"Mmmwhah has connected me with such talented and creative spirits that have helped heighten my creativity! Such a great space is created at the events through creativity and collaboration! Being in this environment has allowed me to explore new creative outlets within myself."
Talia Santos, CU Student in International Studies
"Full of creativity! Mmmwhah offers the structural support of place, time, art supplies, musicians, and people to invite my creativity to shine. Kirtan sing-alongs, inspiring music from skilled musicians for expressive movement/dance, and painting on a big mural alongside others. What a welcoming place for the creative muse to emerge. Whether we are singing, dancing, or painting, it all comes together. And at most events you can do all three at the same time. I have met wonderful new "neighbors" in these community events and look forward each week to the next one."
Annie Brook, PhD, LPC, dancer, musician, artist
"Mmmwah brought me together to play with several AMAZING musicians who I don’t think I ever would have run into otherwise, only two of which I had even heard of -- and thrust me right into improvisational settings with them that were extremely satisfying and surprising. I also have so rarely had the opportunity to work live with visual artists, that was a real treat. I hope to do more!"
Jesse Manno, musician
"I wanted to let you know that it really touches me how you're holding space for community music and creativity these days."
Arianna Saraha, musician
"The Neighborhood Partnership grants are offered with the goal of building community in neighborhoods by bringing people together. I am impressed by Merlyn and the Mmmwhah team not only for the quality of their events but also for the diversity of participants. The event I attended in person had an audience that reflected diversity of age and race beyond many Boulder events. The organic nature of the connection between participants was a tangible fulfillment of the goals of our grant program. Mmmwhah is clearly filling a need for people of all kinds to share space in artistic expression and mindfulness."
"Thank you for creating such special gatherings and bringing beautiful people together to create a new way of being, living, playing...."
Sindhu Hung, dancer
"Participating in the Mmmwhah jams has inspired me to experiment in ways I would never do in the studio. Merlyn works hard and is very passionate about what she does. She has created an environment where artists of all disciplines can collaborate."
Lisa Michot, artist
"Mmmwhah is a moving venue for creative endeavor. A synergy of music, dance, and visual art in a myriad of forms, from improvisational music to devotional chanting, from freestyle dance and live action painting to drawing, movement and yoga classes. The linchpin holding all of these artforms together is presence.
As an example, I have the honor of presenting a Kirtan with Laura Moses Granger, Bill McCrossen, Prasanna Bishop and last week Zay Alehandro Camara Rios on percussion. The choir (everyone who came to sing with us) was in good form, people were dancing and painting on a huge paper on the wall. It sounds chaotic, but everyone was together in the moment adding their creativity to the devotional energy in the room. This is the presence within creativity that holds all the forms of art together. Truly magical!
Thank you, Merlyn, for your vision and perseverance in creating a venue for artistic expression. The artists and the community are richer for it….
I do want to say that I love what you have and are continuing to create for the benefit of the arts in Boulder. I am honored to be able to offer my part in the KirtanArts Wednesday nights. What a great group with Laura, Bill, and Prasanna, and our moving feast of percussionists! I hope this will continue."
Ken Bernstein, Artist and Musician
"Thank you again for the amazing experience yesterday. I just wanted to tell you that I had worked on that drawing for several weeks, and I did more work on the drawing yesterday than the entire time I had been working on it. The energy in the room was incredible! The people there were incredible! Thank you again for everything!"
Iulianna Schraut, artist and photographer
"It is wonderful to be a spectator of the arts at a concert, dance performance or art exhibit. And... there is nothing like participating in making music, dancing and creating art. And doing it with people of all ages and experience levels while mixing up the forms, and it is a blast! At a Mmmwhah gathering, everyone gets a chance to let their creative juices flow while being inspired by others around them. My 12 year old daughter and I have attended 3 such gatherings and really enjoyed ourselves. I could see how more of these events over time would build a solid sense of community in the North Boulder neighborhood."
