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Category: Voicework

Chloe Goodchild at Hawkwood

Founder of The Naked Voice Chloe Goodchild has synthesized Indian philosophy and classical music teachings with Japanese martial art movements. She maintains that everybody can sing when they find their authentic voice. Withher new book THE NAKED VOICE: Transform your life through the power of sound just published, Chloe Goodchild held a Summer Retreat at Hawkwood in August. Katie Lloyd-Nunn caught up with her.

KLN: You describe The Naked Voice as your life’s work. When did your journey begin?

CG: I would say it was deafness in childhood. Aged four I had traumatic surgery on my ears and didn’t really hear properly until I was eight. Those four years were the trigger for sensitising my ears to the soul; preparing my listening.  As my hearing came back I discovered I could hear if people were telling me the truth. I saw there were layers of communication between the personality or surface social communication and what lay underneath. 

I remember reading in your first book The Naked Voice: A Memoir that you were influenced by time in Africa.

At 18 I went to Africa with VSO to work in an experimental school exploring mixing tribal communities together so they could overcome differences and get on with each other.  Being in African culture, my ears were opened to the music of the instinctual body. Everything I learnt in Cambridge inWestern classical and religious music was up and out of body but African music was “git down!”

Could you say something about Indian singing and how you work with this?

Another major influence was encountering North Indian Raga music initially through Gilles Petit (voice and movement teacher based inFrance) and then Shruti Sadolikar and her extraordinary ecstatic South Indian classical singing. Hearing Indianmusic through a feminine voice got me very excited so I pursued her toBombay.  I was also visiting Ramesh Balsekar ateacher of Advaita, the Indian philosophy of non-duality.  There I realised that it is my job not be a master of Indian Raga  but to marry Advaita withthe Indian reverence for the human voice.  To realise the teachings of Advaita throug hthe human voice in myself and then in others. The Naked Voice vocal work offers a direct experience and embodiment of the voice.

What are the main themes of the book?

The core of the book covers transforming your listening, your communication and your life! Each part includes some instruction, some narrative and a more reflective philosophical element.  I’ve interwoven stories to illustrate this methodology of the voice.  Stories have helped me to deepen my understanding of the transformative power of the voice, but I hesitate to constrain it  to a methodology becauseits foundation is a pathless understanding of oneself – an undivided wholeness.


Another thread is Shintaido movement and energy work with Japanese Master Masashi Minagawa, with whom you have been studying and researching for many years. What in particular speaks to you about this approach?

Shintaido was developed in Japan in the 1960s and means ‘New Body Way,’bringing together Japanese martial arts, Chinese medicine and Buddhist meditation. I first met Masashi Minagawa in 1995 and was immediately struck by hisdemonstration of Shintaido’s joyous spontaneity and flow. It’s a dynamic danceof giving and receiving which offers a radical encounter with one’s true self.All the movements seek to empower, rather than overthrow, and require deep,non-judgemental listening, precision and fearless attention.

K– I can see that this quality of encounter and listening dovetails perfectly with your work. You also have a close colleague in Nicholas Twilley, who you describe as a world percussionist, poet and visual artist.  What specifically does Nicholas bring to yourwork?

I would say both Masashi and Nicholas have acreative relationship with the deep feminine. Nicholas has been co-creating soundscapes for healing and artistic expressionfor many years. Since the 1980s he and I have been doing some experiential research into the crossfertilisation of spoken and sung voice, which is complementary to Masashi’senergy movement. Early in 1990s we formed an alchemical trio and they are mycore team at The Naked Voice, along with my wonderful administrator, Tim Chalice.They are incredibly supportive and fearless of the feminine. They are my soulfriends at a very high creative level.

Yes, and Nick’s improvised rhythms really support us getting connected to our physical body, the Earth and our own natural voice.

You talk about the mastery of theemotions through music.  Your work isreaches far and wide, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Is this the reason for your new online training?

Yes! We are becoming aware of the concept of the singing field and how new technologycan support this work. The other day I was participating in a webinar withpeople from 20 countries.

What’s next for you in your musical and teaching journey? You’ve already sung for the Dalai Lama, with International Policy Leaders and high-security prisoners. 

World domination through the Singing Field!  We have our world network of Naked Voice facilitators, whoare taking the work into their local communities. I will continue to workinternationally and a new initiative is a creative practitioners training.

I had to put my own musicianship on the back burner to pursue this path anddevelop the Naked Voice – hopefully Ican return to that more now.

Thank you Chloe, we look forward to welcoming you back to Hawkwood in October 2016.

Hawkwood, August 2015

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