Bathed in Sound

How to renew someone special with cascades of the sansula’s easy, melodious sonorities


My lover had had a hard day. On the phone she told me that she had worked for 10 hours as a caregiver and she had been home for about 30 minutes. She was very tired. Her cat was sick, and she was worried about that too.

I went to see her and brought my sansula to play. It was precisely what was needed, with its soft and mysterious and gorgeous sounds that seem to almost make themselves.


(Already familiar with them, my sweetie had had one many years ago, bought in Germany where sansulas are made by the Hokema company.  It had been one the of “standard” sansulas, with a paper membrane. These break easily, and she is not one to play ONLY delicate music, even when she should. So her old sansula had long-since been filed under “beautiful memories.” But the sansula I brought today was a Deluxe Sansula, with a goatskin membrane. (Yes, vegans beware. And I’ve known dogs who have taken an interest in licking the skin – don’t leave them together unsupervised.) There is also the Sansula Renaissance which uses a synthetic drum head material made by the Remo drum company. Both the Deluxe and Renaissance are robust instruments.) Anyway, back to my story:

As she stood in the kitchen, I placed my sansula on her back, plucked a few notes, and then hinged the instrument’s frame off and away from her body to create a “wah-wah” sound. Her body shuddered involuntarily, as if I had touched her just so. So I kept doing it. I moved a little to one side – if my playing elicited less response, I tried moving in the opposite direction, always searching for the location I could apply the tones to to create the maximum reaction.

And then to her head, which I did not want to touch, but I found I could get a good phase-shift effect by turning the sansula from side to side in the air close by. I gently massaged her ears in this same way with the sound coming from a few inches away. And then the back of her head, her neck. I saw her sigh deeply.

Strangely, I paid almost no attention to what notes to play or what melody to make. I just played whatever seemed to be required by the body work I was engaged in. The instrument played itself. I subconsciously knew what to do without ever wondering or worrying or even thinking. The music just kept on coming.

And then I realized – I could play these tones on her belly, on her breast, on her thigh, on her butt. I kept searching for new places with good resonances, and she continued to make small, pleased shudders.

I pulled away, and went back to the head, and this seemed to send sparks down all around her body.

And just as I played my final chord, her cat chimed in with a loud MEOW – like she had sensed the beauty too!

My lover turned around to face me. “Wow! I have never had such a sound shower before!” That is just what it was. And in that shower, the emotional grime and wear of her day had just been delightfully washed away!

She added “I think you may have really cleaned out my chakras.” Then she took the sansula from my hands. “Here, let me show you!”

And then it was my turn to be in heaven for the next 10 minutes, as my lover showered me with beautiful and mysterious sounds, her gentle touch, and her loving and healing intention.>



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