Amid the mainstreaming of self-care, the definition of “healing” grows increasingly nebulous. “In a lot of cases, the term is on a runaway train that looks good, smells good, and has a great image of a glowing chakra behind it,” says Samer Ghadry, a Brooklyn-based sound healer. In his line of work, he continues, “all we’re really looking for is fortification of the human soul, of our spirits.”
Ghadry, who’s also a musician, has long been interested in the grounding effects of sound. He grew up listening to traditional Arabic music played by his parents, and went on to study various forms of percussion in college, from jazz to Ghanaian drumming. In the late 2000s, he dove into a combination of multi-genre drumming, drone, and spiritual choir music as a way to work through some tough emotions. About two decades later, Ghadry decided to harness his artistic skills to help others heal and create moments of peace.
After studying therapeutic sound—in which forms of music are used to improve physical and emotional health—in workshops and retreat-style certification courses, Ghadry founded his sound-healing practice, ToneCenter, in 2019. Today, he leads and co-leads sound meditations and sound baths at spaces such as Good Move in Brooklyn and Avalon Lounge in Catskill, New York, and uses a range of instruments—including bronze bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and his own voice—to help listeners relax.
To better understand how sound therapy works, we recently asked Ghadry to put together a playlist that could be used to engage with sound healing at home. Here, he explains the sonic and emotional attributes of each song.
Listen to Ghadry’s Sound Healing playlist on Spotify.
“Raga Basant Bahar” by Kishori Amonkar
“In Indian classical music, ragas are basic melodic forms that are associated with specific times of the day, and traditionally meant to be played only at that time. This raga is meant to be played between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., or anytime in the spring. I can listen to it almost year-round, as it has such a strong effect on me. It’s one of the most fantastic pieces of music I have ever heard. It always moves me within the first few notes, then transports me into Kishori Amonkar’s vast spirit. I feel like I’m flying with her.”
“Phrygian Mode” by John Beaulieu
“John is one of my teachers. I love how simple this track is: It’s just a set of tuning forks, well played. It sounds almost immediately calming, interesting, and slightly emotional, even. I like the tight phase patterns that come through from time to time.”
“Ensenada” by Bennie Maupin
“This is a great, gorgeous example of music that might skirt along where sound healing meets jazz, or modern world fusion.”
“Shanti-Mantra” by Ravi Shankar
“You hear this song at the beginning of an album called Inside the Kremlin. I really like Ravi’s compositions and orchestral works. This one sonically resembles feelings of hope, joy, praise—things that are vital to health and happiness.”
“Engine of Ruin” by Earth
“My joining a doom sludge-metal band was an important precursor to developing my other musical limb, which led me to sound healing. Playing with such slow tempos gave me a taste of minimalism that would expand my horizons and set me on a path toward drone-based music, including this piece. It’s from a record where drone metal meets Bill Frisell: minimal, gradual, cathartic. It helps me feel empowered, but steady.”
“Organum: Part 1” by Peter Michael Hamel
“The arpeggios in this song grab you with a satisfying timbre. The whole piece is like a soulful journey. It has a way of connecting the mind to something useful and organic, as its title implies.”
“Raga Deen Todi” by Kamalesh Maitra
“I had one of the most meaningful listening experiences while listening to this one early morning, after a night of partying while on tour in Russia. I couldn’t sleep, so I put this on, and was completely transfixed. It’s been a favorite ever since. I find it to be a perfect blend of mellow and fascinating tones, and I love the rhythmic interplay between the two percussionists.”
“Raga Shivaranjani” by Bismillah Khan
“Bismillah Khan is a beautiful soul. He’s no longer with us, but I can find devotion, dedication, focus, playfulness, passion, and humility in his sound. I had to include him in this playlist because his music is so dear to me. This song, which is meant for midnight, is soft, sweet, delicate. The shehnai players support one another as they trade moments, echos, and drones. The piece has a mystery inside its intervals.”
“Raga Brindavani Sarang Alap” by Hariprasad Chaurasia, Anindo Chatterjee, and Roopak Kulkarni
“This is an afternoon raga played by one of the most fantastic musicians I have listened to. His work often feels magical, hearing how he crafts musical space with an instrument called the bansuri, a flute from the Indian subcontinent. The way he holds notes out with such softness is so innately comforting in tone.”
“Raga Shyam Kalyan” by Amjad Ali Khan
“Amjad Ali Khan plays this raga, meant to be played from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a gentleness and attentiveness to detail. It’s bright, upbeat, uplifting, and encouraging. The use of repeated phrases, which are slightly modified over time, have an encouraging quality in this musical context.”
“Choice Garden Cricket Sounds” by Cricket Sounds
“My son wanted to fall asleep to this for several nights when he was 4 and 5 years old. I thought that was enough to put it on the playlist.”
“Mountain Runoff Waterfall” by Nature Sounds
“I included this track as a nod to medieval Arab scholars like Farabi and Ibn Sina, who wrote about the importance of putting one’s medical office near running water to help soothe incoming patients before and during their visits. Lowering stress was considered vital to recovering from any number of illnesses, and still is.”
