If you’re struggling to make those New Year’s resolutions stick, or looking for a music experience both introspective and cathartic, Matthew Duplessie’s monthly “Healing Sounds Concert” at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center may be the catalyst you need.
With a panoply of folk and traditional instruments — hand drums, didgeridoo, wooden flutes, singing bowls — Duplessie weaves his voice through these, and in live performance, stacks layers of sound with looping pedal technology to craft a sonic tapestry of relaxation and contemplation. Projected images, swirls of color and pattern, complement the melodies, harmonies and rhythms, fashioning an experience primed for deep thought and transformation.
“We all have the power within to move past limiting beliefs, ways of thinking that inhibit our growth as humans,” said Duplessie. “Sound and meditation are tools we can use for growth and personal understanding, and if you consider our bodies as works of complex technology that we can optimize with proper care and maintenance, then sound and meditation are powerful tools of expansion to help us focus, learn and overcome obstacles.”
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For some, this may all seem a little too woo-woo, but for Duplessie, he is living testament to the words he speaks and the sounds and philosophies he shares.
A painfully shy and sound-sensitive child, Duplessie routinely found refuge in exploring nature and took comfort in the school library where he could read and study without loud distractions. Music as a profession was never a childhood ambition. But then he picked up his brother’s guitar at age 19 and began figuring out the instrument.
“I found I had an ability to understand and play, and I continued exploring it,” recalled Duplessie. “Working with the guitar opened up a new sense of confidence in expression where I could share ideas and thoughts and not be afraid. The guitar connected me with truth and healing, and music connected me to myself, and to other people in ways I hadn’t known.”
Duplessie went on to study visual and motion design at SCAD but soon figured out that such a career would require long hours sitting at a computer — a hard fact he wasn’t eager to embrace.
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In 2015, he made a radical decision to enroll in a 30-day Kundalini Yoga course in Mexico. The experience changed the course of his life. Duplessie began seeing connections between sound, light and the human body and how what we speak to our bodies affects our day-to-day lives in both positive and negative ways. He became interested in traditional and indigenous instruments and how their sounds could positively alter and heal the body.
Now, Duplessie has a long list of certifications in sound healing, meditation and voice therapy. His teachings on the meditation application, Insight Timer, are popular worldwide — more than 11,000 students have joined his healing classes since 2019. And when he isn’t performing at spiritual health and metaphysical festivals across the Southeast, Duplessie teaches audio-visual arts at Hubert Middle School in Savannah.
The concert this Friday at Savannah Cultural Arts Center features the didgeridoo, Native American flutes and a range of traditional percussion instruments in addition to Duplessie’s voice. With the looping pedal, he will record each instrument multiple times and stack those recording to create a harmonic almost trance-like wall of sound.
The audience is encouraged to participate in vocal chants at key points during the performance.
“Because I know from experience in my life the healing power of sound and how it changed me, I am looking forward to sharing this transformative potential in our community,” said Duplessie. “Sound healing can be life-changing, for personal awakening. I’m grateful to be part of creating a safe space for people to look into themselves to find truth that could take them deeper into their lives’ fulfillment.”
IF YOU GO
What: Healing Sounds Concert, with Matt Duplessie
Where: Savannah Cultural Arts Center, 201 Montgomery Street, Savannah
When: Friday from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
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