Katie Rose
from: Katie Rose
Category: General Discussion

Creating a Community of Song

October Blog - Creating a Community of Song

One question that has been deeply preoccupying me and will no doubt continue to do so until the end of my days here, is how can I use that which has been given to me to make a contribution to the world - as a singer, how can my song serve?

Asking that question has so far brought me to two passions - a passion for the power of song to bring unity - across religious, cultural, social barriers-  and a passion for the power of song restore a healthy connection with the natural world.  I have been honoured to witness and experience these two powers of song bringing about about breakthroughs on a personal and collective level.

My own experience of emerging from an intense experience of the evangelical christian church has given me the commitment to promoting inter-faith, cross-spiritual, cross-cultural understanding.  Experiencing the deep schism of separation that fundamentalism creates in the individual and collective psyche drove me to find another way.

I feel deeply grateful to evangelical churches for being the houses of devotion where I first encountered and experienced spiritual skydiving in song.  The ecstatic fervour that is encouraged in evangelical worship anchored my experience of voice in spiritual expression and allowed me to witness just what a powerful instrument of healing the voice is.  What I could never understand is why the love, healing and joy was only available to those who joined the club and why everyone outside the walls of the church was deemed to be destined for the fires of hell.  

I excommunicated myself and started communicating with those beyond the walls, travelling, learning and singing with people from all creeds, paths and cultures: buddhists, yogis, pagans, sufis, psychics, spiritualists, sound healers, new agers, folkies, afro-carribean shamans, arabic healers, kabbalists.  The songs of all these traditions deepened my devotion and my sense that every path flows like a river towards an indefinable mysterious ocean of unity.

I now lead singing groups and create music that incorporates material from many different global traditions, with a commitment to respectfully articulating their resonances and dissonances. The powerful unity that singing creates has allowed me to witness the dissolution of separation and conflict within myself and others.  It has allowed me to honour and celebrate difference, diversity and the joy of uniqueness within the huge symphony of life.  

I have begun increasingly to dream of seeing people from all faiths singing peacefully together.  This year I saw that dream embodied at A Space for Peace  at Winchester Cathedral created by June Boyce-Tillman.  Amidst a sea of choirs singing songs from all traditions, a Jewish Rabbi and a Muslim Imam sang a duet from the pulpit and lectern.  The harmonies of their melodies soared and danced in the cool cathedral air and seemed to have been destined to sing together.  It was a demonstration for me that peace is not only possible, it is natural.
More details about this event which will be held next year on 27th January can be found at:

http://www.winchester.ac.uk/campuscitylife/music/Pages/SpaceforPeace2012.aspx

The unity I began to experience through song extends to the natural world.  The experience of singing and camping under the stars at festivals amplified the inspiration I had always drawn from nature.  Discovering the world of pagan chant, with its celebration of the cycles of nature gave voice to this in a new way for me and also began to heighten my awareness of the disconnection we have been collectively experiencing.

The illusory separation from the natural world that the capitalist and religious mindset requires is a nonsense.   The devastating consequences of conceptualising the planet as a female body who is to be farmed, bred and raped for her resources are now showing themselves.  The conception of the planet as a grieving, victimised mother is also off the mark. Nature is beyond our concepts and beyond our command - one small earthquake will demonstrate that amply.   We are part of nature ourselves and thus can only project our ideas and opinions from within it. One source of our current crisis lies in the denial of that innate connection and in our innate responsibility towards each other in the mindful sharing and stewarding of resources.  

Singing and sounding arises from and articulates our relationship within nature.  The first shamans, singers and huntsmen learned to communicate by imitating natural sounds.  The first instruments emerged as we discovered the resources of earth could produce incredible sounds - the metal that melted in the first ovens became gongs, reeds became wind instruments, tree barks formed didgeridoos and flutes.   The first documented astrologers and philosophers discerned the influences of the musical vibrations of moons, planets and stars.

We live within a vast sea of vibration that is constantly changing.  As the study of Cymatics have shown, our sounds influence those of the environment and vice versa.  Every sound has the potential to be another Big Bang - to begin and initiate another vast wave of creation - or destruction.  Sounding mindfully enables us to return to the awareness of the innate natural power within our song and to return to our natural comm-unity with each other and the world around us.

Singing by the river amidst 800 singers who were all fundraising for Water Aid at The Thames Festival this September amply demonstrated how the community of song can send powerful waves across the world.  

http://www.wateraid.org/uk/get_involved/community_groups/sing_for_water/default.asp
I know this is just one of vast numbers of gatherings where people are singing in community for personal, collective and ecological transformation.  As the structures and institutions which have reflected our separation begin to collapse, the songs of new forms and ways of being are emerging.  I celebrate the power within all of us to honour, respect and unify with each other and our environment through song.

Wishing you the joy of inner and outer unity

Katie Rosex

Forthcoming Events
I am very excited about going to sing with the Tree of Life Community this weekend (22nd October) in Birmingham.
I also look forward to the explosion of sonic events taking place around 11.11.11 - do join me at the
Mind Body Spirit Winter Festival
The Garden of Roses will be humming with the songs of Benjamin Brelain and Robin Baldock on November 15th, followed by a Solstice special with Cate Mackenzie and the Love Faires on December 13th.
I am also delighted to be sharing in a day of Sounds of Harmony on 3rd December with
Tim Wheater and friends at Haslemere Museum.

Your basket contains:0 items