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Deborah Nation visits a sound garden workshop in Okuti Valley on Banks Peninsula which inspires participants to free the voice within.Facilitator Courtenay Stickels found inspiration during a trip to India where she met a German couple who practiced sound therapy and was given their Shruti box ( a harmonium like instrument) to play. She sang so powerfully that they gifted the Shruti box to her and sent her on her way. From that moment of ‘divine awakening’ Courtenay has felt it her mission to teach others the power of sound and voice.

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The workshop is set in the idyllic environment of Jim and Jane Mullins’ Okuti Gardens with yurts and tepees for accommodation and watercress soup to nourish the soul. People feel their inhibitions disappear as they chant and drum together. In the afternoon the group sings to each person; didgeridoo, shruti box and drums add to the gentle cacophony.

Courtenay Stickels with her didgeridoo

Courtenay Stickels with her didgeridoo

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