundtrack knocked me out. It should, right? It’s all about communication. It worked. It was brilliant. And when it got to the credits the music was so incredibly beautiful I had to watch them a second time through. The piece is by the late Johann Johannsson and it is haunting and lovely. But there is also a track by Max Richter- “On the Nature of Daylight”. I had to look him up on Youtube and when I did I came across this amazing video, as exquisitely beautifully as the music they are playing.

Sound, Medicine of the Future. Now.

A little over 20 years ago I had a client with essential tremors, much like the woman in the video in the attached article. The first time he went on the Soundweaver, with the vibroacoustic therapy and some light hands-on energy work, his tremors completely stopped. I would say that first time it took about ten minutes. After the session his tremors started up again like an old engine slowly starting up and within about 30 seconds they were totally back. But he had experienced relief. He told me it was the most relaxed he had been in 8 years since the tremors started up and that during the session he had no tremors at all. He said that at night when he slept he could feel his organs still shaking but during the session everything stopped.

Afterward he wrote a testimonial: “I fell into a state of meditation. I was in a void with beautiful light-blue light. All of my tremors stopped. It was like I was in a void with no end and no beginning. As soon as I felt like there was something beyond that, I reached for that Unknown and I came out of my state of meditation. as if I wasn’t supposed to go any further. It was a wonderful experience.” CST, 7.30.96

For the next year or so he came to me regularly for sessions. After the first session the entrainment set in much more quickly and it would only take about 3 minutes for his tremors to come to a total stop. They would always start right up again shortly after the music stopped, but he would get a reprieve and a period of deep rest that was very rejuvenating for him. The relief from going into such a deep state of relaxation would stay with him for a few days- which was huge. And then the exhaustion of the tremors would begin to set in again.

Close to a year later he shared another experience in a testimonial: “Most of the time I was in a marble chamber and at the entrance was some kind of a huge sculpting of a snake-like creature on the right. Inside it was calm and peaceful, no other people. Then I went into a place where everything became light. Light blue. It was so peaceful and calm that you feel no weight. When you are in there it is an extension of your life and you do not want to come back. I spent the rest of the time in the blue light. I feel like I am floating. I didn’t even feel the weight of my arms when I came out.” CST, 5.26.97

He didn’t come back much after that. It seemed that it became perhaps too painful emotionally for him to come back to his body after being in such a deeply restful and beautiful space. Not long after this he had surgery for his tremors which wasn’t entirely successful as I recall, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. He was elderly when I was treating him and passed away several years later. Working with him was an incredible gift for me and I know there was a period of time where it was extremely helpful for him. It was also tremendously educational as I was still fairly new to the work- had only been practicing a few years- and opened me to tremendous new possibilities with rhythmic entrainment and vibroacoustic therapy (introducing sound directly to the body through the use of a mat or recliner with speakers built into it).

Tonight I ran across this video about brain surgery with sound- in this case for essential tremors- very exciting!!! Click on this link for the full article.

Rosalita!

Literally not a day goes that I don’t think about what i want to write in my blog. Thoughts, ideas, inspirations, observations. Unfortunately a day rarely passes in which I actually take a pause between “The 10,000 Things” long enough to actually get to this page! (As a matter of fact I just had three paragraphs written and some how managed to suddenly hit a wrong key somewhere and delete the whole thing… Starting over.)

Tonight I’m sitting in my living room with the fire going, Christmas tree lit up, just me- and Bruce Springsteen. Okay, well, kind of. Bruce Springsteen on Broadway… on Netflix… in my living room. And he said something so astute that I had to take advantage of the moment to share it. I let too many of these moments go by.

He said that we become the person whose love we are most desperate for because that is the one way we can get it. It blew me away. So clear and simple- I started weeping. I think I always thought it was some lack of vigilance that caused us (me) to somehow become like our (my) parents (usually the less attractive aspects, it always seemed to me) and this just made such perfect sense to me. It hit me like a sort of revelation. So, that’s it. just that. We become the person whose love we are seeking… So simple.

Well, there’s a little more since I’m on the subject of Bruce. When I was 18 I ran off with my boyfriend and ended up living in a little hunting cabin in Saxton’s River, VT. That winter I was listening to the radio one day and there was an interview with a guy named Bruce Springsteen (this is 1973 now). He caught my attention because A) he was a young rock n’ roller and B) because in the band he had with him he had a tuba player and an accordion player and that was odd enough to be worth listening to. The first song he played was Rosalita and I loved it and that was all I needed to hear. Up until then all the songs I ever heard with my name in them were Second Hand Rose, Yellow Rose of Texas, Rose of Washington Square and Rosemarie I love you. So here it is. Enjoy!

