Monday, 22 August 2016

The Kindred Spirit of Wryd and Wonderful


I have been to  literally 100's of festivals in my lifetime, performed as a singer/songwriter at most of them , but never have I experienced wonderful, in the way that I did on Sunday.

It was as I pulled off the M4 that my heart really started pounding.

'Steady now old girl,' I told myself, as I felt my nerves racing in my chest.

You see, although I have been a singer/ songwriter all my life, I have stopped performing at festivals since a life threatening illness 10 years ago left me a different person, both in terms of my confidence and my physical ability. 


          foto kindly by Tina Wills

Until recent years, I have focused the majority of my time instead, supporting others through Community Arts, to realise their performance aspirations. I have loved every minute of it.

However, through a very personal journey, my life has been transformed by embracing fully the loving and healing vibration of sound, mantra and reiki, to the point that now, I feel able not only to care about others, but also to care equally about my own desires.

And it is these desires that led me to Wyrd & Wonderful. 




In my heart, Wyrd was always much more than a return to performance. Better described as being witnessed in the sharing of my raw, naked soul through the chanting of the ancient Sanskrit mantra which has become my daily healing practice;  I felt a deep sense of truth in my new performance self, an authenticity, a sacredness, the start of a connected journey that  had started to make me feel so incredibly vulnerable. 

'Shall I turn back and make my apologies?' I thought as my car got nearer and nearer to the beautiful Neath Valley.


But I needn't have worried because Wyrd and Wonderful is not just a festival. I should have guessed really, because it is run by dear, beloved friends. Wyrd and Wonderful is an instant family of kindreds, who love each other and care. You can feel it before you even get out of the car.


As I chanted on the main stage,  I was inside my own meditation but when I opened my eyes, I found that others were meditating with me. I don't have any foto's of my sharing because it didn't enter my head to capture it in any way, other than in my heart.



Some of the women in the audience were crying and yet smiling. I guess they recognised  my level of vulnerability in themselves. 

I did not question nor feel responsible for entertaining anyone. Instead, I allowed myself and Wyrd allowed me, to simply be who I am, without stereotypical definition.

I was there to give back a loving vibration to Wyrd, to give part of myself to the whole. 


I wanted to do this because my beautiful friends, Tina Wills, Elizabeth Mc Avoy and Ian Mc Avoy had very kindly set up a stall to raise funds for my work with Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio Project (www.soundmemoriesradio.com).

I can not thank them enough for this loving kindness. They are truly angels. 



And they had arranged this kindness with Sheila Bassett. Thank you Sheila. And thank you James Spate, the Stage Manager for not even flinching when I said, 'Actually, I am going to chant 4000 year old love mantra with a gong.'

When I came off stage, people were so lovely to me. Hugging me, wanting to meet me, holding me and saying the most wonderfully kind things.

And in those moments, my battered and beaten body mattered little, my healing voice smiled inside me.

Having listened intently, the Universe started working her magic.

A lovely man wanted to meet me, he had felt so connected to my mantra. It transpired he had a degenerative spine condition, so I was able to offer him loving reiki.


One of the women who had been in the tent, gave me a huge hug and I really felt a loving connection. I saw her later standing by the most AMAZING stall and it transpired that it was hers! 

The picture above of the stall is not from Sunday. It's from another festival. I borrowed it from Willow's facebook. I was so taken by the stall that I actually forgot to take a picture of it! LOL. Beautiful handmade shaman drums and beaters! Just stunning. I was in my element. Her and her partner make them. They are a lovely couple called Willow & Croweye. 



And then I met another woman who had heard me from her stall. We chatted. She had Tibetan singing bowls and she asked me if I would like to play them. I did. They were very beautiful. I said to her, 'I am sure I know you from somewhere?' But we did not know each other, not in this life anyway, maybe from another, we laughed.

I bumped into Sheila, who said, 'Oh I have someone for you to meet later. I have told her all about you and she wants to meet you.' Then she disappeared with her lovely advertising board and lollipop tree.


My dear friend Tina and I went to the main field. We could hear drums. When we got there, the most incredible shaman drum healing was happening. 

There were about 10 drummers encircling a woman in a chair, who had her eyes closed. 

Everyone was playing at different levels. Someone pulled out and Tina very kindly asked her if I could take her place, she generously offered me her drum. I joined the gathering of healing shaman drummers. It was a very special and privileged experience led by ... Willow and Croweye! What wonderful humans they are.

