About Danu Fox

Origins

danufoxDanu sang and played the piano from an early age, growing up on the coast in Portishead, UK. It was the sea and the Celtic that pulled her to study at Aberystwyth for a degree in Music and German. After qualifying as a teacher Danu travelled to Australia and then worked for Oxford University Press as Music Education editor. There Danu began to sing in earnest and secured a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London on their Postgraduate Diploma in Jazz. Professional performance work followed, with a national tour with her band Hara, launching her first album First Time Ever, and music work in many different community and educational settings. While in London another passion was discovered, in the form of Indian music, namely North Indian Raag and four years of lessons were taken with the late Pandit Chandan Misra of the Misra and Sahai families. That was a deeply influential time shaping much of what was to come.

Leaving Oxford and London, with the sea pulling once again, Danu and family moved to Cornwall where she now resides. The connection to the spiritual, the essential and her love of the land led into the study of shamanism. This took the music right back to its roots, open vowels of melody in the voice and the heartbeat of the drum, and gave rise to the rebirth of Danu’s music in the form of the albums Yemaya, People of One Earth and Albion. Cornwall also created time lecturing in Jazz on the Truro jazz degree, being Music and Development director of Shallal Dance Theatre company, an inclusive company with five major shows, film and education programmes, and major fundraising secured.

Simultaneously Danu had, at the summer festivals, been developing a voice workshop focussing on toning, open voice, improvisation and Raag, now known as Heartsong. This has become well known and is the backbone of Danu’s community work. She is also an accomplished teacher.

Danu sings and plays Native American flutes, harmonium, piano, percussion and guitar. She composes for song, film and community as well as gives public and corporate workshops on the use of the voice and music.

Articles

See Sacred Hoop Issue 67  (March) 2010 for article on Earth Singers.

Hamish Miller and Earth Singers 04.02.2010

I’ve known Hamish and Ba for some years now and have had their encouragement and support throughout. I have never known such a supportive couple. They have embodied true appreciation of all and generosity of spirit in quite an extraordinary way.

They have encouraged all the ceremonies which they and others have instigated on their land, and my own personal singing work there.

There are two things I wish to share about my sound experiences at the Seed which I’ve not shared before but with Hamish’s passing it feels appropriate to value and share fully all he and Ba and the Seed have given.

The first thing which took place at the Seed was that I’d asked Hamish to dowse for me before and after singing and drumming with my partner there. I sang chants and spontanious improvised sound in a spirit of love, appreciation and prayerful gratitude. Sure enough the Seed responded by sending out 30 odd more radials of energy in response to the singing, like a flower opening to the sun or a lover rising in response to a caress. It was wonderful to have Hamish measure what I already felt instinctually, that the earth responds very quickly to direct communication from us. This encouraged me tremendously in my work as a ’sound, land’ singer.

Then secondly, in January 2009 Israel had begun bombarding Palestine again and I asked Hamish if I could go to the Seed and begin a weekly Monday morning ceremony of sending song and prayers down the Apollo and Athena ‘lines’ all the way to the West bank. I didn’t know what I would do in the ceremony, I just had to turn up and do what I was ‘told’. And I would keep doing it until whatever it was this would achieve was done. I didn’t care how long it might take. I just knew I had to do it. I had that ‘enough is enough’ feeling which has spurred so much of the parrallel community into being.

In brief, the first week I was told to sing some of the personal grief and sadness I was carrying, to gift it away to the earth, to clear myself as much as possible, to work on the personal. The second week I was led to sing for the community, and for the joys and pains of the little children suffering in the conflict, and then lastly on the third week I was reminded of an amazing dream I’d had in which I was shown that there was an ancient ancestor who had a vested interest in keeping the conflict going and I had to sing to assist that clearing, to encourage that ancestor to let go.

It was an awesome experience, to be in the presence of an ancestor so powerful and coming from the time of Moses, but gently and lovingly I had to ask that the feminine force in the universe be allowed to lead again, that the values of compassion and love be paramount and be our sole guiding force from now on. I was humbled like never before to be in communication with the nearest presence to God I have ever felt. Who was I to ask this being to let go? I felt so small. But i knew I had to continue so I did just that, and eventually after much persuasion and requesting he did let go. Afterwards a feeling of profound peace came into the Seed and I knew my work there was over. I went back the following week just to check, doubting just a little what I’d sensed then but no, within days a cease fire had been declared and later that week Obama had come to power. The work was done. Obviously details will continue to rumble and the practicalities will be difficult but something fundamental had shifted.

Now we can all ask ourselves on what level do these things take place, was it all a personal clearing of my own? No, it felt like I was led to clear personal, then community then ancestral and cosmic, planetary forces. Working from within and spiralling out.

On that last week a blizzard of snow had blown up out of nowhere. I stood enveloped in the whirling white storm and received a teaching about the miracle of new life, warm milk coming to the lambs in the depths of the cold, and what a wonder this was. What a celebration and gift of creation for Imbolc and how right it was that it was like that. At the time when you can die of cold in minutes, new life chooses to be born. A miracle indeed.

Two friends and Hamish had witnessed me with these cermonies and they had each taken part in their own way and received something from it, and I was very grateful for their support. it was such a priviledge to have experienced these ceremonies, but I didn’t share widely with others what had happened, so enormous was it.

