The Zen Kiss

The Zen Kiss


1. LA SAGESSE (WOMEN, I'M CALLING YOU) 4.27
2. SPEAKING IN TONGUES III 2.14
3. WAITING 6.01
4. SHEHNAI SONG 2.03
5.   LOVE IT IS A KILLING THING 4.48
6.   SPEAKING IN TOUGUES IV 4.57
7.   WOMEN AND CHILD 3.37
8.   EN MIREAL DEL PENAL 3.36
9.   A SAILOR'S LIFE 4.20
10.   ABBESS HILDEGARD 3.26
11.   KAFI NOIR 6.45

 

 
 


When I go on stage I’m completely alone. Hundreds of people are out there, waiting for me to sing, I have only my voice to carry me. I’ve had the experience of looking at the next song on the sheet and thinking "Oh no, I don’t feel the song in my throat, I don’t know if I can do this." I know I’ve got to do it so I trust and open my mouth. Sometimes my own conscious and active "waiting" is rewarded by an incredible feeling. It’s as if an outside influence has entered me, sound is channelled through my body like a flute and there’s no sensation in my throat. I find myself a listener to this really good rendition of the song, better than anything I could possibly have rehearsed. It feels incredible and joyful, and sharing that with people is a wonderful experience.

I wanted to encapsulate this experience in a phrase, to reflect it back to the audience. I chose The Zen Kiss, not as a reference to Zen as an orthodox belief, but as a sense of a beautiful force moving effortlessly through me and leaving me through my lips, like a kiss. I’ve had this sensation when rehearsing by myself but I hadn’t known that other signers apparently have the same experience. Playing live has heightened and intensified the experience for me.

Sometimes I have a similar feeling when writing. Instead of it being hard work, a whole section of a song or lyric will come at once. I go into a kind of dream state. It’s very difficult to describe but there seems to be no effort on my part. It’s as if a very calm voice in my head is giving instructions: "Go into the chorus here," or "Use another note here", or I may just get a feeling as to where to go next in the melody. It feels like tapping into a collective unconscious, or even into the personality of a song that actually exists before I write it. The song has been calling me rather than being created by me.

I’m very aware of the relationship between the creative process and my ego. I can have a sense how I would like things to be but it doesn’t necessarily translate realistically. I think that conscious intelligence is often inferior to this instinctive intelligence. The process is not about constructing your work of art, it’s about connecting to something higher and allowing it to weave levels of meaning into your work for you to discover later.

My work has always been fuelled by an intensely personal interest rather than by any kind of intellectual quest. By following my voice I have