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Apr 23
France, Spain
Garden Blessing Chants

Georgian singing master Frank Kane leads a voice program to bless the new plantings

by Guy Mosel

At Dechen Chöling the recent planting of new parsley, dill, chervil, coriander, and lettuce seedlings coincided with our ‘Inner Resonance’ voice programme, run by Georgian singing master Frank Kane. Earlier this year Frank ran a workshop at the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland during the Gaelic celebration of Imbolc, a traditional festival marking the beginning of spring and the start of the agricultural season.

The Findhorn community had planted their first seedlings. Frank, understanding the rich tradition in many cultures of using singing and chanting to deepen connections to the natural world, arranged for his workshop group to sing for the seedlings, with the explicit hope that this would encourage the plants to provide health and sustenance to the community.

In a moment of auspiciousness, Frank recounted this story to Andreas Manthey, the head of permaculture at Dechen Chöling, and Andreas suggested singing in Ziji Gardens to bless the new seedlings which had been planted at the start of the Tibetan new year.

And so on the morning of a sunny winter’s day, Frank’s class gathered at the entrance to the nursery to raise their voices in blessing both the newly planted seedlings and the Ziji Gardens more generally.

Before the singing started those gathered took time to share their aspirations for the plants. Some did it silently, while others shared with the group that they wished for ‘peace,’ ‘healing the world,’ or ‘connecting with nature.’ Simon Bertin, head of garden at Dechen Chöling, also held an aspiration: that the plants would grow to become a medicine for the community.

‘The song we sang was Elia, a Georgian song which is traditionally used to attract rain or to keep it away depending on the need,’ Frank Kane says. ‘In this case it was intended as a general blessing for the gardens.’

Frank, who has been studying music from the Republic of Georgia for 35 years, regularly teaches classes at Dechen Chöling. He uses Georgian chants, some of which are more than a thousand years old, as a medium of vocal expression and exploration.

Frank says that if you’re interested in improving your singing, you should start with a repertoire that you love. ‘Listen to songs and sing along. Notice that your body is vibrating as you do so,’ Frank advises.

‘Then join a singing group to pursue the repertoire you love, and go see a voice teacher if you want professional advice.’

Click these links to read more about Ziji Gardens, and keep an eye out for future singing programmes at Dechen Choling.


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