A Sounding Circle, in its simplest form, is a circle of people who gather together to explore their inner harmony and dissonance, which is amplified through the group experience.
Sounding Circles in a larger sense, are the interwoven circles of sound. How we vibrate in the world as an individual affects all those whom we interact with and encounter. It is possible, through conscious practice, to more regularly come into resonance with our world and with those around us. In this way we help to bring harmony to our lives and to the planet. It is only possible to come into harmony, however, when we are also able to express our dissonance in a healthy way. The Sounding Circles Community consists of those individuals who are dedicated to the practice of self-healing with sound, so that we may then help facilitate the healing of our world.
Sounding Circles LLC was founded in 2009 by experimental vocalist and sound healing bodyworker Joule L’adara. It is a company dedicated to educating people on how to come to wellness, vitality and empowerment through the conscious use of their own sound. Based in New York City, Sounding Circles produces The Sound Soak Concert Series, sound healing classes, sound therapy instrument workshops, facilitator training, corporate training and retreats, conscious vacation intensives, online classes, private lessons and wellness sessions. Sounding Circles also releases educational information through the Zany Vibes Newsletter, the Sounding Circles Radio Podcast, the Sounding Circles Blog, and the new Sounding Circles YouTube Vlog. On this site you’ll find our current offerings in NYC, throughout the US and abroad. Please reach out with any questions or to bring a Sounding Circle to you!
Sounding Circles, as developed by Joule L’adara, are led improvisational vocal sounding events specially crafted to bring about mental and emotional clarity, develop deep listening skills, and promote the idea of community building through group resonance. In this work, group sounding improvisation is presented as a compositional tool, using specifically crafted parameters to sculpt and focus compositional elements.
Self-exploration and delightful play are emphasized during guided sessions, where people are free to express themselves through vocal sound production. Because the individual is experimenting in the safety of a group setting, they can be anonymous and freed from judgements and self-consciousness. The exercises eventually expand to include the interaction of all group members whereupon the focus is changed from self-exploration to group co-creation. Deeper levels of refinement are achieved as listening practice and group awareness increases.
Sounding Circles have many applications. They are a therapeutic method – allowing individuals to express their physical selves vocally and experience emotional release. They are a compositional art tool – that unlocks the power of collaboration and group authorship. They are a community building practice – promoting group understanding. They are a way to access spontaneity and “magic flow” in life, allowing the muses to come through and influence your creative work and creative life. Singers and instrumentalists can incorporate these techniques into their performance practices and sound practitioners can incorporate Sounding Circles into their group sessions.
Joule L’adara, Master of Fine Arts in Multi-Focus Vocal Performance and Integrated Media, has twenty years of experience singing and performing. Born in Santa Monica, California, Joule has lived and worked all over the United States (New York, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hawai’i) as well as abroad: Berlin, Germany; Ibiza, Spain; the Grecian Islands, the Czech Republic; Tuscany, Italy; and Byron Bay, Australia. She considers herself a world citizen and has donned many roles including: Experimental Vocalist, Opera Singer, Musical Theater Performer, Actor, Performance Artist, Visual Artist, Recording Artist, Political Activist, Music Producer, Song Writer, Audio Engineer, Performance Coach, Voice Teacher, and Sound Healer.
Joule has appeared as a soprano soloist in New York’s Carnegie Hall, and performed in opera houses, theaters and festivals in Europe and America, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. As a recording artist she has been featured on several albums including the platinum-selling German group E Nomine released by Universal Music Germany. Currently she is working on a recording project with Houman Pourmehdi of the Lian Ensemble – combining western classical singing with traditional Persian Sufi music. She is a seven-time award winning songwriter having been recognized by the Billboard, John Lennon, and Unisong Competitions.
Joule L’adara’s work as a vocalist and sound artist is inspired by the vocal experimentation of Meredith Monk, Lisa Gerrard, and Trevor Wishart – all cutting edge artists who work with the voice as an instrument, bypassing language in order to find pure emotional expression. Her group facilitation work is profoundly influenced by Pauline Oliveros’ “Deep Listening” and “Sonic Meditations” – emphasizing listening as essential to communication and harmony.
Joule created Sounding Circles originally as vocal warm-ups intended to take vocalists out of a place of fear and into pure self expression. As this method developed it became clear there was also potential for deep emotional and indeed at times physical healing to come out of this group work, along with the promotion of community cooperation and mutual understanding. Joule began organizing Sounding Circlesevents for both adults and children – performers as well as people who claim to have no vocal abilities – all with transformative results. She now regularly leads workshops and retreats at various venues throughout the United States, with the Sounding Circles Intensive in Hawaii as the yearly highlight.
At the college level Joule has taught undergraduate vocal and interpretation classes at California Institute of the Arts, as well as teaching classes on music software and digital audio recording. Joule has worked with youth at the Seattle Children’s Museum, the Seattle Children’s Theater, and has taught for the award-winning CAP program (Community Arts Partnership) in Los Angeles. She has worked as a performance coach for the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival, and taught music classes for children at Hawaii’s Waldorf schools. She also teaches acting and interpretation for singers at Agatha Carubia’s Heart-Based Singing Workshops in Santa Barbara and on the Island of Hawai’i.
In addition to her MFA in music, Joule holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, a Diploma of Music Technology in Audio Engineering from SAE Australia, she is a Reiki practitioner, an Acutonics practitioner, and she has studied various methodologies within the field of sound healing. She has attended workshops and seminars held by many pioneers in the field including: Lisa Rafel, Silvia Nakkach, Randy Masters, Jill Purce, Jonathan Leeds, Steven Halpern, Jonathan Goldman, Pat Moffitt Cook, Alex Theory, and Don Campbell, among others. She currently divides her time between New York, Hawaii, and Denver, Colorado.