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Surrounded by vibrations

Sca­red of relap­sing into the same old dai­ly rou­tine of com­mu­ting and work ? Sep­tem­ber is here with its share of stress and new pro­jects. Here are some tips for rising above it and taking a deep breath to help you face the sea­son in bet­ter shape.

Music appea­red 35,000 years ago. Equip­ped with rudi­men­ta­ry ins­tru­ments – buf­fa­lo rhom­bus from hun­ting – men and women would play, dance, sing and tap to express their emo­tions, reli­gious fee­lings and chant incan­ta­tions inten­ded to inter­act with natu­ral phe­no­me­na they bare­ly unders­tood. Music, or rather the vibra­tions they crea­ted, was a way to lead them towards a spi­ri­tual trance. Today, in our unques­tio­na­bly secu­lar socie­ty, we no lon­ger express our emo­tions using any­thing as rudi­men­ta­ry as a buf­fa­lo rhom­bus. But are we so far from remo­ved from that pre­his­to­ric era ? And what bridges still exist bet­ween today and this spi­ri­tual world, well-being and world music ?

Sha­ma­nic trance or world music, it is all the same 

Today, thanks to a varie­ty of modern tech­niques, we can move from one state of conscious­ness to ano­ther. States of relaxa­tion, trance, ecs­ta­sy and medi­ta­tion can be indu­ced, among other things, by sha­ma­nic ses­sions or brought on by Bud­dhist monks. In Wes­tern coun­tries, this occurs pri­ma­ri­ly through sophro­lo­gy, hyp­no­sis, mind­ful­ness medi­ta­tion and many other dis­ci­plines. Sound yoga and music the­ra­py are also a part of this world of well-being.

Some yoga tea­chers cur­rent­ly use ins­tru­ments meant to vibrate at 440 mega­hertz, the fre­quen­cy of the human body. Other well­ness pro­fes­sio­nals even argue that 432 mega­hertz is the fashio­nable fre­quen­cy of “uni­verse and hap­pi­ness”. World music musi­cians tend not to be so fami­liar with radio waves, but do have the gift of relaxing, soo­thing our minds and put­ting us into a trance.

The body, our first music instrument 

Music is sim­ply the laws of phy­sics used for dif­ferent pur­poses,” says Mika de Bri­to, a yoga tea­cher who gives classes with Schu­bert’s sere­nade, Ber­lin elec­tro or hang drum playing in the back­ground. And, as des­cri­bed by the Moroc­can sin­ger, Oum, when she is on stage, it is pri­ma­ri­ly at the phy­si­cal level that things hap­pen. Vibra­tions pass through her body : she is in ano­ther dimen­sion. It is no lon­ger about intel­lect but about fee­lings, then emo­tions. She and her musi­cians form a “lit­tle ener­gy col­lec­tive” as she likes to call them. And the audience sees and feels that.

So, the cavi­ty we call the body does indeed func­tion like a musi­cal ins­tru­ment and has an extra­or­di­na­ry abi­li­ty to both trans­mit and receive vibrations.

How can we vibrate bet­ter with the music of the world ?

In both prac­tices – music and well-being – seve­ral methods exist. One is uni­ver­sal and well known. It consists of pro­du­cing a repe­ti­tive sound sti­mu­lus that ali­gns with the fre­quen­cy of the waves we are trying to reach. We then pro­ceed to a kind of “declut­ching” of the brain[1] in which the senses are satu­ra­ted in kee­ping with the model of hyp­no­sis. We go from sen­so­ry over-sti­mu­la­tion to loss of self-control. The exter­nal envi­ron­ment disap­pears in favour of a modi­fied state of conscious­ness : we go into a trance, the state prior to ecs­ta­sy and meditation.

And what’s more repe­ti­tive and more exhi­la­ra­ting than Congo­lese rum­ba, maloya and Reu­nion kabar… when it comes to put­ting us into a trance ? Let’s lis­ten to how a musi­cal trance can be ener­gi­sing or “convul­sive” when it is led by the mas­ter of the Cape Verde funa­na, Bito­ri. Our body begins to move without us control­ling it.

Ano­ther place – ano­ther more “hyp­no­tic” style – is that of the French tech­noid-orien­ta­list duo of Acid Arabs.

Final­ly, here is a more poe­tic ver­sion – guem­bri (acous­tic bass) and cro­tales (metal cas­ta­nets) as a bonus – orches­tra­ted by the Moroc­can Aziz Sah­maoui, accom­pa­nied by his group Uni­ver­si­ty of Gnawa.


Live music to awa­ken souls and consciences 

A live concert is a pri­vi­le­ged moment of exchange bet­ween the artist and the audience. Under the effect of the vibra­tions, the spec­ta­tors can let go and become more recep­tive to the conscious dis­course per­for­med live by the group. World music artists, enri­ched by their com­mit­ted and social his­to­ry from the out­set, are well aware of this. If we think about its foun­ding fathers – Salif Keï­ta, Kun­da Tou­ré, Yous­sou N’Dour, Manu Diban­go… various high­lights, both on the stage and in the city, spring to mind. Even today, the stage offers the poten­tial for a space-time that is not wei­ghed down by the contin­gen­cies of eve­ry­day life. We become much more present in the here and now – a notion dear to the world of well-being[2] – than elsew­here. When you’re at a concert, it is dif­fi­cult – although just about pos­sible – to plan your next day or think about your week­ly shop­ping list. Having entit­led her latest album, Daba – Now, in Ara­bic – Oum will not contra­dict us. Nor will the female icon of Jamai­can music, Jah9 & the Dub Treat­ment, who per­forms on stages around the world and offers “yoga on dub” ses­sions to “raise awa­re­ness and awa­ken souls”.

So, are your spi­rits low at this busy time of year ? If so, think about expe­ri­men­ting with music the­ra­py or sound yoga. And if you still want to change fre­quen­cy and decom­press, bet­ter than a ses­sion at the psy­chia­trist or a home reme­dy, don’t for­get, live music will always be the best way to perk you up with pul­sa­ting rhythms and jer­ky beats.


[1]          Topic deve­lo­ped in Ele­na Sender’s Le Cer­veau dans tous ses états [The Brain in all its States], publi­shed on 3 Decem­ber 2016 in the online Sciences et Ave­nir magazine.

[2]          In the world of well-being, the phi­lo­so­phi­cal gim­mick “here and now” aims to encou­rage indi­vi­duals to focus on the present moment. The past no lon­ger exists, the future has not yet hap­pe­ned and there is no room for any pro­jec­tions or rumi­na­tions. To live in the present moment, in full conscious­ness, with our entire being – body, mind and soul inclu­ded – would be the best we can do.

Eva Dréano

Éva Dréano


Éva Dréano is a journalist and a yoga teacher. She first graduated in Anthropology and Conduct of Cultural Projects, then worked for eight years in the communication and administration departments of musical organisations in Africa, Paris and Europe. (Dionysiac Tour, Safoul Productions, French Cultural Institute of Pointe-Noire in Congo, Le Triton, Wild Cabaret, Show-me - Zurich...)

Since 2013, she has also been writing journalistic content for the webzine Africavivre. At the same time, she worked on her writing skills through the Training Centre for Journalism Professionals (CFPJ). Since then, she has been writing about her two favourite topics, contemporary African music and yoga, for web (Africavivre, Pan African Music, Music in Africa) and print magazines (Le Journal du yoga).

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