Welcome to Of Song & Story: A World Music Singing Session!
We invite singers and storytellers from around the globe to join us in creating a vibrant, shared community through the songs and stories of our cultures and hearts.
For those joining us for the first time, welcome! We are thrilled to be creating a gathering of folks from all corners of the world to share the songs and stories of their cultures in a warm, welcoming, inclusive community. We meet twice monthly on Zoom, and the general idea is to meet and share songs from whatever your tradition of music is. The meeting is loosely guided by your hosts, Andrea and Allison, who will help to keep the session moving and ask folks to share one by one as we go. Each time we meet, those who join us will have an opportunity to share a song of their own in addition to our featured singer who will share several songs throughout the session, though if you prefer to just listen, that's fine too. There is no cost to participate.
ALL ARE WELCOME.
Until our modern day culture, music has always been for the masses, for the "regular folk," so to speak. This session is a return to that. You do not need to be a "professional" singer to participate (or even an aspiring professional singer.) This is not American Idol. This is real life: beautiful, messy, imperfect and rich with real voices and the opportunity for connection, through song and story. This is a session for all of us. If you can speak, you can sing. Your voice is unique among voices - there is no duplicate out there - and I wholeheartedly believe that everyone has a voice worth sharing and a story to tell.
So join us and grace us with yours.
To get involved, contact Andrea.
A brief history on the inspiration for this session:
This singing session is inspired by and modeled after a weekly Irish singing session I (Andrea) attended during my years living in Ireland. Each week, folks would gather and "take over" the top floor of An Spailpin, a local pub. I say "take over" only somewhat jokingly, as there were easily at least 50 people or more who would show up each week! It was for voices only - no instruments allowed, as instrumentalists had their choice of nightly trad sessions around town, and sessions in which singers were rarely given the floor. Each week there was a featured singer who would showcase several songs throughout the night, and in between their mini sets of 2-4 songs, the host would then allow singers around the room to each take a turn sharing a song. The range of songs, voices, and stories shared was vast and rich. Few voices were polished and perfect, as we are accustomed to hearing on the radio, but every voice there was full of more richness, soul and beauty than any over produced radio voice can ever be.
Each voice, as it began to sing, was captivating - in that way that reaches deep down within you, grabs hold of your soul, stops your breath and stills time. I could feel within each voice and each song something ancient, something reaching farther back than all our lives combined and rooted deep in the soul of a people. I had been welcomed into an ancient tradition, and was being shown the way of story and song, as it was originally and truly meant to be.
This turned out to be one of the richest, most incredible experiences of my life. It is not an overstatement to say it was life-changing in many ways, and it absolutely changed the way I thought of singing - from a performance activity for only those highly trained to an act and expression of humanity, meant for everyone to contribute to. Singing together in community creates a shared experience and connection through spirit and soul in a way few other things can. Humanity is beautiful, messy, imperfect; full of pleasure, pain, hope, despair, and everything in between. Our voices and our songs are reflections of this, and this is where the magic lies. This is true of all people, no matter who they are, where they are from or what they believe. Our shared humanity is what binds us, and what can express that humanity more beautifully and gracefully than song?
When I returned to the states, I was thrown back into a culture that has lost the art of communal song. I call ours, "the American-Idol" culture, and I don't mean that as a compliment. We have turned singing into an activity for only the best, most perfect singers, and relegated everyone else to silence and a life devoid of personal song. How truly tragic! So it has become a mission of mine ever since to counter this cultural shift and create opportunities for a return to this kind of singing tradition, in various forms. I truly believe that everyone's voice has value and beauty in it, and everyone has a song to share. You just may not know it yet.
As Maya Angelou wrote, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." We each have a song within us. This is to be human. And as I stated before, your voice is unique among voices, as is your story. There is no other voice and no other story exactly the same as yours. Your voice and your story matters; you are part of the fabric that has woven this world; your voice is a carrier of that ancient thread that moves onward through time. May you find the courage to let free your song and story in this great mosaic of humanity. We will all be the better for it.