This is a folk singer who says even about herself that silence is the natural condition. A contradiction?
Not at all, since sound and silence complement one another just as do fire and water, body and soul, and also man and nature. Iren Lovasz is endeavoring to achieve wholeness, and if possible, to help others toward this goal as well. And now in key words she tells us how.
In the past years there are more and more cases of mental hygiene illness, and more victims of depression. This appears to happen parallel to man’s estrangement from natural living. Whoever lives in harmony with nature will not get spiritually ill when confronted with traumatic events, since our ever-changing and renewing natural circumstances provide for optimism.
Whoever lives from the Earth has a tremendous reservoir of strength. Not so long ago, man actually still lived in unison with nature, respected its power, and he didn’t throw away its treasures. He lived in accordance with the adage “You reap what you sow.”
Hungarian folk music is such an enduring value that short-lived popular music cannot supplant it. I believe in the eternal relevance and the influential and transformative power of folk music. In its purified form over the centuries it retains such irresistible and unquestionable truth, righteousness, wisdom and timelessness that it survives all storms.
Culture is constantly changing. I don’t believe that one should artificially and mechanically conserve and bottle up old values in order to put them on display. Instead, let’s get acquainted with them, and adapt their healing powers to today’s world. It’s not our heritage that we should be saving, but rather ourselves and our imperiled civilization by virtue of the use of the power of our heritage.
We use my “Inner Voice” recording to treat depression and also in the healing of anorexic teen girls. It is surprising that under these truly clinical conditions we have to replant the natural forces into our children and it attests to the absurdity of civilization that we need to capture the human voice on cd, and to apportion nature by way of capsules to those who have lost these values.
Man has three components to his unity: body, mind and soul. It is the great mistake of our contemporary education that it concerns itself only with the left brain, not with the right brain. The system develops smart children who can count well and can recite a lecture, but no one concerns themselves with the development of their souls and their emotions, and their physical bodies are also neglected.
I swore I would acquaint myself with the Hungarian national heritage, all those powers emanating from nature, from which our children could draw strength. I can tell by my three teenage children with just what kind of headwinds our children are confronted. And just how great the allure of cheap, global, mass culture is. The child struggles and flounders, when he sees that his friends enjoy unconstrained time watching television and playing on the computer. Of course he is also trying to push the limits but it is the parents’ responsibility to inculcate the set of values that the parent thinks are important. Those children who are not rooted and strengthened with values will be blown away by the wind.
Not only is air pollution a product of civilization but equally important and detrimental is noise or acoustic pollution. Every thumping sound, or aggressively monotonous rhythm that surrounds us in the shopping centers , at the beach, in the subways or in the restaurants and intrudes into the private sphere is terrible and inhuman. It is a contrived and soulless sound wave. Still the majority hardly take note because they have developed an immunity to it.
I believe that we have to protect ourselves and that we have to restore our natural sound environment. Only in silence can one hear the twittering of birds and the babbling of the brook. If we cultivate the outer and inner silence then we will find our own inner voice. I call good music the extension of silence. When a mother is singing a bedtime lullaby to the child that is also extending the silence.
The human voice produces healing when you are listening to it, but even more so when you are singing yourself. The peasants of old still knew this, as they sang during the week but also for holidays: They purged their pains, strengthened their joys and they experienced their celebrations to the fullest.
Good music is the result of the harmony of spiritual and physical vibrations. Physical sound waves reverberate on the strings of our souls. The healthy person’s vibrating surface is in harmony. When we become ill the balance is disturbed and we have to rebalance it so that we can heal. This is how singing has a therapeutic role. While singing with the help of our own sound waves we use our bodies as a resonating cavern or chamber. Under these circumstances we can harmonize our own bodily and spiritual vibrations.
How we choose to live depends on us. It is a question of philosophy and consciousness. As to how we develop these capabilities while we are waiting for society to readjust to a former, more natural way of life, that is a question of what we eat and how we heal ourselves. For example, I go to a forest springs and drink the water I bring from there. I don’t throw away plastic bottles and newspapers, nor do I have background music playing at home.
Not long ago I travelled to a village in Transylvania just when an old woman with ten children passed away. The body was laid out in the garden of the house and for three nights the extended family and old friends were sitting up, and the old women sang dead laments till the morning. This is such a beautiful and natural way of letting go that when it came time for the burial four days later, the family was marked by relief and a cleansing of emotions, and the true release could take place. She received genuine last rights. This is how we too should know how to say farewell . But with today’s city dwellers burials, weddings and births happen on an assembly line schedule. We do not accord the required dignity to life’s defining passages and rituals.
Finding Our Way Back
This civilization has reached a dead end. Everything has become artificial. And now it is revealed that it does not work and that it does not yield lasting happiness. I believe we will once again find our way back to natural conditions, and it will be enticing again to live the village life. I would also like to live in the countryside again. It is Earth energy that vitalizes me. I instinctively gravitate to the soil and to the cave.
Whether I swim or I walk, I always do it outdoors. I often walk in the woods , I embrace the oak trees, and from them I replenish my energy. At the very moment that you become a brother to the grass, to the soil , to the water or to the stars you are no longer alone.
Iren Lovasz is a performing artist and folklore researcher. By way of collecting Hungarian folklore, she travelled through the ethnic Hungarian Carpathian Basin. In 1995 she earned her Ph.D. in Ethnography. She performs ancient folksongs as well as contemporary ones. She also has collaborated with jazz and world music groups. She has 12 solo albums to her credit. In 2006 she launched a 4 cd set entitled “Healing Voices”. Her newest cd is the “Flower in Love” crossover, with Renaissance poems and dances, as well as contemporary folklore. After winning the prestigious German Critics’ Award, she also won the Best Female Singer Award back in her homeland. She is an eMeRTON and Bartok Bela Awardee and this year she was recognized at the Hungarian Artists gathering. Her three children, Kristof, Anna and Julia are all involved in Scouting. www.lovasziren.hu
Its originally an interview made by Zita Kampf for Béres Health Magazin 2009. Autumn/Winter, Budapest. BÉRES EGÉSZSÉGMAGAZIN,
The English version was translated and edited by : Joseph Molitorisz , 2010.