sound emergence pilgrimage

André Braga-Verissimo and Sasha Maye Bruce have planned an exciting tour across Kent and East Sussex.  They are the artists behind the Sound Emergence Pilgrimage that’s happening from April 13th to July 27th 2024.  Using churches across the Saxon Shoreline, the Romney Marsh and ending in Winchelsea, André and Sasha have invited sound artists to exhibit with them.  The pilgrimage starts in Saint Mary and Saint Eanswythe’s church in Folkestone on 13th April.  Folkelife spoke to André and Sasha to learn more about the experience.

André: “I’ve been in Folkestone for 8 years, and an artist for 15.  I’ve always done performance as part of my art and my music as Local Foreigner has lead me to various experiences but I largely do DJ work under that name now.  In 2019 I did a Sound Therapy course and then in 2021 I set up my practice as Sound Emergence.  Now my work is more sound meditation rather than therapy; a way to connect people through sound.”

Sasha: “My background couldn’t be more different.  I’ve been in the Kent area for about 16 years and working as a project manager within the corporate sector.  I moved into UX design, user experience and understanding people.  My interest is in the psychological side and I have retrained as a psychotherapist.  There’s a particular type of psychotherapy called Pesso Boyden which originated from dancers and is to do with movement of the body.  I have a massive passion for dance and have been running Ecstatic Dance for 2 years in Folkestone.  And that’s how we met.  It was a burning passion of mine to bring people together, to connect with themselves and their bodies through movement, and also sound.  You can connect with any emotions you’re feeling.  We joined forces and I’ve learned about the sound therapy through working with André.”

Sound baths

André: “Then together we’ve been working on this project to tour churches on the Old Saxon Way from Folkestone to Winchelsea.  But what we’re doing here is going to be a little bit different to what you may have experienced before in a Sound Bath.  Typically, what would normally happen is you’d come into the space we use and lie down.  You would close your eyes, get comfy, have a blanket, and then listen to the continuous sounds we play for about an hour.”

Sasha: “Yes, we create lots of sounds with instruments, singing, and so on.  It’s all live, so no two baths are the same.  Usually there is a structured flow to the which instruments we might use but there is an element of improvisation in the performance as it is live. We silently communicate with each other as to what we might play next.  There are gongs, sound bowls, various percussion instruments and a monochord, sometimes a flute…”

André: “And people react to this in different ways.  Sometimes they go on amazing mental adventures, or feel the sounds in parts of their bodies and be awakened by sensations.  Others have said ‘Oh, that was nice and relaxing!’ so it is a unique experience for everyone.”

Sasha and Andre
Sound Emergence Pilgrimage
St Eanswythes
Sound Emergence Pilgrimage

working in a church

André: “What we’ll do in the churches on this pilgrimage is going to be slightly different.  The make up of the sessions will be that we’ll meet and have a tour of the church first.  People will become familiar with the surroundings and learn about the place we have been invited into.  There are some really interesting places on our pilgrimage and so we’re very lucky in having such access to them.  We have invited artists to join us so people will be able to meet us all first.   

“I’ve always wanted to work in a church, I love the way sound reacts in these buildings. It was easy to get in touch with the vicar of St Mary and St Eanswythe’s, who seems really open to having the community in the church.  We ran a session there, and have another planned.  Our sessions were different in that people weren’t lying down.  It was too cold for one thing and the pews take up a lot of space. But we had 60 or 70 people to our first session, which for Folkestone, on a Thursday evening, to an event that many haven’t come across before, really shows how people in this town are open to new experiences.”

Sasha: “It was really nice to see the crossover of the audience too.  There were some who were members of the congregation, and others who had never been in the church before. That was our first session, and the next was really well attended too.  So we realised that this is a great way of connecting with the community.  Then we thought we should take this performance on a journey, and the idea of our pilgrimage was born.

This has been great for us in our practice as it has made us think in different ways. We’re creating in new environments, with new audiences and that’s a good challenge to have.”


Sasha: “What’s wonderful is that the nine churches we’ve chosen on our pilgrimage are all different. There are some which feel wealthy and opulent, and others, like some on the Romney Marsh that have old farm equipment in them.  The artists we have joining us are also matched in some way.  They bring different instruments to the experience, and make the whole encounter unique.”

André: “There are story lines to our pilgrimage too.  We start in one of the most ancient of places and we’ll have a harp there, which is quite an ancient instrument. There’s a traditional aspect to it.  Then the last one is in Winchelsea which is an enormous church and we’ll have Cherif Hashizume who’s an electronic artist. He’s a sound engineer and uses modular synthesizers which have a story to themselves.   That’s not to say that the pilgrimage is linear in moving from old to new.  There is certainly a beginning and end in this way, but there will be contemporary music and sounds encountered along the way.”

Sasha: “Also, there’s the juxtaposition between this being a sound journey and a pilgrimage.  It’s not necessarily a religious experience, but we are bringing people along for an experience, and with that community complex ideas can be explored as we get to know each other.  The heritage of the routes we’re taking are deeply steeped in the communities around them, and this cannot be overlooked either.  With the coastal routes we’re taking, we will be experiencing living in our environment, so that will have an impact too.”

For a list of the churches and dates, and routes to be followed connect with Sound Emergence on their Instagram.

Find out more about folkestone below

The Yogaman – Children’s Yoga
Barney And The Pizza – The Goods Yard
The Place To Be – Folkestone Harbour
Minutas Street Food – Argentine Food at the Harbour

Sign up to our Newsletter