A midwinter singing workshop with 3 of Wellington's best community musicians: Lala Simpson, Claudio Escutia, and Jonathan Berkahn. Get ready to sing uplifting songs from Madagascar, fun and haunting folk songs from the UK, and finish the day with a soul-restoring sound healing session with Claudio Escutia. Lunch NOT provided but there is a cafe at the home of Compassion and a choice of eateries down the Road.
Jonathan Berkahn is a Wellington-based performer, composer, and conductor. He studied organ and harpsichord with Douglas Mews, before diversifying into many other fields of general musical usefulness. He has accompanied the Festival Singers for over two decades now, and conducted them between 2013 and 2019.
Around about 2000 he started playing the accordion that his brother-in-law loaned, then gave him, and has never looked back. He is a regular at Tuesday night's Irish session at the Welsh Dragon in Courtenay Place, a co-founder of VicFolk (the Victoria University folk club and ceilidh band), a ceilidh-caller, and member of various dance bands of different genres, from Eastern Europe to North America.
Yoga Instructor, Sound Therapist and Musician
Claudio Escutia was born and raised in Mexico City and comes from a musical family.
Music has been part of his life from the very beginning of his journey. He started to study music at the age of 12 with the drums and guitars his father had at home. When he finished music school as a classical guitarist he moved to Montreal Canada and explored new genres such a Jazz, World Music, and Spiritual Music. He also discovered Indian Music and Yoga and they became a particularly important influence on his career, lifestyle, and vision.
Travelling the world allowed him to study Music and Yoga with teachers in Europe and Asia. He explored many instruments and music styles such as Guitar, Sitar, Esraj, Bansuri, Harmonium, Flutes, and Voice.
While travelling in Kathmandu Nepal he learned the art of playing Tibetan bowls and Sound therapy, and this was the glue that brought together his passion for Music and Yoga.
After living and travelling through many countries, Claudio is now based in Wellington, New Zealand. He is an active Yoga teacher and shares his talents in his Concerts, Classes, Workshops, and Sound Healing sessions.
Singer, community song leader, songwriter
Lala Simpson is a vibrant, joyful, and passionate singer who grew up in Madagascar, immersed in the music of her homeland and that of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and France.
Singing has always played a big part in Lala’s life as it is completely interwoven with the culture and traditions of the Malagasy people.
Lala’s training as a singer started at the age of 3 from singing in Sunday school to a folk singing and dancing group, to being a lead singer in a band at the age of 14 and singing in many different choirs ever since. She has been leading choirs of all ages for the past 10 years and keeps on learning, collaborating, and exploring new ways to teach from many different artists and teachers around the world.
Lala now lives in Wellington New Zealand and currently leads Kotaba Voices an all-ability community choir for women and the Wellington Community Choir, a mixed voices choir. She is also one of the tradition bearers that regularly tutors for Village Harmony USA. Lala acts as a guest conductor for various community choirs including the Kapiti Community Choir and the Hutt Valley Community choir and travels around New Zealand to run workshops teaching original and traditional songs of her homeland, Madagascar ad well as African and community songs from around the world. In her spare time, she performs with her 3-piece band and sings the songs of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and other French chansons and Jazz singers.