"What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature, which our intelligence has grasped from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature.
It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe; and the wise can interpret the secret and the nature of the working of the whole universe in the realm of music." Pir Inayat Khan
Both THE RIVER and PENTATONIC DRIFT, each consisting of three stand-alone programs, are focused on particpant's experiential and imaginal journey of musical discovery. The experiential learning is centered on listening to an evocative sound world. Each Rhythm River program begins in various ancestral musical cultures, cultures found on every continent and active to this day. The modern traces of those ancestral sound worlds constitute the other music heard in these programs.
These sounds also provide the context for imagining how they came to be transmitted between tribes, across continents, and over oceans, and, in deep listening, further evoking something of the order of sonic and soulful archetypes. The channels of musical transmission constitute the raw materials, and the awareness of the listener plays their experience as if it is an instrument..
For example. KALAHARI ORIGINS is about the folkloric music of the San peoples of the Kalahari Desert (in southern Africa) and the music of ancient Africa. Participants will listen to both Khoi-San music and other spiritual music from South African traditions and then collaboratively imagine this music's purposes over tens of millenia, and what hearing the music means for the listener's own journey.
The RHYTHM RIVER concept for experiential learning results from the synthesis given by (both) ancient and modern models for adult transformative learning, and, the time-honored role of music as a vehicle for deep human communication and 'yogic' development.
This noted, the goal of the programs is simply whatever is evoked in the awareness of the participants! For this programs each present a different and unusual sound environment.
All programs are 2 hours long. An introductory program lasting 1 hour is provided as a taste and excludes the experiential learning process. Both types of programs require a booking fee, and, provision for appropriate sound reinforcement. | contact Stephen
Kalahari Origins—part 1 of “The River” The most ancient history of music is traced as well as imagined during this program. Obviously Africa is the starting point. How would primitive music come to be spread? Does our modern encounter with musical sound and nature evoke a sense of what the role of music was 30,000+ years ago?
Ancient Sound—part 2 of "The River" The ancient music of Australia’s aboriginal peoples is the provocative launching pad for an imaginal voyage focused on how, over 40,000 years ago, aboriginal music, and a mythic worldview came about on the world’s largest island.
Epistrophy-part 3 of "The River"
The music of Thelonious Monk is the stepping off point for a journey about the transmission of musical materials and human spirit. The program winds through the musical offspring of Monk and the foundational currents of Africa. In hearing the various patterns that connect, the anticipated learning provides its own patterns of contact.
The Spike Fiddle—part 1 of "Pentatonic Drift"
The violin exemplifies simplicity and refinement. Yet, its simplicity has antecedents in stringed instruments found in every musical culture. This experiential program focuses on providing a taste of the variety of stringed instruments and music which, over centuries, will result in the elegant apotheosis of the violin. The Spike Fiddle is given as title to the program it’s antecedents are among the oldest instruments known to humankind.
The Color of Music—part 2 of "Pentatonic Drift"
The music of the Berber peoples and Gnawa Brotherhoods of rural and urban Morocco are presented and utilized to creatively imagine the transmission of sound healing principles in a North African culture.
Universal Gospel-part 3 of "Pentatonic Drift "
The sound of praise and submission is part of every musical culture for which either a transcendent being or transcending ground is conceived. As well, the total immersion into music making supposes a non-religious, albeit spiritual counterpart to more formal musical devotions. This third program focuses on music from the four corners of the human universe. The diversity of the musical encounter reinforces an experience and learning of the songs which animate farflung cultures and us all.