Candace Keach is the artistic director of the Spiral Sound of Crystal Bowls, a performance group which creates a soothing auditory and visual immersion experience through the playing of symmetrically arranged, vibrating crystal bowls.
Antal: Thanks for speaking with us, Candace. Can you tell us a little about what Spiral Sounds of Crystal Bowls does?
Candace: Sure thing, Antal. There’s a core group of about seven of us, and we’ve been playing and performing since about 2006, though our style has changed a lot over the years. With crystal bowls it’s not exactly about music. It’s a mind, body experience. I’m drawn to translating something called Sacred Geometry. Have you heard of the Golden Ratio?
Antal: It sounds familiar.
Candace: The golden ratio is mathematics. It’s about symmetry in nature. Everything in nature is symmetrical, everything can be reduced to a ratio that is in sync with our minds and bodies. Everything has balance, everything has a mirror image. This can also be translated into sound, and this has an effect on our minds and bodies. We’ve done a lot of pieces that bring awareness of sacred geometry, such as arranging the bowls in five- or six-pointed stars, then playing pieces based on these intervals. It’s a sensory immersion experience, visually and audibly.
Antal: Can you explain a little bit more about this concept of natural symmetry?
Candace: The reason we’re called the Spiral Sounds is because our bowls are often arranged in labryinths, placed along ascending 5ths. The perfect 5th, which is considered the “strongest” interval in music, translates into our bodies, which translates into the golden ratio, which is, in essence, 3:2. It’s very soothing to our bodies to experience this sound, very meditative. We offer the fruits of natural sacredness brought to life with sound.
Antal: Who are your members? Are you professional musicians?
Candace: A few of us are amateur, such as myself, but no, we only have one professional musician. I create and direct the pieces, and there are about seven core players right now. Most of us are involved in healing work in some fashion. We have a massage therapist, a yoga teacher, one woman who works for the land preservation trust. What draws us together is we’re all very interested in healing.
Candace: We’ve performed at the University of South Carolina Medical Center, we’ve done concerts in churches, retreats, nursing homes. We haven’t sat in hospice yet, but we have played for the elderly, older people nearing the end, and we’ve seen the effect we can have on them. We often bring them to tears, to a place where they can really feel, where they can really bring themselves to move on.
Antal: So crystal bowl performances can have a real effect on people.
Candace: Oh, absolutely. Not just the ill. Doctors, students, everybody really feels something with our works. Bowls have a very slow pulse. We bring oscillating systems of energy, so everything slows down. Our brains are partly composed of tiny crystal particles, like radios, and they pick up on these sounds that the bowls create, brings us down naturally to this healing level.
Antal: It reminds me of yoga. The practice of slowing down and allowing your mind to forget itself.
Candace: Uh-huh. It works that way because there’s a real bond between the sound and what the sound is transmitting, meaning that this sound is coming from an element that naturally occurs within our bodies, and is very important to the way we function. It’s different for everybody, different people get different sounds. You can hear energies just coming from that particular person, their personality. It can be a very interesting experience. People are usually surprised by the effect that it has on them, and, more often than not, it usually makes them feel better, more relaxed.
Antal: Well, thank you so much for speaking with us, we hope that you’ll make it to the Bay Area one of these days.
Enjoy the auditory immersion experience for yourself: