Thursday 9th Sep

Petri Berndtson & Saara-Maija Strandman: The House of Breath, the Well-Being of the World and the Ways of Ventilating Oneself : A Dialogue Between a Philosopher and a Singing Teacher

Petri Berndtson (PhD, a philosopher of breathing) and Saara-Maija Strandman (MA, singer, singing teacher and psychophysical breath therapy instructor) will a have dialogue about the house of breath and its connection to our well-being and various ways to ventilate this house of breath.

In the first part, Petri will give a presentation which introduces philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s ideas concerning the self as the House of Breath. Bachelard understands human being and our embodied subjectivity as a house with different rooms and floors. The lower levels of the house represent the unconscious parts of our subjectivity and the higher levels more conscious parts of ourselves. The most grounded house Bachelard calls “an immense cosmic house” as it is a house that breathes the immense elemental atmosphere of air. The better the ventilation of the house the better is the well-being of ourselves.

After Petri’s presentation he will have a dialogue with Saara-Maija about the experimential atmosphere of the House of Breath. They will talk about singing and breathing as ways to ventilate the house and thus to deepen our experience of this house as the House of Breath.

In the last part (workshop part), Saara-Maija and Petri will instruct singing and breathing practices in order to learn to recognize and listen various rooms and floors of our embodied houses and how open, closed or hidden different dimensions of the our houses are. After this process of recognition we will also experimentially ventilate our houses and thus transform them into Houses of Breath that may breathe as freely as possible.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay: Hyper- and Co-listening: Thoughts on Sound, Selfhood, Solidarity, and Solac

In this talk, I investigate how the mindful, subjective, and collaborative aspects of listening practices engages with the sonic environment in a two-step process of personal and collaborative, as termed “hyper-listening” and “co-listening” respectively, and helps focus on the contemplation and capacity for reciprocity of the listener in regards to his or her situational contexts and wellbeing. This approach generates an inclusive mode of engagement with lived environments, the community and co-habiting others by a production of context-aware subjectivity. Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy’s work Listening (2017) and departing from Michel Chion’s listening modes described in his book Audio-Vision (1994), hyper-listening and co-listening operate as a set of individual and collective exercises and experiments in sonic medi(t)ation that intends to encourage listening to self and others without making immediate judgments by transcending ontological and epistemological constraints of sound. The idea revolves around listening as a mindful act to compassionately engage with the self and the environment, and bodies that inhabit it, namely humans, plants, animals, and other sentient beings. Challenging the Western modernist idea of listening as immediate meaning-making to navigate the everyday by arriving at deductive conclusions, I discuss in this talk how hyper-listening and co-listening together underscore emancipatory acts of listening towards generating an acoustic solidarity to provide solace, care and empathy in times of great turmoil and crises.

Elina Hytönen-Ng: Corporeal experience of lamenting creating wellbeing

Lamenting was an old Karelian and Ingrian way to express grief for example when a close relative has died. Laments were also performed prior wedding when the bride was leaving her home to join the household of the groom. Other forms of laments are also known. It was a way for the village community to create balance within it.

Lamenting has not been limited to the Baltic-Finns with singing, but laments can also be found in Greece and Ireland, where it is called keening. Yet, in Finland the tradition has gone through a revival in modern Finnish society and found new creative forms in the contemporary environment.

This tradition can be viewed as very corporeal way of expressing one’s emotions through singing. In this paper I will be looking at the contemporary practises of lamenting and the ways that the participants explain their corporeal experiences of performing laments. In the interviews it has also been clear that writing and composing laments as well as performing them has a therapeutic effect. Lament singing does not follow any set structure but is partly improvised. The lament allows the singer to express their emotions and deal with any possible hardships that they face.

The interview data is composed of eleven interviews with people who offer lamenting courses, are active in making laments or in other ways participating in the discussions about lamenting. The interview are analysed by using discourse analysis. In addition, the researcher is using her own autoethnographical data on participating on lamenting courses and composing laments as well as performing them.

Soile Päivikki Hämäläinen: The art of yoik in care: Sami caregivers’ experiences in dementia care in Northern Norway

Purpose: Yoik is the traditional vocal art of the Sami, the indigenous people of Fennoscandia. The Sami people, their land and their culture have been subject to colonisation and assimilation for centuries, hence the practice of yoik was lost in many regions. Despite an increasing awareness of the benefits of health musicking, yoik is only sporadically included in musicking practices in dementia care contexts. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore Sami caregivers’ yoik experiences in formal and informal care contexts.

Design: Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews with 17 Sami relatives of care receivers, and healthcare professionals. Qualitative content analysis from subthemes to main themes was used to identify themes.

Findings: The research revealed two key findings: 1) yoik enlivens, empowers, induces “good feelings” and enables reminiscence functions in elderly persons with dementia or impaired overall functioning, 2) yoik is not systematically applied in in-care contexts due to the history and consequences of assimilation and colonisation.

Originality/value: This study explores some of the consequences of colonisation and assimilation on healthcare services and provides insights into an under-researched topic, the function of yoik as a music-based practice for the well-being of older adults. The study reveals that yoik can act as an attunement tool. Yoik may manifest and enhance connectedness to oneself, to the natural environment and to the community. This type of attunement lies at the heart of person-centered care.

