song-carriers will guide us back to our indigenous European roots through the teaching of old songs and ways of singing.
We of European descent have culture! With our modern-day privilege of receiving cultural wisdom from all over the world, so many of us yearn to remember our own people's ways.
Learning the old songs is one profound way to reawaken this memory in our hearts and bones.
⇻ One Opening Call w/ Hanna Leigh - 1hr
⇻ 7 Singing & Storytelling Workshops with Guest Teachers - 90 min.
⇻ A private, moderated FB group
COST: $235 until April 16th; $275 after
**Payment Plans available on registration page
Greetings Fellow Earth Walkers,
This Songs of Mother Europe series is intended to connect you more deeply with your ancestral remembrance -- in visceral ways -- through learning the old methods of singing.
We know that song has the power to awaken ancient memory.
My prayer is that this series will do just that.
A bit about me...
My name is Hanna Leigh, and I am feeling a lot of goodness in my belly around offering this series to you. I am a Singer-Songwriter, Doula, Vocal Embodiment Guide, and Devotee of this precious, living Earth. Raised in California, I currently live in Maui, Hawaii, on the sacred lands of the Kānaka Maoli.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve gathered songs from diverse world traditions and have received the gift of attending various ceremonies of indigenous peoples.
A few years ago I began more actively seeking connection to my own ancestry.
Luckily, I have a mother who is passionate about genealogy, so she has uncovered a lot of information from the past seven generations.
Still, my soul has yearned to go even further back, to a time when my people still communed intimately with the living world, and knew how to sing the songs of Nature.
Some ways I've been practicing this connection are through prayer, circle, ritual and song.
A note about the term "Mother Europe":
The term "Mother Europe" is inspired by a beautiful essay entitled “Reclaiming our Indigenous European Roots,” which was written by Lyla June, an Indigenous musician, scholar, and community organizer. The essay itself brought me to tears, as I felt a palpable presence in the room while reading it.
Throughout most of my youth and 20s, I was interested in, and traveled to, almost every continent on Earth. . .except Europe.
In her essay, Lyla calls Europe - “The Great Sacred Motherland of Europe”. When I read these words, I was brought to tears. Something shifted in me. I began to tune into how those ancestral lands may have been before their own colonization.
What could life have been like when our people still communed intimately with water, stone, wind and fire?
What songs did they sing?
Well perhaps it’s been a while for most, (somewhere upwards of a thousand years). Many may have forgotten, though gratefully there are those that still keep the songs alive, and others who are remembering them, and receiving them through the ethers.
May our time together help us to remember our own motherland.
COST: $235 until April 16th; $275 after
An excerpt from Lyla June's essay
"Reclaiming our Indigenous European Roots":
But one day, as I sat in the ceremonial house of my mother’s people, a wondrous revelation landed delicately inside of my soul. It sang within me a song I can still hear today. This song was woven from the voices of my European grandmothers and grandfathers. Their songs were made of love.
They sang to me of their life before the witch trials and before the crusades. They spoke to me of a time before serfdoms and before Roman tithes. They spoke to me of a time before the plague; before the Medici; before the guillotine; a time before their people were extinguished or enslaved by dark forces. They spoke to me of a time before the English language existed. A time most of us have forgotten.
These grandmothers and grandfathers set the ancient medicine of Welsh bluestone upon my aching heart. Their chants danced like the flickering light of Tuscan cave-fires. Their joyous laughter echoed on and on like Baltic waves against Scandinavian shores. They blew worlds through my mind like windswept snow over Alpine mountain crests. They showed to me the vast and beautiful world of Indigenous Europe. This precious world can scarcely be found in any literature, but lives quietly within us like a dream we can’t quite remember."
Through the songs and sounds shared by our guest teachers,
may the living reality of earth and ancestral belonging be rekindled within you.
Opening Call w/ Hanna Leigh
Join us for our 60-minute opening call, which is a time to ground into our journey together, and hear from each other about what has inspired us to join this series at this time -- (sharing always optional).
As well as teaching some basic vocal embodiment techniques, Hanna Leigh will lead us in a guided meditation to connect with a circle of our wise grandmothers/grandfathers, so that we may listen and receive their songs and messages.
Yodeling - the Ancient Song of the Alps
Amélie Mehru is a singer-songwriter from Germany who found parts of her musical roots in yodeling and in collaborative vocal improvisation. After working as a psychologist and mindfulness teacher trying to improve people’s mental health in an unhealthy system, it was the voice that called her to a different life. For her, voice is an expression of soul, and song a way to connect with the ancestors. She‘s also a permaculturist, passionate about learning how to live in harmony with nature again and taking people on that journey of reconnection. Together with her partner she’s been traveling the past years, exploring the sound of different landscapes, giving courses and retreats while coming closer to her roots. She‘s happiest when improvising with other musicians in healing spaces and when she supports people to find the joy of their own voices.
