St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. 8pm Thursday 18 September
(also Galway today and Cork next sat)
Path of Miracles by Joby Talbot is a one-hour acapella choral work for seventeen voices, depicting the emotional and physical journey of the pilgrim on the world’s most enduring Christian pilgrimage to the cathedral at Santiago di Compostella in northern Spain.
I sat in my chair attentively and quietly as the church filled and the performance drew nearer. I was in the front seat so there was little to distract me. The presence of a child beside me was enough to remind me that all is well. To begin, there was a brief explanation of the Camino Way and then the musical director for the evening, Máire Keary-Scanlon, outlined the 4 movements of the piece
What happened next, words can’t fully describe. I show an image of the recording of the piece above, yet i feel an audio recording would not fully describe my experience either. All performances are a creative collaboration between the performer and the audience. The more either party can give of their true selves to this creation the more blissful the experience for both.
My heart opened to the first male sounds soaring from the inner sanctuary, then females sang from another space within the church behind me and my heart opened wider and wider and I was full of emotion and they kept on singing and I was already in tears and allowing the sounds to fill me and all emotion to flow thru me and I felt the multi layered reality of the connection that was revealing itself so instantaneously as old choral programming gave way to ancient vibrations deep in each cell of my body. My heart began to beat fast. My breathing was heavy. Sound is a physical experience, sometimes you have to be right beside it to hear its full power. I opened my eyes partially and thru the tears I saw Máires guiding gestures shadowed on the floor and the feet of her beautiful singers now gathered in a semicircle before me. Magic! Mind Blowing!
For me, a good orgasm is where having felt, experienced and fully accepted my innate primal impulses, I then find that place within my being that allows me to centre myself and be calm in the midst of these wild urges, with assistance from conscious breathing, conscious movement and conscious sound. The sounds reaching my being were opening up my whole body now and I knew there was much releasing of energy taking place. The audience was classically quiet. I cried alone, my body shaking. I breathed deeply into my base chakra, down into my toes and drew up the grounding energy of the earth right up into my crown chakra and beyond. I moved as much as I could, audience permitting, and my breathing created its own sound in response to the choir, which was apparent at moments of silence. My body was now allowing itself to merge more deeply into this energetic exchange. I felt I was speaking in tongues. Wanting to dance, I improvised with facial expression and tongue on tip of teeth, tapping and lipping. Orgasm is an energetic release, The great Ah! But as a species we have been suppressed. Energetic release is possible in all areas of the body. This concert was a Soundgasm. My response was a Bodygasm. I smiled with the beauty flowing thru my being
I was listening to the divine that sang a choral sound to the divine in me. It was an affirmation, a thumbs up to the sounds I create myself. A standing ovation wasn’t enough, I wanted to hug them all. I was in bliss and on a high, I don’t know which is which. Either way I needed to ground myself, come back down to earth.
Thank you so much Máire and your band of men and women and to the composer Joby Talbot for this inspired soundgasm
An Introduction provided by Lucia Sheehan, who recommended the concert to me, thanks so much Lucia:
This spectacular and moving work depicts The Camini Way which begins in Roncesvalles, southern France. The four movements of the piece are each named after one of the main Cathedral posts along the route, beginning at Roncesvalles, then Burgos, Leon and Santiago, finally extending beyond to Finisterre, with each movement evoking a different emotion associated with the intensity of the pilgrimage.
Originally commissioned for the vocal group Tenebrae in 2005, this work will be performed in full in Ireland for the first time in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick on Thursday September 18th, St. Nicholas’s Cathedral in Galway on Sat Sept 20th and on Sat Sept 27th in St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork by a choral group, who have come together for the sole purpose of performing this work