The story behind the name
‘Vocal Tai Chi’
Vocal Tai Chi was first coined as a term in 2008. This is the story of how the name arose…
At an interfaith gathering in 2008 I was doing some vocal improvisation around themes of tenderness and openness. On the way home my partner Jazz Rasool responded by saying that the singing was stirring some unfamiliar feelings and energy in his psyche. He said my singing evoked a similar response of mystery and energetic shift as he had experienced during his practice of Tai Chi. He said “it feels like a vocal form of Tai Chi”.
My physical postures and particularly my hand and arm movements (I sang sitting down originally) were indeed influenced by my own practice of Tai Chi. Vocal Tai Chi was adopted at this point as an encapsulating way to describe this kind of singing I was experimenting with. I made one fifteen minute recording in 2008 to see what I could do with the idea of Vocal Tai Chi, but apart from that did nothing while I went to study for a masters in music composition at Brunel university.
In December 2011 I was unexpectedly invited to sing at a party. Not having prepared anything I declared I would sing Vocal Tai Chi. The name ushered a discernible buzz of interest in the room before the performance began.
Following this performance and the truly positive response from the audience I arranged a concert in January 2012 to see if I could sustain a full evening’s performance in this vocal style.
The concert went very well and people requested me to teach this style of singing. A taster workshop was set up and from this people requested further workshops to learn to sing, what was quickly accepted without any question as Vocal Tai Chi.
Since January 2012 there have been regular workshops and one to one sessions. I have also run two ‘schools’ of three days duration.
Vocal Tai Chi is a bit of a mystery…… it’s good to remember what Jazz said originally – “It feels like a vocal form of Tai Chi”. Strangely people know when it’s presence is in the room. In workshops people find their own unique way towards this vocal form with intuitive and practical guidance on hand.