Ortal has been passionate with surfing and music since he was a kid. He plays handpan and didgeridoo, solo and with his band Onogana.
He also creates these music instruments, and right now October 2018, he is releasing his latest baby, the Bajinn: beautiful combination between a bambou shell and aluminum tubes, suspended in the air by strings.
Music for him is about dancing, moving, and enjoying the moment. There is another face to his music though, taking the listeners on a journey to relax into; in his own words: “When playing solo, I am like everyone else in the room, I can go into myself and really connect to that deep peace that is in each and every one of us. It’s very meditative for me and for the listeners.”
He is also an adept of Wim Hoff’s technique, combining breathing technique and exposure to cold, and uses breathwork in combination with his music.
On music, sound therapy, balancing the nervous system, the freeze response, and the Bajinn’s sound magic…
Note: In this episode, in addition to mispronounce Ortal’s name and the Bajinn, I’m also being very french in using “sympathic” in place of “sympathetic”. So please forgive my frenchiness: When I’m talking about sympathic and parasympathic nervous system, hear sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Also, the little sound sample that Ortal gives us towards the end of the interview, being improvised therefore with no proper microphone, absolutely doesn’t give justice to the beautiful sound of the Bajin. Listen to the video I posted below to get a better idea.
- [03:11] We as human being are connected sounds. We are deeply affected on a physical level by sound; see the cymatics, these shapes created by sound waves in water, sand, and other material.
- [07:23] These ancient and new instruments like the handpan, didgeridoo, tibetan bowls, drop us into a meditative, relaxed, state, almost instantaneously. How? Different sounds affect different parts of the brain. We experience the sounds differently, physically: being mostly water, we are sensitive to sound. It is not like “I like sound, or I don’t like sound. Some sounds make my body feel good, and perhaps healing me, and some sounds are in sync with me, and some are not. Stress play a major role in sickness, and with these sounds, people get relief. The feel less stressed, more connected to their body, and naturally less impulsive, and more compassionate.
- [13:22] Most of the time we are stuck into an activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and we don’t even realize, because it has become our norm. When we experience the relaxing effects of these sounds, we realize that after that, we are actually relaxed. Then we can see the level of stress we were in just before.
[18:23] There is fight and flight, and there is also the freeze response: like having a foot on the brake, and the other on the gas pedal at the samne time. A lot of us are stuck in a functional freeze, and experiences like listening to these sounds, of breathwork, or dancing, give us space to step down from this response and see it. These “freeze” state is neither comfortable nor healthy, yet it is a functional state: we can stay in it and be functional in our life.
[23:40] Ortal shares his vision in creating the Bajinn and other instruments to come: giving an easy way to create these stress releasing sounds, even for people with no musical background. The Bajinn is easy to carry around, the scale can easily be changed, and most of all… Anyone can play it. You don’t need to know anything about music: You just need to feel it, and make pleasing sounds. You just hear, and you feel: “Is that music right for me?” Then you go for it!
[31:30] What makes these instruments them different? Why do they have this effect on people? The beauty of their effect is that the player first is put in that healing space, then it spreads to the listeners. The way you play it has an effect on you, by itself.
[39:50] How is the Bajinn thought, and what is its sound like. Ortal is creating the Bajinn as a “minimum effort, maximum results” instrument, so that it is shockingly easy to play. “I have no idea how people are gonna use it. They are gonna show me! Even if you created something, the world is gonna tell you what you invented. You’re not gonna tell the world “This is it.”. There are so many people I can learn from.”
[44:23] Most people can physically feel the sound of the Bajinn, like it is literally sending sound waves in the room. Stay tuned, this is something Ortal definitely wants to investigate, especially after receiving the message from a person being 80% deaf, who had been able to hear the sound of the Bajinn from a video on the net. Our body is really sensitive to the vibrations, especially our bones..