Time, ferry me down the river,
Friends carry me safely over
Life, tend me on my journey
Love call me home.
Peggy Seeger – Love Call Me Home
The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Singing in front of and essentially with others can be even more rewarding.
Singing is arguably a primal action, to express oneself in song – pre-language. It could be said that, habitual structured language might even inhibit essential expression, feeling, thought and being.
Singing requires deeper breathing. Singing can have some of the same effects as exercise. It’s an aerobic activity: more oxygen into the blood, better circulation, helps with a “good” mood.
Many studies have found that after people take part in a singing programs, over time there are significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels and that habitual singers find that singing plays a central role in their psychological health. Singing requires attention, it’s hard to worry about work or money or family problems when you’re actively engaged in singing.
The pre-language primal song of course was a group social activity – the war chant, the rain dance, singing down the mine, cries from the plantation, the pub singalong, traditional church singing, celebrations “happy birthday to you” – realisation that you are one of a group, identification, belonging, sharing…
In modern (or dare I say post-modern) times, yes there are many clubs, groups, and subcultures that help people to interact (the interaction between things is what makes them fecund), but the act of “really singing” goes much further towards tackling the loneliness that often comes along with our (in?)human current culture.
This week Close Harmony enjoyed an evening in Melton Library.
Recordings below are recorded with a mobile-phone in the corner of the room: not ideal but you get an impression…
An Thou Were My Ain Thing:
Love Call Me Home: