Notes Let's highlight a song by next episode's guest artist Maggie Wheeler, Maggie said she wrote this on her birthday on a gray day by the beach in 2019. She told her husband and daughters to just hang on, because a song was coming through… I thought, ah, she treats her creative urges with honor. Both my cat and dog contribute to this particular recording, but although the purring and dream yips seemed really loud as I was recording, they're quite faint in the final product.... I decided to just let them blow through.
Maggie Wheeler is best known in the U.S and internationally for her work as an actress in film, television and voice-over and most notably as the character of Janice on NBC’s hit series Friends. Maggie is a passionate singer, songwriter, choir director and workshop facilitator. She has been teaching her vocal workshop "Singing In The Stream" for over 30 years at retreat centers, universities, communities and schools to provide the experience of creating interpersonal harmony and internal harmony through the powerful act of creating vocal harmony. Maggie directs the 100-voice Golden Bridge Community Choir in Hollywood, an inter-generational, non-auditioned choir now going in its 16th year.
She is a prolific songwriter with a catalog of powerful and timely songs that have been sung by choirs worldwide. Maggie’s original music for choirs and communities is available on iTunes and other music platforms. To accompany her most recent CD entitled 'Walk With Me’, Maggie has created a songbook available by request through her website www.goldenbridgechoir.com Throughout this year of change Maggie hosted a weekly online community gathering called Together In Song, bringing together people from around the world to join in the healing power of singing.
To learn more about Maggie’s work please visit: www.goldenbridgechoir.com and maggiewheeler.net
Nuts & Bolts This layer song is a slow 4:4, Aeolian mode (natural minor)
Notes You'll hear me playing with different patterns and rhythms under this song... some of which work well right off, and some of which are more... umm... experimental! But we're all about exploring and growing and changing here -- and one of the downfalls of the highly polished recordings we are immersed in is that we forget that in real life, as we sing by ourselves or with each other, some of our experiments sound great, and some turn out to not be ones we want to continue -- heaven knows where we are going! But we'll get there...
Sol Amarifio was the Ghanian drummer of the band Osibisa. The band members were African and Caribbean musicians living in London: Teddy Osei, Sol Amarfio, Mac Tontoh, Spartacus R (Roy Bedeau) Wendell Richardson, Robert Bailey, Loughty Lasisi Amao. Here's Osibisa with the original.
This song is under copyright, so recordings or performances for profit are subject to copyright restrictions -- please sing freely at home and with family! Anaïs Mitchell and Kate Stables collaborated on a beautiful cover of this.
Nuts and Bolts It’s harmonized, in 6:8, Ionian mode (major).
Notes: This is a grounding song that's popular in the community singing movement, and in August 2021, I learned from Heather Houston that she had just learned it is a Molly Hartwell original. As a white, European American cis female in my 50s, raised to value formal education, let me tell you, my brain is littered with words like, evaluate, compare, weigh, measure, process, careful…. For me, it can be a real challenge to get out of my head and into my body! But, oh the difference when I do… the connection, the power, the sense of being enough. I love the way this song reminds me of the soles of my feet and to sense the blood rushing through my body. Trillions of cells working together so I move and breathe… and I can just watch and feel all that with amazement.
Here's the Thrive Choir singing it; I learned it in person from Lisa Littlebird, a vital, generous songleader whose course, Flight School, helped me expand my musical world in 2019. And here's an update in September 2021: Molly Hartwell shared her own original version in Heather Houston's song library (which is a magical internet spot to learn fabulous songs!). Molly also generously gave permission for songleaders to continue sharing the song however it came to them, since the song took on a life of its own after she created it!
Nuts and Bolts: It’s harmonized, in 4:4, Aeolian & Dorian modes (minor with shifting harmonies....)
Notes This song was inspired by ujjayi pranayama -- a breath practice for calming and strengthening that creates an ocean-like sound.
Here are links to two other songleaders sharing the song: Heidi McCurdy does a beautiful version with singing bowls and improvisation moving into the song, and Tembre de Carteret in Ireland, starting around 9'30", teaches it live very shortly after it was written, when we were all figuring out how to songlead and sing on Zoom!
Nuts and Bolts It’s a round in 3:4, Aeolian mode.
“A Breath of Song” is a new podcast that grew out of my personal experience in singing as a wellness practice. Singing is proven to improve health in many ways. We plant words in our brains through songs, and these messages can support us as we flex and grow. Singing mindfully can move us into a state of flow, which is rejuvenating. It’s all the benefits of meditation without sitting still and being quiet. I believe being in tune with our own voices will uncover wellness in ourselves, each other, and our world.
I hope you’ll join me -- use the contact page to sign up so I can let you know when the next episode is released, or to nominate a song or songwriter. I treat your email address with great respect -- I'll never share it without your express permission, and I won't send you anything I wouldn't want to see in my own inbox.
Each week, in under 15 minutes, I’ll introduce a new song that I trust to help my brain navigate life. I’ll teach it briefly, and we’ll sing it many times. Then we’ll take a break to hear about the origin of the song, before singing it again -- the repetition after a break will help us remember it! Of course, the podcast is available for download, and you can listen as many times as you’d like.
Periodically, I’ll have guest songleaders, sharing songs they’ve written. Those podcasts will be longer, and feature an interview with the songwriter.... I am seriously excited about these conversations, and I've been collecting intriguing questions.
Here on the website, you can find information about singing as a wellness practice, see show notes with links, listen to more episodes, make song or artist suggestions, tell me what’s on your mind, and leave something in the tip jar which makes the podcast possible.
After covering the monthly expenses of hosting the podcast (website, podcast host, domain name), if there is any leftover, 25% will be donated to the Jazz Foundation of America, which directly supports jazz, blues & roots musicians in need. I want to recognize the historic and current unfair treatment of Black and indigenous musicians, whose music and artistry is the grounding of so many of the songs I share.
I am grateful that you are taking the time to listen to and honor your own voice, and I look forward to sharing time together, finding wellness one song at a time.
All 1:1 (Unmetered) 12:8 2:2 3 3:4 4:4 5 & 6 Mixed Meter 6:8 Accept Be Grateful Be Present Calm Celebrate Change Earth Empower Fire Flex Friendship Gather Grieve Grow Heal Hope Journey Moon Night Notice Nuts & Bolts Open Pain Play Release Rest Scale: Aeolian (minor) Scale: Dorian Scale: Ionian (Major) Scale: Minor Scale: Mixolydian Scale: Mixolydian Flat 6 Song Form: Ballad Song Form: Call & Response Song Form: Harmonized Song Form: Layer Song Form: Round Song Form: Unison Song Form: Unison With Separate Harmony Line Song Form: Verse And Layer Song Form: Verse & Chorus Song Form: Zipper Songwriter Conversation Stars Sun Tend Trees Trust Water