The power of sound has been used to express joy in worship and calm the troubled spirit. But it was the shock of a bomb
exploding and the shrieks and moans of the dying that may have led to the most profound use of sound.
"Alfred Wolfson discovered these sounds people made when they were dying while working as a medic in World War I,"
Durango resident Marlena deCarion said. "It was something he had never heard before. It was so pure, so unfiltered, so real, so authentic."
Wolfson went on to study how those sounds could be used for a living purpose and received international recognition
for his work by psychologists, composers and musicians. One man who continues to work with Wolfson's principles is:
Peruvian Daniel Prieto, who will be in Durango giving workshops over the next two weekends.
"What he does is like going to the ocean for the first time," deCarion, who has attended three previous workshops and
is an organizer of the Durango event, said. "No matter how people have described it, you can't know what it will be
like. It's the same with the voice, there's no way we can imagine something we haven't heard before."
This isn't just for professional singers or actors, deCarion said about working with Prieto and his La Voix Humaine, which is based in Paris. He teaches primarily in Europe and comes to the United States only once a year. Durango is
his only destination in the U.S.
DeCarion says the work is vigorous, and she found herself making sounds she could never have imagined herself making.
The people who attend his workshops often feel it's a spiritual experience.
"He doesn't want you to perform, he wants you to be," deCarion said. "I can't tell if it's human beings having a
spiritual experience, or spiritual beings having a human experience."