TaKeTiNa—Exploring Life’s Rhythm
Flatischler, an Austrian percussionist trained at the University of Music and Performing Arts, in Vienna, traveled to Afghanistan and India, Korea and Japan, Cuba and Brazil, the Middle East and Africa, studying with master drummers of those cultures. He notes, “The most important question guiding me in those times was ‘Why are musicians doing what they are doing? What do they approach rhythm in this very special way?’ And each culture had different answers.” He needed to find the underlying rhythmic matrix that connects each of these cultures musically and eventually discovered the existence of primal rhythmic movements such as “pulse, cycle, subdivision, pulse”.
The stepping rhythm is supported by a Brazilian surdo bass drum, so there is stimulus from outside. The rhythmic voice of the participants is connected to the movements, so there is also stimulus that comes from inside. While the group recites the rhythm syllables, the leader talks freely over them and introduces yet another rhythm of clapping. It is a multilayered experience and opens the senses and awareness of everyone involved.
Before participants fall into this state of awareness, though, they witness how certain behavior patterns, inner reactions and old belief systems can hinder them from coming into flow with the rhythm, with the group and with themselves. This gives them a chance to become their own teacher, using the rhythm process as a mirror. At the climax of each journey, participants fall into a state of timelessness, fully merging with the rhythmic flow. After the journey is over, they take a deep rest in silence.
Flatischler says, “It connects people; through the falling in and falling out, through working with chaos and multilayered rhythms, into a direct experience of groove and flow, one of the most fundamental skills for any musician.”
TaKeTiNa provides benefits in different realms: it can serve as a spiritual path, it can be used in therapy and it also can be focused on intense musical learning. For many, this is a sensational revelation and coincides with the discovery of their overall sensuality. Participants might have lost confidence in the beauty of their voice when they had to sing in school, but in the TaKeTiNa process, they are supported by the whole group and guided by the leader into resonant-sounding voice. Many of them regain their ability to sing and use their voice in a creative way in one workshop.
“One has the possibility to experience a great deal of freedom in TaKeTiNa because you can create you own individual journey, while at the same time being part of a collective process that unfolds continuously,” explains Flatischler. “You can lay down any time, move freely, move in the rhythm with steps, hands and voice, or participate with only one of these layers. That sounds almost impossible—that a complex group rhythm is able to unfold when everyone has the freedom to participate in his or her individual way. And yet this is the very heart of TaKeTiNa: polarities lose their either/or character. In TaKeTiNa, polarities complement one another.”
Scientists have taken notice of TaKeTiNa, as well. Over the last 10 years, fundamental medical research has provided evidence that at the molecular level, fatal cascades in diseases can only be disrupted in the vagotonus (state of regeneration) state, which is prompted by synchronicity and harmony. In addition, all repair processes produced naturally by the body take place only in the vagotonus state. This scientific evidence reflects thousands of years of knowledge about illness and recovery used by medical traditions over the ages.
“As a child, I was suffering from several psychosomatic diseases like asthma, heart arrhythmia and panic attacks,” relates Flatischler. “At the same time, I started to play piano at a very young age, so instinctively I knew that music contains a healing power that would help me stabilize my health and my psyche and my life.” He will be bringing TaKeTiNa to Atlanta, September 26 to 28, and plans to offer a master level training in 2015.
We acknowledge Colleen Caffrey and Amy Jackson for supplying source material to this story.