The Wounded Healer
A NEW PERCUSSION CONCERTO BY RICHARD DANIELPOUR
2015-16 World Premiere Season
The "Wounded Healer " archetype is initiated into the art of healing through some form of personal hardship--anything from an actual physical injury or illness to the loss of all one's earthly possessions. Regardless of the shape of the wound, the challenge inherent in this initiation process is that one is unable to turn to others for help beyond a certain degree of support. Only the initiate can ultimately heal the wound. If it is an illness or accident, it will frequently be one for which there is no conventional cure. The Wounded Healer archetype emerges in your psyche with the demand that you push yourself to a level of inner effort that becomes more a process of transformation than an attempt to heal an illness. If you have successfully completed the initiation, you inevitably experience an exceptional healing, and a path of service seems to be divinely provided shortly after the initiation is complete.
As the composer, Richard Danielpour was writing this work, he had in mind that we all have the power within ourselves to heal. Sometimes we use this to help others and sometimes it is brought into fruition as a way to overcome obstacles in our own lives. Often as we are going through what seems to be an impossibly difficult situation another person might come into our life who is able to help us to heal in some capacity. Typically, that person is able to do this because of something they themselves have dealt with and had to overcome. An exchange takes place, knowingly or not, and positive transformation occurs. The segmented movements of the new percussion concerto are based on different guises and faces that the Wounded Healer might show up as across different cultures. These faces will be unveiled every few weeks as I’m practicing each movement leading up to the world premiere. The final face, that of the actual Wounded Healer will only be shown in live performance.
THE PROPHET: MVT. I
A prophet is generally regarded as having a role as a messenger. One who promotes change due to their messages and actions. They are often seen as humble, wise, modest and show up to initiate change without being seen or noticed. Historically, prophets are know seers who are inspired by a higher power delivering a message for a specific purpose. They are known to be able to foresee the future and therefore appear as a way to help others see how their actions will affect the future as well.
Archetype Character Initiation:
Thought to be chosen by a higher power or law to deliver a message
Has the ability to make change while not calling attention to oneself
Delivers message through their actions and teachings
Ability to undergo severe persecution in order to deliver the message
Displays complete selflessness
Typically the message is not fully understood until the prophet is gone
Obtains ability to initiate major change among masses of people
Lisa's Blog on the Prophet:
"Attack you they will, overcome you they will not" -Yoda
The face of the Prophet comes to you when you don't expect it. It's that moment you are sitting by yourself somewhere and an experience you had with a past person in your life triggers a gut feeling of finally realizing what that person came into your life to teach you. This can happen on a very small scale in every day life or a very large spiritual scale. Like all the faces put forth in this music we can sometimes relate to these character types as someone we know, or as an inner gift that we ourselves might possess. A main characteristic is that a Prophet is typically ridiculed, persecuted, and opposed as they are delivering their message. It is not until much later that the reason for the teaching is realized and it is then when it is typically seen as positive and fully understood by the masses.
In the music that Danielpour has written, it's clear that this face of the wounded healer comes down through the orchestra to deliver the message of what is to come later in the work.
In life, we all choose to deliver messages that can affect positive or negative change. We do this in every action, reaction and encounter we have with our environment and those around us.
THE TRICKSTER: MVT. II
A trickster is typically seen as one who breaks the rules of authority, gods, or nature. Generally these tricks are seen at first as malicious but later can be seen as positive or negative. The breaking of the rules is done by tricks, thievery, pranks or jokes. Their personality is often cunning, funny, and foolish but in the end their tricks and games are a way to raise awareness and often acts as an equalizer to the opposing powers.
Breaks rules and stands up against authority
Makes change by way of tricks, thievery, or games.
Delivers message to equalize the opposing force
Takes on a two-spirit, shape shifting nature and easily transforms from side to gain an upper hand
Often funny even when taking on serious tasks and creates trust of their opponents through laughter and humor
Obtains the ability to evoke change by showing that some rules need to be broken in order to create justice where there is none.
