Sound Dreaming CD Blog Posts - Day 4

Day four of the Dec. 5 CD Concert Countdown brings me to writing about the 3rd piece in the program–“Sirens of the Deep”. Ah–the Sirens. I love the Sirens and have come to know these creatures who live in the mythical realm in the waters and along the shoreline. And during my journey with them through story writing, sound improvisations, leading Siren workshops, and while swimming in the waves, my experience is very different from what they’re famous for.

If you do a Google image search for the word ‘siren’, you’ll find a plethora of pictures of women as the seductress, the temptress–you  know, the old Eve story in new clothes. The ‘it’s the woman’s fault’ or ‘you made me do it’ storyline being implied here. But even in this misogynist interpretation of the siren, why is it the body that’s portrayed as the seducing element? Isn’t it supposed to be the voice that’s so tempting, so alluring, so dangerous? Isn’t that why Ulysses filled his crewmen’s ears with wax– so they wouldn’t HEAR the voices? So I’m left with the question–What’s so dangerous about the voice of women anyway?

Implicit in this traditional story of Ulysses for example, there is an admission of the power of the voice itself. And yes, I want to stand by that. The voice is a unique gift that connects us deeply with our body, our soul, our core essence. But what is it about the voice that threatens so deeply? What is at the root of this fear?

In the book “Seduction And The Secret Power Of Women” by Meri Lao, she talks the historical evolution of the siren within mythology and iconography. She talks about how they symbolically represent the oceanic depths, and our origins. Their wild voices are from a deep ancient place that was driven underground during the shift to patriarchy. It’s all tied up in the fear of nature, of the body, and of women. That centuries-long struggle between christianity and the earth-based pagan ways that elevated spirit above matter, male above female.

What I’ve come to know about the Sirens is that their call is all about finding our own primal song, our own primal sounds, our primordial voice, our creation voice. The Sirensong draws us back to reconnection with ourselves, our voice, the sea, the earth, the feminine, and all created beings. That’s my intention behind “Sirens of the Deep”. To voice that call back to our origins, back to our true nature.

The recordings I used in this piece were from several different locations. Beginning with the sounds of the waves, the descent begins with soundscapes and vocalizations from within Skoteino cave in Crete, an early ritual site. Then up onto the top of a hill on Patmos Island, where I called and sounded out to the Aegean Sea beneath me while sitting amidst ruins of an abandoned acropolis. With a quick reference to sounds recorded at the Phaistos Temple Palace site in Crete, the piece concludes with improvisations I made in the Dikteon cave (Crete), attributed to be the birthplace of Zeus.

The image I’ve posted today is a photo I took of the Azure Window, located on the west side of the island of Gozo, which is part of Malta. I use this image as an invitation to imagine your own relationship with the waters, the sea, the rocks, and yes, the Sirens, and how they live inside your body, and within your own primordial song.

Posted 333 weeks ago

Sound Dreaming CD Blog Posts - Day 3

It’s Day 3 in my 13 day countdown to the Dec. 5 concert of my SoundDreaming CD. Today I thought I would write about what ‘sounddreaming’ is actually all about for me. If you read yesterday’s Day 2 post, you’ll see that phrases and words that come from the intuitive and dreaming state is all part of my creative process. It’s the same case for the word ‘sounddreaming’. Although it didn’t appear from a night dream, it did appear while in a meditative state of consciousness. Again, at the time, it was one of those words I had no idea of its meaning, so it sat on the back burner of my awareness for many years. Meanwhile, as I learned about the ancient goddess cultures of the Mediterranean and the area that archaeologist Marija Gimbutas calls “Old Europe”, I became aware of a practice called ‘dream incubation’.

In that context, it was suggested that the highly resonant acoustics of an underground temple called the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta was a place that supported this practice, and that sound was an important aspect of generating a dream-like state. More recent scientific research has determined that it is the double resonant frequencies at 70Hz and 114Hz found in the Hypogeum that have a significant effect on human brain activity. On the non-scientific side of things, one of the figurines discovered in the Hypogeum is of a reclining female on her side with her head propped up using one of her arms, thus suggesting she is in some sort of dream-like state.

Of course there’s so much more to be said about the Hypogeum and its unique architecture and acoustics, but once I initially found out about it, I had to visit and experience it for myself. Since two of the pieces on the CD were composed from recordings I made at the Hypogeum, I’ll definitely be saying more about this place and my experiences there over the coming days.

But back to the sounddreaming word. It actually wasn’t until very late in the CD process that I made the decision to use that word to describe the music I had created. When I first embarked upon my visits to Greece, Crete and Malta, I went only with the simple idea of making vocal improvisations at the various ancient sacred sites suggested through my research. I was looking for a connection to the ancient wisdom of the feminine. What evolved over time was a more interdisciplinary practice. I spent a lot of my time consciously attuning myself to both the exquisite architectural stone structures and painted or carved spiral patterns found on some of the stones, as well as with the many female figurines, frescoes, and fertility sculptures I encountered in the museums. With this awareness underpinning me, my intent was to align my voice with ancestral wisdom through the primordial language of Sound and Dream my way into connection with the elemental and sacred lifeforce energy.

