Several years ago I was deep into a tumultuous time of my life. The magazine I helped to run folded, I wasn’t sleeping well and I found myself struggling with all my being to find a new direction. An ad for a Conscious Divas night caught my eye as they were bringing in Matthew Kocel to perform – sound, meditation and healing. With a mind that races, I was curious if this would help quiet the raging storm I was dealing with.

My biggest worry that night was, with the little sleep I was managing, if I would nod off and distract others by snoring. I was also hoping to just sneak in and out with no fanfare, but that was not to be. We had to introduce ourselves at the start and share at the end – not my cuppa. BUT, and this is a very big BUT, the experience was just what I needed in that moment.  My racing mind calmed, my worries vanished, and for the first time in ages I felt both awake and relaxed at the same time despite my lack of sleep. What a gift. I still remember that moment gratefully.

Since that time I have managed to attend three or four more sessions with Kocel. Not all have had such a profound effect, but each time they have given me what I needed– a quieting of my mind. I still struggle with the group sharing after, but wouldn’t miss his performances for the world.  There is something about music (without words in particular) that reaches deep into my soul. I am addicted.



8Q Spotlight Matthew Kocel

What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?

Sound Healer, meditation music, throat singing and overtone singing. I accompany my voice with acoustic instruments like the harmonium, Tibetan and crystal singing bowls, tingsha, shruti box, tuning forks, conch shell, chimes and acoustic guitar. These are all secondary to the most powerful instrument I have to offer – my heart. Some call it meditation music, sound healing, a shamanic journey, healing music. This is the universal language of sacred sound.

Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

When I was a younger man I was a bass player and singer in rock bands. I managed to survive at first by playing in cover bands (mostly in bars). Then when I formed a series of bands performing our own original music I worked at some horrible day jobs to support myself. It was a pretty rough time in my life.

What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?

1) I am a simple human being with hopes, dreams and wounds just like everybody else.

2) I love to play my acoustic guitar and sing classic rock songs from the 70’s. Give me a camp fire with a small group of friends and I’ll play all night!

3) I love chocolate. Dark chocolate. Really dark. And it has to be fair trade/organic!

Highest moment so far?

About 37,000 feet in an airliner! Seriously? There are too many to recount, but in this moment one stands out: Back in 2010 I played at a private event in Vancouver. Afterward I was introduced to a shaman/healer from Peru – Jhaimy Alvarez-Acosta. Jhaimy pulled me aside and told me, “You need to come to Peru! Sound opens the doorways in the temples there, and you have the key. Come to Peru!” So, in 2013, I helped organize a small contingent oftravelers and we went to Peru! Under Jhaimy’s guidance we made a pilgrimage to the sacred sites and temples in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu as well as visiting the Tinajani Valley and the Lake Titicaca region. I brought my instruments with me and played during sacred ceremonies in some of the temple sites which were built on energy vortexes. I’m going back in the Fall of 2016, and looking for a few people to accompany me on another pilgrimage. We’ll have the details for the trip posted at

What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?

I plan to complete my next album and get started on another in the next 6 months.

Who and/or what inspires you?

First of all, my wife.  I am also inspired by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren,  – anyone who speaks truth to power. Michael Beckwith is also very inspiring to me.

How do you personally define success?

It’s the frequency of timeless moments. I have had the opportunity to play for developmentally challenged and autistic kids. Seeing them drop right in to a calm, peaceful state and hearing from the teachers how the kids were transformed even the following day… that is success to me. Often at my events people will talk to me about some sort of breakthrough they had while listening to the music. I count these moments as a huge success. I’m a lucky man, because it happens all the time!

Favourite quote?

“The fool always laughs at the Tao. If he didn’t laugh, it wouldn’t be the Tao.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Jing


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