Connect with us

NXTLVL Experience Design

Episode 65: Laura Inserra

“A Structured Improvisation With a Sound Alchemist,” with Laura Inserra, Founder, CEO, Creative Director, Live Perfomer, Chambers of AWE LLC

mm

Published

on

EPISODE SUMMARY

Laura Inserra is a world-renowned leader in sound healing and founder of Chambers of AWE, LLC. She describes herself as a ‘sound alchemist,’ a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and multimedia producer. She lives and creates at the confluence of global music, ancient wisdom traditions, and cutting-edge technology. In Ep.65 of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast – “A Structured Improvisation With A Sound Alchemist” – host David Kepron and Laura Inserra dig into the healing power of music, ancient traditions and creating sound journeys that transport participants into experiences that are transformative.

EPISODE NOTES

About Laura Inserra:

LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/laurainserra

Websites:

Email:

info@laurainserra.com
Laura’s Bio:

Laura Inserra is a world-renowned leader in sound healing – a sound alchemist, multi-instrumentalist, educator, and multimedia producer. She lives and creates at the confluence of global music, ancient wisdom traditions, and cutting-edge technology.

She grew up on the volcanic island of Sicily and has been exploring the power of sound since her youth. Her work is rooted in 30+ years of global cross-cultural studies and initiations in ancient traditions and modern schools of wisdom, as well as the direct observation of nature.

Advertisement

A world-renowned Hang musician, Laura plays hundreds of ancient and modern instruments from around the world, including many made by her. She utilizes cutting-edge technology to augment the natural sources of her instruments, creating Chambers of AWE – multimedia productions featuring ceremonial instruments and field-recordings, enhanced with 360o visuals andAI-generated content rooted in ancient wisdom.

In these settings music becomes experiential – the body and the mind merge with the sound, traveling beyond the fields of cognitive perceptions, to enhance profound shifts of consciousness, deepen our relationship with nature, and facilitate inner transformation and healing.

SHOW INTRO

Welcome to the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast.

These dynamic dialogues based on our acronym DATA – design, architecture, technology, and the arts crosses over disciplines but maintains a common thread of people who are passionate about the world we live in and human’s influence on it, the ways we craft the built environment to maximize human experience, increasing our understanding of human behavior and searching for the New Possible.

The NXTLVL Experience Design podcast is presented by VMSD magazine.

Advertisement

VMSD is the publisher of VMSD magazine and brings us, in the brand experience world, the International Retail Design Conference. The IRDC is one of the best retail design conferences that there is bringing together the world of retailers, brands and experience placemakers every year for two days of engaging conversations and pushing the discourse forward on what makes retailing relevant.

You will find the archive of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast on VMSD.com.

Thanks also goes to Shop Association the only global retail trade association dedicated to elevating the in-store experience.

SHOP Association represents companies and affiliates from 25 countries and brings value to their members through research, networking, education, events and awards. Check then out on SHOPAssociation.org

In this episode, I talk with “Sound Alchemist” Laura Inserra about the deep effect that music has on our sense of well-being, sound journeys and energy we share with each other and ancient musical instruments and shamanic practices. And, make sure you listen right through for a special treat… But first a few thoughts.

****************

Advertisement

I am increasingly convinced that I am moving away from the idea that ‘there are no accidents’ as simply a quaint phrase to it being a foundational principle in the nature of things.

In previous episodes I’ve probably described that most of the major life changes that have reshaped my career and life path on the planet have emerged through what I used to simply think was serendipity.

A career change that led me halfway around the world to live in Singapore, to a meeting at a conference that took me from 20 years designing retail stores to working in the hospitality industry and many other occurrences that seem to be unexplainable but nevertheless happen, it seems, purposefully.

And so, it also was with meeting my guest in this episode Laura Inserra whose path I crossed at the Intentional Spaces Summit in Washington DC in the fall of 2023.  I’ll get to talking about Laura in a moment.

But first I just gotta say, I love music.

I remember as a youngster being enthralled with musicians and watching variety shows on television where I imagined myself being one of the band. I have a clear memory of rewriting lyrics for a song to the 1968 tune of “Spinning Wheel” by the bandBlood, Sweat & Tears, written by Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton. I think my parents humored me at the time with ‘that’s nice sweetheart.’

In high school my best friend Jeff and I bought guitars, strummed our way through James Taylor and Eagles tunes. I bought a harmonica and thought I might be a Blues harp player. But Jeff became the better musician playing piano and performing at a piano bar in a local Italian restaurant.

In my early days of college when I met my now wife of 35 years, we were both interested in sports and being in the great outdoors, but it was music that brought us closer together. She was a Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music graduate and piano teacher in her late teens and early 20s and when she sang she sounded like Karen Carpenter.

When we played Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in The Rain” I fell hopelessly in love and I waited for the lyric “…after a while we run under a tree, I turned to her and she kisses me…” Because ya know, if the lyric says it, well…

Music was everywhere in our relationship.

She introduced me to jazz a genre where she really found her tempo (yes pun intended) as a musician in the high school jazz band. Where she incidentally always won awards for being a stand out pianist. Through her, I learned about Chic Corea, Coltrane, and the Canadian flutist Moe Kaufman’s “Jungle Woman” became signature tune of our relationship.

My wife wrote the music for our wedding ceremony that was sung by the FACE Highschool choir and “How do You keep the music playing” by James ingram and Patti Austin was our first dance as husband and wife. Oh and when James and Patti modulate about three quarters the way in…still today my chest fills with pleasure, pain, longing, hope, inspiration, love and the mysterious power of music taking me to another plain all together.

When our first son was born we listened to Debussey in the delivery room and then through his first few years turned to big band and danced around the column in the basement of our condo. When son number two was born his older brother came into the hospital room and exclaimed “hi baby brother! I’m going to teach you how to dance to jazz music!”

