Deep Listening Intensive 1
Home of Erika Kramer – Paris France November 14, 2010

The first Deep Listening Intensive took place in Paris France at the home of Erika Kramer in November 14, 2010, After Ione’s dream intensive also at Erika’s some of her group assembled with a few other guests to attend the Deep Listening intensive. My premise for the intensives is to take the group into extraordinary listening or non-ordinary consciousness. I had planned to concentrate on vocabulary for discussing auditory phenomena since our language favors visual phenomena and then to do some listening meditations. The word  imagination for example presumes imagery is the basis of creativity. For the auditory equivalent of imagination I propose auralization – a word coined by architect Mendell Kleiner. Auralization is intended for modeling the acoustics of buildings before construction. For me auralization is perfect for describing inner listening to sound as composers do. My article Auralizing in the Sonosphere in Sounding the Margins: Collected Writings 1992-2009 explains auralization further and discusses developing more auditory vocabulary.

My hostess Erika Kramer proposed that her friend Birgit Yew had prepared to play and sing with her cello and wanted to know if there was time for this. I asked that Bigit perform before the Deep Listening Intensive started. Her performance was to be short as we needed to finish within an hour.

The moment that Birgit began to play her cello I recognized that she was an extraordinary musician. Her first piece was short – too short for the marvelous sounds that she was making. She was limiting herself to fit a time frame. I asked her to play more. She obliged and the playing was wondrously beautiful. Erika commented that she missed Birgit’s singing voice. By this time I was given over to the extraordinary creativity of Birgit. I asked her to please sing.

Birgit then sang her arrangement of The Song of the Whale (Traditional) accompanying herself with the cello. The whole group in attendance was completely taken away. Birgit’s voice wove and blended in and out of the marvelous cello textures, timbres and harmonics singing of the whale, about the whale, the song of the whale and of the ocean. In the end the cello became the ocean with gentle waves lapping. We heard the song, we heard way more than the song. Birgit created a spell of music that accessed the ancestral history of Irish music, of her classical training, of nature and transformed the whole of this into a new expression that could only exist at the moment we were listening with her. The song was a spontaneous communion of the soul of music and nature with us.

Indeed this was the intensive that I wanted to happen. Extraordinary listening and non-ordinary consciousness of listening happened. When Birgit ended her sounding everyone remained silent as long as possible in the aura that had arisen through Birgit and her cello and the intimately listening group. Fear of feeling was transcended. We were unified and connected.

As we began to return to normal consciousness I spoke to Birgit and expressed my feeling and appreciation for how she had taken us away with her music. I asked for the group to express their feelings to Birgit about the performance. The first person that spoke was shaken and moved to tears. She was expressing what most people seemed to feel. They were moved – some to tears and release  - others to bliss and joy. Only a peak experience can do this and it had happened as part of the first Deep Listening Intensive. I was overjoyed.

I asked Birgit if we could all sing with her to close our hour. Birgit obliged and we blended our voices with her cello together in a musical embrace.

My faith in listening to expand the mind and to change is reinforced. There was no way that anything else could have been right for the first Deep Listening Intensive. My listening told me so.

My thanks to Erka Kramer for hosting this beautiful moment and for introducing Birgit Yew to us. My thanks to the group for receiving the moment. My thanks to Ione for her tuning of the group that included Birgit with her dream work.

The next Deep Listening Intensive will be in Seattle with the Deep Listening Band in January, 2011.

Deep Listening Intensive 2 – January 15, 2011 - Seattle WA

On January 10 Deep Listening Band gathered at Town Hall in Seattle for a five-day residency for recording, teaching and a concert. Stuart Dempster-trombone/dijeridu, David Gamper-piano and auxiliary small instruments and Pauline Oliveros-V Accordion. We each had two Sing-a-ma-jigs for an extra chorus. (Thanks to Ione)

This residency was no ordinary residency and Town Hall is no ordinary performance space. As we set up our Expanded Instrument System computer processing stations – each a different version of the interface a group from DXarts of University of Washington set up the beautiful multi-channel sound system and matched it to the space perfectly. There were eight speakers and four sub woofers in a surround configuration. The sound was gloriously transparent with soaring highs and grand lows.

We had nothing to do for the five days except to listen and play. This gave us enormous freedom to experiment and find our way with the space. This situation has never happened for the DLB before. We were and are grateful for the experience.

Each day we found new ways to play together and to get deeper into the resonance of Town Hall.

Students from UW came to listen and gather information about our work. Some even played using our processing.

On January 15th at 5:30pm around a hundred people gathered for the second Deep Listening Intensive. I spoke first about the history of Deep Listening then invited the audience to listen to the space of Town Hall. The meditation was “listen to all possible sounds. If one sound takes your attention then follow it all the way to the end. Then dwell on whether you are actually hearing the end of the sound or remembering it. Return to listening to all sounds at once. Continue in this manner”.

Town Hall became full and rich with many sounds as the listeners went deeper.

After the listening meditation we performed Sounds From Childhood. Each person  was asked to remember sounds that they loved to make when they were about three years old. The invitation then was to listen for a space to make a sound either before, after or exactly with someone else. The space came alive and felt joyful!

For the conclusion of the session we took an intention to sound for healing. Using the sound AH to resonate the heart and to intend our heart energy to radiate outward to others and to the earth. As one resonated his or her own heart then the Town Hall space resonated as well as a lovely intonation accumulated with all the voices in a rich cloud of sound.

At 7:30pm the concert began. The Deep Listening Band was tuned and the audience was with us in attunement. This was truly a deep listening experience.

Pauline Oliveros
January 22, 2011