Lydia Violet Harutoonian is an accomplished Iranian-American multi-instrumentalist who is deeply inspired by blues, folk, and Iranian folk music traditions. In her live band she combines fiddle, banjo, and luscious 3-part harmonies to offer a soul-folk revival experience creating a new wave of protest music. In the past year she has collaborated with Rising Appalachia, Climbing PoeTree, Ayla Nereo, Joanna Macy, and MaMuse.
Lydia also has an M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness from CIIS. She has studied closely with deep ecology elder and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy for the past 9 years, learning how we can metabolize our pain for the world into energy for resilience, action, and community. Two years ago she pioneered, “Music As Medicine In Our Time” with Penny Livingston at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA. In this workshop she brings together facilitation of Joanna Macy’s “Work That Reconnects” with exploring movement music that nourishes resilience, promotes justice, and facilitates healing in our communities. The “Work That Reconnects” (WTR), a dynamic, interactive body of work developed by Joanna, inspired by her own scholarship in systems theory, deep ecology, and Buddhism as well as 50+ years of international activism. Practiced internationally, this work has helped many thousands of people to engage in the Great Turning, re-invigorating our energy for action and resiliency. Through speaking openly and honestly about the challenges that currently face our species and the grief, anger, paralysis, apathy, or fear that we can feel, we begin the process of metabolizing these often overwhelming emotions into the profound care for all of life that they stem from, bringing us into deeper communion with our world.
Lydia recently founded the Music As Medicine Project, a fiscally sponsored organization that To create access to music, music education, and Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects as a tool for cultivating resilient cultures in our communities. This Music As Medicine Project offers a direct cultural response to those aspects of our society breeding fear and separation. When we stand together, creatively united under the principles of respect, truthspeaking, inclusivity, and connection, we inherently strengthen relationships and inner tools for navigating our present realities together. Music As Medicine is committed to implementing the combination of music and the teachings of Joanna Macy to help our communities metabolize systemic trauma, cultivate energy for action, reconnect with the more-than-human world, and create meaningful artistic cultures.