OPENING PRAYER – INVOCATION – play the G bowl
IN the name of the respirator, the vibrator, and the resonator – May the great iridescent incantatory power of your own voice be with you.
(and also with you)
Please put your hands lightly on your throat. You are invited to close your eyes.
You have been called here today by your own voice. What is in your voice? Everything. You. Are.
If you were born healthy, the first thing you did was make noise with your new self. It was there that day. Every need of yours became a cry. Singing was how you stayed alive. Then you grew up and learned how to be much quieter, but who you were inside your voice stayed the same. Your vibration collected in the whispered things to lovers, when scolding your dog, stubbing your toe on the leg of the table and cursing, when you looked someone in the eyes and lied about a tiny or not tiny thing. That mind blowing divine orgasm where you made noises that sounded like creatures from another galaxy, the time the taxi almost hit you and you screamed WHAT THE FUCK at the top of your lungs and all of NYC went silent for one millionth of a second due to the awesome anger of your survival instinct channeled into sound waves. The lines of Shakespeare and Walt Whitman that you memorized so they could flow freely through you. All the Kate Bush, all the Johann Sebastian Bach that bloomed in your mouth like roses. The things you said to yourself in the bathroom this morning when you were all alone.
It’s all in there. Every time you introduce yourself and say your name it’s all in there.
Everybody say your name. Ready, go:
Say it again.
Say it loud. Say it quiet. Say it long. Say it short. Say it high. Say it low. Say it normal. Say it weird.
Now, introduce yourself to oblivion. Say your name over and over until it becomes pure sound and loses all meaning. Don’t stop until it has lost all meaning to you.
Today I am inviting you into an experience that you are going to have to work for. Patiently, perhaps lovingly, perhaps with fatigue, perhaps with annoyance, but DEFINITELY on your own terms. This is not for the faint of heart or boring of mind.
I wanna show you how I get high and take myself home to the center of who I am.
And I’m gonna do it on a rainbow.
Do you wanna come do it with me on a rainbow?
Let me explain.
I’ve been singing for a lot of my life. I was raised by singers. I have had a lot of voice teachers. Pop, opera, but then the voice lesson that changed my life, though, was my first lesson in North Indian raga.
IN western music we like to sing a lot of notes. the keys change. In art forms like jazz or atonal music it gets really complicated in a very specific Western way.
In other kinds of music
RAGA. A drone. Which is like home.
A very famous Indian singer named Pandit Pran Nath, in his musical training, lived in a cave-temple of Shiva, as an ascetic for five years. According to his students, much of that time was spent singing a single note, accompanied by the sound of the stream that rushed past his hermit’s cell.
Indian music is about how well you sing ONE NOTE. That is how you start. One note. Like a learning how to stand. You can spend your whole life singing one note if you like.
In my first lesson singing raga, we did this very long warmup singing many long notes. The direction is to sing for a full breath length. As you breathe out over and over, your outbreath gets longer so then your inhale becomes more profound, and you really started elongating your breath into a whole new cycle.
So, in this lesson, about halfway through the exercise, I was like,
WOAH I’m REALLY REALLY HIGH! WOAH! This is amazing.
This was my first conscious experience of my voice being something that FED me, in the most visceral and real sense. My first experience of my own voice truly creating something inside of me.
Solidifying into a home that I could build for myself. Into something I could do for myself, made only of the materials of myself. Also became a place where I could show people who I really was.
And as I tend to do, I became addicted to it immediately.
So, there is a science behind it. There is something that actually happens to us after doing 21 minutes of something. Our brain goes into a relaxed, spacious, theta-wave state.
Directions for singing through the rainbow:
Start with RED -C Sing Red red red red red red red red ad infinitum
Then Orange – D orange orange orange orange…
Then Yellow – E
Then Green – F
Then Blue – G
Then Indigo – A
Then Violet – B
Then Red – C
(we sang through the rainbow, we all got high on oxygen, and then Anya, in the nude, cut up a watermelon in the center of our circle and served it to us.)