Willow asked me if I could offer ancient mantra for the Opening of other festivals. I said absolutely. It is the exact desire of my heart to travel around and chant to open festivals. I can't think of a more beautiful way to live my life. I explained to her that it didn't feel right to ask people and that I would trust that it will happen if it is meant to be, she said that perhaps she can ask around for me. That is so kind and loving.

Sheila took my hand and led me off to the person she wanted me to meet. Well, I'll be blowed, it was the woman with the Tibetan singing bowls on her stall that I had met earlier and was convinced I knew!We couldn't believe it.

'It wasn't a past life I knew you from, it was the future!'


It transpired that this familiar woman was called Rain and she takes her beautiful stand to festivals all over the UK. On her stall she stocks music Cd's and is looking for meditation music that is  'something different'.

We chatted about my 4 ongoing CD projects that will be finished by the New Year and she said that she would be very keen to stock and sell all 4 projects. She gave me her card to contact her to negotiate terms. 

AMAZING!! It means that before I have even finished the 4 projects, I have a festival distributor! I reckon Sheila Bassett is actually a fairy godmother! How else could she know to bring us together?

Thank you so much Sheila, I said quietly to her and gave her a big hug.

'It's what I do ' she replied with a smile so serene, I became certain she really is of faery folk.

So, then I offered Rain and her husband a mantra from my open heart to theirs'. We sat opposite each other and I sang them an ancient heart mantra in gratitude and thanks.


When I returned to the Sound Memories stall that Lovely Liz was so lovingly looking after while she braided people's hair, I met a wonderful woman who was so kind about my chanting. She had also bought many things from the Sound Memories Stall. It transpired a family member of hers' had died with dementia only last year. I offered her a loving gift of a mantra healing.

We went to her room and we set her intentions. I then channelled the  mantra for her. We sat very still together on her bed, me chanting for her. It was a moving experience.

The day whizzed by. It was time for me to go home and a young lad needed a lift to the train station. Without a second thought, I offered to take him because that is what Wyrd people do, they are Wonderful to each other!



So in summary, with my hand on my heart, I can say that Wryd was not just Wonderful, it was magical in every single sense!

In my next blog I will show you the very beautiful gift that was sent to me when I got home that evening from Ian Mc Avoy who was the outstanding Sound Engineer all day at Wyrd ... 


For more details of Wyrd & Wonderful Festival
at Hafan Y Coed, please look at this website link : www.wyrdandwonderful.com



Extra Special Thanks to Tina for quietly making it so 
& never taking the credit. Namaste, dear one.

www.cherylbeer.bandcamp.com

And true to form, Tina has just very gently reminded me that perhaps it would be a good idea to mention my fundraising albums on my bandcamp page, where I record and sell my Meditation Music and Mantra to raise  funds for my work with Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio



The beautiful Dream catchers featured in this blog are hand made
 by Sheila Bassett and her partner in wonderful workshops. 



















Sendelica Sound Sessions


This is a photographic Archive of my recording session with the fabulously psychedelic Progressive Rock Band, Sendelica, live at Mwnci Studio in West Wales.

All of the photographs are by Paul Williams, whom I have lovingly re-named Urban Fox. A name that seems to have caught on, with the rest of the band calling it him too.


I think it is an apt name for he captures in his work something of the natural, the truth, the organic and yet is using state of the art technology to capture this realism. Like the natural beauty of a fox against an urban landscape.


One of the most important things to me when I am in session with other musicians is to feel at home both vibrationally and visually.

So, I tend to take with me a fair few of the soft furnishings from my Sound Studio, as well as my favourite incense and singing bowls.


What a giggle I had getting re-aquainted with the band. I used the mallets from my Crystal bowls to dance around them like an alien from another planet to make them laugh ...



 Laughter is a great way to break the ice ... 




And then I got my shaker and broke up the space  around them ...  getting unpacked and set up and sound checked can be quite stressful and cause a chakra blockage. A simple shaker can loosen the atmosphere. As can a bit of a jig.



And then down to the serious business of finding the right key ...



Now the real concentration begins. I have never seen myself up close during a session in this way. I think Paul captures the intensity of the now with this shot below. We were improvising a live take and couldn't really hear each other. As you can see, I am locked away in a glass cubicle relying totally on my headphones for guidance.


And then a quick tea break before recording 2 more 22 minute improvisations ..


The project is called Yin Yang  and I was part of the Yin that will make up this double coloured vinyl release next year.


22 minutes goes very quickly indeed when you're in it, improvising ...



But it goes much slower when you agonisingly listen back to it




But all said and done, without wanting to sound over confident, it sounded pretty cool and very vibey! Loving Kate Riaz's Cello, too. 



