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Family members: Rob Calcutt

Updated: Jan 17

There are names you can't forget. I was absolutely thrilled to be able to chat with Rob Calcutt, who is a dedicated Listener of the show, a great requester and Colleen's friend!

 

Rob has put together a guided, 45-minute journey for Balearic Breakfast listeners, containing all kinds of breathwork and ambient sounds. You can get this at www.urbanhealer.co.uk/balearicbreakfast

 

1) Hello Rob! So happy to have you here! You've been a longtime listener of the show! Working as a shamanic practitioner, it all makes sense to me! Can you tell us more about your professional practice?

I ditched the corporate ladder 15 years ago to provide support to victims of violent crime & terrorism, later moving to prisoner rehabilitation & homeless services. I'm also a shamanic practitioner, which is a thread that began in the Australian outback in 2003. 

These days I work with misfits and outsiders in the urban jungle, since the queer experience lends itself to this kind of narrative. I offer a range of things from drum/gong journeys to guided visualisation, breathwork, plant medicine ceremonies, tarot readings and other fun stuff, both online and in-person (North London). 

I’m also a proud cat mother - Fred, since you asked. 🐈‍⬛🤣


2) What is your approach to music? I'm sure you use it in some ways during your professional practice. But, more than that, does your professional practice influence the way you listen to it and the way you Experience it?

I'm not a fan of New Age spirituality, so flutes and panpipes aren't really my bag. More Brian Eno and less Clannad, please (no offence, Enya). 

I sometimes incorporate music in my ceremonies, since they're quite long and cover a dramatic arc. This can include Biosonic tuning forks, singing bowls, shamanic drums, rainsticks, rattles, leaf bundles, tingsha cymbals, an ocean drum and a bull roarer for dramatic effect. 

It's all about holding space and framing silence, so when I'm working, any musical interventions are to facilitate a natural flow, rather than prescribe a specific mood. On a normal day, anything goes!


3) Do you believe Souls can communicate through music? I have a powerful feeling about what Colleen "sends us" through the way she mixes and the musical choices she makes. There's more than just music in Balearic Breakfast. Does it make sense to you?

Complete sense yes. Since conscious listening is about stopping time and coming into the present moment. Giving someone your undivided attention is a rare and meaningful gift in today's world, and there's something about the immediacy and community that translates across Wi-Fi.


Rob Calcutt

4) You must have been appealed by Colleen's aphorism! According to you, what does it really take to "Be Balearic"?

I spent a huge portion of the nineties and noughties as a beach slug, passed out listening to Jon Sa Trinxa.

Jon's music was always about accessing a flow state and he'd change it up depending on the weather, positioning of the sun, or how nature was responding on a given day. I still love Ibiza despite the horrific Vegas takeover in recent years. Rain or shine, it was always a mood, and Pat Metheny Group's 'Slip Away' never fails to take me back.

That old "Balearic" tag is a mutable genre and moving goalpost that reinvents itself every decade so the jury's out. It’s all about searching for that b-side or vinyl oddity and flexing rigid genre restrictions to blend seamlessly alongside 80s synth-pop, acid folk, early house, flamenco guitar and Bristol trip-hop. Anything Steely Dan wouldn’t do without his fez on, basically! 🤠🙃 ... And YES, you can overthink these things, but isn't that the point? 😜


5) You were featured in the 159th episode of the series; congratulations! Can you tell us more about how you prepared your set and what you wanted to convey?

The first thing I did was panic. HOW on Earth was I supposed to curate a setlist of tracks that haven’t already been aired on the show, whilst still making it light and listenable? 

I guess my secret weapon was an obscure South Korean jazz import from ‘93. I don’t understand a word, but somehow, the sentiment still transmits. Playing ‘jazz’ (a blanket term for depraved Western music, not sanctioned by the state) has been a crime in North Korea since the 50s, so I hope it somehow carried across the border. 🙏

Being a 40-something gay man, I'm also a cliché so Madonna had to feature. 🤣 It's a good Madge moment, though I'll let you decide if this lowers the tone! 🤔


It was a pleasure to have you here Rob! Thank you!

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