By Jeremy Rick
“The key to the success of Sacred Bass Sessions is pulling together a lot of different communities,” co-founder Christian Martin said.
Their most recent event was a Feb. 14 gathering to celebrate Valentine’s Day, titled “Heartbeat.” The event consisted of a group yoga session, live painting exhibitions, acoustic and electronic music performances, and a belly dance performance. It was hosted by Presence Studio, a space located in downtown Bellingham above Bellingham Bar and Grill.
Sacred Bass Sessions “sprung from the brains and dreams of two people,” Martin said. “I dreamed up the concept and went to Erik, who had the ‘know-how.’”
Martin said that he and his fellow co-founder Erik Moore first met at the 2007 Burning Man music festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Martin volunteered to help Moore construct a 40-foot-tall pyramid out of recycled billboard vinyl as an art installation for the festival.
The duo began collaborating on their productions in November of last year with a Thanksgiving-themed event celebrating abundance, Martin said. Heartbeat was their third event, and their fourth, called “Balance,” is planned for March 21 during the spring equinox.
“I had a vision of music and yoga and live painting,” Martin said. “Erik has helped make the dreams in my head become a reality.”
To begin Heartbeat, Melissa Longfellow, director of 3 Oms Yoga in Bellingham, led a group yoga session accompanied by an electronic music performance by DJ Hyfi, a nomadic musician who has played for yoga festivals around the U.S., Martin said.
Following the yoga session, singer-guitarists Benjie Howard and Gentri Watson gave an acoustic performance.
An electronic DJ known as Drumspyder took the stage with his laptop and drum set after Howard and Watson finished. The incandescent lighting was dimmed, colored lights were projected around the room, and the sound system’s volume was turned up.
“We try to find DJs who mix live instruments with their electronic music,” Martin said, rather than mainstream house music or techno artists who rely solely on electronic devices.
Drumspyder’s “combination of electronic and acoustic instruments creates a type of sound that seems to carry the group through space and time in a unique way,” said Johann Rainey, who attended the event. “[His] sound is very ‘psychedelic tribal dance.’ It has a raw bass beat that allows you to break into a primal state of being and emotion.”
While the audience did yoga and danced to musical performances, Bill Ball, a local artist, was busy creating a new painting on a canvas near the stage. Ball exhibited his “sustainable paintings,” which were done on pieces of cardboard boxes, he said. He also showed interested audience members some of his personal techniques.
“The art, music, and dancing of the event were all very unique to Bellingham’s social scene, and I’m excited to see what they do next,” Rainey said.
Sacred Bass Sessions’ March 21 event, Balance, will feature Plantrae, a DJ “who plays violin on top of his electronic music. It is a very beautiful and moving blend of beats and classical music,” Martin said.
Balance will also feature Swil Kanim, a Lummi Native who specializes in storytelling.
“Sacred Bass is a cross-pollination of sub communities,” Martin said. “It’s neat because it’s exposing a lot of different groups to each other.”
Amanda Walsh, a former Whatcom Community College student who attended Heartbeat, said, “It’s a community atmosphere. If you don’t know anybody at a bar, you could be standing alone. Here you could walk up to anyone and strike up a conversation or dance with them.”
“The environment is way more welcoming than the bars,” said Kaylee Wiebe, who also attended the Heartbeat session. “It really deters anyone from judgment. We’re just here to have a good time.”
“These events feel ‘sacred’ because they create a sense of unity among the participants,” Rainey said. “It’s a very spiritual experience.”
The events are open to anyone ages 18 and over. For more information on Sacred Bass Sessions, visit www.sacredbass.org.