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Sound Spa

11 July 2018

 

A fascinating Q & A with:

Catherine Shrubshall & Cydnei B of 

Her & Her

 One evening a couple of weeks ago I got myself blissfully and utterly drenched through to my very soul. Not with rain however, but with sound.

Billed as a Sound Spa Meditation Evening, my curiosity was aroused so of course I had to investigate and invited a beautiful Angel Healer and meditator friend of mine to experience it with me.

In a darkened room, snuggling down on comfortable recliners with blankets, around 20 of us were invited to close our eyes and take an hour long meditative, soundscape journey through our 7 ‘chakras’ with Catherine and Cydnei of Her & Her.

Led by these two gorgeous, vivacious and very talented musicians Catherine and Cydnei, whom; along with their vast array of weird and wonderful instruments and their own beautiful voices and breath, bathed us all in a myriad of sound. Ranging from beautiful to haunting, soothing, healing, harmonious, loud, quiet, meditative, eerie and otherworldly, we travelled together.

My imagination and the all-encompassing sounds joined forces and took me to a peaceful scene from long ago where I seemed to be amongst primeval people around a glowing campfire! Although consciously aware of my present day surroundings, I was also somewhere else, feeling the musical sounds resonating and vibrating through my body according to the chakra.

Although one person did fall very deeply asleep, it made me feel peaceful but not sleepy. The next morning I felt wonderfully refreshed and my friend reported to me that she felt really well and rejuvenated too.

In order to share with you more about this fascinating subject I asked Catherine and Cydnei if they would agree to answer some questions about the power and qualities of their music and where they want to take it. To my delight they kindly said yes!

Q. You two have an amazing and tangible chemistry between you and within your music. I know you have been friends for many years but how did you reach this point in your musical careers?

 Catherine:

“With our deep connection as friends, and having played music together for 37 years since college – this was the next step for us on our mutual life journey – combining our professional musical skills with our deep interest in healing practice.”

Q. How would you describe your Sound Spa evenings to someone new to meditation?

 Cydnei:

“I’d say ‘suck it and see’…as people say in the Midlands! Really, come and give it a go…we would be more than happy to discuss your experience and answer any of your questions afterwards.”

 Catherine:

“Just lie down, close your eyes and relax! We will gently guide you on a sound journey – exploring and encouraging energy balancing and healing.”

 Cydnei:

“I wonder if people are aware that the body is mostly water and so our cells vibrate with the resonance of music?”

Catherine:

“The vibrational massage qualities encourage your body and mind to relax, re-balance and re-harmonise. The nourishment and self-care will leave you feeling nurtured, ready and able to face the world again – yay!”

 Cydnei:

“For me it’s like bringing the outer worldly experience into the sphere of the inner world. We have always been aware of the healing properties of music and have individually been pursuing a more holistic and spiritual path within music and right now it is absolutely the right thing for us both to be doing at this point in our lives. Also, generally, people are becoming aware of how powerful music and resonance is on their health and wellbeing and it is very satisfying to enable people to deeply relax to counteract this chaotic world we live in.”

Q. Is the music all improvised on any particular evening or gig that you are doing or have you developed this instrumentation over a period of time? (You were so in harmony that I feel you must spend hours practicing!)

 Catherine:

“Our improvised artistic communication has become almost effortless, with no need for words. We have some pre-composed motifs and mantras which we use, however the journey of each session is unique.”

 Cydnei:

“If you combine our years of practicing and playing music it amounts to an incredible 100 years…that’s A LOT of practice! So, it is timely that we feel able to channel our instinctive talent and harmony by working together. Also, we both work with people – Catherine as a teacher and me as a music and play therapist. We each have a highly developed and fine-tuned sense of empathy and awareness of other people’s struggles and their need for rebalancing and we use our music’s resonance, rhythm, pitch and vibration as the medium for change.”

Q. Can you tell me what some of the more unusual instruments were?

 Catherine:

“I use my orchestra/family of clarinets and saxophones (we particularly love the deep harmonic vibrations and blending abilities of the bass clarinet – it has been mistaken for a didgeridoo before in our sessions when playing long low notes!) – these western woodwind instruments are not usually associated with meditative practices, but I have always felt strongly that there is a place for them within this medium, when played with sensitivity and awareness……. alongside Cydnei’s virtuosic vocalisation and overtone singing they give us a unique sound…..together with the more traditional eastern sounds of singing bowls, drums and sansulas (a modern kind of thumb piano)….and much more!

 Cydnei:

“Haha! This might make you laugh! We also have things like a thunder shaker, 2 brass tops of trinket boxes, a pair of leatherette gloves (they really sound like wings flapping) and a very high-pitched tiny bell bracelet I got off a market stall in Nottingham. We really do use anything that covers a wide spectrum of sound, which makes for an evocative, unusual or soothing experience!

Q. How do you decide which instruments to use and when?

 Cydnei:

“There is an essence of channeling intuition, instinct and knowing someone incredibly well”

 Catherine:

”We instinctively read each other, the space and those we are sharing the space with – we trust in each other and the instrumental combinations flow spontaneously. ”

 Cydnei:

“We have a bonkers amount of instruments between us which gives us lots of choice. We know that certain sounds evoke particular reactions…as in enlivening or calming our nervous systems – and so some of our choices are led by our planned sound journey and the reaction we want to elicit. We also have our favourites too!

