June 11, 2015
We were excited to welcome artist Anna Baignoche to facilitate our April Art Fundamentals session. She facilitated a very fluid and enjoyable session where participants with different musical levels and experience engaged with confidence in song and movement.
Anna's practice has been enriched by travelling and being exposed to multiple cultural forms and sounds, and also by being involved in the community through leading various choirs in Vancouver. For her, it is important to learn where the songs she shares come from, understand their historical background and their connection with different spiritual or socio-cultural contexts.
The artist introduced the session with a movement and vocal warm up that involved being fully present. At the beginning of the session some people expressed their lack of confidence or sometimes fear to engage in this type of experience, but Anna created a safe environment where participants not only expressed themselves without inhibition but also were empowered to create beautiful harmonies.
Anna shared a rich array of songs from different continents. Some examples are The Welcome Song, a Lil'wat song taught to her by Russell Wallace, who learned it from his mother, and spiritual/gospel round songs written by African American slaves.
Anna shared how these melodies are representations of important historical moments, and also reflected on the importance of singing for humans — from a behavioural adaptive trait to a practice that would benefit our health.
Anna feels that singing together is not only part of our DNA, it is also part of our basic language and an essential part of us humans as a collective. We may not be used to singing and dancing together, but it is a vital a part of many world cultures.
The session ended with a beautiful harmony where all the participants synchronized and created a space of presence and enjoyment.
Here's what some workshop participants had to say about the day:
"For me, this workshop was out of the box — I am glad I made it!"
"Anna built up our confidence gradually to free us of any inhibitions we may have had. Using a capella and explaining the stories behind the songs really helped create an atmosphere and feeling for where the songs are from. Fabulous vocal coaching from start to finish. Thank you so much."
"What an amazing experience I will take with me throughout my life."
"By far the best workshop I have attended at ArtStarts."
"Anna is exceptional. Everything flowed and I was sincerely touched and brought to tears at the end."
Thanks to Anna for generously sharing of all these songs that we will all remember and hopefully pass on to somebody else in our lives.
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