Medicinal Music—Honey Monsoon’s Jazz Fusion Sound Comforts ‘Om of Medicine’ Patients

. August 17, 2018.
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Honey Monsoon drenches the minds of Om of Medicine patients with soothing jazz-inspired sounds at the Ann Arbor-based medical cannabis dispensary.

On the third Sunday of every month, the Detroit jazz, soul and neo funk trio of Ana Gomulka (vocals and guitar), Taylor Greenshields (drums) and Leo James Willer (painting and percussion) plays a live show as part of an ongoing residency at Om of Medicine.

Vocalist Ana Gomulka.

Vocalist Ana Gomulka.

Patients battling pain, cancer and other ailments can watch Honey Monsoon’s live, intimate performance in Om of Medicine’s colorfully decorated front lounge and momentarily escape from their health struggles. They also can watch the show through live video streaming via Om of Medicine’s Facebook page.

“I think one of the things Om is really good at is being an inspiring place,” said Gomulka. “You go in, and you instantly feel better, and you talk to people who actually care about you. You’re in this amazing, peaceful, calming, energizing place and have music that’s stimulating.”

Music as medicine

Together, the band and Om of Medicine staff are committed to providing a “music as medicine” culture for new and returning patients. Founded in July 2010 and located in a new ground floor space at 111 S. Main St., Om of Medicine educates the community about cannabis and promotes the latest research to illustrate the medical efficacy of the plant.

“We promote medicine in all safe forms whether it be through our monthly support groups, comedy shows or the smooth sounds of Honey Monsoon. We’re passionate about supporting our local artists through wall displays and live music performances,” said Mark Passerini, Om of Medicine co-founder. “Some research suggests that music may promote the brain’s ability to make new nerve cell connections, and there is also evidence that music can help with stroke recovery. Studies show music can improve mood and relieve stress.”

Music is also medicinal in a sense for Honey Monsoon, who views the space as the ideal venue for improvising and evolving their fluid jazz fusion sound after releasing their debut album, “Rose Gold,” last November. Om of Medicine has a different vibe than performing at traditional music clubs.

Painting and music co-create a transcendent space

“We started playing there because of a personal connection, and we’ve all been there before as patients,” Gomulka said. “It’s kind of a longer gig. We play new songs and build off them there because it’s low pressure.”

While they’re performing, Honey Monsoon showcases the artistic talents of Willer, who paints in unison with the music. Together, the two art forms immerse patients in a colorful, jazzy and soulful world that’s filled with creativity and rhythm.

At Honey Monsoon’s July 22 Om of Medicine show, Willer created a new painting called “Fertile Soil,” which features brilliant hues of browns, pinks and oranges soaked into a dreamy landscape.

“I really like live music,” Willer said. “I don’t even know if there are words to describe the impact it has on the mind. It calms and eases the mind, letting people escape, and that enables me to go as deep as I need to.”

Honey Monsoon will continue to explore new musical and artistic depths during their residency at Om of Medicine. The band’s next performance will be Aug. 19 and serves as another avenue for testing out new material for an upcoming album.

“We have a bunch of new songs, that’s all we can say,” Greenshields said. “Leo’s going to be doing some percussive stuff, too.”

Honey Monsoon’s constant addition of new material and artistic elements keep Om of Medicine patients coming back for more.

“After hearing just one Honey Monsoon performance, it was evident they are an extraordinary local talent whose music seemed to be a great match for our environment,” Passerini said. “Many of our patients enjoy their music so much that they schedule visits to coincide with planned Honey Monsoon performances. The group has had a wonderful impact on all those who visit us for Sunday shows.”

Sunday, August 19 | 2pm-4pm | Free

Om of Medicine | 111 S Main St

734-369-8255 | omofmedicine.org

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