Spiritual chanting artist, Russell Jenkins, interviewed by Gil Dekel.

Gil Dekel: How did you develop your chanting abilities? [1]

Russell Jenkins: I have a hearing of an Aum. It is like you look at it and you think, ‘Oh, it’s a star that I can pluck out of the sky.’ But it is so far beyond from what I can produce with my voice through chanting. Sometimes I feel that I am really close to it, and sometimes not. [2]

Do you try to ‘go’ up there to that star, or would you try to ‘bring’ it down to you? [3]

I have the sound in my head, and my aim is to replicate it through my voice. Most often what I can produce is so limited by comparison to what it is that I can hear. [4]

How do you hear it? [5]

I hear inside. I probably must hear myself from the outside as well. My own Aum I hear within my chest. [6]

My spiritual guides told me that the reason I cannot fully express what I hear is because there is even a higher sound than the one I hear. The original sound is still in a process; it is still being produced. Far from it being a one-off sound that is just created, it is a sound in progress, and it is the creating of everything else out of it. A kind of a source from which sounds are created. And it has not yet been finished being ‘sounded’, so it’s hard to fully re-produce it in chanting. [7]

Video 1: Russell chants Aum, Sep 2006. [8]

I am so pleased because I have had a sore throat all morning, but it seems to work fine now. [9]

There is one tune that I used so many times in meditation classes. I was given it in a series of spiritual works to do with the Keys of Enoch. It has to do with healing and purifying the blood, but it goes much further beyond that. This chanting goes prior to the moment of conception, trying to remind us of the moment when we all knew we were One. When we fall into conception, into this life, all of the sudden we know less, and less. Children know more than we do… Give them five years and they might know considerably less, and at your age, my age, even less. And then there is that re-awakening within. The singing of this chant, it’s a Hebrew chant, seems to activate the memory within the cells of the body. It is called Min HaAdama. Do you know what it means? [10]

It means ‘from the earth.’ The words earth, man and blood, share the same root in Hebrew, sounding like this, respectively: Adama – Adam – Dam. [11]

If I come across words I do not know, such as Hebrew words, the best thing for me is to have that written down so I can read it and have a play around it in my head. Have a feeling of it. [12]

Some chants are quite good with regards to comparing the busy mind to the state of the heart. So you get something, sort of… quite all over the place, and then you come to this really still sound. [13]

Other chants are really useful, specially now in regard to this world. I was given the following chant, again during the work with the Keys of Enoch. I used to have it in Hebrew and Arabic at the end of my emails. It is to do with walking in peace. The reason I really like this one is because in the word Shalom there is an Aum sound already sort of tagged in, which is just lovely. [14]

Video 2: Russell chants Leh Le Shalom (‘Walk in Peace’), Sep 2006. [15]

How do you feel the chanting? [16]

When I chant I feel it like an expansion going from the heart, constantly pulsating. I feel my energy field. I love it. The repetitiveness takes your head out of thinking about anything else. [17]

Can chanting heal? [18]

A few months ago I was working energetically on something on my body; looking for the root of the issue in my mind, in the way that I was thinking. I was asking for help, to identify the root and to actually look at that and bring balance, which then will bring balance to the body. And it was to do with fear. I went to bed late at night, and I was thinking, ‘I really want to let go of this fear and to bring balance in this body.’ I woke at four in the morning, with my body literally bouncing on the bed. And there was all this light on top of me. I used to sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. I would be lying and feel somebody is on top of me and I could not move. I know what it was. It was me being out of my body, trying to get back to my body, but my body is waking up too quickly. But it is really frightening; you really feel that someone is on top of you. I would chant something and all this would stop immediately. On this particular evening I had all this light, and I was bouncing on the bed. And I just thought, ‘I am going to die now.’ So I thought, ‘OK, if this is it, then Amen!…’ As I was chanting, ‘Amen!’, everything stopped, and I thought, ‘My God, I must have waken Cherie,’ because I was saying Amen pretty loud… [19]

The word Amen can wake even the dead… [20]

Yes. I have a feeling about Amen in relation to the mystical poet Hafez. Hafez refers to God as a friend, calling him, ‘My friend the Beloved.’ He says that God wants us to be quiet and rest, so Hafez came up with this poem: ‘Just sit there / Just rest / For your separation from God is the hardest work in this world. / Let me bring you trays of food and something you like to drink / You can use my soft words as a cushion for your head.’ [21]

I always felt the need to say Amen at the end of this poem. [22]

Video 3: Russell chants Amen (‘I believe, I agree’), Sep 2006. [23]

The energy and the intention go with the chanting. That is the reason why you can say a statement and three people will pick it totally differently. I think it depends on the way the person is feeling and receiving the message. If they are vulnerable, they can be threatened by a message which another person receives as quite an innocent one. [24]

I once went to a sound workshop, and we sung a little tune How I Love You, based on the Do Re Mi. Then our tutor says, ‘At lunch time I want you to go out to the street, and sing it to people.’ That was in Bristol; we went to this restaurant, looking around, and there was a dad there sitting on a chair by the exit. On his lap was his son. We looked and we just knew. So, we sung it to the child, and he went dancing, so happy. On the second day of this workshop, the waitress was clearing the tables, and we decided to sing it to her. You could see she was embarrassed and yet absolutely loving it. We walked out towards the door, and there were two women sitting there. And you could see in their faces that they were asking, please sing it to us as well… [25]

Video 4: Russell sings How I Love You, Sep 2006. [26]


I think that communication may not be so much about the specific language (English, Hebrew, French etc’) but rather about the energy that is behind the sound. [27]

21 June 2008.

Interview held in Portsmouth, UK, September 2006.