I continue to deepen my awareness and practice of Sound Dreaming, but these were the origins of how I came into knowing more fully what this word offered me. The photo I’ve posted today is from the Oracle Room in the Hypogeum. A painting of this chamber by Gareth Bate is the CD front cover. With the spiral designs suggesting the place has sonic significance, this is completely validated when one sings or speaks into the oracle hole (on the right hand side of the picture). The sound immediately sets up profound vibrations that resound throughout one’s bones and tissues as well as the entire Hypogeum complex. Being inside this chamber was like being retuned to a different consciousness.

Posted 333 weeks ago

Sound Dreaming CD Blog Posts - Day 2

This is day 2 of the 13 day countdown to my SoundDreaming CD concert happening on Dec. 5 in Toronto at the Array Space. Today I am writing about the 2nd piece that will be on the program entitled “Blood Run Deeper”. This is a newer composition that does not appear on the CD, but one that I felt compelled to include in the concert.

Many years ago I was given the book “When the Drummers Were Women” written by composer, teacher and frame drum virtuoso Layne Redmond. In the book, Redmond details the use of the frame drum in many ancient traditions, giving the reader a sweeping overview of women musicians in ancient cultures. Reading the book is what got me started me on my journey to some of the places and cultures that Layne speaks about, and ultimately culminating in the creation of the Sound Dreaming CD

Last fall, Layne passed away, and to honour her and her influence on me, I created a piece weaving together one of the tracks from her “Invoking the Muse” CD along with some recordings I had made at the Eleusinion, an area of the Agora just below the Parthenon in Athens. Now for the Cd concert, I’ve added a third layer to this piece - a song I created based on a text I wrote several years ago.

One night after reading about the tradition of the Oracle at the Delphi temple in Greece, I woke up suddenly out of a dream hearing a phrase loud and clear: “Blood Run Deeper”. Even though I had no idea what that meant, I had a strong intuition the voice was somehow connected to the Delphic Oracle. To try and decipher the meaning of this phrase, I began writing several texts in different locations to flush out more of the deeper layers behind these words. In the texts I also included a translation of the ‘blood run deeper’ phrase into ancient Greek, which sounds out like this: Heye-ma Neh-bath-ee-on.

In the liner notes of Layne’s Invoking the Muse CD, she gives a translation of the last recorded revelation of the Delphic Oracle around the 4th century CE, and then follows it up with her response:

“Go tell the king that the well-crafted court has fallen to pieces,
Phoebus dwells here no more,
There is no more oracular laurel, no talking spring,
And the Voice of the Water has been silenced…” (Delphic Oracle)

But I say the Muse cannot be silenced,
She sings within us forever!!!
And we will make her voice heard once again! (Layne Redmond)

That is the vision I have been drawn to fulfill – making her voice heard once again. At the concert, I’ll be performing this newly created piece, letting the muse sing within me using these words from the dreamworld – ‘blood run deeper’.

The image I’ve posted here is a 1891 painting entitled Priestess of Delphi by John Collier, portraying her with laurel leaves and breathing in the intoxicating vapours coming up from the earth below. These vapours helped put the Pythia priestess into an altered state, thus enabling her to deliver her prophecies and wisdom.


Posted 333 weeks ago

Sound Dreaming CD

Introduction to the Sound Dreaming CD Concert Blog Posts

The Sound Dreaming CD Concert happened on Dec. 5, 2014 at the Array Space in Toronto.  On November 23rd I began a series of FaceBook Posts to mark the 13 day countdown to the concert. Now these posts can be easily viewed in one place along with the accompanying images.  

Each of these 13 posts during gives background and context to the various pieces that were performed at the concert, along with my musings about the creative process.  The pieces are also available on the Sound Dreaming: Oracle Songs from Ancient Ritual Places CD. 


 Today I begin with the first piece to be played at the concert – entitled “Serpentine Dance”. In case you aren’t familiar with the CD itself, each piece was created from my improvised vocalizations made at different ancient ritual places in Crete and Malta. The recordings for the Serpentine Dance piece were made at Kato Zakros, a Minoan ritual site on the east coast of Crete. I first heard of this place when I read “Odyssey with the Goddess: A Spiritual Quest in Crete” by Carol Christ. I was fascinated by her story of how she and the women on her journey spontaneously began a snake-like dance while in the central court of the Kato Zakros complex.

 During my visit there, I began rhythmical breathing and sounding while walking in spiral formations on the central court grounds in order to connect with the serpentine forces. That’s what you’ll hear as the piece begins. Eventually I found a little shaded nook where I sat to rest and immediately was drawn to the song of a single cicada singing closeby. I joined in with this unseen creature, and got completely caught up in a duet with its pulsing rhythms. You’ll hear those recordings in the piece as well.

 The image here is of the Snake Goddess found at the bigger Knossos temple site. I purchased this replica of Her from a local artisan not far from Kato Zakros.

Posted 333 weeks ago

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