Feldenkrais practitioner, dancer, artist
"Thanks again for facilitating such a fun, delightful eve this past week."
David Silver, photographer, retired MD
"What a fantastic concept! Thanks Merlyn!"
"Thank you for your brilliant contribution to beauty in this world and our community."
Aprylisa Snyder, artist and activist
"What a beautiful gathering that was. Grateful that I could be a part of it and I hope to attend others in the future. I believe in the vision you are creating."
Mira Van Zandt, student, dancer
"I will continue to put the word out about these wonderful Wednesdays to all that I encounter and we'll see what permeates. Thank you for your energy and time to plant this seedling. I am very grateful for the space last-week, which procured healing in me during a time which was, personally, emotionally tumultuous."
Ryan Ferguson, Naropa Student, Theatre Department
"…my thoughts on your 1st Kirtan Arts. I loved it!! The space was yummy. I loved singing, dancing and watching people create art; some of it I could tell was process art (which was very cool to witness). Can’t wait for the next one."
Nancy Linsley, Feldenkrais practitioner
"Best Kirtan ever was deeper and more transcending than words can describe it. Got found during losing the self to Ganesha, Divine Mother, and all the sweet souls all chanting that night.
Ommmmmmmmm at hommmmmmmm with love chanting from their Love center made all my trillion cells happy.
Let's do it again."
Brother Sage, author
"I admire your love to educate and share your light with your community…"
'I watched your Mmmwah video - it looks like your doing some beautiful work in the world. Many thanks for sending your art and good vibrations out into our world!"
Teacher, Manhattan Middle School
"I love your email! You carry a beautiful message."
Caroline Thomas Jenson
"The master HOA and our residents would like to thank you for organizing and hosting Mmmwhah events in our neighborhood. They encourage creativity, community and make our unique neighborhood a better place!"
President, Holiday Neighborhood Master HOA
Principal, Pel-Ona Architects & Urbanists
"I know all those events you presented took quite a bit of energy and I certainly enjoyed participating."
Jennifer Rudin, Retiree
"Music infused collage of art bodies. Bringing together artists and non-artists of all mediums to share creatively in the moment and build community at a new level."
Darlene Lorrain, Contemplative Dance Facilitator / Early Childhood Educator
"Mmmwhah! – Participation. Shared creativity – Evokes the inner artist of all ages – art – not a “spectator sport.” Multigenerational play, sharing and creating. Mmmwhah! creates a space that invites me – and other people! to join in. What emerges is wholistic synergy and creative magic."
Anonymous writing on pink paper at Mmmwhah! One Year Celebration
What People Say
"What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon -- making great improvisational music - art - and movement/dance. Made some great connections too."
Bill McCrossen, jazz bassist
"It's not just about you dancing to the music. It's also about the music dancing to you.
Mer, what a lovely atmosphere you have created, so warm and welcoming to everyone. I felt so blessed to be able to join in. Thanks for including me."
Emily Takahashi, jazz composer & pianist
"Mmmwhah! brings out the best in us all, for what can be better than having our true selves be part of the whole. With music, movement, painting, voice, we inspire each other."
Michael Stamwood, musician, photographer
"Mmmwhah! gatherings offer such deep delight on so many levels at the same time - surprising sound meeting spontaneous movement and splashes of color & form. A magical synergy arises that inspires & feeds the soul in new and wondrous ways every session."
David Silver, MD, musician, dancer
"There is nothing quite like taking a walk around your neighborhood, stepping into a garage that has been converted into a painter's studio with walls covered with colorful canvases and being led into an open movement score where anything can happen. The local Mmwah events in Lafayette are even more special because they are so close to home."
Alexis Halkovic, PhD, dancer
I enjoy getting together with other musicians, dancers and singers to experiment in the creative process. These gatherings give the opportunity to listen to others, which inspires new ideas. It is also quite magical to feel the support of others as we explore sound and movement together. As we practice fundamentals of rhythm, harmony and movement together, we can grow in our confidence to share our experience in the communities in which we live."
Mary Rose, Comfort Touch healer, musician, dancer, artist
"As a visual artist I have found the Mmmwhah Gatherings to be inspiring, challenging and energizing environments to paint. I love painting people in action and movement and being in the moment with the musicians and dancers has led me in a new creative direction. Thanks Mer!"
Lisa Michot, Lafayette, CO artist and Part-Time Art Faculty at Front Range Community College
"Rare opportunity for adults in Lafayette to create and experience improvisational movement, music, visual arts all at once in a mindful, safe, and supportive environment.
An unique to Lafayette participatory workshop to meet new people from other backgrounds and interact creatively and with authenticity: rare for adults to have this opportunity."
participant, Mmmwhah! Gathering, Lafayette
"An out of the box, inspiring, edgy, fun, creative way to connect with others through movement, music and art. Filled with surprises and great music."
Darlene Lorraine, early childhood educatorteacher, dancer
"I love the way you bring community into community! Blessings for all that you do."
"Mmm, I felt so much tension release in my body [in the Vocal Playshop] it felt like I had received a full body massage. :)
Thank you so much for your beautiful offerings. I feel so nourished and held during our circles (with deep permission to express!) - it’s a real joy."
"Mmmwhah Gatherings are fun events to explore and express your artistic side. Having Mmmwhah in a house in a residential neighborhood cracks open the idea that magic is happening all around us all the time."
Adam Griff, PhD
"Mmmwhah Gatherings are an intense practice of awakening together. When we drop the social language, we open to new channels for connection. All the senses and subtle awareness become available for creating a new composition -- as if we have dropped our personality and tapped into the essential field.
The presence of musicians weaves the textures of the field. It that way, we are held and respond to each other's own individual expreience, and move as one."
Sindhu Hung, dancer
"Painting at Mmmwhah helped me loosen up and try approaches I hadn’t thought of before. The music, dancing and atmosphere has been very inspiring to me."
Lisa Michot, artist
"As a first time participant I heard Mmmwhah is a community of artists (musicians, painters, dancers, flow artists) trying to reach out and include the rest of the community that would otherwise stay on their shelfs!"
Anonymous writing on orange paper at Mmmwhah! One Year Celebration
"I came because of Talia, the wonderful intern! Situations like this are usually out of my comfort zone, but by the end I loved it! I came back because it was a lovely way to take a break from the regular world and distress with such an open community. I am very excited to be back!"
"This is my first Mmmwhah! event! It so far seems like a great community that fosters creativity and artistic development. I will for sure come back soon."
"Mmmwhah! has introduced me to a beautiful community of creative souls that I am so grateful to have connected with! Each event is a unique, free, and open space that fills me up."
Anonymous writing on white paper at Mmmwhah! One Year Celebration
"Merlyn makes music, dance and art easily accessible, fun, challenging and fulfilling. Her style is warm, engaging, responsive and, of course, creative. Always new and different and worth my time."
Karen Raforth, President, Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission
"For me, Mmmwhah is a personally enriching experience. I’m an artist and live in Boulder. I love to paint and draw. Making artwork is usually a solitary time for me.
I was introduced to Mmmwhah through NOBO to be a part of another larger arts community. In Mmmwhah events, I have met and created with dancers, musicians, and other artists. I also enjoy meeting the people who join in to be creative and have fun, even if they do not identify themselves as an artist. Students, people of different professions, and ages, paint, dance, and play together, in a relaxed arts setting. The best part for me, as a visual artist, is to work with others, on the large paper like a group mural but we all make individual designs and pictures. Music is playing, and I freely flow into dancing…back to painting. I love doing this! A big thanks to NOBO. A huge thanks to Merlyn Holmes for starting this series of events. And to all who participate in Mmmwhah."
