Just over a year ago, through the musical grapevine, we heard about a sound healer called Cherub. Intrigued by the idea of being taken on a sound journey through a range of frequencies channeled through instruments like tuning forks and gongs, we booked ourselves in for a session. Skip forward to today and DLTM has now enjoyed several sound healing journeys with Cherub. Cherub combines her spiritual inclinations with the science of frequency to invoke higher vibrations within those who she works on – leading to enhanced clarity, a gentle, relaxed state of being and relief from stress, among many other things. Following our last session, we sat down for a chat with Cherub and here’s what she had to say…
“It started in Ibiza, that’s where we all know each other from, that’s where we got our love for music. From there I went to Miami, so I spent a lot of time at the music conference, Movement in Detroit… all the festivals I could go to,” Cherub tells DLTM. We’re sat in the lounge of her Camden flat, feeling serene and focused following a lovely sound journey. Cherub explains that she spent six years traveling around the States after graduating from Newcastle University with a business degree. In America she immersed herself in the world of house music with fun, fancy dress and festivals at the core of her pleasure seeking. “After America, I traveled the world for a while and spent time in Thailand, India, Jamaica, different places where sound was such an integral part of culture, way more than it is in the west. I’d sit in drum circles at sunrise, listen to people playing flutes and I began to realise how important sound really was,” she explains.
After traveling the globe and coming to the realisation that sound played such an intrinsic role in so many vibrant cultures, Cherub moved to London. “I realised that there’s such a huge part of our culture that misses out on that connection to community and love for music and spirit. I wanted to somehow fuse my passion for music and organic sounds with community,” she says. Her first endeavour was to set up ‘Play Around Sound‘, a venture aimed at teaching children in Primary schools to express themselves through sound. Aided by the now, sadly, defuncy, Kids Company, Cherub went into schools to utilise sound for the purpose of educating and enlightening young people. “That naturally developed into using sound to heal adults, and that’s the journey I’m on now,” says Cherub, her eyes alight with passion as she describes her story so far.
Cherub met veteran musician and sound healer Tim Wheater at a healing event a few years ago and got talking to him about her Play Around Sound business. They became friends and Tim began to mentor Cherub, imparting his knowledge of sound. “I wouldn’t know most of what I know now if it wasn’t for Tim. He taught me all about the scientific frequencies and how they can affect the body on a physiological, spiritual and emotional level. I also trained with him, so I have a diploma in Sound Consciousness,” she explains. “He then asked me to assist at his events. After a couple of years I became astute enough to become an equal contributor in what we now do. He facilitated my transition from working with children, to adults.”
And from the partnership with Tim, to working alone on her own sound journeys, Cherub was enlightened by a spirit medicine. “I used to be very involved with medicine through my best friend, David. During one ceremony the medicine showed me, by vibrating different parts of my brain, which hemispheres light up with different frequencies. Every time David sang, when he would hit a particular note, it would then resonate in a certain part of my brain. That how she (the medicine) showed me how sound has a far greater effect on us in our everyday life than we can ever imagine,” she tells us. “Then she showed me a cradle of sound that I could create, with all my instruments around the outside and me creating a lullaby with sacred sound.”
Starting out in 2013 with just a tiny gong and a blanket on the floor, Cherub began to replicate exactly what she was shown by the spirit medicine. “I started off by doing it for free for a couple and it’s now developed into the experience you just had, which has definitely come a long way!” she laughs. “I was very lucky to acquire the instruments I have. Tim is one of the best in the business and his lineage is pure in terms of gong mastery. His teacher was Don Conreaux, and Don’s teacher was Yogi Bhajan. Because of that, and the fact that he’s a perfectionist, Tim has some of the very best instruments and I met him at a time when he starting to reduce his collection.”
Cherub’s set up now comprises a myriad of finely-tuned instruments, from large gong, to smaller tuning forks and drums. She even uses her voice sometimes, and each session varies in its form, as she takes an intuitive approach to her sound journeys. “I would never buy something random from the internet, I use Sound Traveler, which is a friend’s site if I’m buying new instruments. I always need to now where they’ve been sourced from, it’s really important to me and I’m very fussy, so everything in my sound healing room is of the highest quality,” she explains.
