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Erykah Badu opens up about wellness ahead of Merasa event in Bali

“I think it's really important to respect and observe the traditions, especially the old ways.”

  • Amira Waworuntu
  • 14 May 2024
Erykah Badu opens up about wellness ahead of Merasa event in Bali

Potato Head Bali's Merasa returns in the form of a seven-day wellness experience aimed at rejuvenating the mind and body through music, creativity, and self-care.

What’s even more exciting this year is its co-curator—the Godmother of neo-soul herself, Erykah Badu, who will also be performing live on the first day.

Reflecting Erykah’s soulful resonance and creative force, the week-long programme invites attendees on a transformative journey of self-discovery and growth, honouring traditional practices, and championing a life aligned with the natural world.

"Merasa was very generous in giving me a role in reviewing all the practitioners and bringing some practitioners as well. So there are international practitioners participating this year. There are so many dynamic people. Together we kind of put together a line-up that made sense for this year," she explains during an interview.

The schedule, aligned with the Balinese calendar, harnesses the unique energy of each day, offering talks and sessions by Erykah herself and other influential figures such as KT The Arch Degree, NOTEP, Fa' Pawaka, and Waangenga Blanco.

Mixmag Asia was given the chance to join an interview session with Erykah, where she elaborated deeper on the meaning of wellness, and how it's been a major part of her life and career.

As an event that aims to bring together kindred spirits, we asked about the importance of community and togetherness in one’s wellness journey.

“It's very important. The generating of different energies and feelings that all have the same agenda—it’s very powerful, and very refreshing. I think it's good to be around people with the same postures, passions, and attitude. It furthers your practice. You know, whatever that practice may be, the community of it also holds you accountable for your own personal journey. Even if it's not discussed, it's understood that we are all here to lift up one another and simply to hold space for one another. There's something that's really refreshing about that. It's a healing in itself,” explains Erykah.

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Touching on the topic of music, she eloquently articulates her profound connection to it, describing it as "frequency and vibration"—the very essence of movement in the universe.

"Music is where our memories are stored... through music, our emotions are unearthed." Emphasising the power of music to unite people, she adds, "Through music, we began to become in tune with the planet's metronome. Through music, we become bonded with one another."

Erykah, a doula by trade, also mentions music as a healing force, suggesting, "Through sound and the absorption of it, we can be healed, restored."

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When asked about the cultural authenticity of wellness practices, Erykah advocates for the involvement of indigenous practitioners to maintain respect for cultural origins, which she implements in the Merasa line-up.

She stresses the importance of understanding and honouring traditions, lamenting the lack of moral leadership in contemporary society.

“I think we did a really good job at finding indigenous practitioners. I think it's really important to respect and observe the traditions, especially the old ways. We don't really have leaders anymore or people who are morally conscious enough to lead us in these ways. So I think it's really important to find a link to those traditions through someone who is an indigenous practitioner. Then we can go from there.”

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Another significant aspect she underlines is learning from those deeply rooted in cultural heritage.

"It's crucial to practice with someone who truly understands the origins of what they're teaching," she says, pointing out the importance of preserving and passing on traditional knowledge.

Merasa takes place at Desa Potato Head on June 1-8; tickets and information here.

Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.

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