A Conversation with Dean & Dudley Evenson: Visionary Musicians and Cofounders of Soundings of the Planet
Jul 01, 2008 03:00AM
● By Barbara Amrhein
You pioneered a whole new musical genre with Soundings, beginning in 1979. How would you describe your music?
Dean: Many of our albums combine peaceful instrumental music—flute, harp, guitar, piano and guqin (a Chinese zither)—with the sounds of nature and various ecosystems. We collaborate with a diverse group of talented musicians and vocalists, and have even worked with the Dalai Lama.
Dudley: From the beginning, our music was inspired by the planet; Dean was one of the first to include nature sounds with music. We also combine Native American, Earth wisdom and Eastern influences, plus the spirituality of yoga and meditation. Together, they communicate an uplifting sense of joy.
Dean: We receive intriguing feedback. One woman said that our music helped alleviate her chronic arthritis pain. A Texas autistic center using one of our albums was finally able to connect with an autistic child. Health practitioners play the albums in kids’ cancer wards in Montreal, with beneficial results. Even Naomi Judd called to say that she had discovered our music and was using it in her own healing process. Early on, we began to realize how the effects and purpose of this music were greater than we ever anticipated.
What makes certain types of music so supportive of inner peace and healing?
Dean: Research has shown that when the rhythm of music is about 60 beats per minute, in the range of a relaxed heartbeat, the mind is better able to integrate the information being received.
Dudley: Our music encourages entrainment—the slower pace and nature sounds employed can help decrease heart rates, stress levels and blood pressure. It supports meditation and calms the body and mind, creating a sense of peacefulness. Dean also embeds the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF) in our CDs.
Dean: Given my master’s degree in molecular biology, I have a bent toward understanding vibrations in music and sound on a scientific level. ERF is the natural resonance frequency or vibration of the atmospheric cavity of the earth. For example, when you blow on a bottle, it creates a tone; that’s the resonant tone of the space within that bottle. The bigger the bottle is, the deeper the tone. Dolphins and whales use ERF to communicate; crickets work with it, too.
The earth itself has an even deeper tone, not audible to our ears, but picked up by our bodily systems. All of us, and everything on the planet, are bathed in this frequency. Our nervous systems fire at a wavelength close to it.
The body-mind also emits its own frequencies, depending on what the mind is focused on. Earth’s ERF is in the alpha zone, which is humanity’s calm, creative, meditative state. That’s why, when you’re out in nature, you feel more in tune with life. You escape all the manmade vibrations—cell phones, radio waves and other disruptive vibrations—and get into a “natural groove.”
How does the Partners in Healing Program that you founded reach out to returning combat vets?
Dudley: Many veterans are having a hard time reintegrating into society. We wanted to help and knew our music could aid in their healing. A few years ago we contacted the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The chaplain at the time had used our music for his own healing process, so he was receptive. As a result, we created our Eagle River DVD, which shows beautiful images of eagles, wildlife and nature in the Pacific Northwest and includes guided relaxation tracks designed to support breathing, relaxation and affirmations. Walter Reed patients who have attended our presentations and workshops often comment on how helpful these are.
How can music help accomplish global consciousness?
Dudley: Music penetrates deeply into our psyche and body systems. Music lifts our spirit; it’s a doorway to the soul.
Dean: Music has the power to assist people in reaching a deeply peaceful state. The more individuals who find peacefulness within, the greater the collective peace on the planet.
Soundings for the Planet has produced more than 50 albums, several of them charted in Billboard magazine. For more information and to listen in, visit Soundings.com. Access information about Partners in Healing at the same site.