A short summary of my background in voice work
I have worked as a singer since the late sixties, and have recorded extensively, here in the U.K. & in America, Germany and Sweden. In the early eighties I began working with a group of young people in Poplar, near where I lived in the east end of London. This was to be the beginning of my passage towards an understanding of my own voice in order to best facilitate others. An investigation of what supports our voices in order to sing out what the heart & soul feels, without strain and damage to the vocal instrument. Prior to this I had opened my mouth and whatever was expressed was it! No thoughts of how does it all work? My entry into the world of song had been more accident than design; and then it became my life. Finding my voice & singing my life has given me my life.
I have had the pleasure of working with many people over the years including Welfare State International who are based in Ulverstone Cumbria, working with the voice as part of the Rites of Passage Courses. The Childrens Music Workshops, involving Primary schools in Tower Hamlets and Hackney, boroughs in east London with a high population of Bangladeshi Families. This project worked towards a performance with the children. They were extraordinary, inventive and inspiring as young children are. Also, More Music In Morcambe, The Princes Trust, Rock School, The City Literary Institute in London, The Actors Centre, Lewisham College on the Access to Dance courses, Workshops along side performances at Music Festivals including the Healing Sounds Festival in Brighton 2000/2002 with Ruth Phillips.
The joy that I have found in singing lies in the pursuit of the truthful utterance of who I am and what I feel. I have found in my voice a route towards being entirely myself. We are what we sing. Breathing into the songs; inhabiting the melody, the lyric & the rhythm, a singer has the ability to create a whole vocal orchestra.
A song can speak of tenderness & of anger, of humour & of hurting & the human voice can whisper & holler, playing with the cadence, dancing with the melody & intonating the the full range of emotional possibility, bringing the songs to life. Investing the songs with your understanding & presence, will bring the responses to you as a singer that will complete the circle that is the singer the song & the audience. The involvement of the whole voice is an experience that can be stimulating, dynamic & fulfilling.
What lies within underneath the voice speaks and sings or is silent; not by choice, but by the inability to vocalize authentic feelings, rendered mute as a result of trauma, the experiences contained and gagged as though stifled within a mind in turmoil and a heart, heavy with a longing to speak, to communicate? It is indeed the exploration of self through creativity, through art and expression that the whole and truthful voice can be revealed. A voice that speaks of us and is us. A voice that sings our history and sings our present.
We have engaged the human voice as the channel for expression since we first walked this earth as human kind. Music has been the process through which our history has been handed down to us over thousands of years as: ritual, ceremony, celebration, lullaby, parent to child, songs of war, of peace, songs of love and songs of oppression, and songs of pride and passion. We sing to give voice to feelings and emotions. Within the songs, lie both artistry and necessity, social history and politics. Music accompanies language and articulates emotion, and the collective songs are a vast vault containing all that has been us, is us and will be us. To breathe is to be alive; in heart beat; pulse and rhythm, a harmonious integration of the voice in the body, to be enjoyed & experienced by us all.
As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down-through both these turns..realise. Zen Flesh Zen Bones.