Sounding A New Age with Laraaji.
“ A person does not hear sound only through the ears; he hears sound through every pore of his body. It permeates the entire being, and according to its particular influence either slows or quickens the rhythm of the blood circulation; it either weakens or soothes the nervous system. It arouses a person to greater passions or it calms him by bringing him peace. According to the sound and its influence, a certain effect is produced. Sound becomes visible in a form of radiance. This shows that the same energy which goes into the form of sound before being visible is absorbed by the physical body. In that way, the physical body recuperates and becomes charged with new magnetism.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan
Berlin, Tuesday 8th of November 2017. An authentic autumnal day… The leaves are dancing as they fall from their branches, reconnecting to the earth…
I’m on my way to pick up Laraaji at his hotel, before his concert with Carlos Niño for the Last Kiezsalon at Musikbrauerei. We are going to do a short hour improvisation. It’s a privilege and honor today to have a musical encounter with him. We have a connection as we both share similar musical approaches — a wish to connect people to themselves via the vast infinite vibrational world.
I am a French electronic musician, auto-didact and trained sound therapist, living and working in Berlin. I am the founder of Sonic Body, a holistic music therapy project based in this city, where every month I create and open a safe space for people to explore and connect to their essence, while plugged into what I call a sound bath… a full sound immersion with the gong, crystal bowls and other percussion instruments. Artistically I am interested in the process of combining modern technologies with ancient traditions, as well as thematics like the role of media, the customs and habits of different civilizations, the balance of human power, our relationship to economy and politics, and our relationship to and with each other. My sonic driving pushes out my productions, creating a time and space for my audience to be immersed in sounds, going towards consciousness: a mix of both brainwaves and sound frequencies, thereby making it possible for them to reflect and experience both altered and healing states — an easy, and devoted reconnection to ourselves, the Now, and all mysticism that surrounds us.
“ The Science of the future will be based on sympathetic vibrations.” — Rudolph Steiner
The New Age visionary thinker, we know under the name of Laraaji, whose body was born in Philadelphia in 1943, seriously captured my attentiveness several years ago for his interest in combining consciousness and music together — “Sounding a New Age”. The zither, auto-harp and gong player has been in the void, for some time now, spreading and sharing his intentional music… in his words, “Channeling sound and movement have always attracted me as a way of personal energy management and of providing my music listeners with the most relaxing and meditative experience of present space-time. Channeling cosmic consciousness with sound and movement is my bliss agenda. Sharing this passion through live performances and recordings is my calling… I am influenced by ancient teachings, modern yoga meditation philosophy-practice, and New Age visionary thinking.”
Standing back and observing his music touching a large audience, I am wondering what really matters and happens in people’s heads and bodies when it comes to being immersed in Laraaji’s music or in attending one of his laughter meditation workshops.
Sabrina: “ You’ve been experiencing meditation and sounds and their impact on listeners. What has been your motivation and interest in combining consciousness and music together? ”
Laraaji: “ My sincere interest in combining consciousness and music got activated in 1974 when I had an expanded consciousness and cosmic music hearing experience.I felt totally immersed in an ocean of eternal blissful music.This music hearing experience left me with an expanded understanding of the connection between vibrational sound, intentional music, and consciousness. I love being in the act of focusing sound for highest conscious listening. ”
Laraaji's words confirm to me why, in this unsettled world, we need the heightened awareness that his music stimulates. When I observe the confusing contemporary era we are living in and the experience we have with disharmonious political governments, climate issues, the fear and pressure not to be left behind at the point of what came out last week - because, with every new week, technologies are advancing and advertisements are stimulating demand for new products (most of which we don't need) far quicker than we are able to process — I feel that we barely identify with a natural or emotional phenomenon when it occurs to us. Perhaps this is due to a misleading misconception, the absence of social and emotional education. The result for us humans is that we are more familiar with fears than security, instability than balance, superficiality instead of deepness and openness in the exchange with one another.
Because of massive technology over-exposure, where stimulation rooted from a sick society is feeding us with various poisonous dishes, we are being influenced to drift away from our true inner feelings and what should be our complex but beneficial interaction with this mystical world. It’s difficult to be a good human. We doubt, and we question, question since years, decades, centuries, millenniums, eons…
So why not to start slowing down and connecting to the Now?
The Now, this existing moment, so very precious and potent… we have forgotten to value and live in. In fact, we belong from there, yet we do not go there.
Are we still breathing?
Are we already dead?
“ The healing of ourselves is the healing of the whole nation. ” — Buddhist poet Thich Nhat Hanh.
Laraaji’s music and workshops are a universal language that connects us to the Now, with the power to shift collective consciousness so that each person authentically experiences his or her own innate divinity as a reference point for recognising this same dignity in others, the sacredness in all of our planet’s wildlife, its natural resources and our custodial responsibility and honour for the earth.
Laraaji says about his Laugher Meditation Workshop, “ Laughter Meditation Workshop is really a fun-filled Playshop, where we get to explore our self-willed laughter as a tool for self-healing and deep relaxation meditation. We get into full body laughter and nurturing inner stillness. Playshops are with live music. They usually last 60 to 120 minutes, we get a chance to do call and response chanting, and get to play with special laughter-sizes.”
For me, as I believe for Laraaji, we live in a world of vibrations that connects us to tenderness, the temptation to finally show up in person, make our presence felt, our bodies coming alive at this moment and manifesting no fear of disharmonious political governments, resisting their pressure, just being nothing apart from existing here and now
Nothingness is always in the heart of the soul, nothingness is that grand space, the grand lucidity and the greatest intimacy with oneself.
“ You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, found your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this. ” — Henry David Thoreau.
Improvisation by Laraaji and Sabrina Gricourt.
Thank you to Cashmere Radio for their time and space and to Pauline Fabry for her visual work.
Text by Laraaji and Sabrina Gricourt.