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair! - The Joker (Batman)
You love the Trickster and hate them at the same time. This face of the wounded healer is often hidden behind humor and jokes. They come into our lives to show us the opposing side to every story. They bring light to injustice by making a mockery of it and by bending the rules to equalize both sides. They know that one side cannot exist without the other side, that there is no calm without unrest and no resolve without dispute. It's that person you know who is always going against the grain and causing chaos in their wake. Tricksters cause anarchy to prove that not everything is supposed to be put in a category and that not all rules are just. Again, the faces put forth in this music are sometimes seen as a characteristic we ourselves have in us or as someone who has come into our lives who takes on this persona. The main characteristic here is that a Trickster is typically seen as a joker, and their message is usually created in a cunning backhanded manner. They make change by bringing attention to issues with the established order by messing up the system in some way to point out its flaws. In Native American culture they are often seen as two sided, or shape shifting. They can be seen as part animal - notably the wolf or crow. Tricksters have a good side and a bad side and will transform again and again before you realize the joke's on you.
In this movement that Danielpour has written, the Trickster face of the Wounded Healer plays jokes on the orchestra by speed and manipulation of the chord structures over the marimba. You'll hear both sides of this character when it alternates between the harmonic lines and fast rhythms.
It comes to remind us that there are always two sides to every story..
THE MARTYR: MVT. III
A Martyr by name means witness and historically is seen as someone who suffers death and or persecution for refusing to advocate a particular belief. These beliefs can be of religious or political nature. They are almost always seen as strong leaders and are respected by their followers even when the followers might be afraid themselves to stand up against the cause. Having offered up their lives for truth, they inevitably become heroes after their death due to their selfless nature and determination to make the opposing forces aware of the injustice and or cause.
Archetype Character Initiation:
A person who is devoted to a cause believed to be admirable
Opposed by many for standing up against the beliefs a higher establishment, law, order or religious belief
Is at risk of harm by the opposing forces for standing up against it
Continues with courage and commitment to fight for the cause despite all risks
Is typically persecuted, killed or dies because of their commitment to the cause
Becomes a hero after death, is commemorated and gains the ability to inspire others to pursue the same cause
Lisa's Blog on the Martyr:
"Do or Die, you'll never make me, Because the world will never take my heart.
Go and try, you'll never break me, We want it all we wanna play this part.
I won't explain or say I'm sorry I'm unashamed, I'm gonna show my scars
I'm just a girl, I'm not a hero. Just a girl who had to sing this song
Give a cheer for all the broken. Listen here, because it's who we are
I'm Just a girl, I'm not a hero.
We'll Carry On. " -My Chemical Romance
This face of the wounded healer is the unsung hero. The person that works night and day for the cause, whatever that cause may be. They are heroes but they don't call themselves such. Through my eyes, the Martyr face shows up in that person who risked their life to save the child from the burning house, or the mother who worked three jobs so her kids could eat. It's the leaders in any walk of life who continue on despite all odds stacked against them and no matter what the cause may be, they will die trying to make a difference for that cause. I'm sure you've seen this face before, perhaps it is your own. The main characteristic is that a Martyr is willing to risk their life and all worldly possessions to make a difference. They don't always know they are leaders because they are actually quite humble in nature. The Martyr is not afraid to stand up to authority and they typically have unsurpassable will power. They lead by example and make a difference in the lives of many.
In the music Danielpour has written, this movement is the heart of the the concerto. It is found at the center and all other movements point to it. I have to say it is one of the most beautiful melodies I've learned in a percussion concerto. Each time I practice it I'm humbled and feel honored to bring such a powerful composition to life. It feels like having your heart lifted by the wings of 100,000 doves on a Sunday morning and carrying on with the strength of an unmeasurable army of angles at your side.
THE SHAMAN: MVT: IV
The Shaman across cultures is typically seen as a practitioner of medicine and healing who is capable of having transcendental powers into the world of spirits and gods. Through ritual practice (often in the form of music and dance) they gain the ability to enter into dream worlds and/or trance states where they are able to invoke healing and sometimes predict the future through clairvoyance.
