In a few days I am flying back to Hawaii. I thought I would write this blog post as I am finding it very difficult to explain to people why I am going to Hawaii… People are tending to respond with a jokey comment about how I am off on my holidays (which I completely understand).
so if you want to know, here goes…
I first came across Rhiannon when I was at Bobby McFerrin’s weeklong set of workshops called Circlesongs in New York in 2014. Rhiannon was teaching a few workshops and these workshops were by far the most interesting and challenging things for me in the whole week. I loved how quickly Rhiannon created a community and facilitated a space that made it possible to cross over thresholds and explore new territory.
A few years later I feel that deep down niggle that I needed to do something. I needed to learn new things and create something. I looked on Rhiannon’s website and found Mele A Hakuwale. A week long improvisation course in Hawaii. After battling with a fair amount of imposter syndrome I auditioned and finally got round to doing it in June 2018. The week was so utterly brilliant. There was a small group of singers, facilitated by Rhiannon, working through her approach to improvisation, she has this approach beautifully summarised in a book called Vocal River (I highly recommend it as a resource for any improviser!). I made such strong connections with the other singers and when I returned I found my voice felt the strongest it had ever been, singing had a new ease to it. I found this effect wore off after a few months. On reflection, I am putting this down to my body. In Hawaii we started each day by moving our bodies in whatever way felt right to whatever fantastic music Rhiannon had selected for us that day. I haven’t incorporated this into my singing life at home. I want to. I also want to let you know that this course was the most terrifying thing I have ever done.
Rhiannon has a bigger course. It’s called All The Way In and it runs across a year. One week in Hawaii, one week in Italy and one week in Atlanta. 16 singers audition and commit to this course. I applied for funding (twice!) but didn’t get it. I started a Crowdfunder and got £400. So at Christmas I decided I was just going to go for it!
So that’s why I am going to Hawaii in a few days.
I am going because I need to learn more. I need to challenge my musical and improvising self. I want to know more about what my voice can do when given the chance. I want to meet more fantastic and inspiring people. I want to go back to Hawaii. I wantto create my own improvising community because I think it is a hugely satisfying thing to do and I find it beautiful to watch others improvise with their voices.
The year will be financially hard but I will be so nourished creativity that I am guessing it cancels out 🙂
I am going to be running some pretty amazing workshops throughout 2019. So watch this space!
Here’s some photos of me in Hawaii in June 2018.