Our first son grew up to play with the inaugural National Youth Jazz orchestra as the drummer, opening a European tour by playing first at Carnegie Hall. Our second son was indeed taught by his big brother to love music and he has evolved into an exceptional jazz pianist, composer and he actually wrote, performed and engineered the theme music for this podcast.

They are both deeply connected to the music, composing, and playing every day. I hear music at home until 11pm most nights.

When I think back to it, almost every significant life event has been connected to music.

During the pandemic when uncertainty was all around us and I hadn’t picked up my guitar in years, I instead picked up paintbrushes and began to do portraits of jazz musicians and other musical icons.

Listening to hours of music while painting has become a profound influence on my sense of well-being and managing the unknown but more than that, it simply gives me a deep sense of peace. There is a palpable joy that comes to me while painting and listening to hours of the music of the musician I am working on.

Music energizes, soothes, and transports us back to significant moments of our lives. Music releases energy locked in our bodies and unearths emotions – joy, sadness, fear, longing, anticipation…

Music has healing power in our own bodies and joins us together in sympathetic resonance between our collective bodies. Rudolph Steiner was quoted as saying “the science of the future will be based on sympathetic vibrations” and since all things vibrate, it seems like music is both art and science.

To prove the point about music being both art and science, there is a somewhat niche field within physics and acoustics call “cymatics.”

Cymatics explores the visualization of sound through the patterns and shapes created by vibrations in different mediums like salt or sand. But it also works on heart cells. Certain sound frequencies played through these mediums cause them to arrange into complex geometric patterns which as far as I am concerned are equally beautiful pieces of art.

Study of cymatics suggests that these patterns exist in us when we pay or listen to music. As Einstein once said, “everything in life is vibration” or as the more recent physicist Michio Kaku put it “everything is music.”

Our bodies are resonance chambers that oscillate to frequencies right down to our very cells. It is not surprising to me that we are so deeply connected to music since “all things are part of real and rhythmic whole…” as Tesla suggested in 1926 when describing wireless technology.

We are almost 100 years from time that Tesla was quoted in Harpers Bazar magazine. The wireless technology he was referring to in telecommunication is now also deeply influencing the music we create. But digital music is different than the tones played on ancient instruments.

Digital music filters out tones that may not be perceptible by the human ear but nevertheless may be felt by the body. And so, we have a different connection to the sounds of an ancient Mayan flute or ancestral aboriginal drum than we do to the top 40 hits we play through our wireless Apple Airpods that we insert into our ears.

The music goes in our bodies differently.

And this is where my guest Laura Inserra comes into our story about music and its weaving into the history of us.

Laura Inserra is a world-renowned leader in sound healing. She describes herself as a sound alchemist and a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and multimedia producer. She lives and creates at the confluence of global music, ancient wisdom traditions, and cutting-edge technology.

Laura grew up on the volcanic island of Sicily and has been exploring the power of sound since her youth. Her work is rooted in 30+ years of global cross-cultural studies and initiations in ancient traditions and modern schools of wisdom, as well as the direct observation of nature.

A world-renowned Hang musician, Laura plays hundreds of ancient and modern instruments from around the world, including many made by her. She utilizes cutting-edge technology to augment the natural sources of her instruments, creating Chambers of AWE which are multimedia productions featuring ceremonial instruments and field-recordings, enhanced with  visuals and AI-generated content rooted in ancient wisdom.

In these settings her music becomes experiential – the body and the mind merge with the sound, traveling beyond the fields of cognitive perceptions, to enhance profound shifts of consciousness, deepen our relationship with nature, and facilitate inner transformation and healing.

So… now going back to my lead-in to this episode about serendipity…

I attended the Intentional Spaces Summit in Washington DC last fall in 2023.

To start this two-day journey into the power of our built environment to influence human health and well being, a woman comes on the stage, places herself among a number of musical instruments and within minutes the audience is transported to another plain of being.

We collectively experienced a Laura Inserra Sound Journey.

I leave the auditorium after her performance, call home and describe what I just experienced to my wife, who exclaims that about 4 years earlier she had come across Chambers of Awe by Laura Inserra and had sent me the link to her website saying that this was something I had to listen to.

The universe had its own timing in mind when placing Laura and I in the same conference. We connected at a reception, and there was a sympathetic resonance leading to my invitation to be a guest. I am grateful that she said yes.

Laura Inserra refers to her work as “sound alchemy”… things coming together to make other things more precious than the original constituents and she describes her compositions as “structured improvisations.”

This conversation felt very much like that – we followed a structured baseline that allowed for the musical and mystical to create magical improvisational moments.

ABOUT DAVID KEPRON:

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/david-kepron-9a1582b

Websites:  https://www.davidkepron.com    (personal website)

vmsd.com/taxonomy/term/8645  (Blog)

Email: david.kepron@NXTLVLexperiencedesign.com

Twitter: DavidKepron

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidkepron/

NXTLVL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nxtlvl_experience_design/

Bio:

David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently shares his experience and insight on various industry boards including: VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, the Interactive Customer Experience Association, Sign Research Foundation’s Program Committee as well as the Center For Retail Transformation at George Mason University.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.

The next level experience design podcast is presented by VMSD magazine and Smartwork Media. It is hosted and executive produced by David Kepron. Our original music and audio production by Kano Sound. 

The content of this podcast is copyright to David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design. Any publication or rebroadcast of the content is prohibited without the expressed written consent of David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design.

Make sure to tune in for more NXTLVL “Dialogues on DATA: Design Architecture Technology and the Arts” wherever you find your favorite podcasts and make sure to visit vmsd.com and look for the tab for the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast there too.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Subscribe

Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular