A Playlist To Feel Alive!

Alix-Rose Cowie


Being exposed to the ever-present noise pollution of urban life can cause subconscious anxiety. Sound healer Michelle Oberholzer tells us that it can occur on such a subtle level, that people may not be aware of what is causing the stress in their lives. As the photographer behind successful street style blog, Cinder & Skylark, Michelle paid her dues amidst the bustle of South Africa’s big cities. With each street style portrait she published, she asked her subject to share their favourite music. It was a way for her to immediately relate with the strangers she approached on the street, and a way to feed two of her great loves: creativity and music. From the age of seven, Michelle was playing various instruments. By the age of thirteen, she had begun a self-initiated quest to investigate and compare all the religions of the world.

As a sound healer whose current focus is working with tuning forks, she describes what she does as “washing the dirt off a window, only instead of using soap and water you are using sound to cleanse vibrational debris”. She says, “Sound has infinite potential for transformation as it instantly alters the frequency of the individual. The vibration of a specific sound penetrates the body and through resonance it is able to cleanse the body in a very gentle way.”

The connection she has always had with music has been a rich platform for the healing she does now: “I believe everything is related. In a way I feel as if my entire life has prepared me for being a sound healer. The fact that I love many different genres of music has fine tuned my listening to hear. I can hear subtleties in music as well as every day life.”

Here Michelle shares her favourite music to feel alive! From Deftones to Tori Amos, the tracks are vast in style. “Healing vibrations can occur in any music.” She says, “Music works on so many different levels of being. Apart from the vibrations influencing the body, music also stimulates many different parts of the brain. It has the ability to help people access emotions and almost instantly generate feel good hormones. One of most healing things in the world is to listen to, and even better to dance to music you love.”

Listen up.


Ludivico Einaudi – Divenire

Ludivico Einaudi is my favourite modern classical composer and musician. I can listen to his music for days and never get bored. There is so much depth and beauty. The same song can bring ecstasy as well as sadness. I love the title of this song too: To be divine.


Deftones – Simple Man

I have a soft spot for old school alternative metal. Deftones has been a favourite for years, the highlight being seeing them play live in Cape Town. I think the lead singer Chino Moreno has an amazing voice for the genre. This is a beautiful unplugged song.


Zoe Keating – Lost

My love for beautiful cello music also runs deep. Zoe Keating is amazing in that she composes beautiful music using the loop pedal. This makes her music striking and multi-layered.


Radiohead – Idioteque

My love for Radiohead started the first time I heard the song Street Spirit and was totally in love. I chose Idioteque because it is absolutely one of my favourite Radiohead songs to dance to. Radiohead’s social commentary is always interesting and provocative.


Nate Maingard – Oh my good friend

I love supporting and seeing local Cape Town artists perform live. We have so many amazing local talents in many different genres. Nate is one of my favourite artists to see live. He brings such a wonderful energy. There are always tears and laughter at a gig. The perfect mix. This song reminds me of just how much I love my sister.


Russian Circles – Harper Lewis

Since my discovery of post rock I can’t get enough. There are so many post rock bands I love. I chose this particular song by American band Russian Circles as I love the pace, the drums as well as the guitar melody.


Tori Amos – Precious Things (live)

My love for Tori Amos also runs particularly deep. I have seen her live as often as I can. I love her interesting commentary on life as well as the passion she brings to her music. She makes me feel so many different parts of myself.


Alt-J – This is all yours Intro

I will never forget the first time I heard Tessellate. I was blown away by Alt-J’s originality. The intro on the This is all yours album is one of my favourites.

Michelle will be doing sound healing sessions at the Gnostic Wholistic Festival in Kenilworth, Cape Town from 1-3 July. 
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