A few years ago, I was not enjoying my singing. Nor was I really enjoying my life. At 21, I finally stopped and told myself, “There has to be another way of living, without suffering, full of satisfaction and success”. It was there that I began my journey in search of a new way to envision life. And it turned out that many people were already out there talking about this. So I started learning new concepts, all of which were framed in a new paradigm that moved away from the duality of good and bad and moved toward the individuality and responsibility of each individual. I am very good at understanding these new concepts that resonate in me… yet it is not so easy putting them in practice because my mind already feels a calmness in simply understanding them. In fact, it’s easy to catch myself offering advice far too quickly. Nevertheless, applying them to my day-to-day has been and continues to be a much slower process than I thought it would be.
Expressing myself through my singing voice helped me a great deal, especially when my life presented me with a gift that I honor and cherish with all of my heart: the Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra (BGKO). In the summer of 2012, I was contacted by Mattia (Italian accordeonist) and Robindro (Serbo-Indian clarinetist) to sing in a project based on Balkan music. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about this type of music. I accepted the offer because I had just begun planning a trip to the Balkans. It seems like life has a plan for all of us! Upon my return from that trip, I met up with the two of them. They seemed like wonderful people and, when I began sharing my voice with them, I felt an immediate connection. There and then my vocal journey began, and I soon discovered the magic of singing at the service to music and life. And I feel that the key was actually singing a kind of music about which I knew next to nothing. My approach to it was so innocent, without pretense or judgement…
I wasn’t afraid of what others might say, nor did I allow my sabotaging inner voice deter me because I was learning like a young girl discovers her voice for the first time, like it was a game. And for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid like I had been in my youth and young adulthood (later I will talk about the magic of this particular kind of music and how it helped me so much in my self-liberation).
I began singing as a trio with Mattia and Robindro, and I started having an excellent time. I enjoyed it fully, and everything seemed to happen effortlessly. I discovered the new sensations of total freedom and enjoyment. Soon after that, I met all of the other musicians, and they were equally charming! They were all from different parts of the world, and I felt more than ever the overwhelming need to travel and discover new places and cultures. BGKO took me on a journey without having to move. We started to have more and more shows, jam sessions and musical encounters… the world was opening for me!
A year later, we were offered the chance to play a concert in Ljubljana. It would be the first time I had sung so far from home. It was at that moment that my mind, my ego and my personal sabotaging began to undermine my enjoyment and devotion to singing. For that concert, we invited another female vocalist from Turkey… and well, that’s where the comparisons and envy completely took over. As I mentioned earlier, I had begun trying to work on this new way of approaching life in which I understood that what was happening to me was not real, but rather a product of my mind. This superficial mental consciousness only allowed me to not accept what I was feeling and continue to hide it. This translated into a feeling of guilt. Now, when I look back, I laugh at myself, but not without a certain amount of compassion.
Later on, something important happened that allowed me to move this cerebral understanding down into my body and into my breathing… the only thing that can connect with my essence and true self. I became pregnant, having just a few weeks earlier separated musically from Robindro. It had been an awful moment and decision because, in my opinion, none of us really knew how to manage what was going on. Still, something in that moment set the group free, and the five of us that remained decided to stay together. Not only that, we began to grow as never before because each of us was able to be a little more true to his or her self, and we had more space to experiment with our own individual self expression within the group’s creative process.
Throughout the entire pregnancy, I felt very connected to my body, and that allowed me to set aside my vocal exercises and focus only on paying attention to my body, my breathing and my thoughts. With this work taking place ‘so far’ from my voice, I achieved greater freedom than with any other vocal technique.
After giving birth, all of that direct connection faded away, and I found myself sitting there with my own shadow (Laura Gutman describes this period very well in her book, Maternity and the Encounter with Your Shadow). My son arrived like a windmill to stir up all kinds of unresolved things that were clogged in my insides: fears and beliefs that were limiting my potential. These past three years have been all about consciousness, earth, and brutal realities – very painful and life-giving at the same time. Throughout this entire process, I had an important ally: the concerts and my ability to deliver myself to my voice and, through it, to life. And no one can ever take this away from me. So I used the concerts to heal myself from any bitterness that might have taken up refuge in me.
During the last three years, I have made an ‘ant line’ to re-encounter this connection with my body and my essence. Much of this has had to do with the ability to listen closely to my body, my breathing and pure sounds – those things that truly heal me the most.
In the last few months, I have created the concept of Journeys in Voice, a guide to help people reconnect with their unique voice in their own unique way… their way. I am very happy for the acceptance I have received, for how I have felt, and for the energy I now have to continue growing and experimenting in this direction.
Just as these workshops are beginning, I realize that my body is reluctant and wanting to stop. There is something in the invisible part of performing that goes against my nature right now. So many planes, hotels, food that I don’t cook myself, cities, crowds, always having somebody else around me…
Now I feel the need for a long period of introspection, away from the stage, at home, ‘traveling’ and singing in my own way. For me, now is the time to find my unique way of presenting the world with my unique expression and essence. Everything is yet to be written. I am the creator of my own life, one that no other person has imagined or created. The journey begins!