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Hearing Heritage - Finding Vocal Treasure

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Dear Friend

Roots - Frida Kahlo 1943

Hearing Heritage - Finding Vocal Treasure
A tree with strong roots laughs at storms - Malay Proverb 
As Jubilant June comes into bloom, I'm looking forward to a feast of singing delights including a special workshop for Croydon Heritage Festival, Singing Croydon's Heritage Recent inspiring interviews on Inside Story Radio Show have underlined for me the crucial role arts and environmental projects have to play in building resilient roots in our communities. Humming at the heart of our sense of heritage is the desire to contribute, create and connect with the treasures in our societies.

Communing in the roots of song
Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots - Victor Hugo
As the pace of life appears to speed up with ever increasing upgrades, technologies and social pressures, it can be hard to know what to hold on to. Living in London I have often felt disconnected from any sense of belonging, due to the transient pace of life here. However arriving in the historically rich creative soil of Crystal Palace has inspired me immensely, as has the commitment of the people I've met at Crystal Palace Transition Town who run over 30 projects including beekeeping, Food Not Waste community dinners and the wonderful Food Market where I've enjoyed busking with local singers. People with their hands in the earth and their hearts humming with a longing to contribute to their communities discover the roots of what connects them to each other in an otherwise anonymous city. Our natural, communal roots grow stronger when we sing, create, garden and dialogue together.

Flexible Roots Build Togetherness
You can have more than one home.  You can carry your roots with you and then decide where they grow - Henning Mankell 
Roots are stabilising and they are also constantly growing, extending along new pathways. With transport and virtual networks growing globally, our interconnections are becoming increasingly evident in new ways. I was deeply moved by the Look Beyond Borders project where holding eye contact for 4 minutes is used to dissolve fears and barriers towards refugees. We can build lasting connections, form new roots and new neural pathways in minutes when we sing and create together. Being flexible with our own sense of heritage allows us to encounter and enrich each other.

Photos: Singers at the Dream Choir Workshop at St Mary Abchurch, with Guest Saffron Saunders on Inside Story Radio Show, Croydon Radio photo Fluid4Sight
Humming Treasures
Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge.  We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind - Nietzsche  
As we grow individually, we contribute to the development of the great hive of humankind. Heritage is that which we hold dear and seek to pass on to future generations. Listening deeply enables us to hear the hum of our ancestral songs and stories resonating in the bones of our being. Open-hearted listening enables us to hear the hum of songs that are both different and innately connected with our own. Our sense of legacy and connection with past, present and future generations can empower us to contribute to the growth of our families, communities and societies.

Sharing the Treasures of Heritage
If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems, we must eventually declare Earth and all of it's resources as the common heritage of all the world's people - Jacque Fresco
To date we have lived in a world with vast disparity and inequality of access to resources. The resulting destruction of environments and cultures has devastating and long lasting consequences. There are however many projects seeking to redress the balance - from rainforest farmers reclaiming natural agriculture to the foodbank in our own neighbourhood - we can all do our bit to share the treasures of our communities.
Sing for Water is a project that continues to inspire thousands of singers every year to sing songs from our global heritage and raise funds for WaterAid's projects in the world's poorest communities. I'm dedicating the occasion of my 40th birthday in July to this cause because it demonstrates the treasures that become available when we sing, share and enjoy the beauty of our natural and cultural heritages. I look towards a world where everyone can be enriched by a shared celebration of our creative heritage.

Wishing you a Joyful Jubilant June