Stroud Sacred Music Festival
A guest post from Barry Mason who will be running a workshop with Lina on the Bank Gardens on Saturday 1st from 11 am.
The HANG and its offshoots of similar instruments, collectively known as “handpans”, was invented in Switzerland in 2000, and has its genesis in the combination of two instruments, the Carribean steel drum and the clay pot drums called udus in Africa, Ghatams in India and Potes in South America. Both instruments are quite quiet, and are frequently used to create music for yoga and meditation , sound journeying and sound healing.
The techniques for playing both instruments are easily learned, and are accessible to anyone of any age with a love of music, whether or not they have any formal training.
Workshops start with demonstrations of both instruments, and then we learn 3 or 4 simple rhythms on the udus. This forms the “UDU ORCHESTRA”, which provides the accompaniment and support to the handpans.
Next, on a one to one basis, you are invited to play the handpans, guided by ourselves. The small group numbers ensure that everyone can have a few minutes at this, and usually all manage to create some simple but original and beautiful melodies.
The last section of the workshop is a performance which combines the sounds of handpan and clay drum, as “brother and sister” instruments, with other simple percussion tools. Past workshops have achieved surprising and beautiful spontaneous music.
By Barry Mason
The Gospel Groove.
We are a small group of local people, who love to sing inspirational songs together. We formed last year, as part of the Sacred Music Festival in Stroud, after two workshops led by Jean Paul Wabotai. He is a charismatic teacher and performer of Gospel, African and inspirational songs, inspired by his own background in the Congo and more recently France and Spain. What he brings to his teaching is the ability to empower and enable people to have the confidence to sing.
It worked! Since last summer we have continued as a local group, slowly building our confidence and repertoire and have performed twice. We are opening this year’s Sacred Music festival on Friday 30th June and are busy working on our programme. We would really welcome a few new members to join us, ideally confident singers who are comfortable with our way of working, which is very much an organic, evolving process.
We meet on most Wednesday evenings in Stroud, at St Albans church and some occasional Sunday afternoons in the Trinity rooms.
If you feel inspired to join us, we would love to welcome you into our happy band of singers.
Please contact Kate Marney/Robert Duddell
True Listening is Worship.
"With the sense of hearing, we listen to creation. One of the greatest thresholds in reality is the threshold between sound and silence. All good sounds have silence near them, behind and within them. The first sound that every human hears is the sound of the mother’s heartbeat in the dark waters of the womb. This is the reason for our ancient resonance with the drum as a musical instrument. The sound of the drum brings us consolation because it brings us back to that time when we were at one with the mother’s heartbeat. That was a time of complete belonging. No separation had yet opened; we were completely in unity with another person. P.J. Curtis, the great Irish authority on rhythm and blues music, often says that the search for meaning is really the search for the lost chord. When the lost chord is discovered by humankind, the discord in the world will be healed and the symphony of the universe will come into complete harmony with itself.
It is lovely to have the gift of hearing. There is a very important distinction to be made between listening and hearing. Sometimes we listen to things, but we never hear them. True listening brings us in touch even with that which is unsaid and unsayable. Sometimes the most important thresholds of mystery are places of silence. To be genuinely spiritual is to have great respect for the possibilities and presence of silence.
Music is after all the most perfect sound to meet the silence. When you really listen to music, you begin to hear the beautiful way it constellates and textures the silence, how it brings out the hidden mystery of silence. The wonderful conductor Sergiu Celibidache said, ‘We do not create music; we only create the conditions so that she can appear’.
Music is, perhaps, the art form that brings us closest to the eternal because it changes immediately and irreversibly the way we experience time. When we are listening to beautiful music, we enter into the eternal dimension of time. Transitory, broken linear time fades away and we come into the circle of belonging within the eternal."
There are plans to repeat this great workshop and for the choir to be at the Sacred Music Festival 2017. There are also hopes to build a Stroud Gospel Community Choir so if you are interested get in touch with Kate Marney on 01453 547222 or 07800 717901. See more about Jean Paul at: http://wabotai.com/