So, now I kind of wish I could go into the studio with Sendelica an improvise every week. It was good to add more than tad of testosterone into my life & wonderful how it all gelled together. 

Thankyou so much for inviting me guys. It was WOWZERS!! And thanks Paul for providing us with such a beautiful record of our work.


You can catch Sendelica performing and releasing stuff at this link https://sendelica.bandcamp.com/

You can contact Urban Fox AKA Paul Williams at
paul_williams@btinternet.com



Saturday, 6 August 2016

Celebrate World Goddess Day Chanting at Ancient Stones


Celebrate World Goddess Day 
Chanting Ancient Mantra
At  an Ancient Stone Circle
& Standing Stones

Sunday, September 4th 2016 
... at the Sacred Stones 
of The Preseli Mountains 



I have 3 places available 
for this empowering and magical day 
honouring the Divine goddess within 
(our Shakti) by chanting Ancient mantra 
at 4000 year old Stones


The Preseli Mountains are now known to be 
the source of the Bluestones at Stonehenge. 
They are truly mystical, serene & beautiful.






Chanting at an Ancient Stone Circle 
& being in the presence of Standing Stones 
is one of the most spiritually moving experiences. 
It is as if one were in the past, the present and the future all at once. 


The Ancients teach us a lesson in the 'now'

We will start at my Studio Ty Canu in Pencader.
 From here, I will drive for us in my car.

It is a full day experience: 10.30am - 5.00pm
Costs £65.00 per person 

Includes a complimentary Gong Bath 
at my Studio, to ground us before you leave. 

Please email cherylbeermusic@gmail.com 
for the full itinerary.

Namaste


Sharing the Sitar Shanti




I LOVE string instruments, particularly those from other cultures that I don't usually get the chance to experiment with.



So, when Gareth Davies came yesterday to record for The Mantra Experiments (see last blog) I was blown away when he invited me to play his wonderful sitars.


As a guitarist and ukulele player, I can usually pick out a tune pretty quickly on a string instrument and the same can be said for the Sitar, tho doubtless I was playing completely wrong, I have to say, I might be putting a sitar on my Christmas list this year!



I love the way that an instrument brings me completely into the now, so that all that exists is me and her.




(Thoughts for another time: The Sitar felt like a 'her'. Actually, now I come to think of it, I don't have an instrument that feels like a 'him'. Mmm, maybe I choose instruments that speak to my Shakti. )



Thanks for sharing the Sitar Shanti, Gareth. 


Friday, 5 August 2016

The Mantra Experiments: Sweet Sitar





The Mantra Experiments is a lovely, slow, organic project that I started in the Winter months. It has no deadlines, targets or planned end goal other than for 2 musicians to enjoy an afternoon of experimenting in a laid back and loving recording environment.

When the timing is right, and the right musician comes along, I organise an afternoon of recording at my place Ty Canu, with my life long collaborator Jeff Beer, behind the scenes, kindly engineering. 

We move our recording studio down into the lounge & get in cakes & make a pot of tea ( tea and cakes always make an afternoon feel special)

It is so lovely working one to one with another musician in a completely experimental way.





So far, I have been very lucky to have worked with Susan Berry on Welsh Harp, Tim Shaw on Didgeridoo, Shey Edlington on Handpan and now this month, the lovely Gareth Davies on Sitar.


Gareth and I met at Peace Mala Head Office in Swansea, a few months back, at a meeting for Sound Healers.

It was great to get to know him better over a cuppa and improvise sitar and mantra together.

We recorded 2 wonderful mantra. It stands to reason that the sitar and mantra will sit well together but what was a real stroke of luck, was that my singing bowls sounded absolutely AWESOME with the drone of the sitar.


I love that the sitar has 'sympathetic strings' that resonate and make the drone sound. Then there are 7 main strings to pluck, that just would not sound as beautiful without the sympathetic ones. Lesson for life there, me thinks.


One piece reminds me of being on a boat in the middle of a still ocean and the other feels like sari's dancing on the wind.

Both will be released on my bandcamp page to raise funds for Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio Project. 

Here's the Bandcamp link:
www.cherylbeer.bandcamp.com

Here's the Sound Memories Radio link: www.soundmemoriesradio.com


Much love & Gratitude to Gareth ...

Gareth is in a band called Deep Hum
You can catch them playing live ...
at Caffi Iechydda 
in Carmarthen 
on October 8th 2016


Much love & Gratitude to Jeff Beer

Jeff  is the MD of Zero One Guitars 
making bespoke guitars for the discerning musician