I’ve been using Circlesongs for years as a workshop leader, but it was only after meeting and working with great vocal improvisers Bobby Mc Ferrin and Rhiannon that I started to offer circlesinging workshops.
Circlesongs are spontaneously composed choral music layering melodies, harmonies and rhythms. Circlesinging is a form of group singing that connects with ancestral ways of music making. Open to singers of all skills.
Since the dawn of humanity, people have been singing together to bond, mark events, mourn, gather courage, endure hard work or simply to celebrate.
These singing gatherings allowed everyone to take part, creating musical 'landscapes' where the less skilled or confident could contribute and hold the space while the most daring or musically aware could be creative and inspiring to others.
Although these forms of expression have been practiced for thousands of years in different cultures, they have only recently been named 'circlesongs", and brought to the attention of the Western musical world by the renowned jazz vocalist, improviser and educator Bobby McFerrin, who has been developing numerous projects and workshops connected with vocal improvisation in recent years.
Circlesong workshops and laboratories
Circlesong workshops are very inclusive as it isn’t necessary to have a previous understanding of music and each participant can enjoy and learn regardless of their musical abilities. They are great for groups of beginners, even the 'can't sing' cathegory...Also for a group of mixed abilities. In this way, the less confident can take part and contribute, where the more experienced and creative will also have room for challenges and boundary-stretching.
Circlesong laboratories are gatherings of choral improvisation directed to singers, instrumentalists, actors, dancers, healers, and composers who want to expand their musical formation and feed their creativity and musical freedom. As participants come from different musical, vocal and cultural backgrounds, they are a great way of exchanging musical ideas and a space to explore, reinvent and challenge our musical ideas.
Participants of circlesong events report experiencing deep involvement and connection with each other and with the music they are making, awareness of the ‘bigger picture’ and increased well-being as a result of the rhythmic entrainment and endorphine release.
Feedback also reports enhanced creativity, an improvement of musical understanding, quality of listening, rhythm and connection with one’s own voice. Also a refined sensitivity, curiosity for different musical forms and capacity for surprise!
Every time I teach a circlesong session I’m reminded of the huge power of singing to awaken togetherness, feelings and creativity, and I rekindle my deep love for the human voice and its mysteries.