The journey of becoming a drum maker and musician
Nature and its mysteries, rituals, longing for connection with the sacred nature of life, human hands, hearts and minds and how it is all interwoven.. I can see that the attraction to what I’m now surrounding myself with has always been there. Roaming through the woods in my early childhood years, fascination with old craftsmen hands and their imprint in my memory, diving into unimaginably wild and wonderful landscapes of sounds and music in my teenage and thus encountering my first experiences of music’s (their) profound spiritual and healing aspects. Long expected 18 came and the world finally opened up for me. I have seen tee-pees in the mountains in the night, with silhouettes of people old and young being projected onto the walls by the burning fire, all gathered in divine chants, tiny feet of the sleeping children stretched towards the warm fire and the most exquisite music being produced (tall trees moving outside). Flamenco guitarists moving their street audience to tears, green jungles with shamans invoking the Spirits, music in deserts, fields, streets, caves and homes.
When-after 10 years on the move-I landed in Scandinavia the decision to take music as my guide wasn’t a difficult one to take. I started to learn about craft and woodwork (had no background), ordered first few instruments to offer to people (thus my shop started). Then ordered some more, meeting another craftsmen, starting collaborations. One step leading to the next one, my shop grew, creative woodwork and building offers started to come, meeting with Malin and as the Holy Tree entering the stage with our music, creating cafe in the forest, website, building a real, physical shop, creating sound healing retreat and then a festival.. and the story goes on. Following the passion one step showing the next one.
Things would have never imagined and certainly not planed for and yet they all do reflect my inner nature.
The instruments and uniqueness of my shop
~When quality, beauty and functionality meet in harmonious ways~
I collaborate with excellent craftsmen from around the world to provide a variety of unique instruments unlike any other place that I know of. Instruments that are piece of art in themselves, handmade by people devoting their hearts to their craft. All you can find in my shop I play and as a musician and sound healer use myself. This direct connection to each item makes me valuable resource when it comes to choosing, advising and teaching ways to play and use each instrument.
Holy Tree drums ~ The emerging art form ~
I have made and played my first shaman drum in December 2012 down in a mountainous valley of southern Spain. It was very emotional experience and (power, connection with my voice and nature). I keep exploring traditional and new ways following my own connection to the craft. There is a whole set of interests I can combine inside a drum which makes it the perfect creative medium for me. Wood, feathers, bones, stones, skin, plants, colors, horns, clay.. all the materials and objects of nature-that can be woven together in endless creative artistic ways in something which is musical, sacred and empowering tool, instrument to tap into different parts of consciousness and with all that also beautiful to look at, like a painting, statue, natural scenery perhaps. Many of the craftsmanship techniques in my drums are secret and completely unique to my workshop.
Drum building workshops
~ Becoming part of the creation~
I feel I’m myself still just touching upon the connection between hands, heart, mind and creation. We humans as a specie were since forever depending on creating with our hands for our basic existence and it is only very shortly since this link is being disrupted.
When people enter my workshop, put their hands on the materials, the wood, the skin, the tools.. something very interesting happens. Like if something in them remembers, remembers this basic connection, communion between life and oneself through laying our hands on what nature provides and join the creation. It’s mesmerizing to witness this and it happens every time over and over again. Different focus takes place, innocent joy when seeing that ‘It starts to look like a drum!’. The pride and satisfaction when (3 days later) holding a self made sacred instrument and then hearing it for the first time with the awareness of the whole journey and its challenges. Profound and very therapeutic experience. It is an honor to be there for this as the teacher. Always.
Music as a gateway to spirit ~Inviting people in~
I see music as a gateway, link to spirit. A way home to ourselves and perhaps the most universal medium to do so. It is an essential part of my work to keep reminding myself and others about this mystery, pointing towards the places we all long for, beyond our minds and ideas of separation. To create spaces for these meetings, remembrance to happen. Spaces where people feel safe enough to tap into, or re-discover their own inner natural musical expressions, be it through voice or/and an instrument. The empowerment of connecting with this inner force is boundless.
Holy Tree constellation and the art of creating music
Holy Tree is a living and dynamic organism connecting different art forms and expressions. As a music constellation, Holy Tree’s core is me and my partner Malin most often accompanied by other musicians.
Holy Tree in Ben Bushills words:
"The music of Holy Tree arises from a deep wish and longing to touch something that will always remain beyond. The musicians reach with flute and voice and heart for the un-nameable mystery, beauty and grief of this human experience. Their intention is clear and it is reflected in the purity of the intuitive music which arises from the meeting with the moment and the shared witnessing of the audience. Holy Tree listen as well as their instruments speak and the patient acknowledgement of silence offers a unique texture and depth to the music. The music is there to open doorways, it will not lead you through as that step is yours alone to take but it may bring you to the threshold and invite you in. This music is guide and pathway and the audience is invited to follow into a new landscape which unfolds note by note and song by song".