Q. Is it specifically for meditation and or healing? (What do you like to call it, or describe it as?)

 Catherine:

“Our Sound Spas can appeal to people on many different levels depending on what they are looking for/receptive to – perhaps because we are a sort of “bridge” between music and healing. Someone who wants to experience live music could listen to us on that level, someone else may want to take the journey further as a meditation or healing journey.”

Cydnei:

“The body knows what it needs and so just the person turning up and exposing themselves to the music will, on some level, have some kind of effect –whether they are ‘doing’ meditation or ‘coming’ for healing.”

Q. Did you originally intend for it to be healing?

 Cydnei:

“Well, the healing aspect has naturally evolved from us doing research into which instruments we want to use in our eclectic orchestra and also hearing back from people who have taken part in our soundings. Individuals’ reactions and feedback has given us the encouragement to embark on this next journey in our personal musical careers – to develop the more esoteric and even transcendental and transformational side of a musical experience.”

Q. Please can you explain what you mean by a ‘chakra’ point.

 Cydnei:

“…‘Chakra’ is a South Asian word for energy centre. We focus on the mainstream 7 chakras – otherwise we’d be here for a week as there are so many of them!”

 Catherine:

“Our bodies have many energy centres where music and sounds can vibrate, aiding energy to flow and the body to recalibrate.”

Q. How did you discover that it could be healing or had the potential to align and unblock chakras? Or how did the idea evolve?

 Catherine:

“Through our work with mantras and vibrations for ourselves, and then gradually we began to bring techniques to our professional performing and therapeutic platforms – feedback from others gave us the confidence to explore further and collaborate.”

Cydnei:

“Western medicine is always catching up with the Eastern medicine tradition and it is fair to say that this form of sound healing has been around for centuries.” Chants, music, movement and meditation are nothing new. We are discovering it for ourselves and inviting people to come on our exciting healing journey with us….”

Q. Can it be used for absolutely everyone or do you need to know if anyone is on any medication at all or has any illness?

 Catherine:

“It’s a gentle approach to healing where the music vibrates individually for each person.”

 Cydnei:

“Research is being undertaken with certain conditions such as using Elfen chimes with people suffering fibromyalgia. As we gain a better understanding of the effects of vibration and sound on the nervous system, we can use certain sounds to dampen down or liven up a person depending on what their need is at the time of coming to a session. As we said before, the body knows, and will only take, what it needs. If anyone does have medication or a condition that they want taken into account, then by all means please let us know.”

Q. Is everyone receptive to it?

 Catherine:

“So far the responses have all been positive, including from those who have never meditated or attended any sound healing sessions before.”

 Cydnei:

“Mmm, receptive, I think the fact people would only come if they felt they wanted to find out about a Sound Spa makes them likely to be receptive. However, they may get more than they bargained for as sometimes there is a bit of work to do! Sounds can be both soothing and unsettling – depending on the mood of the individual. Every reaction has a purpose and using the mindfulness practice of ‘observing’ how you feel, I’d advise to welcome it in and let it pass.”

Q. I can imagine that it could be quite an emotional journey for some people, would you agree and what would you recommend if this were the case?

 Cydnei;

“Being congruent with your emotional system is a good state to be in – however, we would always say if there is anything upsetting or bothering you after a session, please come and talk with us and we will guide you through your experience.”

 Catherine:

“Each session is carefully thought through and crafted to deliver a person through an emotional and /or physical journey. As we’ve said previously the body and brain will only take what it requires and so if someone is in need of support after a session has ended then please contact us for a catch-up.”

Q. Do you see a Sound Spa as a course of more than a ‘one off’ experience or would you say that you could have one whenever you felt like it?

 Cydnei:

“The simple answer is yes to both questions! I remember being at a yoga festival a couple of years back and I submerged myself in 4 sound baths within 3 days and I just about had my feet still on the ground! One off sessions are good too. So as guidance, people tend to have a Sound bath/spa every month to keep them balanced and checked-in with their emotional state; or like me, for a more intense experience, people can have them over a period of days. Warning! You do need time to process what emerges though.”

Q. How can people read more about your work and more importantly come and have a Sound Spa with you?

Cydnei:

“Contact us via our website and see where we are in the country. We can deliver bespoke sessions too and are happy to come and do a personal or group session at your home”.

 Catherine:

“The her & her website is due to go live on July 16th – please do check out what we offer as we musically cater for the whole spectrum of life; from birthdays, weddings and general spiritual knees-ups through to passings and funerals….plus art private views and education projects too!

 Please get in touch to feed back your thoughts. There’ll be a media page so you can see and hear us in action.”

 www.herandher.co.uk

 Enormous thanks to you both Catherine and Cydnei for taking the time to answer my questions. I really look forward to seeing you again soon.

 Photograph by Olivia Wild. www.oliviawilddigital.com

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