Healing Hearts and Minds in Bali Through Music

Every year for the past eleven years, world-renowned musicians, yogis and dancers from every continent – over 60 countries – come together for the springtime Bali Spirit Festival at the Purnati Center for the Arts near Ubud in Bali, a unique, some say magical, island, in the Indonesian archipelago.

It’s a week-long joyous event of rejuvenation and growth featuring music, multiple schools of yoga, and dance forms that draw from Mandala, Javanese, Balinese, Indian, and West African traditions. At the heart of the festival is the celebration of cross-cultural global community, the sanctity of the environment and harmony among people of all nations.

Since its launch the festival has had a significant impact in drawing visitors back to Bali after the economically and socially devastating terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005. Like balm to body and soul, the Bali Spirit Festival has a powerful healing influence on the this highly spiritual island. The shared belief is that change from within leads to change in homes, communities and even the world.

The idea has sound backing. The power of music to comfort and heal us mentally, physically and emotionally has been recognized since time immemorial, from the ancients to modern science.

Music’s transformative healing impact is the impetus behind the work of Toronto pianist/composer Arash Behzadi, captured in his composition Heartfelt, now about to be released in a video inspired by the Bali Spirit Festival. He has performed for two consecutive years at the festival.

“Heartfelt was initially inspired by my own personal journey towards healing and my desire to encourage the healing of hearts and of relationships,” Behzadi says.

In Bali he found an unexpected inner peace and tranquility in the timeless island’s ancient sacred temples, in its gentle people, pristine waterfalls and emerald rice fields.

It was a life-changing experience he says, inspiring both his music and a passionate mission to share its rejuvenating powers.

Collaborating with Cosmic, a talented Australian film maker living in Bali, Behzadi immersed himself in the video project, transporting his piano to a variety of locations, helping to create the arresting visual poetry, vividly captured during the 2018 festival. The video speaks to the powerful bonds between people who come together to exemplify the Balinese Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana: living in harmony with one’s spiritual, social and natural environments.

A woman gently caressing her round belly and the child within; embryonic watery images shimmering underneath sun-dappled water; individuals relinquishing themselves to the cascading stream of a gentle waterfall; fingers skipping over a piano keyboard; couples resting in the restorative Savasana pose, mirroring their infants sleeping alongside the yoga mats; graceful ritual Balinese dancers; radiant faces, young and old; bodies embracing, sharing, hands touching – these are captivating images of rejuvenation, rebirth, cleansing, harmony and connection. They tell the story of heart to heart connections in a healing musical narrative that is Heartfelt.

Note: Funds raised from the Bali Spirit Festival go to a number of outreach initiatives such as health clinics, health education, children’s programs and environmental protection.

Our special gratitude to friends with their contribution and participation in this project as well as Rouge Lounge, Ubud for sharing their red piano with us.

Composer: Arash Behzadi
Director: Cosmic 33 Productions (@afreelancehuman)
Special thanks to: Bali Spirit Festival
Media Release written by: Dee Gibney