Palhik Mana vzw EN Change is an inside job...

Welcome at Palhik Mana vzw

We are a non-profit organization founded in 2015 aiming to make a positive and lasting change with different target groups through playback theatre and vocal improvisation but also by giving musical performances, several workshops and even social travels.

You can contact us for:

  • training and workshops "playback theater" for organizations and companies
  • training and workshops "vocal improvisation" and expression for individual groups, art education, social organizations and companies
  • performances (playback theatre and musical performances - jazz for change, theme concerts)
  • social travels to India (Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir), Turkey, Cuba,...
  • lectures on various themes (intercultural, migration, gender, multicultural elderly care and Alzheimer's disease, Islam and feminism, the application of playback theatre in social themes and debates, ...)

Contact: sarahavci@palhikmana.org

mobile phone +32 486 86 84 85

Discover what Palhik Mana vzw can do for you!

About the name Palhik Mana

Palhik Mana is a mythical figure (Kachina) in the culture of the Hopi Indians that we visited in 2010. We were privileged to be part of a Palhik Mana ceremony with singing and dancing where outsiders normally are not allowed to be present. This has left a deep impression on us.

Palhik Mana also called Butterfly Maiden, rules over the spring. She is the goddess of fertility that brings transformation and a new start in life. She pollinates the world with our inner strength and she makes our dreams come true. She is a creative force and a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. All concepts that our non-profit organization stands for.

Playback Theatre

"Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the worlds." - Rumi -

One of the projects of Palhik Mana vzw is an innovative and reinforcing project for and with socially vulnerable women from the Brussels-Capital Region. The women are coached and trained in a low-threshold way through techniques and methods of playback theatre to players and game leaders.

Playback Theatre was founded in 1975 by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas from New York, USA, and is practiced worldwide. It is theatre based on personal experiences from the audience. This may concern everyday events, but also large (life) stories, eg resilience / violence (domestic violence, honor-related violence), radicalization, migration, racism, social abuse, refugees, human trafficking, tsunami, war victims, etc.

It is improvisational theatre. All scenes are created on the spot. The game leader (conductor) invites the audience to tell a personal experience. The players (not necessarily professionals) bring it directly into the picture and use various forms of play.

Playback theatre is a form of communication and therefore very suitable for creating a dialogue between different generations, cultures ... eg: mothers who play back stories of their daughters, or vice versa. Or immigrant women play stories from native seniors ...

Playback theatre is an experience that connects people and communities. Looking at played back stories together gives acknowledgement, recognition, understanding and more mutual openness and togetherness. Both players and audiences see their own behavior and that of others from a new perspective. It makes the invisible visible and abstract themes concrete, sensitive topics negotiable, etc ... It is an exciting form of creative expression, which contributes to community formation and personal transformation. It connects individuals and groups with each other and creates a deeper sense of community formation. It can also be used for the treatment of people with trauma on an individual level and in relation to their environment.

It is a fundamental need of people to tell (personal) stories and to share with each other. Already in our early childhood we are fascinated by listening to and telling stories: big or small, dramatic or trivial, interesting or boring. We use these stories not only to share our experiences, but also to improve our interpretation and understanding. Telling stories helps us to give meaning to the world in which we live. We learn to deal with everyday and unusual experiences. Usually stories are composed of a series of events, and these become important and memorable for us if something unexpected happens. Such surprises often change the expected course of actions and events into something that could not be anticipated, resulting in strong feelings and emotions. This is also evident in this form of improvisational theatre.

Playback theatre honors and connects stories of individuals and communities with each other and confirms the dignity of personal experiences, brings individuals and communities closer together by helping them to see their common humanity, and enables people to see their lives on numerous of new ways. It is at the same time artistic, healing, community-forming and visionary! This is a unique tool for target groups to achieve a lasting change.

Through this project, dialogue becomes a 'verb', with which bridges are made between different communities and organizations to promote a harmonious intercultural society. It can thus be an example for Brussels (and perhaps even other cities) and achieve a multiplier effect.

Coach: Sarah Avci

About the coach Sarah Avci in an interview: "I have more than 20 years’ experience working with mostly (migrant) women from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Brussels. Empowerment is a key word through my actions. I began as a grassroots worker/mobiliser among socially marginalized/disadvantaged migrant women coming from North- Africa, Turkey, Middle-East countries, Central-Africa, Latin-America, Asia,…) and living in Brussels. I am committed to promote the participation process, emancipation, equal treatment, equal rights and better integration for migrant women in my work. Which focuses on developing a positive and lasting change in their communities.

Over the years, some of these women develop themselves through women's associations through intercultural encounters, participation in activities, individual training tailored in terms of communication and social skills, etc ... This positive development is different from woman to woman. I find that some women can play a leading role in their own environment, but they still lack the strength to take on this competence. I believe in the power of social artistic projects to give women the opportunity to bring out some hidden skills.

Throughout my approach I use techniques of playback theatre to mobilize women from their inner strength. I have seen women going through a positive process of change and many of them stood up for themselves and their close environment."

Vocal Improvisation

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative within yourself. For truly, the greatest gift you have to offer humanity is your own transformation.” - Lao Tzu -

Vocal improvisation is a form of communication and expression with the help of voice and body. It is a methodology that provides tools for creating vocal compositions on the spot from simple vocal lines to complex vocals. It is an innovative project with different applications for very diverse groups. It transcends gender, cultural backgrounds, religion and different music cultures. It works connecting and reinforcing both in group and on a personal level.

