Sunday, November 15, 2009

The healing effects of music

The post that I wrote earlier was written while listening to Buena Vista Social Club CD, which has music from Cuba. It is nice music, but. It produces a certain emotional effect, it reallies up the emotions, and actually muddies up the mind.

I felt it. I felt that what I was writing was not quite right and that I HAD NO CLUE WHAT I WAS WRITING ABOUT. For example, I have no idea if the party boy came looking for me. Maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was. Who knows, except God? So why bother even thinking about it.

So then I realized that my mind was all cluttered because of that music and I put in some Tibetan chanting. Instantly, my whole being is rejuvenated, my mind is clear, and I can work productively.

Interesting, isn't it.

I knew this from before, because when I was painting my Native American drum, I was listening to radio and Eric Clapton was on, and I felt completelly zonked out, drugged out, all foggy in my head. I could not paint the drum. So I put on some Tibetan flute music and voila - my mind cleared up and I could work.

I also know that if I listen to rock-n-roll and it "sounds good" it is because I am in a total wacko state of mind, i.e. neurotic, angry, pent up, etc. Also, when I am in that state, meditative music sounds too slow. That's my first sign that I have gone off the deep end.

When I am feeling right, then meditative music feels good and anything else feels bad.
And, my cat confirms that. When she listens to something, it means music is healing. Her favorite is Tibetan Lama Tashi chanting.

You can also probably feel the different quality in how I am writing now - it feels more present, because I am more present, because of the music. It was my intent to get out of the fuzzy state, and music was a helper.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

good feeling: healing movement therapy

Yousuff Koumbassa was here teaching a West African dance class for 2 days. The guy is an amazing amazing dancer, the best I have ever seen. The next best dancer imo is Chrysogone Diangouaya, Congolese dancer, but he is a little younger and a little less mature than Yousuff. Yousuff has presence, very deep presence. His class is completely about technique and completely free of any ego. Yousuff is totally present yet he is completely absent from the picture, and the Art is invited and comes in. So that frees us dancers to just Be too, and to experiment and experience the Dance.

The directions we got from Yousuff were: take your time; and feel, have a good feeling, enjoy the movement. "Take your time" does not mean "slow it down". African dance is really fast. How he explained it is: don't push, don't force yourself, let the movement happen. And enjoy it. Have a good feeling.

Dancing with this attitude is extremely healing. I was not tired or sore anymore. Everything just flows. I danced for hours, stayed up late, and still was full of energy. (Little nap in the afternoon and some good food also helps :)

More importantly, I was free to be, and to feel, and to experience myself. Yousuff created space for us. Because he wasn't in the picture but only Art, there was a lot of space for us to engage with the Art. SOmehow I got more connected with my body and with myself, and a lot of things became clearer.

Also, my body was "lubricated" and healed quite well, some neck issues and shoulder issues and pelvic issues got better because I was warmed up and stretched out. I also massaged it myself and got it even better.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

HumanRemodeling youtube list

All the healing music, song, dance, ... there. Let me know if you find something else to be included.

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Some really good fun

Just came back from Congolese drum and dance camp,

Wow - it was awesome. It is so much fun, and also an excellent physical and mental workout, and also - people are so nice. All teachers are Natives from Congo and they give the camp a certain flavor of an African village, and it feels good, that living the Native way.

Music and dance are so kinky funky that it is a phenomenal martial arts and awareness practice. Playing it and dancing it requires paying attention and yet being relaxed, at the same time; knowing your part and yet synchronizing with the rest. It unites body, mind and spirit. One has to be in the groove and just fly with the music. It is an excellent excellent workout. It is also an exercise in community and communication. For example, each drummer plays a different beat and they all have to match. All dancers have to dance the same thing and also move together in lines. Drummers and dancers have to work together. There is singing while drumming and dancing. It is a moving, evolving, tenacious energy. Very powerful and also very gentle.

There is also kalimba playing, which sounds angelic (bush doctor plays this) and so on.

And storytelling - interactive storytelling! audience has to participate - such fun and deep stories. The storyteller dances the story and signs too.

And people listen to each other and have conversations. There is caretaking of each other. Also, it is very healing to be acknowledged and respected like that.

There is not much on Congolese drum/dance, so this is a gem. Here are some links to Congolese: there is a promotional video with a dance clip - the guy is 42 yrs old! the lady even more - dancing/drumming this stuff keeps body young for a long time. Every year there is camp in Hawaii in March, and one in July in N. California, 10 days each, you can come for any amount of time and not even take classes. Some teachers live in Paris, some live in Oakland and teach weekly classes, some teach congolese drumming at universities.
Search for Chrysogone Diangouaya and Hyacinte Massamba - phenomenal drumming clip

If you want to order a CD with drumming and singing, then you will have to contact and arrange to carry his CD. He and his group drum and sing, it is an awesome CD.

