What a shame it was to have missed Peruvian musician Kike Pinto perform at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Thanks to the reporting of Connor Messinger, contributing writer at The Bates Student, we know that ancient Andeans considered the world to have three levels: earth, sky, and underground. Any musical instrument was seen as belonging to one of those three levels. The writer goes on to enumerate some of the exotic instruments played by Pinto, including the chorango, the chincha pipe, a type of whistle that is powered by water pressure, and some instruments made from deer skulls. Pinto opened the concert with music rather than speech, and did not introduce himself or explain anything about the instruments until the music was over. Messinger describes how the audience felt about being plunged into the deep end, so to speak:
We were left to appreciate the beauty of a culture from a purely musical sense, letting him describe the meaning of his work after the performance… In a jovial manner, Pinto made the side comment that the ancestors were far greater at making instruments than weapons…
So much is going on in the widely variegated world of sacred music. Rhythm, melody, harmony, and many other aspects of music can move a person into a heightened state of consciousness. Since the time of our ancestors it’s been that way. In Shamanic Meditations, Sandra says,
In Australia, shamans use the didgeridoo and/or click sticks, and some traditions like the Bon Po shamans of central Asia use bells. The Saami people of Lapland and Norway use monotonous chanting called joiking.
Ritual and percussive rhythm are inseparable. Whole lifetimes have been devoted to the art of percussion, and whole careers have been built on studying the causes and effects of humankind’s affinity for rhythm. One of my fondest musical memories is a workshop held by Christine Stevens of UpBeat Drum Circles. Talk about energy! This woman is a veritable font of inspiration and good vibes. Stevens sees music as an effective method for bringing about transformation in individual people, teams and communities, and the drum as the most accessible instrument, because you can make one out of almost anything. The “Our Philosophy” page on Stevens’ UpBeat Drum Circles website states:
Our mission is to weave together ancient wisdom and practice of music making with the modern knowledge of human development.
One thing rhythm can do, we learn from the website called Past Lives Regression, is help you regress to a past life. There are recordings called binaural beats, that are said to attune the mind to the necessary state of deep meditation. One the purposes of past life regression is to connect current problems with past lifetime occurrences in a way that can facilitate clearing them up.
Have you ever heard “a voice that could wrest tears from a stone gargoyle?” That’s the kind of voice possessed by Snatum Kaur, according to Alan di Perna, a writer at the Vancouver’s Common Ground. We can verify this for ourselves by surfing over to one of her vids. Wow! Give this artist seven minutes and change, and you’ve got a peaceful interlude as calming and energizing as any pill can deliver.
On her blog, Ann Seeker introduces an under-three-minute video where we can hear “Sacred Music of the Eternal Present,” created by spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. Another blogger Sharanya Manivannan had recently attended the Festival of Sacred Music at Thiruvayaru in India. Manivannan describes many of the performances in knowledgeable terms, and concludes by saying,
I looked up at the stars after dinner as friends of the Prakriti Foundation shared poetry and songs at the intimate Husoor Palace, and whispered a thank you to the muses that continue to kiss this ancient land.
Source: “Kike Pinto demonstrates Andean music’s connection to nature,” The Bates Student, 03/03/10
Source: “Shamanic Meditations,” Amazon.com
Source: “Our Philosophy,” UpBeat Drum Circles website
Source: “Reveal The Secrets Of Your Past Life,” Past Lives Regression website, 02/06/10
Source: “Chant Enchantress,” Common Ground, 03/10
Source: “Sacred Music of the Eternal Present,” Ann Seeker’s Blog, 03/04/10
Source: “The Festival of Sacred Music, Thiruvayaru,” Sharanya Manivannan, 03/04/10
Image by MoEaFaTi, used under its Creative Commons license.