Marline Lesh Reflects on 20 Years of Sounding


We were interested in Sound Healing and in trying to cultivate the kind of joy [you have] when your heart just bursts open in sound. When we’re joyful, we move or make sound. It’s hard to avoid. And we wanted to find a way to nurture that and encourage more people because we were both working with people who had so much longing to sing and had not been free. -Marline Lesh

MARLINE LESH has had many musical lives in 70 plus years, from a folk singer in Alaska to one of the first "sound healers" in the Pacific Northwest. In this show Marline reflects on over 20 years of sound improvisation. Featured are recordings Marline made in 1996 at Aldermarsh House on Whidbey Island with her sound healing duet partner Christie Denhart (as Sol Chanteuse). Largely retired from public performance, Marline was one of the founders of the Seattle Sound Healers of Washington in the 1990s. She ran weekly sound healing gatherings in Seattle for many years, popularizing experiential vocalizing techniques such as “sound baths.”

In this free ranging interview, Marline explains how she got interesting in “sounding” and what it does for her, what it’s like to be musical with hearing loss, using the built space as an inspiration for composition, and more.

The book Marline mentions Sounding the Soul - The Art of Listening by Mary Lynn Kittelson. The cathedral Marline mentions is St Marks on Capitol Hill. The story about singing in the park happened at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. Correction: At one point Marline and Dharma discuss a game Dharma made up that is inspired by the directing style of improvisational filmmaker “Mike Nichols”. She should have said “Mike Leigh.”

Aired  first on SPACE 101.1 FM Seattle November 2018.  Hosts: Brian Gunter & Dharma Dailey. Photos Lesh Family.  Engineering & Editing: Dharma Dailey (with help from Marline).


One of Marline's improv specialities is building a piece around the most resonant tone in a particular place. Here she makes an aural investigation of a new location.

Stairwells are a favorite place for Marline to solo or vocalize with a small group.