"Everything is Sound." Join Elijah Ray At Hunuman Festival To Connect With Your Voice And Raise Your Vibration
By Megan Warren Henderson
I first learned about Elijah Ray listening to a podcast with Ronnie Landis. He can be described as a prodigious vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist. Elijah is known for his pioneering heart and transformational music that crosses an insanely wide variety of genres, from Acoustic Soul, Bumpin Funk, World Beat, Dance/Pop and Rock, to soul stirring Piano Ballads, Symphonic Soundtracks, and Shamanic, Sound Healing environments
When I was choosing classes for Hanuman Festival, I was instantly drawn to Elijah's class description and signed up! I have always LOVED music but was drawn to music even more deeply when my middle daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Music is her greatest joy. She struggles with constructing language so music is her ultimate expression.
I understand that you knew your path was music from the age of 2 and then you went on to expound on how we often get too caught up in chasing the carrot that we ignore the process or don't pay attention to the beauty of the path. What might you tell someone who still feels that they haven't found their path yet or how may we recognize it if we don't realize we are already on it? OR how to let go of the carrot?
That’s a great question, let me answer it like this: Life, to me, is like dancing. When we get into "the groove” and lose ourselves in the moment, we forget all about all of our striving, our motives and goals, we stop ‘trying’ to be someone, and we just enjoy the music! We let our bodies move with the rhythm. If we approach life, and our spiritual path in this way, then there is no carrot. There is no goal. There is only us, and the music. Our experience becomes like a playlist, a series of songs, that offer different moods and movements to each of our days, and we can choose to join in on the dance or not! We can augment the frequency of the music and create any mood we wish, by changing the radio station inside ourselves. All of it is valid, and up to us. The important part is to remember we have a choice!
How has music enlightened your communication with others? Especially those that, like my daughter, may have communication challenges or just be seemingly closed off.
Well, as you may sense from my last answer, I see life and music as the same thing. Everything is Sound. So when I communicate with someone, and we're in the groove, so to speak, it’s like creating a song. It has an intro, a beginning and that sets up the tone of the song. Then, there’s the main parts, the message and a closing, an ending. I find the most important parts of a song or a communication is the way you begin it, and the way you end it. Many of us are in a fast-paced lifestyle, and we rush in and out of experiences, and communications, but this is the best part. Slow Down. Take your time. Enter and exit the room with presence and people will respond to you differently, the music will bloom all around you.
The theme of this years Hanuman Festival is "Raise your Vibration". That seems like a natural theme for a musician to develop a class about connecting with our voices, but what tools may you employ to reach some of us who still have a fear of singing out loud, speaking up, or think that we are not enough? How can singing/playing music free us from our ego/mind?
The wonderful thing about singing is that we all can do it. It’s only our minds that tell us otherwise!
Consider for a moment: almost all humans use our voices, every day, all day long! We talk and talk and talk…we are literally singing to each other. Listen next time you are around people in conversation. Listen to how we are making sounds with our vocal chords, and quite literally jamming like musicians, playing off of the sounds other people are making, creating rhythms and patterns, communicating and expressing feelings and ideas. It’s the most natural thing. It’s music!
So for me, the first step to becoming more comfortable with using our voice, and expressing ourselves through public speaking, singing, or even just speaking our truth in relationships is to de-mystify this thing called ‘singing.' We are all singing, all the time! And just like the colors of the rainbow, there is a vast diversity of sounds that we, as humans can make. They are all beautiful.
Many of us were told as children that it’s not ok to express ourselves unless we sound a certain way, and only to speak and sing at appropriate times, etc., and so we have shut down our joy and pleasure centers connected to exploring sound with our voice. I find this to be the most common theme with my clients and friends. This can result in a ‘closed’ throat chakra, when it’s our turn to talk or speak our truth. One of my greatest joys is in helping others open this portal again and re-discover our inherent connection to our vocal expression, and reclaim the magic and power of this incredible tool of sound. Our voice is quite literally like a magic wand, and when we learn how to use it wisely, the world around us changes.
Lastly, your music has been called the "soundtrack of awakening," a form of sound healing, and "Elijah’s charisma and musical prowess draws his audience into life’s nectar–spiritual, sexy, sweaty, gritty, and ecstatic." This sounds like you will be a perfect match for Hanuman Festival! Do you attribute your early gospel influence to the divine connection that surrounds and includes the yoga community? Or to put it another or different way, do you believe that music, chanting and asana bring us closer to our own divinity? or open us up to the divine source/grace?
I believe that music, chanting, and asana can bring us closer to realizing our own divinity if they are done with PRESENCE. Presence is the key, to any practice or activity. I would go so far to say that any activity that is done with presence, is a potential pathway to the divine. Nothing is more spiritual than anything else. Everything is sacred. But do we have the presence to feel its sacredness?
We all have a higher self, or soul. We all have a connection to a shared source. There is many paths up the mountain so to speak, and it’s so vast, so beautiful, so free. The question is, do we have the presence to find OUR unique pathway? I bow to you, the reader, for giving yourself permission to find your personal connection to Source, and sharing the beauty of it with those around you. Thank you for breathing, becoming, and being the presence that you are. This is the greatest gift we could ever give each other.
Click here to see the Hanuman Festival schedule to find out where you can find Elijah this weekend.