Drivin' Wheel

I have a lot to write about it but it’s past my bedtime and I might turn into a pumpkin so this will be a short one. I want to write about my Sanskrit workshop, I want to write about time spent in Paul Dobbe’s recording studio this past week…

But first… I want to share another one of my top ten favorite songs! And I have to share it now because I went to see Tom Rush tonight and he closed with it and it is hanging out in my consciousness. It is timeless. I remember when I first heard it- I was 15- up at my brother’s house in Vermont. It blew me away the first time. The whole album was one of the great albums of the era, to my mind- definitely on my lifetime list of top ten favorite albums. He covered a number of other people’s tunes on the album doing his own unforgettable renditions of each of them. Every song on the album is exquisite but there’s something about the heart and the intensity of this one that makes it even more special. It has never failed to bring tears to my eyes. Tonight was no different.

And again, it speaks of the power of music to bring us straight into our heart, letting all the other crap drop away for a while. It’s a cleansing. On one of the steps going up into concert venue tonight was emblazoned “Music is Truth.”

Amusing Musical Musings

Really I don’t have any! I just liked the way all those words fit together. Let’s see what happens with a little stream of rambling though. I can’t call it stream of consciouslness because I’m not sure how much consciousness will actually be expressed here!

Some of the things I have been recently ruminating on… First, the sound journey I did two weeks ago at St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth, RI. I played longer than usually- not incredibly longer but maybe 8-10 minutes longer… and I felt like I could have just hung out and gone on and on. I had to reel myself in at a certain point (that point being when I looked at the time).

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It was such a gorgeous space- I had been wanting to do a sound journey in there ever since I first went there for a yoga class about a year ago. I record all my sound journeys so a few days ago I was listening back to this one. I often don’t remember what I did after a sound journey- I am in such a focused and meditative state. I just remember the feeling and the overall vibe of it. Sometimes there are certain instruments that stand out or maybe a particular chant. This one happened to be particularly trippy- there were a lot of combinations of tones that were creating very interesting and powerful binaural beats and as I perceived them I began to play off them and amplify them.

A few nights ago I went to a ukulele class. Now THAT was fun!!! I expected a small group of 12-20 people but it turned out that there were over 50 people in the beginner’s class- probably closer to 60- and the songbook we have been given is so much fun. Goofy songs like “Put The Lime in the Coconut” to songs by Herman’s Hermits, The Beach Boys and the Beatles- lots of Beatles tunes. My new favorite song to practice is “Don’t Pass Me By”- not something I ever imagined playing on the ukulele!

And then I went to an amazing workshop this past weekend at John Beaulieu’s property in Stone Ridge, NY- auriculotherapy with tuning forks- ie using tuning forks on acupuncture points in the ear, a brilliant therapy that I have wanted to learn for 20 years. It was a small group and thus a very intimate workshop and just what I needed for balance, inspiration and some great new information. John also gave me a really powerful treatment as part of his demo on Sunday morning which was also sorely needed. I have been trying to get my energy back and release some of the physical and emotional toll that my trips to Utah took on me earlier this year when my son Benjamin was having health challenges. A short treatment with John- who is such an extraordinary sound healing practitioner, bringing together his skills as a psychologist, osteopath, craniosacral therapist, musician extraordinaire and so much more- was just the right medicine.

And to top it off, we were in John’s sound studio which is for me, and I am sure all of the other sound healing practitioners, artists and musicians who are drawn to being there, like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was for Charlie!

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MTHSMIMT #6 & #7- More of my favorites!

Every day is FULL!!! Full of life, full of people, full of music. The one thing that seems to be lacking is time. My mind also is full. Every day there are so many bright moments of inspiration and awakening that I want to share and here it is, past midnight and I am knowing I have an early day tomorrow so I can only take a quick minute to post a couple more of my favorite pieces of music.

Here you go- one of the greatest soul men of our time. In doing a little research I discovered that he died on my birthday 2 years ago. I saw him several times back in the late eighties and he was wonderful and so accessible. I called him once at his home in Chicago- (those were the days when you could still get a phone number from information!) to tell him how much my boyfriend and I loved him and he answered the phone himself! The next time we saw him he dedicated a song to us (Love and Happiness).

So put on your dancing shoes and turn it up! The second one is one of the all time greatest songs ever, imho!!!

MTHSMIMT#- Day 5 Make-up!

Well, I fell off the wagon really fast! I am determined to catch up but tonight only time to jump on here quickly and post one new song although more and more are being added to my
”stopped in my tracks” playlist.

I listened to this whole album tonight loud- it was so good. Musical immersion… Did a few quick expressive art drawings while listening. Will post on Facebook tomorrow.