“I’ll Never Leave You” by Harry Nilsson
“This is one of the most perplexing, moving, emotional, quizzical songs I know. Clearly it touches on longing, or, some might say dependency. It’s not clear to me if the singer is exaggerating, or singing about fictional characters. But whenever I hear this song, and when I sing along, I can’t help but feel completely inside of it. It’s a 4/4 meter, yet is played as a waltz, a rhythm that’s entirely intoxicating. Then, when it gets to the harp swell, it finally kicks into a true 3/4 waltz. The singing is beyond great. It feels so crisp and wonderful. When I play this song in my car, I always cry a little.”
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The anticipation of hearing and chasing down an ice cream truck is a nostalgic American pastime, bringing joy to kids onColumbia Records even released a recorded version of the song, written by actor Harry C. Browne, titled, “N*gger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!,” a disturbing slice of American histoTikTok-er Vanessa Blackwell resurfaced earlier this summer in a viral post. Offering a sorely needed replacement, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA recently partnered with the ice cream maker Good Humor to crRZA said in a video announcing the project. “I assure you that this one is made with love.” Good Humor released the track for free, urging all ice-cream truck dri
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A love of theater and drama drives the work of architect and designer David Rockwell, who grew up in a theater-going famRockwell Group, has designed numerous hospitality, entertainment, and cultural spaces—from Nobu to NeueHouse to The Shed—plus dozens oKinky Boots and Hairspray. While theaters are officially closed for the rest of the year, here Rockwell brings the spirit of the stage home to us with a playlist of some of his favorite musical numbers. (For more from Rockwell, listen to Spencer interview him on Ep. 1 of The Workspace of Tomorrow podcast.)
This time of year usually signals rest and recharging for many, with relaxation and summer travels in store. All of thatNature Ecology & Evolution, scientists have coined a term for this particular window of time—the “anthropause”—and have set out to quantify its efbiologist Christian Rutz, one of the paper’s lead authors, told Wired. “And we acknowledge that in the article. But it’s one which we, as a scientific community, really can’t afford to missone scientist, volcanologist Jan Lindsay, said. “The ‘2020 seismic noise quiet period’ will likely become something that Earth science students of the future will lea
As civic life came to a grinding halt this spring, with cities in lockdown around the world, the vivacious cacophony of as Siri Hustvedt wrote in a beautiful Financial Times essay in late April. “I have come to think of the sirens as the city’s heartbreaking music, a high-pitched dirge that accompanies the numbe
Michel Rojkind, founder of the namesake firm Rojkind Arquitectos, is known as a leading figure of Mexico City’s contemporary architecture scene—all the more impressive considering that
Festivals are canceled for the year, and online dance parties now a bit played out, several months into the pandemic—resHouse Party, a digital performance and semiweekly publication series from The Poetry Project (not to be confused with the social meCenter for Fiction, book talks with authors, such as one taking place on July 31 titled “The Long View: New Fiction from Edmund White and City Arts & Lectures, home to a trove of previously recorded conversations and upcoming talks that will be webcast and later available to ththis recent webcast between author Rebecca Solnit and actor and screenwriter Brit Marling (pictured above).
The 4th of July has at times been a fraught holiday for Americans, and the cause for celebration feels especially dubiouincluding Native Americans, disproportionately hard). In recent weeks, the nostalgia of fireworks—a visual and auditory spectacle innovated by Chiconspiracy theories on social media. They’ve also sparked debates about race, gentrification, class, and the privilege of calling the police for “quality ofireworks and hand sanitizer could make for a dangerous combination,” making the dazzling explosives, at least for this year, a peculiar, precarious assault on the senses, in more ways th
Live music is the lifeblood for the Woodstock, New York–based musician Amy Helm, who grew up with two musical parents, The Band’s drummer Levon Helm and singer Libby Titus. When the Covid-19 pandemicConnor Kennedy to take their show on the road, and to doorsteps around the Hudson Valley. We caught up with Helm just as New York was Curbside Pickup Band.
The Los Angeles–based industrial designer Jonathan Olivares produces works with a profound understanding and observation of how the human body sits and moves through space. But hiGo Skateboarding Day tomorrow, here he shares a playlist of his favorite skateboarding songs, and the legendary video parts that feature them. “This is a selection of songs that have been paired with some of my f
Layered compositions, calligraphic abstractions, and public spaces often factor into the works of Brooklyn-based Cuban-AmericanJosé Parlá, who has exhibited worldwide and installed large-scale murals in spaces ranging from inside the lobby of One World Trad“José Parlá: It’s Yours,” is currently on view at the Bronx Museum, through Jan. 10, 2021, though the museum is temporarily closed at the moment a playlist of some of his favorite Cuban songs to move to.
In an era where music streaming algorithms and data-driven suggestions can throw you for a loop, somehow leading you to Radiooooo—spelled with, count ’em, five O’s—around the idea of creating a crowdsourced time machine of music. While popular platfRadio Garden, which lets you tune into more than 8,000 radio stations from all over the world, each plotted onto a Google Earth–like