Joëlle Danant is a singer, composer, Native American (NA) style flute player, certified Music for People (MFP) instructor in music improvisation, educator, and interfaith minister. Joëlle is the 2013 Music Ambassador Award recipient from Music for People (MFP), for leading her MFP satellite workshops, called “Music Improvisation for the Soul” (since 2003). These one-day workshops are held in her beautiful home in Park Slope, Brooklyn – please see MFP’s calendar of events for the schedule.
Joëlle’s approach to music making and facilitation is intuitive and grounded in Music for People’s teachings, particularly in present moment awareness and flow, as well as an appreciation for the inter-connectedness of all life, including with the Source of Life. Joëlle’s main motto is: “I play to remember who I am”. Joelle integrates some meditation and movement with music improvisation, to journey into the heart, the infinite well of creativity.
Joëlle encourages: playfulness, wonder, deep listening, connectedness within and around, authenticity, non-judgmental acceptance, trusting the present moment; and a heart-centered community where everyone is invited to love to support each other and to let our unique creativity take flight. Joëlle co-leads a monthly interfaith Taize worship service, based primarily on original sacred songs and chants (using keyboard self-accompaniment), Native American style flute music, and meditation. (One Spirit Seminary/OSIS, NYC, and occasionally other venues such as Integral Yoga Institute; since early 2010 to present). Since her practice of playing the Native American style flute (2007), Joëlle has been invited to play at such events as One Spirit Learning Alliance (OSIS)’s Cosmic Mass (Fourth Universalist Society, NYC, September 19, 2008); and at interfaith ritualist Barbara Biziou’s Spring Equinox Celebration (OSIS, NYC, March 2011).
Joëlle leads the monthly Great Spirit Native Flute Circle (OSIS, NYC from 2008 to 2013 — currently moving to a new venue TBC).
Joëlle occasionally leads kirtans, i.e., Hindu-style, participatory call and response concerts, using original melodies for traditional sacred scriptures in yoga centers in NYC and at Kirtanarama, Figment Festival, Governor’s Island, NY; and was invited to sing for Amma, renowned Indian Hugging Saint, with viola player Karen Olson (Manhattan Center, NYC, July 3rd, 2011). She co-leads Hanuman Chalisa* chants, using original melodies, at monthly & annual chanting events in yoga centers (*traditional hymn to the Hindu Deity Hanuman, made up of 40 verses in Abade, ancient Hindi language). Joëlle plays piano and harmonium, mostly for self-accompaniment. She has served as a respondent singer for renowned devotional musicians Robert Gass (NY Open Center concert, NYC, November 2010); and Krishna Das on his CD recordings and at his kirtans in NYC (Town Hall, Feb. 4, 2009; and Church of St-Paul & St-Andrew, Nov. 30 2010).
Joëlle serves as occasional guest musician (NA style flute) and singer at concerts, kirtans, and worship services on the East Coast (NYC Center for Spiritual Living, NYC (since 2011); Service for Peace at Integral Yoga Institute, NYC, September 2011; Peace Sabbath at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, September 2010; annual benefit concert for the Bonobos & the Congo Forest at Jivamukti Yoga School, NYC, 2007 & 2008); etc.
Joëlle has been studying and performing jazz, world music (especially singing Brazilian standards in Portuguese), sacred music, and integrated vocal & movement improvisation since 1994. Her first musical training was in classical piano as a child.
Joëlle has occasionally joined other musicians to offer improvisational music for improvisational dancers communities in NYC (including Barefoot Boogie; and NYC Contact Jam) and in Poland Spring, ME (Dance New England), whereby musicians and dancers mutually inspire each other’s creativity. She was part of a multi-media performing group – involving visual art, dance and music – as improvisational vocalist, music composer, dancer, and co-creator of performances’ conceptualizations (2003-04).
Joëlle was Chairperson of Music for People’s Musicianship & Leadership Program (2001-03), and is a graduate from that program. She has served as retreat facilitator for the Foundation for Universal Sacred Music’s Divine Song Retreat (2003), and as instructor at the Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY (stress free series; 2004). Joëlle has also taught vocal music to youth, including classes on improvisational music, nature and eco-spirituality for the Urban Environmental Youth Corps/ YMCA of Jamaica (2006).
Joëlle’s recordings of songs and compositions are soon to become available. Creations often derive from improvisations or dreams. They may include turning poems or sacred text from various spiritual traditions into songs and chants; as well as creating customized songs and chants for individuals at ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays, and memorial services.
Joëlle has created customized CD’s of healing guided meditations upon request, especially to help individuals maximize their healing potential prior, during and after surgery. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Administration (Intercultural Management) from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. She is the author of the self-published book “Balance from Inside Out: Healing Ourselves, Our Relationships, Communities and the Earth” (1996) as well as various articles published in specialized journals or newsletters (available upon request). Joëlle has been teaching vocal improvisation — sometimes combined with movement improvisation; sacred singing; and/or music improvisation (all instruments), for adults in the New York/New Jersey area since 1997, as well as for the Dance New England Summer Camp in Poland Spring, Maine (2006-09).
Joëlle is a visiting associate professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, where she developed and teaches a unique course on “The Yoga of Meditation”, a one-credit course that includes applications of meditation to creative expression and sustainability. Joëlle also serves as Academic Director at Pratt Institute’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies in Brooklyn, NY.
She is available for performances, workshops, private sessions, services, and ceremonies. For more information on Joëlle’s workshops and services, please contact her at VocalMuse@gmail.com.
Quotes from past workshop participants -Excerpted from their evaluation forms:
“[I liked:] Everything! Especially the smallness of the group. Joelle’s warm, supportive guidance, the availability of interesting instruments to play. Joelle’s apartment is a beautiful, sunny space for a small workshop. … I really, really enjoyed our experience on Saturday. Thank you so much.
“[I wished:] We could have kept improvising, the time flew by and it ended so soon!” Roni
“[I liked:] The intimacy of playing with a small group; your encouraging manner; the organic flow of the day; being reminded how staying with one activity for a long time brings Heaven On Earth!*; your ability to share your vast knowledge in wonderful skill activities; the comfortable setting of your home; everyone present ROCKED! Amala
“The [warm up] exercises were good openings to loosen the muse!” Anonymous
“[The activities] freed me up, helped me find my child inside, allowed me to take risks… opened a door.” Anonymous