Authored and Submitted by Moe Clark to the Participatory Creative Music Hub.
okâwîmâw askiy is Mother Earth (nêhiyawêwin/Plains Cree language), always providing for us in ways beyond our wildest imaginations. This workshop provides an opening for us to strengthen our connection to earth while activating our voices and bodies through sound and movement.
As we move through prompts based on teachings from the medicine wheel, we deepen our presence with our four bodies (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) and the four elements (earth, fire, wind, water) and we activate our senses. We work in a circle, whether actual or perceived, in an on-going acknowledgement of our relationship to the many earth and sky relatives that are beyond our two-legged (human) realm.
Looking at concepts:
medicine wheel: in an nêhiyaw/Plains Cree perspective we all have four bodies; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. When we consider all four bodies in the way we vocalize and respond to the world within and around us, we can find balance through sound. We also acknowledge the four elements and the four directions as integral aspects of this balancing.
miskâsowin: finding one’s sense of belonging, locating oneself within the circle (of life). We continually work in relationship to one another where all voices matter.
wâhkôhtowin: kinships beyond our immediate family; an acknowledgment of all of earth’s creation as members of our extended family, as relatives.
nikamotan: let us sing together as creative medicine to help us grow and strengthen our capacities for listening, mirroring and living a good life together.
nanâskomowin: gratitude. We give thanks through music and singing. In a simple way, we say “hay hay” as a way of acknowledging all the relationships that uplift, inspire and help us grow.
What place or landscape is home for you? How do you acknowledge your body as home?
1. Coming home through breath:
Following a simple count in a circular pattern, we explore the cycles of birth, growth, death and release. We inhale and take in the air around us, this air ignites the fire inside, warming us and filling our bodies with energy. We hold this air inside in awe, feeling into where space is being made with new breath. We release this air and we calm the waters in our bellies. We feel the emptiness of release. We repeat. Each time we cycle through breath, we engage with different images, thinking about the elements, the cycles of life, of sunrise and sunset. We use our body as a map to connect with landscapes and remember that our body is our territory. Once you are finished cycling through this breathing exercise a few times, take a minute to sit quietly and notice if there are subtle changes in your inner world. Then ask, what has shifted in your perception of your relationship to the world around you?
2. CALL + RESPONSE. Listen, Reciprocate, Respond:
What sounds, sights, smells, feelings, tastes inspire you to sing and to call into existence the sounds alive inside and around you? We explore how our voices blend, echo and mirror the world around us and invite new sounds and languages for connection. You can work with images, sounds from nature and other found objects or memories to create the activation for call and response.
3. GRATITUDE song:
Through song we give thanks to all the beings, people, places and gifts that support our existence. Looking around and within you, we sing out, name and celebrate these gifts together.
For more information and to view Moe's instructional videos, see: https://www.newmusicnetwork.ca/projects/sound-stories-from-the-land/