Helen Kwok has been practicing sound healing for about 7 years and opened her own space in Wan Chai 2 years ago.
Helen's style is very, v.e.r.y. slow letting each bowl ring almost endlessly as I was taken in their custody to the depths of myself. To have such great restraint demonstrates a deep understanding and mastery of her craft and instruments. Her interests have recently been distilled even further by studying the shamanic drum, perhaps the most primitive healing tool, having only a single tone but using infinite rhythm patterns to trigger different conscious states. She feels the drum is more powerful than the bowls and regularly incorporates it in her sound baths.
I did this recording of Helen @mettawellness at her studio in Wanchai.
When selecting sessions to release for Sound Bath Sessions, I always want to offer unique sound baths to challenge listeners with new styles and experiences. I had never experienced a solo shamanic drum session before this and was excited to hear and feel what it would be like. Queena and Yumi's session (SBS 013) was the first time I had experienced a shamanic drum and its effect on me with the gong was intoxicating.
This is as minimal as it gets. Stripped down to a single sound, but with infinite possibilities in rhythm. Helen told me that there are certain rhythms for different conscious states and that when she plays during a session, it also affects her conscious state. I assume that this is because the drum is stationary so she does not need to open her eyes to see where to strike next, allowing her to focus and participate with the listeners through her own performance. I can see why this can be a desirable, powerful shared experience for everyone involved.
She begins with a slow, steady tempo to bring you in. As the tempos speed up, different rhythms cleanse you as they entwine you in their pace, as steady as a heartbeat. Helen's play with loudness and softness adds a deeper, physical dimension to the session. The soft, slow strikes allow the sounds of the city beyond to creep in as you are gently lowered to the reality where you started, the louder strikes pull you back into an entranced state and demand your attention as it leads you in a spiritual dance- spinning, whirling, exhausting you until.
As if the world stopped to listen.
You are here.
The drum commands your breathing, its tempo your breaths, its volume the depth of each. The drum's spell holds you just under the surface but you don't want to leave. The drum slows, softly into the quiet abyss.
Helen slowly plays some singing bowls to slowly bring you back to the surface and concludes with the chimes.
Every time I listen to this, it always affects me in this way. How a single instrument can command so much of me is beyond my knowledge. Purity of tone, purity of experience.
I hope you enjoy this one.