THere is West African too - it is a little better known by now, because they got instructional DVDs and CDs. It is very powerful too. with Yousuff Koumbassa - check out his dance dvd in "bio" Moustapha Bangoura and Le Bagatae - check out dance clips

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

West African music

Check out movement and later sound, click on "bio" then scroll down to see the movement in slow motion. Notice the smile. and click on "see preview 1" and this is what it looks like

West African Natives have a very ingrained musical tradition tied to healing, "djeli" families are responsible for oral passing of tradition, music, storytelling, and peacemaking.

I have been hanging out with several of those Natives lately and playing drums and dancing, and there is a definite and very pronounced healing effect and community building. These are very very traditional moves and rhythms, very ancient, and they are designed to "do" something and they do - they somehow put you in a higher state and thus heal.

Africans drum and sing and dance with everything - someone drums when they work the fields, when they fish, for initiations, etc. Not to mention the aerobic workout, sense of movement, presence, concentration, relaxation, freedom in the body, etc. Westerners often think it is great for drum circles and shaking one's butt sexy, but that is soooo off the mark, and this African music just recalibrates us Westerners to being normal again and functional within a community.

In short, this "art part" is a very crucial part of Native living, a magical part.

Right now a lot of West Africa is staying home jobless and just getting drunk on home-made beer. What Africa has to offer is priceless and we need to somehow learn it while there are a few keepers left.

I have tried all kinds of music and dance, but West African has something pure and undiluted, because it is completely illogical and forces you think about each and every step. Also, it is completely free of any games, pretenses, etc, just joy of dancing and being alive and connected to Earth. Belly dancing should be like that too, but it is often reduced to the level of sex entertainment and/or has an attitude of trying the engage the audience and keep them captivated, i.e. it becomes emotionally charged drama and ego food. West African is not sexy at all although it has a lot of pelvic moves and is sexy, but the moves are done with pelvis like they would be done with an arm or head, all body parts are EQUAL. It is very ... Earthy and very One. Also, the emotion is neutral, it is sheer joy. There is no dramas, no games, nothing. Just joy.

Something Sacred and Something That Builds Community is hidden in that music and dance.

And I encourage you to explore it.


We need to wish for these very precious ancient art keepers sincere wishes to succeed and pass the knowledge. These are Native people in charge of what might be one of the few left truly ancient healing things. Please respect and support them and help them Teach.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

West African party!

Come and dance your heart out! Very healing, very workout, and very fun.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

West African music

is healing - that's all I can say. There is a famous teacher here now, giving drum and dance classes, and it is amazing. That music just does something wonderful (of course if you let it...) and letting is requires being alert yet relaxed and kinda letting the music guide you through your body and senses (higher senses too), it is like meditation in movement. Like true martial arts, in some ways.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

the healing effect of music

Salaam Ensemble
Souhal Kaspar
Houman Pourmehdi
Brahim Fribgane

Just came back from the concert by Salaam Ensamble, several middle-eastern musicians of very high caliber. Wow! It was amazing. It touches something inside.

And yet, the whole experience is not even close to one sitting in a meditation group. I noticed on my way back - I have already forgotten the concert and was pretty much back in the old rut. But after a meditation meeting - no. Something else happens and I am quiet.


Poem by Rumi:

What is it to be done, O Moslems? For I do not recognize myself.
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Gabr, nor Moslem.

I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature's element, nor of the circling heavens.

I am not of earth, nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;
I am not of the empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence, nor of entity.

I am not of this world, nor of the next, nor of Paradise, nor of Hell;
I am not of Adam, nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwan.

My Place is the placeless, my trace is the Traceless;
It is neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.

I have put duality away, I have seen that the worlds are one;
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.

He is the first, He is the last, He is the outward, He is the inward;
I know none other except "Y Hi" and "Yan Man Hu"

I am intoxicated with Lover's cup, the two worlds have passed out of my ken;
I have no business save Carouse and reverly.

If once in my life I spent a moment without thee,
From that time and from that hour I repent my life.

If once in this world I win a moment with thee,
I will trample on both worlds, I will dance in triumph forever.

O Shams Tabrizi, I am so drunken in this world,
That except of drunkeness and reverly I have no tale to tell.

==== this is actually sung in Persian. Salam Ensamble has recordings of this kind of stuff....

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beautiful soothing piano music by David Hicken

There is a MP3 link for listening, on the very top of the page.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gypsy music, West African music

This is way awesome - gypsy way to party, straight from back home. A great contribution of E. Europe! Also notice the playfulness of the players - again contribution of E. Europe, where people had plenty of opportunity to develop some finer inner qualities - partly genetics, and partly because there was little going on externally.

Notice that the music speeds up as the "musicians" get more and more into it - typically, many gypsy songs start with something like: "life is miserable, she left me..." and then speed up into: "heck, life is still good, lets' party!" and then it ends in total crescendo.

