To commemorate Women’s History Month, we asked several of our women teachers who was the woman who most influenced them and what is the hope they hold for women of the future. We talked with Silvia Nakkach, the Grammy®-nominated composer who has been an exhilarating and unique bridge between American and South Asian musical traditions for more than 30 years.
NY Open Center: Who is a woman who has influenced you in a major way?
Silvia Nakkach: The music composer and educator Pauline Oliveros certainly influenced me.
NY Open Center: Can you tell us a little bit about this person’s work and what it means to you?
Silvia Nakkach: I met Oliveros in 1982 without knowing who she was. I arrived in Woodstock, NY to enroll at the Creative Music Foundation. The school was closed for luck of funds. Pauline told me that she would be my mentor and introduced me to sonic meditations and deep listening practices. That experience shaped the foundation of all the work I do with sound, music, and voice. Influenced by her Buddhist meditation practice, Pauline Oliveros approached music composition and improvisation as spontaneous creativity available to all who listen. As part of my training, we traveled to remote sites and just listened day and night to the nuances of nature sounds and silence. Then, we wrote the highlights of our auditory perception in a Sound Journal and meditated upon our reflections. These early experiences have enhanced my sense of the subtlety in sound, and greatly influenced my experience as an Indian classical musician.
NY Open Center: What is a piece of advice you would give, in retrospect, to your girl self?
Silvia Nakkach: I would highly recommend she uses acoustic discernment to realize that hearing is different from the way we listen. I would suggest she leave aside all kind of instruments and aims, and just listen to the sound that is around her, sing it, and realize how deep listening can change the way we are and can be in the world. Listening improves attention and more attention enriches our life force.
NY Open Center: What is a hope that you hold for the women of the future?
Silvia Nakkach: To find more time to listen to the world around us–and listen without any judgment. Women can reclaim cognitive and spiritual autonomy by consciously working with the subtlety in sound. Finding freedom and love in all that you wish to cultivate, give, or serve, unconditionally.
May 18-19, 2019, May 18-19, 2019
9:30 am– 5:30 pm
Free Your Voice Through Shamanic Vocal Cultures & Medicine Melodies