On touring and the memory of voice

by Joke Debaere

Of all things possible, I find the voice the most intimate part of the body. I have looked at myself in the mirror. I have hated what I saw, loved what I saw. Some confrontation there. But nothing like my own sound, speaking through the speakers. If ever I wanted to run away from myself, it has been when I heard myself.

You can cover your body with great clothes. You can dress up like a diva. Feel confident about your appearance. But the voice has countries. It likes to travel to the areas it knows the best. Whenever we leave those grounds, exploring new terrains, whenever we shout louder than before, whisper more sensual than ever, sing higher than before, we – or let me say  I – feel naked. Full-on naked. Whatever cool clothes I might be wearing at that moment.

I also think the voice has a memory of itself. It seems to be able to store memories. People telling you that you should stop talking. Talk less. Talk softer. Or people telling you that you sing false. “Good for the shower, but not for any public of whatever sort.” How many times are these comments really right? Very few times. We humans are good at projecting our own feelings of shame on other people, unfortunately. We all make these mistakes from time to time.

I am exploring some new horizons lately. Trying to bring some visions of my longings – about how I wish to be able to use my voice on stage – to reality. If I ever blush in public, it is at the times when I cross new borders. Borders that have actually only been created by a mixture of memories and fears. Every voice has it’s limits, obviously. But I strongly believe so much more is possible than we tend to believe.

This being said. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I get to share my voice with you, our audiences, without whom we would have no ears to receive what we are exploring. The sharing strengthens that growth, like the sun the seeds, or rain the droughts. Growth that can only take place on grounds where risk is born.

Recent recording of Joke’s voice – improvised poem:


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