Vocal improvisation is used worldwide as a method by professional vocalists and has been developed by, among others, Bobby McFerrin (USA) and Rhiannon (Hawaii). It is a method that provides tools to create vocal compositions on the spot. In the beginning, the vocal improvisation starts from the conductor / coach who devises vocal lines, harmonic and rhythmic patterns on the spot and passes them on to the participants. These patterns can change at any time and be adjusted via pre-agreed signals. Throughout the workshops, participants learn to create simple vocal lines and rhythms themselves. Through 'Circle singing' - improvising and singing together in a circle - the participants participate in a musical celebration of spontaneity. The circle is as old as humanity to give security and to overcome shyness.

All these techniques are a form of 'body work' with a therapeutic effect. It reduces the tension in the body, dissolves blockages, detaches emotions and retrieves hidden memories from memory. The training courses are always tailored to the various groups.

These methods are suitable for professional vocalists as well as for groups who have no experience with music. Of course the role of the coach is very important here. This ensures that everyone feels comfortable and can open up to the event.

Vocal improvisation as a project for disadvantaged groups is aimed at developing positive and sustainable change both on a personal level and in the direct and indirect living environment of the participants. This increases the emancipation and participation processes of socially vulnerable groups. For example, these forms of expression are made accessible to these target groups in an approachable way. They do not need any vocal training to learn the techniques. Love for singing and opening up is all you need!

Coach: Henk de Laat

Vocal Improvisation Workshops for advanced singers

Are you a singer and do you already have some experience with improvising or is improvising still a bridge too far? Come and make new discoveries what is possible with your unique voice.

In this series of workshops you will learn structures to improvise with your voice, to discover your own creativity and develop and gain confidence in your voice and improvisation.

Many aspects are covered in each workshop as:

  • melody, rhythm, harmony, language and sound
  • functioning and feeling good in a group
  • various forms in which can be improvised as well as different styles in music, pop- jazz- and world music
  • develop listening and singing at the same time
  • become familiar with the use of your voice in combination with your body
  • create compositions on the spot

About the coach: As a double bass player and singer with a jazz-education and more than 30 years experience in many different music styles, he has always had improvisational skills in music specialized in "scat" singing. In 2010 en 2011 he came in contact with vocal improvisation through the masterclass of Rhiannon “All the way in”, a year of intensive training continued in 2014 in Hawaii. This had an enormous healing effect and changed his life in a positive way. Also Bob Stoloff gave him an enormous boost to discover the possibilities of the human voice in improvising. These rich experiences both as an instrumentalist and a vocalist he wants to share with you in his workshops.

Vocal workshop in Chennai India

Coach: Henk de Laat

Project Mother Tongues

Pakhik Mana vzw has set up a low-threshold project to promote reading for socially vulnerable women from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Brussels-Capital Region. The project is part of the broader working of Palhik Mana, in which we work on the empowerment and self-reliance of women through expression and creative projects. We do this, for example, through a project around playback theatre. In that project the women tell life stories to each other. This happens without a script: it is improvisational theater and the lyrics are not written out.

In this project 'Mother Tongues' we put those stories on paper.

We will start with existing texts for this project. We will read them together - in group - and we also want to meet some of the authors. Then the women get to work with their own stories, on paper or through other forms of storytelling.

Coach: Sarah Avci

Jazz for Change

"Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being." - Rumi -

Jazz for Change is a project in which a platform is created to write, record in a studio and play on stage compositions in a fusion of jazz- and world music to create a positive change in this turbulent world. To combine a musical and spiritual search of each musician, creates a deep sensation of the music.

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Saint Frances of Assisi -

East meets West

When the Dutch vocalist / bassist Henk de Laat and the Iraqi quanun player Osama Abdulrasol met each other musically at the poetry festival the Winternachten in The Hague in 2008, a magical spark jumped over to the audience.

Since then they play in duo all over the planet with great craftsmanship, passion and pleasure.

Abdulrasol was born in Babylon, but grew up in the city of Karbala, a shiite holy city where music is forbidden. He moved to Ghent in 1997.

Abdulrasol writes music for film and theater and played around the world, including Goran Bregovic, BJ Scott, Luc De Voc, Ballets C de la B, and as a soloist with several orchestras under the direction of Dirk Brossé.

Henk de Laat composed for various international theater companies, music for documentaries and his own group Enrique Tarde. As a bass player he accompanied stars like Shirley Bassey, Deborah Brown (from whom he also received singing lessons), Marjorie Barnes, Eric Vloeimans, Denise Jannah and many, many others. Osama and Henk have been playing together for almost 20 years, in various projects and occupations.

The musicians invite you to join them on a musical journey in which various cultures effortlessly merge into original own compositions with plenty of room for improvisation.

Henk de Laat - Vocals / Double bass

Osama Abdulrasol - Quanun

Huzun composed by Osama Abdulrasol, performed by the duo

Askile composed by Osama Abdulrasol and performed by the duo

Social Travels

5 October until 20 October 2018 Rajastan India with a group of 12 women

Created By
Henk de Laat


Henk de Laat Sarah Avci   Ilyas Essadek Lieven Soete

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