By Rhiannon who will be presenting Singing in the Vocal River at Hollyhock on July 7 – 12, 2017.
This recording is an intimate singing exchange between you and Rhiannon. Using call and response as the basic format, Rhiannon will be your partner for each exercise, demonstrating patterns and leaving a space for you to sing after each example. You can feel safe to try your wings, knowing Rhiannon’s voice will be right there to guide you.
Wings of a Dove is a classic gospel song full of images of strength and of making it through hard times. This song gives you a chance to sing, melody, high and low harmony, or improvise words with the choir. Try clapping with us on beats two and four.
Rhiannon returns to create music on the beach, in the forests and in the round, resonant meeting hall of Hollyhock. Rhiannon has built her process for teaching vocal improvisation on the idea that we must be solid in musical skills, develop our intuition and be available to the mystery and grace that exist when creating music spontaneously. Rhiannon’s many years in the theatre as well as her life in music have resulted in this being a dynamic and natural blend.
Adapted from UU World by Kimberly French
Join Ysaye at Hollyhock for Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition on July 22-27, 2016.
‘Don’t sing it in your finest classical voice,” Ysaye Barnwell gently cautioned. The former bass singer with the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock was teaching a chant from central Africa’s Ituri Rainforest to a mostly white group at Rowe Camp, in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. She demonstrated with her powerful voice: “Ama-ee-boo Oh-ee-yay-ee. There’s a little yodel in there. You should love that. Close your eyes . . . that’s it! Perfect!”
For the past three decades Barnwell’s day job—when she wasn’t touring and recording with Sweet Honey—has been teaching the African American tradition of community singing to groups like this one all over the world. Clad in a black leather hat and jacket, with loads of gold rings and bangles, she took center stage in the rustic recreation hall.
She gave no written music. Everything was oral. We just listened. And watched. And, most of all, felt the soul of the music and learned where it comes from. In fact, Barnwell forbids taking notes or recording.
“I don’t know a translation I can articulate. But in central Africa, someone will start singing this chant whenever there’s discord. They’ll sing as long as they have to, till the community is ready to move forward and the spiritual leaders can come in. It may take hours, even days.” Continue reading Songs When You Need Them: Ysaye Barnwell and the music of community, resistance, and power.