Catherine Carilli, Artist
"I sat down for a moment to explore something I hadn’t done before, that caught my attention last night at our music meditation. I had with me, if you recall, both my old and new Kora, and as I was packing up someone said… “What’s better than a kora? … Two koras!”… and I started playing both at the same time for a few seconds and realized the potential. I can not believe I never tried this before, but it is closer to what I’ve been wanting to hear in my musical improv than almost anything else. And this would not have occurred were it not for the opportunity to explore the openness of a Mmmwhah! Mmm. The absolutely gorgeous, dark and mysterious sonorities of both instruments played together create such a rich harmonic and rhythmic texture that I had to step away and start thanking you here for your incredible inspiration, before I could proceed any further!
This is not the first time this has occurred, mind you. Almost every time I have participated in a Mmmwhah! Jam, music meditation, or improv workshop, I have had these moments of discovery, finding new ways to incorporate different sounds from different instrument combinations, much to my surprise and joy.
I have always loved the sound of the kora, guembri, mbira, singing bowls, Tibetan meditation gongs, Donna talking drum, dumbek, Hapi drum, water phone, aside from my first love and “comfort zone” instrument, double bass, which as you know is my bread and butter tool with my more traditional gigs of Jazz, Brazilian, Free improv, and original music projects, but I never thought I’d have so many opportunities to explore on these other instruments, and thanks to Mmmwhah!
A startling example of this occurred at the last Mmmwhah! Jam of the summer Holiday Park series where I had the honor of playing an instrument called the “snake” AKA “Mega-Bass,” created by artist and musician Ken Bernstein. Because of the size and construction of this amazing instrument, I had no “comfort zones” whatsoever, and had to approach it with respect and an open mind. I quickly realized the potential of the instrument and that I was only scratching the surface of possibility. But stepping away from it suddenly opened up my mind to unexplored alternative techniques that could be applied to my “normal sized” upright bass, which I never would have thought possible were it not for this experience – again thanks to Mmmwhah!"
'This evening was very enjoyable with a very palpable spiritual atmosphere.
This was a lovely band and the main singers are beings who shared their deeper essence through their voices uplifting all of us.
I enjoyed singing and dancing with a beautiful cohesive group.
What a rare gift to have this in North Boulder and that I can simply walk to it!
I felt nourished and blessed when I walked home….
Again my deep appreciation for organizing this event and for all the talent and grace that has shown up!"
Maurieke D. Shyelle, MD.
MD ABIM, ABIHM, IFMCP
"The entertainment this summer was fantastic. I liked all of the bands that played. The movies were excellent too. I certainly would love to see similar lineups in the summers to come."
"I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in teaching at FloorSpace. Your project is clearly filled with great energy and involves so many people in our community."
Dancer and Alexander Technique Trainer
Owner of FloorSpace Studio
"Mmmwhah!!! So much fun being creative with like minded people. This is a unique experience for me. Totally different from other arts happenings,… poetry readings, art exhibitions, and such. As a visual artist and writer, the art events I usually participate in are about either visual art or writing. Mmmwhah opened the door to me to dance, paint, and meditate within the same event. I loved it!"
Catherine Carilli, writer and painter
"The whole [Vocal Playshop] series has been so much fun for me - really skillful instruction and welcoming atmosphere and friendly people. I've loved it!"
Aileen Hayden, improvisation teacher, dancer
"What a wonderful newsletter, update and video!
Merlyn, you are amazing!
Program Director, Healing Touch Program
"You are doing so much. It's awesome!!!!!
Thanks for all you are bringing into the world."
Susanna Drogsvold, dancer
"I look forward to seeing what wonderful programming you have coming up. It was so great to see your summer programming bring the neighborhood together."
"I was appreciating how everybody brought their whole selves without judgement so it felt
like a big invitation to play freely. I felt like I had permission to be myself and explore new territory."
Judith Sellers, vocalist