Review by Natasha Dawsen
New Age methods of healing and replenishment are en vogue today on a palpable level. Homeopathic cures, meditation, Reiki, aromatherapy, and so many others are rapidly becoming a solid choice to pills and other allopathic methods. The latest on the scene is Sound & Music Healing.
Reverend Mary (aka Mary Elizabeth Micari) and a group of musician/healers came together at the legendary 13th Street Playhouse on Sunday, August 14, for a concert-style presentation of sound & music healing.
It was a clever idea to put this event in a theatre as opposed to a more “spiritual’ location. Those novice members of the audience might be dubious or intimidated to attend such an event at the Open Center of other more focused organizations while those who understand this – and similar – practices, got the treat of going to one of the last of the great off-off Broadway theatres left in New York.
The evening started out with “Singing Bowls” provided by Daniel Lauter. Mr. Lauter started the program softly with a mediation involving the stunning sound emanating from large white [what looked like] glass bowls. After a quick intro as to what the night would bring, his soft voice and entrancing vibrations put the audience into the proper mood for what came next.
George Brandon, a sonorous-toned African-American artist, then premiered a new composition entitled “My Call.” A retro-sounding piece, utilizing all the artists of the night, was both hypnotic and enjoyable. It entertained while proving to be a fine example of how music changes the mood. He concluded with a meditation of his own – just as relaxing as Mr. Lauter, but deeper in thought.
In between him, was one of three back-up artists, Erik Lawrence. Mr. Lawrence chatted at length with the audience, and then briefly played his saxophone as a tribute to his father.
Mr. Lawrence seemed personable enough, but could have spoke less and played more as he displayed great potential.
The second act introduced the evening’s producer; Reverend Mary, assisted by harpist Richard Spendio. Rev. Mary, a classically trained singer, ushered in her section with a lovely voice and instrumental highlighting Mr. Spendio’s brilliant harp-playing. Her beautiful voice, coupled with some ancient instrumentation, allowed our minds to wander to beautiful places. She then handed in a marvelous section based on her own cultures. Singing and reading poetry in Calabrese, Italian, and old Gaelic (Irish), Rev. Mary presented us with a worthy meal flavored with the spices of lilting melodies, inspirational lyrics and prose, and solid accompaniment. It was a perfect example of how music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. Mr. Spendio’s harp-work ripped through the warm air, transporting us to the times when our ancestors wrote these tunes.
Malia Kulp – another of the evening’s supporting players – did not fare as well as her fellow performers. Her grasp of sound & music healing did not seem as strong as her older and more trained colleagues, thus her contribution seemed heavy on improvisation and theatricality, making her look unprepared and even insulting as several audience members grumbled at her intention of laying-on of hands.
The finale was a rousing mixture of singing, chanting, drum (and other instrument) playing that got the audience on its feet and dancing – literally – out the door.
If one were to attend a showing of this type at –say– the Sage Center or even Brooklyn’s Maha Rose, one might enjoy the effects but, in this form, the total understanding of how sound & music healing is in our daily lives and its true accessibility came through loud and clear.
Mssrs. Lauter and Brandon, as well as Rev. Mary had CDs available as well as other tools of enlightenment and entertainment (including an entire homeopathic product line by Rev. Mary)
For further information, visit https://soundandmusichealingnyc.wordpress.com.