Sunday, 26 August 2018

WOMBSONG: The Embodiment of Self as Nature Intended

                                         Sound Icon, Bottom Right Corner of Video.

I am so excited to share with you my new video: a creative collaboration between myself and Embodiment Coach, Esther Arends from the Netherlands.

Esther Arends. Photo by Larry Lindahl

For those of you who regularly read my blog, you will know that I have been rebuilding my life since becoming suddenly deaf nearly 2 years ago, with tinnitus & hyperacusis. At first, I thought I would never be a musician again. This saddened me because I have composed music and written songs for my entire life. Slowly but surely, I have reconnected to ways in which I can still sing and play instruments.

My relationship with guitar started in a classroom hut, planted amongst the Wheatfields of our primary school in the 1970's, where a hippy inspired Mr Green took us down 'Streets of London' with his humming & strumming. I went home and persuaded my Mum that I needed a guitar and she saved up the child benefit allowance to scrape together enough money to get one for me. It never left my side. I have toured the world with subsequent guitars, performing in stadiums through to orphanages, wild adventures to acts of loving kindness.

Cheryl & her Guitar: Touring India

But complications with my hearing loss have made playing guitar nigh on impossible. When I change chords, the sound of the strings on the frets is so painful, that it becomes torture.

I missed my guitar and she missed me. She stopped smiling and so did I, until one day, I wondered how it would be, to find just one chord that did not trigger my sound distortion and play it gently, without changing chords at all. I sat for hours feeling the vibration of the guitar body against mine, a familiar friend back in my arms, and then it happened; out popped a melody and with it the words 'I can hear Mother Earth calling, I can hear my womb calling ... ' 

Reunited with my Strings

I ran upstairs to my studio and asked Jeff, my partner and sound engineer for 30 years, to turn on the microphone. It hadn't been used in such a long time. I knew I could only manage one live take, so however it came out, would be exactly how it was. 

Afterwards, I listened back to my one chord and humble vocal. I could hear in my heart, the beat of a drum, but I couldn't play to record it, as my  drum was too loud for my tinnitus and hyperacusis. I put a blanket over my drum skin and played with a muffled beater ... to be honest, I recorded it more with luck than judgment. Then I decided to record a second voice, this time using a voice I have 'found' in the facial cavaties ... it's very strange when I sing in this place because I can only really hear it through my hearing aids, which makes it feel somehow disconnected from me ... and so I visualise this voice travelling down through me, until it buries itself and me into the earth.

Musically, WOMBSONG is far from perfect, but there was something so honest about doing everything in one take, accepting that whatever came, simply is and being grateful for that. The feeling of being enough, however small or imperfect.

I finished the recording session and kept the song to one side. Slowly but surely, it has become part of a collection of humble offerings that I am recording when they sing out to me from my inner self.

And then, this week, I connected with my facebook friend, Esther Arends, an Embodiment Coach from the Netherlands. She had shared on her wall, a beautiful little film that she had made on her iphone. I immediately fell in love with the organic nature of her capture; randomly, her filming preserved a moment of simply being, embodying the dance as if it were as natural as a blade of grass or a clover leaf. 

As I watched Esther's film in silence, inside I could hear my WOMBSONG. I played the 2 together ... it was so gentle, so magical that it made me weep, not with sadness but with the beauty of humanity; humans being themselves, without pretence. Esther's dance and my song had come from the same place.

So, I wrote to her and told her my story, asking her if we might collaborate. She listened to my little song alongside her film and felt the same way as I had. I was delighted. Esther sent me the film and I have edited us together, as one, so that you can watch it with us.

WOMBSONG as a collaboration, is the embodiment of humans just as nature intended. Random, free and beautiful. Thank you Esther, for your beautiful light. I'm so pleased to be here on Earth at the same time as you.

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