Silvia Nakkach’s book Free Your Voice: Awaken to Life Through Singing, cowritten by Valerie Carpenter, is an invaluable resource to learn about and experiment with music’s healing properties. In it you will find chants, mantras and invocations to begin singing alone or in groups. The book starts off with a lovely invocation that Nakkach wrote. The invocation begins:
In a bowl filled with sacred frequencies
Precious chants dance
Nakkach discusses in some detail research done by John Beaulieu (mentioned in part 1 of this post-see October 7) using tuning forks to stimulate the flow of nitrite oxide. Beaulieu’s research complimented a study by Nobel Prize winning scientists that found stress diminishes the flow of nitrite oxide through our bodies. To name just a few of its benefits that Nakkach cites, nitride oxide helps the body fight off infections, enhances cell vitality and leads to improved digestion. It follows the lack of it can lead to health problems. Further studies showed that humming has a good effect on nitrite oxide flow by how it effects our nasal passages.
A similar conclusion: vocal chords are a primary source of energy to stimulate the brain. Nakkach’s approaches music as a healing art from many angles and it makes Free Your Voice a fascinating, inspiring read. I can now imagine singing taking on the importance of a universal language utilized in every facet of society, e.g. at work moments of chanting that bring coworkers together to minimize internecine in-fighting and stress, as well as increase productivity and happiness on the job.
A whole industry could be created to develop songs to be sung at work and large gatherings – songs that bring people together while being respectful of a wide range of individual religious and communal beliefs – from chants to nonsense verse. In Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the Whos continued to sing their Who song welcoming in Christmas even after the Grinch stole all their presents. This action had a healing effect on the villagers and the Grinch himself.
I also now think singing chants from around the world would be a great way to teach children about world religion in a historical context. Nakkach includes these to sing:
Om Mani Padme Hum (a Tibetan mantra)
Om Sree Amma Narayani Namastute (A Hindu mantra)
Icaro del Silbido is a Peruvian healing song on the music download.
Orixá Oo, Orixá is the first line of an Afro-Brazilian Chant. The loose translation Nakkach provides of this chant is moving: “Orishá, I stand knocking at the door, Orishá, whose home is in the domain of heaven.”
This book is a rare find. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to read it front to back at first, but instead skipped around chapters, forwards and backwards, and then backwards and forwards, on and on, invoking a moving chakra perhaps, and similar to how I studied the I Ching, the classic Chinese oracle otherwise known as the Book of Changes. I wouldn’t call the chapters of Free Your Voice hexagrams, but there is something lively about the content, magical even.
Actually, it took me awhile to realize I could download the music discussed in the book from Sounds True, the publisher’s website – a repercussion of not reading front to back. It didn’t matter the delay. I was processing plenty of music from the printed page. The prose is beautiful and I love the juxapostion of Nakkach’s Spanish accent with English words. Much credit goes I’m sure to Valerie Carpenter, the second author of this book, and I picture them writing and singing together, Nakkach’s voice the lead, Carpenter the powerful assistant; on Planet Music, silence is also playing energetically.
It is also interesting how Nakkach views her teachers. I hope you will buy this book and join Sylvia, Valerie and me and the rest of Free Your Voice’s disciples on our mystical singing journey to freedom where there is always room for one more. Free Your Voice is very generous with resources in order to build on your singing practice, and learn more about music healing. The book ends with sound practical advice how about how to design your practice. Nakkach often mentions to drink hot water or tea with honey after singing.