We all breathe, it’s the first event at birth, the last at death …
Chris was commissioned by the National Aspergillosis Society to write a piece of music about breath for a Poetry and Health event, as part of the Manchester Literature Festival 2013.
As ideas for the music started to flow, it became clear to him that the closest instrument to the breath is voice. Chris contacted singer, composer, creative voice specialist and self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Breath’ Beth Allen, whose study of breath had been core to her MA in Voice. They worked together with breath central to their journey and whose rhythm inspired movement, which then led to their exploration of the voice using extended vocal technique. They both share a love of the work of Meredith Monk.
The performance took place and was repeated at a ‘Poets and Players‘ event, both to great critical acclaim.
Watch an improvisation by Beth and Chris performed at the John Rylands Library, Manchester
Whilst composing, Chris began to reflect on how relevant breath has been in so many areas of his personal, spiritual and artistic life. As a youth he had been drawn to meditation, yoga, tai chi, contemporary dance, alternative health, drumming, percussion, playing wind instruments, singing and voice exploration; he started to see the connection that breath had with all these activities.
Breath is Life, Life is Movement, Movement is Sound
Chris is eager to continue his exploration into the significance of breath from an artistic viewpoint, and is working towards creating a multi-media performance piece incorporating music, dance/movement, spoken word, film and lighting design.
“What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and exhale” – Shunryu Suzuki Rosh
“Breath is dance made visible” – Anna Halprin
“I worked with Chris on a project to support poems about breath through music. Chris is both dynamic and patient, creative and supportive, a mover/shaker and someone who waits. His music-making is joyful and spirited and he is the kind of person you want to accompany you into every creative space to inspire development and foster unity. Musicians like Chris are rare and precious and don’t come along very often.”
Beth Allen BA Music Performance, Dip Music Therapy, MA Voice, Artistic Director Sacred Sounds Choir