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Sun, 18 Feb


St Helen's Church, Bishopgate

Contemplative Songs and Chants

Devotional songs and sacred chants from different traditions, interspersed with meditation and readings, with guitar accompaniment (and sometimes a drum).

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Contemplative Songs and Chants
Contemplative Songs and Chants

Time & Location

18 Feb 2024, 15:30 – 17:30

St Helen's Church, Bishopgate, Norwich NR1 4EL, UK


About the event

Come and join us for this informal group, led by Liz Day and support.

Going within, singing the earth, connecting in circle, and lifting our voices to the heavens - in the sacred ambience of St Helen's church.

No experience needed. If you have breath - you can sing!

There's no fee, but I will be inviting financial gifts (cash or card).

What we do in the group

We work with repetitive chants (mantras) and simple devotional songs. It's somewhat experimental and eclectic - trying out songs and chants from different traditions, and seeing what works. Running through it all is the idea of tone (sound), breath, community and intention as the key elements of sacred chanting.

It's not all singing - we usually spend some time warming up our bodies and vocal chords, and moving around the church to connect with the vibrations of this sacred setting. We also have readings from sacred texts and/or poetry, and some times of silent meditation.

The venue at St Helen's is a beautiful space, and great for singing - with a warm acoustic that seems to naturally amplify and lift our voices.

Some thoughts on contemplative singing

I believe singing is something innate to humans. Anthropologists have found evidence that we learnt to communicate through sound and tone before spoken language came about. Some of us though have had it drummed into us that singing is only for especially gifted people, or that there are those among us who just haven't got it. Not true, in my book.

As well as inviting a certain musicality, there's permission here to take risks with our voices. Sometimes 'getting it wrong' can help us relax into finding our true voice. As we release the efforting, the trying to 'get it right', this 

often opens the door for a kind of grace to flow, and we find a sweet place of what some might call worship*.

In this way, voice and chant can open our heart space to the divine, whatever that may mean for you. It also brings us into connection with each other, as we nurture contemplative community through silence and song. Likewise, I like to think (and I believe it's true), that song can be a way to connect with the earth itself, and with our other-than-human kin.

It's also good fun!


* Worship: the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration. Though often associated with religious traditions and belief in a deity of some kind, my understanding is that it is also a characteristic of something innate and natural to what it is to be human. It's both a recognition of and a seeking after the holy, the sacred within of things (including you and me). Who amongst us has not worshipfully beheld a sunset?

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