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Nanaimo musician and filmmaker explores the world of sound and its benefits

Laura Kelsey’s ‘Found in Sound’ series will air on Telus Optik TV later this year
Filmmaker and musician Laura Kelsey gets ready to step into the harmonic egg owned by Linda Edwards for her video series ‘Found in Sound.’ (Submitted photo)

An exploration into the potential healing modality of sound has compelled an emerging Nanaimo filmmaker to learn more.

When Laura Kelsey started her six-part video series last summer, she was interested in the possible effects sound could have on the human body and psyche. Also a musician, she’s used music to help cope with her own health challenges and trauma.

Kelsey’s goal from day one was to help people.

“It’s the perfect storm of stress and difficulty right now,” she said, adding that the high cost of living, as well as strains on the health-care system and mental health services, have left people feeling disheartened and overstretched. The filmmaker was also motivated by the possibility of using sound to treat addiction and escapism.

“People tend to escape into their phones a lot. I do the same thing … The screen is just so accessible now,” Kelsey said. “I used to escape by writing and creating, but now I’m just picking up the phone because I need to just get away for a minute, but I’m not being constructive … We need some stillness, we need some self-care that isn’t just watching.”

Kelsey’s ‘Found in Sound’ series, which is part of Telus’ Storyhive Voices program, arcs through a range of interviews, all with people from the Nanaimo area who take a different approach to the significance of sound and music.

The series includes discussion about the physics of sound and music with Vancouver Island University instructor Tom Leavitt; the benefits of music therapy with certified music therapist Tiana Dick of Island Aria; how sound and music can bring communities together with Pynksy Shell, Afro Fusion Sharqi Dance instructor; how sound and music can help heal trauma with Katch 22 hip hop artist Andrew Pahl from Gitgaa’t First Nation; how the Harvest Festival in Punjab, India, is celebrated with bhangra dance with Sukhi Sangha from Vancouver Island Bhangra; and about the harmonic egg – a 14-foot-long egg-shaped resonance chamber – with retired occupational therapist and owner of the Healing Nest, Linda Edwards.

“You go in and tell them what you’re wanting to work on, say back problems, and that problem corresponds with a frequency of light and sound. And so when you go into the chamber, they pump you full of that frequency,” Kelsey said of her experience in the harmonic egg. “I did leave feeling very good. And I remember having a very good sleep that night.”

While filming, Kelsey learned the Nanaimo area has a high concentration of sound workers. One theory suggested that Vancouver Island, as a whole, is more accepting of different types of healing modalities.

Although Found in Sound is a complete series on its own, the filmmaker is already looking to a second season, which will include interviews with people who are deaf to learn how they experience sound and vibration.

An airing date for the series has yet to be determined, but Kelsey suspects either later this winter or in early spring, on Telus Optik TV.

Found in Sound is the filmmaker’s second project with a Storyhive grant, having completed New Home, New Music, which shared the stories of musicians who immigrated to Canada, in November 2022.

READ MORE: Nanaimo singer-songwriter shares stories of musicians who immigrated to Canada

Registered therapeutic counsellor, musician and artist Chrissandra Unger plays the piano as part of Laura Kelsey’s ‘Found in Sound’ video series. (Submitted photo)

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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