Riitta Rainio & Noora Vikman: Engagements with environment – art of echos, traditions and rituals

Until the last century, Finnish sages healed the sick through various sonic rituals containing sung or spoken spells, shouting, spitting, shooting and other types of making noise. According to tradition, these rituals were often performed by cliffs, gorges and caves, where echoes or reverberation from surrounding rocky surfaces could have an effect on the healing experiences and practices. This paper explores the interaction and dialogue between sound, wellbeing and natural environment at the historical site of Vaskikallio (‘Copper Rock’) situated in Lieksa, Eastern Finland. We examine the acoustic properties of Vaskikallio by in situ impulse response measurements. We trace the spells used by a local healer Antti Vinne (1826–1898) from folklore databases and perform and record them in their original acoustic context by the echoing cliff.

Furthermore, we interview present-day visitors of Vaskikallio in order to find out the meaning(fullnes) of this place today. How do those people who visit Vaskikallio experience it? What all makes it and places alike special and meaningful? What happens if these experiences are put in dialogue with artistic expression? What happens when the artists visit the place for the first time? What are their (first) impression of the acoustics when they sing, joik, drum or sing there? What is the role of the natural environments in their art? How do the visitors get inspired by the stories of the past and why do they attract? How has the stories been applied to certain rituals and art? How have the traditions been adopted to the experiences, music and performances? Is all this connected to go for wellbeing? If yes how?

Friday 10th Sep

Peter Appel: Let your seashell sing!

In this Movingness workshop, we’re going to explore the sounds of the body – through breath, touch, and slow movements. 

The explorations are very peaceful and can bring you into states of deep concentration, flow, and meditation. 

The name of the workshop – Let your seashell sing – refers to the sound we make with our voice when breathing!

Please bring soft clothes and a yoga mat. We’re also going to use a chair (or a meditation pillow).

Warmly welcome, Peter
More information about Movingness at www.movingness.com

Sari Laitinen: Promoting Cultural Wellbeing in Espoon Hospital

Establishing cultural wellbeing at Espoo hospital the city of Espoo enabled funding for the process in 2020. Espoo Hospital is a centre of excellence for treatment and rehabilitation of the elderly and a support service for patients returning home. The idea of the project was to implement participatory art lead by the artists together with the patients and the staff. By experiencing the effects and the affects of participatory art in hospital setting will be better comprehended and thus enhances the use of arts in the future.

The artists guided three different kinds of art sessions. They were:
– Laulau Songdrawing method adaptation for the elderly
– hospice musicians’ improvised musicking adapted from Music for life -program
– hospital clowns’ pilot work with the elderly.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all the sessions were implemented via distance connection, with lo-fi sounds. The staff scheduled the meetings and negotiated with the patients about their interest in participating in these art sessions. Altogether 150 patients and 16 members of the staff were exposed in 50 sessions held by the artists. The staff realized participatory art enabling a free and safe place to be creative which enhanced the empowerment of the patient.  The presentation will reveal the ongoing practices of promoting cultural wellbeing in the hospital and the quality of sound is considered.

Eija Liisa Sokka-Meaney: Well-being, life-long learning and choir music – and how did they survive covid-19

The wellbeing of the aging population in Finland has become a current issue. The latest findings in music and brain research have shown what impact music has on producing wellbeing as well as on learning processes in music hobbies.

This presentation is based on a case study of a small choir in a mid-size town in Finland. It aims at showing how music activities of the elderly produce social and intellectual well-being and sustainable lifestyle as experienced by the members of the choir.

This is a very current sustainability issue in Finland. The third sector’s involvement in the society and it taking more responsibility of each other. This actually demonstrates itself in the earlier choir surveys e.g. by several members taking care of the older ones. Most of the choir members have retired.

The presentation is based on three surveys – the first one in 2016, the second in 2018 and the third in summer 2021, when the choir got together for the first time after covid restrictions.

Choir activities have been on pause for eight months during 2020-2021 and several months in spring/summer 2020 because of covid.

The third survey aims at finding out how the choir members have experienced the covid time and their feelings of when they gather again to sing and compare them to earlier surveys.

The earlier surveys have shown how choir activities bring well-being, both intellectual and social, even therapeutic and post-traumatic healing experiences, to the members. Some results have been presented at the LTN conference in Tallinn in 2016 and in a workshop in Washington in 2018.

This is a presentation with some singing activities during the presentation and possibility to ask and discuss at the end.

Hilkka-Liisa Vuori & Johanna Korhonen: ”Power of Singing: power of voice” (Lauluvoimaa)

”Power of Singing” (Lauluvoimaa) is a two-year project for developing resonance-based methods and practical tools for wellbeing and care in Uusimaa region. The project is funded by Uudenmaan liitto (Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council). The target groups are those most suffered of corona isolation: the elderly, people with dementia or other disease linked to memory, and handicapped living in care units. 

There is more and more scientific evidence to support the idea of singing as a source of empowerment, joy and satisfaction. Performing arts brought into care units are an established form of action. In our project, even more than songs, we concentrate on the effects of voice produced by oneself.  A simple tone sung together by the caretaker and the caregiver brings a new dimension to everyday activities. What we call ”everyday singing” (arkilaulu) in non-performing shared experience by everyone´s own voice – which is always good as it is.

At the beginning, there is a sigh and hum. Later in life there are songs that play an important role in a meaningful life. They need to be recognised and acknowledged. At the end, childhood lullabies get another chance, and at the very end, singing simply tones, one´s own name and the old beloved songs can touch even a comatous mind.

The methods of the project combine sound of voice (sighing, humming, simple songs), listening, touch, and respective interaction. The project will take place in three different care units in Uusimaa 2021-2023 in close cooperation with the institutions.

Hilkka-Liisa Vuori is a doctor of music and a music pedagog also known for Birth Sound (Synnytyslaulu). Johanna Korhonen works in the project as a singer; she is also known as a journalist.