A Time for New Dreams: Laraaji

Serpentine Sackler Gallery

18 Jan 2019 - 7:00 PM to 20 Jan 2019 - 5:30 PM

A Time for New Dreams:
Laraaji

Admission Free

On 18 and 20 January, musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner, Laraaji led a series of workshops during the opening days of the Grace Wales Bonner exhibition that became a lasting shrine of sound.

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Friday 18 January 2019
7pm


Deep Immersion Listening Session
 
During Friday’s exhibition opening, Laraaji improvised a performance featuring his distinctive electric zither, vocal sound, inviting audiences to experience moments of quiet and silence in a listening session that explored access to inner stillness.

Sunday 20 January 2019

11am and 4pm

Laughter and Gong Tone Meditation
 
On Sunday 20 January, Laraaji hosted two Laughter and Gong Meditation workshops leading participants through vocal exercises to warm the mouth, throat, chest and heart, which open the body to internal laughter. Following the workshop, Laraaji used gong tones to guide participants from sound to stillness, from the roar of the external world into the serenity of the inner self.

 

Based in New York City, Laraaji attended Howard University, a historically black university in Washington D.C. on a scholarship to study composition and piano. Laraaji began playing music on the streets in the 1970s, improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. It was during this time that he began to study Eastern mysticism, believing that he had found a new path for his music and life. In 1979, Brian Eno saw Laraaji playing in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series (Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, released 1980). Eno has continued to influence Laraaji’s music, as has the work of Alice Coltrane, Constance Demby, Iasos, Harold Budd and J. D. Emmanuel. It was also this time that Laraaji was invited to the new age bookshop, Tree of Life, in Harlem, where he would donate music to accompany live readings. Two of the brothers who owned the shop intuited a past life with consciousness and music within Laraaji and came up with the name that he goes by today. A celestial music pioneer whose work traverses the monastic and the ecstatic, Laraaji has continued to expand his mystic studies with gurus such as Swami Satchidananda and Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, founder of the Ananda Ashram in Monroe, New York.

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Related Events / Exhibitions

Exhibition

Grace Wales Bonner: A Time for New Dreams

19 Jan 2019 to 17 Mar 2019

Grace Wales Bonner presented the first in a series of unique projects in the fields of music, fashion, art and design with Chino Amobi, Black Audio Film Collective, Rotimi Fani Kayode, David Hammons, Michael John Harper, Liz Johnson Artur, Rashid Johnson, Kapwani Kiwanga, Klein, Laraaji, Eric N. Mack, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ben Okri, Ishmael Reed and Sahel Sounds.

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Laraaji, Performance 5

Laraaji, Performance 5

Laraaji, Performance 2

Laraaji, Performance 2

Courtesy of the artist

Laraaji, Performance

Laraaji, Performance

Courtesy of the artist

Laraaji, Performance 3

Laraaji, Performance 3

Courtesy of the artist

Laraaji, Performance 4

Laraaji, Performance 4

Courtesy of the artist

Laraaji

Laraaji