Last week I attended a Cacao Ceremony and Sound Bath performed by Sabrina Gricourt at SoHo House Berlin. It was dusk in a room wrapped with windows looking out over the TV tower. Gricourt sat among a collection of singing bowls with a gong and a sort of cauldron as each participant came forward one by one to collect their mug of hot raw cacao which she had prepared, thickand spicy with a trace of cardamom. I was happily curled up in the lush white towels of the fancy hotel as the woody smell of Palo Santo filled the room.
As the sound expanded into the shape the room, Sabrina became the gatekeeper of another realm, crouching before her Golden bullseye. Each stroke to the gong produced its own complex symphony of sprawling tumbling tones, exquisite and ominous as a dark sky. The soundscape then condensed into a ringing and so did my mental space, which seemed to absorb the newly hollow atonality. What mystical serpent is Cacao?!?
I begged the chocolate gods for sonic resolution…And then it came, as Gricourt spread the resonance of two bright grace bells around the room, sounding like Philip Glass if he were subject to chance operations. I noticed out the window, against the flat gray sky of Alexanderplatz, a lone bird flying toward Berlin’s iconic needle in Mitte.
Sabrina Gricourt is an experimental musician and the founder of Sonic Body. She trained at the Conservatory of Electroacoustic Music in France and samples from different ritual and sonic traditions in her performances. Gricourt is deeply affected by her awareness of the impact of globalization on fragile societies and her concerns about the state of politics in the world today.