A couple of years ago DLTM met Wild Sirenda at Burning Man. We were members of the same camp and, as often happens at Burning Man, bonded straight away. Though the time we had together was relatively short-lived, we stayed in touch, and kept the bond strong. We eventually learned that married couple Lizz LaRouge and Guinevere had started to operate as a musical duo, with Lizz on the decks and Guinevere singing, freestyle, to channel positive vibes onto the dance floors they perform to. In London they held sacred cacao ceremonies, where music, dance and the heart-opening potion intertwined to create a blissful, yet energised atmosphere of expression and joy. DLTM sat down for a chat with the married couple to find out more about how they got together and what drives the all-conquering emperesses of love they call Wild Sirenda… plus they recorded a wonderful mix for us, which you can listen to below.
NB: This mix is not 100% representative of a Wild Sirenda performance, which involves Guinevere singing and filling their listeners with positivity through spoken word.
“I discovered my own journey of healing through dance. I was living in London and I’d been ill for quite some time, about a year. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and I decided to put myself on a trip to Thailand to be with myself, and to learn yoga.. though I ended up doing very little of that!” Guinevere tells us. In Thailand she discovered cacao ceremonies, and a way to be free of the stresses that had weighed her down in London. The medium of dance, experienced in a sober environment, allowed her to go deep into herself, connect with who she was and enter a zone of deep inner healing. “I got in touch with who I am, who I wanted to be and released a lot of emotional stuff as well,” she explains. Recognising that Guinevere had such a strong connection with dance and music, her cacao teacher took her on as an apprentice. During that time, she also had visions that she would one day be using her voice to heal, before she’d ever met her wife, Lizz.
“I’d been DJing in Australia, pretty full-on – like Thursday through to Sunday. I got to a point where I ended up railroading my life; taking all the wrong sorts of drugs to stay awake and be ‘the DJ’. I ended up in hospital and had kidney infection, appendicitis, a bladder infection, two ovarian cysts half burst, all at the same time,” Lizz explains to DLTM how she ended up in Thailand, and how an unhealthy DJ lifestyle led to an almighty wake up call. “When I was hospital all of the people I thought were my friends from the club scene, even my girlfriend of a year, failed to come and visit me. I was in there for two weeks and had a total awakening, I realised, ‘I am nobody’. The person I thought I’d been all these years, this ‘DJ’ character, was no one. I took myself to New Zealand and came to the realisation that there was so much more out there and that was the start of a three-year journey into self-discovery that led me to the same place in Thailand Guinevere went to”. (The Sanctuary on Koh Phangan).
Lizz cut herself off from music and DJing during that three-year period, and it wasn’t until she reached Thailand that she rediscovered music and immersed herself in its healing capabilities, inspired by some of the classes she attended while she was there and, later, Guinevere’s improvised singing. “I met Guinevere and she used to sing in my ear. Once she started singing in my ear I was like, ‘Oh my God, we can do this! This can be a platform to help people be conscious and to share our message'” Lizz beams. “We’d be on the dance floor and these poems and songs would come to me from my own healing experience. It was like I was channeling,” Guinevere adds.
What happened next was pivotal to their musical relationship. Some friends who run a micro-festival in Thailand gave the couple a platform to put on their very first performance, “They said they were having an all-girl DJ night, so we said we had this act…” Lizz explains, as Guinevere chips in, “…the act had never rehearsed, never been discussed fully.”
“We landed in Bangkok and we went to a DJ store, I wanted to have the lightest equipment, so our first gig involved me playing on Traktor for the iPad and Guinevere using iRig, a device which allowed her to change the tone of her voice through her iPhone!” Lizz laughs.
“The first time we ever went from me singing in Lizz’s ear, to performing as Wild Sirenda, was a total leap of faith where she hadn’t DJ’d in three years, and I had never sung like that before, with a DJ, improvised, in front of anyone. We had this gig at five in the morning until seven, so we’d been up all night partying and dancing,” Guinevere smiles as she reminisces about that first gig. “Having not done it ever before, we ended up with this incredible moment where not knowing what we were going to do was actually one of the fundamental things which has defined us and it was incredible because everything was totally organic, from the heart and in the moment. Everything I sang was a message channeled through me – the people on the dance floor were crying tears of joy.”
