At the crossroads of mental health and sound therapy you will find this Graham Avenue pop up: Sounds Nice. Founded by Caleb Spaulding and Jackie Cantwell, Sounds Nice is your one-stop-shop for sound and music related restoration. Check out the five week pop up at 381A Graham Ave. through the month of September.
What is Sounds Nice?
Leading sound meditation is not the same on Zoom. It’s harder to cultivate an environment where you can experience a sense of oneness. With this kind of work, connection is essential. Connection to the self, to each other, and to the surrounding space are all a part of the journey. With the opportunity to provide sound workshops IRL, Cantwell and Spaulding went for it.
Over the years, Cantwell and Spaulding have built a network of musicians, sound practitioners, and individuals in the wellness space who have generously shared their passions and practices with the community. With so many talented, kind, and enthusiastic leaders on their side, Cantwell and Spaulding have been blessed with a wide variety of people who wanted to be a part of this endeavor. Hence, the fabulous roster of classes and workshops.
- A Sound Experience with Maria G. Villarreal
- “a sound bath [that] facilitates a shift in brain waves from our normal waking state to alpha and theta states, where meditation happens.”
- Meditating For Black Lives: Guided Meditation with Brittany Micek
- “This is a collective endeavor to heal our mind, body, spirit, community, and ultimately our world… A silent meditation workshop exploring the practice of internal and external stillness.”
- The Big Gay Sing-A-Long with Eduardo Placer
- “an hour-long connection fest where we will vibrate love, light, and all the songs you embarrassingly know the lyrics to.”
- BITCH Fest: The Emotional Release Party with Jinah Parker
- “Use your voice, move your body & dip into your subconscious through the healing vibrations of crystal singing bowls.”
- The Mystery’s In the Body3-Part Series: Dance Trip with Rochelle Jamila Wilbun
- “Dance Trip is a practice in somatic imagining. A space in time to dance the world we desire into existence… This class is for all who feel the urge to move their bodies and spirits. No prior dance or movement training is required.”
They also offer Reiki sessions and yoga classes, and you can catch Cantwell with her breath & bowl class, or Spaulding with his Rhythm of Happiness class.
- Collective Rest for BIPOC with Cassandra Lam
- “Collective Rest is a 2-hour guided relaxation practice centering BIPOC healing… This practice is specifically designed to work WITH our overactive minds to facilitate a state of restfulness. This space centers BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) who feel like rest is inaccessible, difficult, or challenging to access right now.”
- Theory of Enchantment with Chloe Valdary
- “An introduction to the Theory of Enchantment, a relational practice that advances antiracism.”
- Saathi with Ezinma & Yamuna
- “performance duo with the intention of creating a safe and sacred space through the magic of mantras and sound healing.”
Other sound healing workshops, sensory led workshops, and meditation opportunities are also available.
Plus, if you’re interested in hanging out and getting to know the community, you can sign up for Jam Nights, Sunday Sound Sessions, attend Shabbat, and partake in other community related events.
Visit the Sounds Nice website to check specific dates and to reserve tickets.
Spaulding and Cantwell recall circling as friends and working respectively with clients in the sound therapy space. So when Cantwell started a children’s summer camp called Camper Remember with the intention of leading kids through self-discovery with the use of meditation, art, music, dance, and other creative outlets, she called upon Spaulding to teach his signature class, “Rhythm of Happiness.”
Caleb Spaulding has lived in Brooklyn for 11 years, during 9 of which he has been a proud resident of Greenpoint. As an entrepreneur and musician, Spaulding says that the drums have always been his “saving grace” whenever he needs to slow down.
In 2017, Spaulding took a trip to Ghana to test a certain hypothesis, that rhythm is “at the center of human happiness.” After interviewing and studying with different dancers and musicians in the area, he created his documentary, “Rhythm of Happiness.” You can watch the available episodes on his website.
If you’re sensing a trend here, you’re onto something. This “Rhythm of Happiness” thesis is the source of Spaulding’s practice. It’s what inspired him to create a “clubhouse for sound” with Cantwell.
Jackie Cantwell has lived in Brooklyn for 11 years, and has made significant strides in the sound therapy world since joining Medi Club. Before Medi Club, Cantwell says she had never practiced meditation, and actually felt quite intimidated by it. With personal mental health on the line, she made the effort to seek out a community of people who were striving to be the best versions of themselves. She found it.
At Medi Club, she was introduced to the bowls, and after falling in love with them, she became a resident musician with the Medi Club sister group, The Big Quiet. Not long after, Cantwell took her bowls to play on tour with Oprah Winfrey. She is now the director of Medi Club and creates work as a sound practitioner for the meditation app, Chopra Global.
The two knew they would eventually do something bigger together. Spaulding and Cantwell were both touring (separately) pre-pandemic, and during the pandemic Spaulding was playing drums on his rooftop while Cantwell was playing bowls in McCarren park. As fate would have it, they realized that their missions were slowly aligning and the time and space was finally available for them to jump on this venture the second it came to mind. With that, Sounds Nice was born.
I had the opportunity to attend Spaulding’s “Rhythm of Happiness” class and the experience was incredibly grounding. With three different drums and the fabulous singer, musician, and co-facilitator, Happie Hoffman, Spaulding led the class through an hour-long session of guided breathwork.
Truthfully, it felt like fifteen minutes. Spaulding and Hoffman cultivated such a safe space for relaxation that time felt completely irrelevant. After a few minutes, it was easy to get totally wrapped up in the rhythm, and before long, everything else sort of began to fall away. Personally, the class helped me reach a level of peaceful introspection, and a feeling of clarity and balance.
To Spaulding and Cantwell, the heart of this undertaking is the love for sound and a love for the community. It’s a passion for human connection, healing, and an embrace of togetherness through sound. If you can, check it out before it leaves Graham Avenue, but I have a feeling there will be more Sounds Nice to come.