Learning to sing……..befriending a world apart………..
'As I journeyed further and further away from the conventional certainties by which social life is organised, at each step of the way a new person was disclosed within me. And when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded away from beneath my feet, I found a bottomless abyss, and out of it came, arising upwards from I know not where, the current which I dare to call my life.' Teilhard de Chardin.
Extraordinary voices whose sounds resonate for a lifetime. Voices that move us to tears and melt our hearts. Voices that make us feel, give insight and awaken. Extraordinary voices from ordinary people who find something extra. This is the story of singing. A magical world that calls us from somewhere beyond reason.
Reaching it is the issue and that is not easy. There are those few for whom it is a gift, effortless and natural, and for the rest, cutting a path to its front door is frustratingly hard. So why are so many driven to try, to strive, to dream, to wish. The answer lies in what it does for us and to us. Its source is all of us together. The goal is to reach this source, a place where people can connect with something that seems to bring a meaning beyond the self and are rescued from their isolation. A place that binds people together. It connects us internally in the act of singing and externally through the sounds let out. It both defines the individual and places them in the group. In the end, we sing each other, and on many levels. At a simple physical level the breathing of the audience responds to the breathing of the singer. When the singer holds their breath, so does everyone else, and when it runs free, the audience is released. This is why singing has been central to all societies from earliest and most primitive times. It releases that which few other mechanisms can. It is collectively and personally cathartic, a social expression, bringing cohesion, belonging and safety.
What singing is can never be 'known' in the conventional sense. Its role is to express that which is felt. This presents the singer with a challenge, for he must learn to do something that ultimately he does not control but can only let go. He allows himself to be a vehicle for something that passes through, and this requires either considerable bravery or no thought at all. It is given to very few to be able to accomplish this at the highest levels, which is why good singing is so highly prized. Singing is public property because it matters. The singer fulfils a social function and it is his duty to take the audience on a journey that transcends and transforms the everyday. When the singer sings, he is not an individual to be admired from afar but rather a bridge over which the audience must cross to reach a different place where a longed for yet unknown experience is given. At the end they return from this place refreshed, ready to face the challenges of daily life once again. It is a world apart and yet within each person. The singer binds everyone together and does so by means of his own autonomic systems and the breath we all share. The autonomic systems are those that keep us alive while we are sleeping and consciously 'not there'. No one owns breath, yet it is shared by all. It does the work when you sing, carrying feelings and narrative throughout the group, joining all together. This can only happen when the singer himself lets go of the process and allows it to happen on its own, as if he is possessed. The