But now I realize it contributed very much to the setting up of my current programme of work, Earth Singers, in which I was shown the possibility of the UK being covered by singing vocal guardians of the land – people who use sound to communicate very directly with the earth, doing ceremony, regular clearing, community gatherings, enabling every town, village and area to be intimately cared for in the way the Australian Aborigines and other indigenous land based people care for their home territories. They care sonically, spiritually and practically. And I realized the ley lines and power places of each region can be activated and used very much as I had used done in the Seed.

We can take responsibility back in a beautiful, practical and balancing way through singing to the Earth. And if we communicate this to each other and work collectively we can change things for the better. When we become acutely aware of our own sounds, in terms of our thoughts, our health, our ability to give and receive love, our ability to speak what we mean, to communicate well from our hearts, then we stand a chance of influencing the wider sonic webb.

Earth Singers begins in just two weeks (19 – 21 Feb 2010) with a taster weekend at the wonderful pioneering environmental centre of Embercombe in Devon and then continues with training modules throughout the year in various locations. The work feels vitally necessary and tends to call those who know it is their time to step forward and do this. It’s not about being a good singer but rather working with our voices to hone our skills in all ways to be a singing guardian of the Earth.

I am greatly indebted to Hamish and Ba for their love and support, and for their work in the field of Earth energies. It has revolutionized the way we think about our planet, and they have spread that message so humbly and so well. It has helped me to see a way forward in which I can use the strengths and gifts I have been given for the greater good, and their work has enabled others also to go on and develop new ways of being and acting in the world.

We will miss Hamish so much and I send love to Ba and hope she can continue this precious and beautiful work with Hamish in another realm. They showed humility at all times and they did this work together. May we take that as an example of how to go forward. I know we can.  © Danu Fox for the Parallel Community website,  February 2010

Songways (Earth Pathway Diary 2010)

I have always been a singer. For as long as I can remember I have made up tunes. As a child, like most, I sang sounds, ‘nonsense’ syllables.

Later, after many years working as a singer, I was standing by a burial mound in the heart of the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall. I’d gone there searching for a deeper meaning to my life, as a person and as some-one struggling with the often narcissistic tendencies of the profession. “What do you want me to do?”I asked. Outside in this beautiful landscape the force of the answer literally hit me in the chest. “Sing! Sing here, for us!”It seemed to come out of the burial mound. I was being asked to sing again, for the land spirits and the ancestors, and instinctively I went back to those sounds from childhood, to something more ancient than I could analyse with my mind. I stood there and let my voice out and began a journey of communion.

I sang the land, myself and the universe. It was as if a portal opened and nothing else mattered but the energy of connection. The chi of life, the central thread of existence, prayer, joy, loss, just being – it was all there. No need for words. The rise and fall of the melody, the cry, expressed all. It felt ancient and timeless. In fact, time collapsed.

The Australian aborigines believe the world does not exist until it is sung into being and that this process is continual, not a one off event. It needs to happen regularly to keep the world in balance. There are also legends of a fairy folk and beings who have gone into the hills and they need songs to encourage them out again.

What I experienced that day was magical and redefined my life. I realized our voices can be gateways to the Gods and we need to sing to the land, for communion, for remembering, for joining heaven and earth, the planets, the stars and all beings. We can all do it so let us sing to bring our world back into balance.

© Danu Fox 2008, to be featured in the 2010 Earth Pathways Diary.

People of One Earth . . . sings Danu Fox (from Breathing Space magazine)

To explain a little about my music I need to tell a story…..
I have always been a singer. For as long as I can remember I have made up tunes, starting as a young child, in a free, improvised way, using what I thought were nonsense syllables (as many children do).

After many years of musical training and work as a professional jazz singer I was standing by a burial mound in the heart of the Lizard. I asked “what do you want me to do?” I’d gone there searching for a deeper meaning to my life, not just as a person but as that singer who’d lost her way amid the often narcissistic tendencies of the business. A resounding “Sing! Sing here for us!”came back. Here, outside in this beautiful landscape the force of the answer was palpable (it literally hit me in the chest) I was being asked to sing again but this time to go back to what I instinctively knew as a child – to go back to those open sounds and fluid syllables, to something more ancient than I could analyse with my mind. I stood there and let my voice out and began a journey into the soul of the land, myself and the universe.

Shortly afterwards I began a shamanic path. In that tradition whatever we do, we do not for ourselves but for the people, for the sacred hoop of life. That goes for singing too. It’s not just entertainment or a distraction from this or that or even a big cathartic experience. We sing to cleanse, yes, but to be of service, to heal, to balance, to give, to focus intent, to experience directly the energy and essence of things and most importantly to pray and listen.

Another important influence in my music is the drone and Hindustani music. In Raag the drone and the first note Sa are the foundations of everything. It is in the drone that we can touch the divine mystery of life. In singing with it we join with the sound of creation singing itself. The Australian aborigines believe the world does not exist until it is sung into being and that process is continual, not a one off event.

All spiritual traditions recognize the power of sound and singing. Using pure tones we reach beyond language, sending out a primal, ancient call which holds, focuses, opens and re-members us with our divinity here on earth.

© Danu Fox 2008, Featured in Breathing Space Magazine, February 2008