Moisés Pérez is one of the founders of MuOm, the Barcelona overtone singing choir, very unique and beautiful music project that visited London last 25th and 26th July. They use techniques such as “overtone singing” and “throat singing”, that come from Tuva, Mongolia, Tibet and also the Xhosa people in South Africa.
Moisés is the only Spanish person who has ever participated in a competition of troat singing in Tuva. He stayed at home for a few nights and I had the chance and pleasure to talk with him about music, singing, health, love, life and more… and this is a part of what happened.
Moises: I studied Biology in University as Undergraduate. But I’ve never felt a Biologist. Or nothing.
Mo: When I was a teenager, what was really doing was to study music in Conservatory, up to the professional degree: four years of guitar, sol-fa, two years of harmony, a couple of years of singing… but I was in a way “obliged” by my parents to study a degree… so I left Madrid to study in another city, expand myself and explore other disciplines. I started to do contemporary dance, theatre… joined an amateur Peruvian music group, in which we played flutes, and that was a great experience… but it felt like life was taking me through other paths, I was also very active in the ecologist movement, had a lot of meetings about it and music had to take a second position.
Mo: I started being vegetarian when I was 19, but well, I don’t consider myself to be really a vegetarian, or I don’t define myself as such. In the beginning it started because I had a shock doing some practices on arthropods in Galicia because a sea warm I had to kill to preserve it, and then I forgot about it and the bottle got rotten… that made me felt really bad about senseless and futile deaths, all that was really very intense for me. I don’t know, but that was a very strong experience.
Mo: It does affect the vibes. In our group we have the tendency to have a healthy way of eating. Not that we should be obsessed about it because that could also be insane, but going beyond if you eat meat or not, most of us look for ecological products, or raw products, with a lot of enzymes, with a lot of life energy, that in the end will have some repercussion in your body and your energy. And I’m sure that this will also help for singing.
Ma: Give us a recipe for a concert.
Some hours of fast, lots of water.
Not really, I think that so that you can really lower your diaphragm is best that all that area is empty. And also a lot of being concentrated in what you have to do, so that external organizational factors can’t affect you. I prefer to be in retreat and focused in what I am going to do. I also avoid chocolate.
Mo: It does. It creates mucus. And on the days before a concert I avoid flours and dairy products.
Mo: Yes… to me it’s all linked. It’s about how you live your life according to what you feel it’s important, so you blend it all. Singing is part of my own process, the same as being part of consume co-operatives and creating them, so that you help the ecological agriculturist who respects and values environment, so you value this and buy from him. And these aspects are all important to me.
Mo: To be well. I believe that the most important is to be well, because in reality everything external is just external. Maybe I give it importance because I want to promote someone’s well being and with my actions I try to help to have a better world, to promote certain structures. But in the end what matters the most is to be well with yourself because you can be a great ecologist and very important, but be a jerk.
Mo: That has happened to me and it was a great lesson. It happened to me while learning khoomei (Tuva’s throat singing) and later on in critical moments, like going to record a CD and loosing my voice, and with all the load of work that I was putting into the group, I am also trying to relax myself about this, as I have been putting some pressure sometimes on it to pull the group forward. In the end live was telling me “be calmed and quiet”, so I try to be as calm and fair as possible rather than being with lots of emotional ups and downs.
Mo: I feel fine! I think I am in a moment of my life in which I feel very much connected to something very and deep inside myself, my own life purposes, and I am feeling like everything will be okay. I am also an optimist!
Ma: Would you like to sing something?
Mo: I can make a drown for you, with a harmonic of 5th, and then you can find where to fit in. I won’t move too much from there.
Mo: Well, I might move a bit.
Ma: I can’t help it!
Ma: Ah, so you do this sometimes?
Mo: It’s inspired in the Chukotka singing.
Mo: I had before seen the Inuit singing in a video doing something somehow similar, but then I had the opportunity to meet this Chukotka woman and she showed me this. Chukotka is a part of Siberia close to the Bering Strait. Their singing is very interesting, very guttural and very ancestral. Inuit do it between two women together, I recommend you to see this because it’s breath taking.
Ma: In my case, I had no idea about this. I just have my headphone and I am “there”. I mean, I am must listening and reacting to what you are doing.
Mo: Yes, I can see. That is why you are a great provoker.
Mo: I also explain when teaching overtone singing techniques. The body is wise. Students are exploring and sometimes comes out something really sharp, and that is the way to go forward… so if you put your ear in it then your body can register it without having to look for something specific, because there are so many micro movements and adjustments that one needs doing that we cannot really have all that in mind at the same time. There are so many factors that is very complex to think about all this. Your body processes at a much faster speed if we don’t put the rational factor into it. So if you put your internal ear instead of your head, then your body can get there on it’s own.
Mo: Of course. Rationalizing it’s a process that can take time, so this is passing through another circuit.
Mo: Yes, because your voice talks about your limits. So if you really begin to truly explore it, even if it sounds however it may sound, it doesn’t matter, or if anyone can think aesthetically what the f*** are you doing?
Ma: Exactly. This recording we have just done, we may want to display it publicly or not… but is not about that.
Mo: No… it’s important that one has fun too.
Ma: Me too.
© Maria Soriano 2014, Singing4Health