“I have a few favourite frequencies, but my absolute favourite is 111hz, which is in a bandwidth of sound called the Solfeggio frequency – which translates to ‘House of God’. So it literally means ascension,’ says Cherub, as we ask her to speak about her knowledge of frequency. This is at the core of her work, and she places the utmost importance on gaining as much knowledge as she can when it comes to her knowledge of the subject. She continues, “It’s derived from Gregorian chanting, which, if you listen to it (and you should do), it has an incredible effect on your physiological system.” Cherub explains the connection between 111hz and our natural frequency, before she moves to 432hz, the pitch at which musical instruments used to be tuned until 440hz became the industry standard back in the early 20th Century. Her ability to speak about both at length, without deviating, was more than enough evidence for us to believe that she is thoroughly diligent in her quest to gain as much knowledge in the subject as she possibly can.
Asked what she loves about her job, it’s clear that the transformative capabilities she has acquired make her feel empowered and thankful to be able to carry out such work. “What I love is when people come in who are really cynical and they come because their partner has bought them a session. Beforehand they quiz me about everything and afterwards they come out with tears in their eyes, they don’t know what they’ve experienced but they know something has shifted in them, inside,” says Cherub. Before, during and after her sound journeys, Cherub’s level of care and attention exceeds the rate she charges by far; from foot spas and intuitive massage (using her hands and tuning forks to alleviate areas of tension), to baths full of Epsom salts and warm, genuinely enthusiastic conversations, the entire experience is one that cannot fail to raise your vibration.
Cherub now has several enterprises based around sound and healing, she performs regularly with Tim Wheater, Play Around Sound is still running, her sound journeys remain ever popular and she also runs ‘Sisters Circles Of Sound’, a series of all-female workshops where she aims to create a space for women to connect, support and inspire one another, using her own journey and experience to uplift her sisters. She’s also been working with Martyn Ware, ex of the Human League, to set up an event called Resonate where Martyn’s skills with technology will be utilised to present music and sound healing to people via an impressive 10-speaker set up – Martyn then controls the sound through those speakers with a joystick, giving people a totally immersive and unique sound experience. They’re recording an album together with Tim Wheater and have plans to launch a mind, body and spirit event in a former mosque in east London, which will be open to anyone and everyone, spiritually-inclined or not.
But all of this hasn’t been without it’s challenges. Opting out of what most people consider to be a ‘normal’ way of life to become a freelancer in a world which is unpredictable, and perhaps not as inherently trusted or understood in our culture as practices such as reflexology and acupuncture have become, hasn’t been easy. That combined with the sheer volume of misinformation and charlatans that are out there, trying to capitalise on the growth in the spiritual market, makes life very hard for people like Cherub.
“The biggest challenge for me is how much wishy-washy, spiritual, holistic, neither here nor there, non-commital information there is about my subject that makes people distrust it. It makes me distrust it. You go on to Google and there’s Deepak Chopra saying Tibetan bowls release opiates in the body which creates a chemical flush of joy throughout the body, so I believe that. Then someone says that the study was rigged to get those results, it’s not saying that’s true, but it’s just one example of how there aren’t enough scientists in the field of sound healing – they’re all spiritual,” she tells us. “I don’t want to be any old ‘sound healer’ who whacks a gong and says they’ve aligned all your chakras.”
As we get to the end of our time with Cherub, we ask her about the importance of taking risks to do her work and follow her heart, a pathway fraught with the possibility of failure. “I left my job, which was pretty well paid. I’ve taken a leap of faith, I’ve become a true testament to the statement ‘leap and the net will appear’ because sound has carried me through, through challenging times. If you’re living your passion, you can’t go wrong because, even if you’re not getting paid for it, you’re doing what you love and if you are getting paid gangster money for it, it’s a bonus and you can help more people!” she beams.
And that, as they say, is sound as a pound…