Vox Mundi Project Santa Cruz Summer Retreat
July 23rd – 29, 2014
Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center
It was a magical week at the 15th Vox Mundi Project Summer Retreat at the Pema Osel Ling Tibetan Retreat Center located in the Santa Cruz mountains. I’d already been missing the Northern California Redwoods since moving down to Southern California earlier in the year and it was nice to be back amongst the beauty of the ancient trees again.
I was honored to be asked to be part of the music faculty to accompany the singing sessions and workshops in addition to providing private and group sound healing sessions. I played keyboard for various singers and a blues workshop, played flute for many performances, and played my Tibetan Bowls and sound healing instruments quite a bit for healing sessions and performances. I knew the experience was going to be powerful, but I didn’t anticipate how much I would go through personally while I also supporting others’ experiences. I was able to tap into my whole musical being by using all my knowledge of music and sound to share with the group which felt really rewarding. After spending the past year and a half taking care of my infant daughter, this was my first solo trip away from her. It felt like an appropriate time to step back into my own musical journey.
Silvia Nakkach brought together an incredible mix of master instrumentalists, healers from many disciplines, people curious about singing for health, and professional vocalists from all genres of music. There were people there from all over the country and world including Brazil, Australia, Japan and Canada. Everyone came together to engage in transformational and conscious singing as a group. The repetoire is extremely varied and included a lot of Indian Raga singing with Silvia, beautiful melodic mantras, brazilian and african songs, Yoga of the Voice training and development and much more. Morning Qi-gong, movement and singing with Alba, and yoga sessions helped everyone wake up before breakfest. In the evening, everyone came together to perform for each other in what Silvia calls ‘Transformances.’ Some of the transformances included native american medicine songs, flamenco, hawaiian chants, original songwriting and peotry, opera singing and instrumental performance just to name a few. The variety of repetoire I heard just blew my away and validated my sense that everyone has a unique way of expressing their voice.
What became clear as the week went on was that people are naturally guided to songs and music genres that speak to them. It was a supremely unique experience where the sense of community was paramount to everything else. There’s nothing quite like the supportive container of transformative music making that the community of Vox Mundi provides.