Sterling, Va., based duo to host concert and sound bath
Jim and Ashley Cash, known as Woven Green, offer an option for those who are in need of letting go of stress — a sound bath.
Through the process of using several instruments, the Cashes will lead the audience after their concert into a sound bath that hopefully will allow each person into his or her personal journey.
Woven Green will perform, followed by a sound bath, from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, at Unity Hagerstown at St. Mark’s Lappans. Cost is $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
The Cashes met and fell in love while students at George Mason University, while both were studying cultural anthropology. Although they both had an interest in music, Ashley said they decided to wait a year after getting married before adding the musical duo as part of their relationship.
“She’s missing one key piece,” he said during a telephone interview from their Sterling, Va., home. “When we first met, it was very much by happenstance musically related. I heard Ashley sing and it just kind of blew my mind. I think my first thought was, ‘I’ve got to hook up with this gal and make music with her.’”
As Woven Green, the group has just released their album, “Into the Bloom.” And when it comes to the music they make together as Woven Green, it’s about letting the music take over.
“In terms of creating music, it really is a lot of alternate tunings on the guitar,” Jim said. “... I do that because it inspires new pathways, new discoveries that aren’t in a conventional format. My intuition always feels to part from outside of the rules and outside of the boundaries, so alternative tuning allows for that exploration. Then, it’s very much a search for what the story is behind the music and what’s informing, and usually, there’s something there when I’m listening. It’s a very joyful process and a feeling when that happens — and I think it happens with any artist when something’s coming through — and you just go with it. And then it takes on new dimensions and new expressions that maybe you didn’t intend at first, but started with a seed.”
And when it comes to their philosophy about their music, Jim said, it’s really been about the message.
“We’ve always resonated with music that has a message, music that has meaning, music that was relevant,” he said.
Even as a teenager, Jim said, he knew “the music I wanted to create would have a spiritual depth or at least attempt to have spiritual depth to it, and have a message.”
And when it comes to how often they are creating music, Ashley and Jim said in unison, “all the time.”
What they mean is more than just a concert of their music, but also sound medicine and sound healing that they started getting into a few years ago.
“That has sort of opened up to a world of exploration,” Jim said. “It’s a whole new creative outlet and unfolds from that.”
And in creating that music from the music they perform to their sound medicine, Ashley said they’re doing much more than that.
“In some ways, what we do when we create music whether it’s the stuff we’re writing or the stuff that’s just coming through us when we work with the healing sounds, we’re working to really open ourselves, to let this higher energy just flow through us through the music,” she said. “And that’s really what people are responding to when we’re creating that through the sound medicine, the sound bath, the sound journey. It’s that space that we’re creating and the permission that they are feeling to enter into that space.”
After the concert, Ashley and Jim will lead the group into a sound bath. Through music by playing native flutes, wind gongs, vocal toning and Tibetan singing bowls and more to “bathe” the audience with sound. And for every person, it will be a personal experience.
“People often tell us after they’ve experienced it for the first time, they really had no idea what to expect, and surprising in some ways,” Ashley said.
Ashley said they are “creating a space for people to calm down and just receive the sounds.”
“For some people, it’s a really nice, calming experience, and for some people they really go on this journey,” she said. “They have amazing experiences internally. People’s experiences range entirely.”
She said they work with people in different contexts. For instance, they’ve worked with hospitals and chronic pain patients who through a sound medicine have been able to “take a little vacation” from the pain.
“In some ways what we’re doing is creating a conscious state of altered consciousness,” she said. “That in itself is a healing experience just to shut off all that stress. The loop of the mind ramping up on what we have to do next or what’s coming up and our normal obsessions that we carry around and worry about. It’s just this one hour that we can invite people to have their own experience.”
That’s why, Ashley said, they don’t “prescribe any particular experience. It’s everyone’s own journey.”
On Saturday, the pair will host private sessions at Hagerstown Holistic Wellness for 30 to 60-minute sessions of chakra sound attunement and biofield balancing.
Jim said because of the recent state of the world, people are “hungry.”
“Whether they know it or not, they’re looking for an experience,” he said. “... something that’s deep and meaningful and takes them out of their sort of 3-D sort of reality. They really are hungry for it. The time is sort of now for people to go on that inward journey, and the beautiful thing is that we’re taking it together that’s in a safe environment for exploration. And sound, especially when it’s initially focused and shared, whether it’s focused on love, passion, peace, equanimity — all of those things serve as a sort of catalyzer for creating a field that opens us up to all sort of possibilities.”