Jungle Svonni is a Sami (indigenous people in Northern Europe) from one of the most isolated reindeer herding districts in northern Sapmi, about 200km north of the Arctic Circle. He has lived many years in other parts of the world, such as Greenland and South America. went to the Amazon in his mid-20s, where he studied shamanism and plant medicine for 7 years to recover knowledge that became lost among his own people due to Christian laws. Any practice related to shamanism, such as having a drum or practicing yoik (Sami singing style), was persecuted in ways also including the death penalty.
In 2014 Jungle himself became persecuted in Sweden, one of the colonizing countries of Sapmi. He became the first Sami shaman to win over a European Government, after centuries of persecution of shamanism in Sapmi.
The Practice of Yoik
Elin Kåven is a Sami singer, songwriter and yoiker from Karasjok. With close to 20 years as a Sami artist, she has seen how yoik has been received in different parts of the world. As an adult, she decided to dig deeper into the yoik, and found a connection to nature and her foremothers and forefathers through the practice.
Elin Kåven will get into the technique and practice of yoik. This is where you will be given the tools on how to yoik. You will learn a few traditional Sami yoiks, and then you can start to find your own yoik voice. In this workshop you will be using your voice and body a lot, so get ready!
"Our songs travel the earth.
We sing to one another.
Not a single note is ever lost and no song is original.
They all come from the same place and go back to a time when only the stones howled."
- Louise Erdrich
Songs of the Irish Otherworld
Mary Mclaughlin is a singer/songwriter/teacher who is steeped in the Ulster Gaelic song tradition of her native Ireland where she was born and raised.
Mary records, performs, and teaches workshops in Irish singing, technique, and Gaelic song and culture. She has toured extensively throughout the UK, Ireland, and North America, teaching and performing at Celtic/Irish camps. She has recorded five CDs to international acclaim, written two songbooks, and completed a Ph.D. in Irish Otherworld Song, Her particular expertise is in the Keen, Gaelic Christmas songs, and Fairy Song.
Gaelic Songs of Spring
Peia Luzzi is an American-born song collector, writer and multi-instrumentalist based in the mountains of Southern Oregon. Like water from a deep well, she draws inspiration from her ancestral roots of Celtic and Old World European folk music. With the voice of a lark, Peia dances nimbly from Child Ballads and 17th C. Gaelic laments, to Waulking Songs, and Bulgarian mountain calls. She has traveled extensively over the past 10 years to uncover melodies wrinkled and wise with time, laboring to honor their language and stories, while bringing a piece of herself to each song she carries.
Vocal Opening through Bulgarian Song
Sonja Drakulich is best known as singer, producer, composer and founder of the internationally-acclaimed world music ensemble, Stellamara, and as singer and percussionist for the Northern European Medieval-Folk band, Faun.
She is a certified somatic trauma therapy coach, specializing in freeing the voice as our most powerful tool for healing and empowerment. She is the founder of “Voice and Somatic Therapeutics” a unique method of somatic expressive arts rooted in Qigong, Practical Ritual, Nada Yoga, Ancestral Healing and the synthesis of the most effective vocal practices she has learned throughout the Eastern and Western world.
Throughout her studies and her career as producer, performer and teacher, she maintains her focus on the devotional aspect of song and on intercultural unification through music.
Ancient Songs of Serbian Grandmothers
Svetlana Spajić is a Serbian traditional singer, performer, pedagogue, cultural activist and translator. Born in Loznica in Western Serbia, Svetlana has been researching and performing the ancient traditions of Serbian and Balkan a capella singing and their unique vocal techniques and ornamentation for over 20 years.
Svetlana Spajić performs and gives lectures in Serbia and abroad, teaching groups, young and old, from city to ancient village, to further her efforts to preserve traditional singing. Svetlana is perhaps the only singer of her generation who was taught to speak the Serbian oral language, with its numerous idioms and dialects, and she is recognized and accepted among the authentic older village singers for this knowledge. Still, Svetlana seeks the permission of these older mentors to include each of their songs in her repertoire. She also insists on knowing the how, when, where and why of each song. “I was never given a comment by my teachers like: ‘You sing nicely…’ Such thing doesn’t exist in the ancient epic world. Either you testify the truth or not.”