Now, that is often the problem with E. European music etc - it is kinda bipolar :) First, it is very complex emotionally; it expresses a very very wide range of rather complex emotions, both on the uplifting and dragging down sides. Second, it goes from great melancholy all the way to total exaltation, and it stirs emotions big time. Once you start flying like that, it takes great skill to come back down to Earth and calm down those adrenal glands that went hyper.

E. European music can have a self destructive emotional quality, because a lot of it was sung, and still is, for bars and drinking parties. So, the songs can often encourage living it all up tonight and forgetting that tomorrow will come for sure and we will have to pay.

Also, come to think of it, E. European music is typically for adult entertaining only. It is used for country fairs, where traditionally young men and women go to dance to meet possible mates, also for weddings, and for bars and parties. All mentioned involves great deal of alcohol, and typically some rather sexually explicit female singer. There is also some dancing "as sport", i.e. one can go to a dance class in "YMCA"-like environment and dance there, and even perform. So, unfortunately, the music and dance could be used much more productively in daily life.

After playing West African music for about ... 4 yrs now, I tend to prefer it. Why? Because it makes me feel good, it grounds me.
West African music is very different than what I grew up with because the emotion is neutral, and music only contains positive, celebrative vibe. It is totally grounded, even if it calls for flying. It is very tenacious in terms of staying on the beat, so there is discipline in it that transfers to the audience, combined with creativity and playfulness. And total unpredictability - West African music is all "groovey" and impossible to participate in unless one is totally relaxed yet completely alert.

Thus, dancing or playing African music is extremely healing and soothing, and gives clarity. It seems more designed for survival, i.e. as if it is designed only for having positive effect on people. I suppose because it is played for the entire community, for families, children, etc. and it is designed to help people live better together in harmony, achieve health, happiness, accomplish goals like farming, etc. and for a long time, through generations. There are even dating dances etc but it is all very well regulated by elders. In short, it is clean good fun, and that is what makes it very healing.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Healing effect of music

Adam Gyorgy gave a concert here in Hawaii, in a chappel, on Ocean shore by tiki torches, palm trees and Ocean gently splashing...

The concert was fabulous - Gyorgy has ***such*** a good touch, the notes just come
out like a stream of water under moonlight, it just flows... Every note crystal
clear and with some kind of pure intent... He is very young and some of that innocence, joy and whatever else is just felt in what he is playing, it just is so ... gentle.

I could just feel my heart opening and becoming warm and fuzzy and me feeling normal
again.... It feels like flying.

ps - he is from and lives in Budapest.

PPS - And, classical music is proven to reduce blood pressure by 20%... A local surgeon played it before every surgery with great results...

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Very nice music. Bread: "Baby I am a-want you" with lyrics Bread: "I’d give everything I own" with lyrics


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Belly dance as aerobic and stretching exercise

Because my parents were here and I needed to escape somewhere to do something for ME, I ended up going to the belly dancing class by Tito Seif. Tito is very famous belly dancer from Kairo, Egypt, and stopped here only for 2 days because he came to grab one of the local dancers and take her to Las Vegas to dance with him in the shows. What a chance! We seldom get big names, UNLESS they want to come to vacation in Hawaii. Plus, I never read the newspapers and by chance I saw the article on his class just a few days before the class.

So, wow. That was an amazing class, and I noticed a definite improvement in all my dancing, including the West African dance I regularly go to. Tito was an incredible inspiration because he is so creative and has so much fun while he dances. He just smiles and dances and makes up all kinds of funky moves. It is always different.
*****A GOOD TEACHER MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.****** Somehow something of his schine rubbed on me.

Also, it must be that belly dance is in my blood, my genes are from there and the dance is definitely familiar. What else can I say! I can listen to that music and it all makes sense and sounds cool. It is helping me transition to listening to pure West African music, which is definitely more ... jazzy.

West African music is pure drums and to me it is harder to just listen to it if I am not dancing or drumming. Somehow it requires more participation than just listening. It is ACTIVE music. Also, it sounds more like jazz, the syncopations and the pauses are definitely less predictable. That is what makes traditional African music so cool and so healing. It turns off the logical mind and turns on the higher mind. It requires total relaxation yet alertness. Also, there is absolutely NOTHING sad in African music. It is ALL just happiness and joy. That is definitely a gift to the world. Coming from the chronically melancholic, sad, self pitiful, whiney Eastern Europe, I SUPER highly appreciate the happy, grounded, centered tone of African music. It heals! It connects to the Earth and to one's body and Self.

I concluded that listening to music and being able to SING ALONG is a prerequisite for dancing. That's why Middle Eastern is helping me with African, because African has nothing but drums, and I needed to learn to sing along just drums. It's a learning process, definitely, for a totally white westerner like me. I grew up listening to very linear melodies (that I always found boring). Luckily, we had some middle eastern influence and there was drum music in all kinds of funky beats, like 7/9, and I always adored listening and dancing to that.

So, all this curvey, circular, wiggly, zigzag music is a fabulous exercise. It requires moving the whole body. Check out the articles on dance therapy.

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