“When we finished everyone was like, ‘You guys have really got to keep on doing that’, so that was the birthplace of everything that we’re doing now,” Lizz states.
As Wild Sirenda, Lizz and Guinevere create spaces in which people can release, become empowered through music and dance and set themselves on a pathway to heal. With their performances and cacao ceremonies they encourage self-healing, “I often see it at Guinevere’s cacao ceremonies; people feel almost indebted to her for being the healer in that space. Guinevere always quickly reminds them, ‘No, no, no I just created the space, you used the space to go inside yourself. It’s quite interesting how people will quickly give the accolade to the person holding the space, as if they are the one that did the magic, but actually it’s them,” says Lizz.
Cacao has been used for ceremonial purposes in south America for a long time, going back to ancient civilisations. It’s use today it’s still relatively new to most, but, like so many holistic practices, is becoming more and more popular. “Cacao can be used in many different ways, but I like to use it with dance. I combine it with the five elements dance; earth, water, fire, air and ether. We start by sitting in a circle, ingesting the cacao, going into one’s self and setting your intention as to what you want to achieve that day or night,” Guinevere explains to us. “I think it’s important to focus on these two things; What do you want to let go of? And what do you want to call in? This gives people a really strong connection to their core desires.”
Beginning by allowing everyone to share their core desires starts the evening off in an empowering manner. From there everybody is guided in a ‘free dance’ by Guinevere, exploring the five elements and using their time to journey inwards in what is often a profound and potent experience for all involved.
“In order to create the space I have to get out of my own way,” Lizz says as she describes performing as Wild Sirenda. “Disassociating with the role of ‘DJ’, I just want to get out of the way and let the music come through, playing the music that feels right. I take people on a journey, either through the chakras, going upwards from the Root Chakra. Or more elemental, in a similar manner to the cacao ceremonies. I keep Wild Sirenda grounded,” she adds.
“Lizz is my connection point to the Earth, so I can do what I do, which is soar. When I open my mouth (during a performance) I never know what’s going to come out. The same way that Lizz allows herself to channel music, I let myself be a vessel for message. My voice is free and somehow, some way, a song comes, fully, with a potent message. My body dances in a way that is an expressive force, it’s a transmission, a vibration,” says Guinevere, full of passion as she describes her role in the partnership.
It’s a partnership that is growing in stature, and has led to them being booked for Love International, the new festival in Croatia, run by some of the team who put on the legendary Garden Festival. They are also due back at Secret Garden Party, where they picked up a last-minute stand-in gig on The Drop stage in July 2015, the mighty Glastonbury and were also brought in to kick things off at Morning Gloryville earlier this month, where they helped awaken a dance floor full of bleary-eyed sober ravers.
As a duo they strike the perfect balance; fire and water, masculine and feminine, which helps to connect with their audience, male or female. “It’s amazing because of the masculine and feminine energy – I’m quite masculine and Guin is super feminine – but we’re both women, it allows people, especially the men, to really connect. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason that balance between allows the most feminine women and the most masculine men to both relate to the two of us,” says Lizz. Guinevere tells us that they often find that the last people standing will be butch men, standing on the dance floor with their hands on their hearts, crying. Their combined enthusiasm for performing and sharing music, song and dance spliced with their duality as people, seems to be a great recipe for giving way to self-liberation through self-expression.
We conclude our conversation with the inspiring twosome by asking them about the importance of music in their lives. For both women it has clearly been fundamental to their growth and to their current way of life. “Music is the most fundamental part of my healing journey. When I’m not feeling good, I go dancing and I feel alive. When I’m feeling amazing, I go dancing and I feel even better,” Lizz says excitedly.
“I’ve realised now that, throughout my whole life, my musical choices have been the vibration I’ve needed in order to reconnect me to myself. When I was a kid, it was some cheesy pop song, but it was what I needed in those moments. Music is the elixir of life for me,” Guinevere adds.
Credits: Main image – Amanda Mattsson, sunset image – Andrei Jewell, Garden Festival image – Sasha Charoensub.