Archetype Character Initiation:
Typically is initiated by having to overcome a near death experience of illness or injury
Must become sick to understand sickness
Has the ability to see beyond the external world
Through performance and ritual ceremony is able to enter into an altered or trance state where they deal with deep issues regarding the soul
Has the ability to be able to act as a messenger between the human world and spirit world
Are looked seen as doctors or healers and are sought out to solve issues affecting individuals or communities
Gains the ability to eliminate ailments, restore balance and provide exceptional healing
Lisa's Blog on the Shaman:
"The border between real and unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill" -Robert Anton Wilson
This face of the Wounded Healer is one that isn't always present because they balance between this reality and the one beyond. We seek them out if we need advice about the future or if there is an illness we cannot overcome on our own. The Shaman can be seen as somewhat frighting to some because of their ability to reach transcendental states and alter consciousness. To be a true Shaman, one has gained this transcendental ability through practice mind training but sometimes uses natural entheogens to help enter into this state. The Shaman has visions and dreams about people and world issues that are predictors of the future and are said to be able to exist for some period of time in alternate realms or dream worlds to alter the future, alleviate unrest, and bring back balance and resolve to living and dead souls.
Across cultures Shamans often use music and dance to transcend into the spirit. In the music that Danielpour has written, this movement definitely takes on a feeling of a ritual ceremony. The drum kit summons the trance state with a straight eighth note "four on the floor" feeling and a Shamanic like dance ritual ensues as I battle it out with the spirits in the alternate dimension.
You won't just hear it, you'll feel it.
THE MYSTIC: MVT. V
"Named must your fear be before banish it you can" - Yoda
The term "Mysticism" has many meanings across many different cultures. As a broad definition it is the aim to become one with the Infinite, Absolute, God, Universe, etc. In another sense it is the ability to overcome the suffering often associated with everyday human life and the ability to experience extraordinary states of mind. Mystics often promote cosmic and universal unity beyond any particular religious ideology.
Has the ability to focus deeply
Has the ability to empty oneself of their own preconceptions and opinions
Gains insight to the workings of the mind through deep practice of a single task
Ability to empty negative mental states which lead to suffering (greed, desire, hate, jealousy, pride, etc..)
Recognizes personal limitations and can overcome them to the point of fearlessness.
Obtains infinite compassion, wisdom, skill, and clear seeing beyond the surface level
Lisa's Blog on the Mystic Archetype:
Something I've learned from hours and hours in a practice room is that music and more so, the practice of it, has the ability to heal. Ask any person who has spend hours and hours on one task and they will tell you the same. It need not be music related. It could be the mechanic at the auto shop, the brick mason, the carpenter, the mathematician, the baker... The ability to focus on one single task day after day takes you into a dimension that is beyond our everyday dealings. One thing I relate to most with this archetype is the idea of recognizing and overcoming personal limitations. It begins when you have the ability to see where your mind is holding you back due to some personal fear you were taught early in life. These limitations are often forced upon us by accident from our environment. If you are able to achieve the emptying of negative mental states even partially, the ability to face your fears starts to become more and more possible. One of my major personal limitations as a musician was sitting in at jam sessions. Early on I was faced with so much ridicule and pressure that it made me place such an enormous amount of weight on the possibility of failure that I let this hold me back. In a sense, I was letting the idea of other peoples opinions keep me from doing what I really wanted to do. Going back to the Wounded Healer archetype, it wasn't until I had my own ego beaten out of me that I was able to get up and let go of worrying about what other people might say or the possibility of humiliation and failure. I started telling myself that I was in fact the worst player in the room and that everyone was going to laugh at me. Then, I was able to laugh at myself in a sense. Turns out, it was just my own mind holding me back. I still use that trick and it gets me up on stage every time. Being able to truly face yourself might just be the single hardest thing to do in this life. I suppose that in order to begin to obtain mastery over the mind, you must first figure out how your own mind is working.
In the music, this is the final movement of the percussion concerto. When Richard and I were discussing the concerto we both wanted it to be a piece that shows off how beautiful percussion can sound. Not just a work of chops and technicality but one of melodic brilliance and beauty. To me the final movement leaves us with a etherial sense of unity, peace, rest, and relinquishes the sounds back into the nothingness from where it began.