Jason Cohen, the Executive Director of the HeARTbeat Collective, has experienced numerous healing and expressive arts rituals around the world. His knowledge,experience, sensitivity and training as a ritual facilitator, and his life long pursuit of exploring passion and subtlety in music, have led him in service to producing over 35 Forestdance Gatherings. These gatherings have taken place in 7 US states and 12 times in Costa Rica. These are powerful transformational ritual gatherings designed to bring people into their full power through the process of burning off symptomatic energies, coming fulling present, and balancing heart, mind, body and spirit inside and out of the sacred fire circle. His latest endeavor is called Unifier Festival, a larger transformational healing and expressive arts festival with a mission that includes bringing people together to support and help steward community owned Land.
Jason sits on the Board of Managers of Friends of DNE, LLC, the group that has purchased Camp Timber Trails in Tolland, MA and hopes to help turn the retreat center into a Permaculture Impact Center. CTT hosts many wonderful annual events like DNE’s Dance Camp, Unifier Festival and the Aniwa Gathering.
Jason is a community organizer deeply committed to creating spaces where people can become empowered and inspired. He is a musician, composer and songwriter and sings and plays keys and percussion with a few ensembles including Incus and Sacred Side Project.
Jason is a proud and loving father, and takes much of his inspiration from his humble and direct connections to nature and his ancestors.
Kalpana Devi is a vocalist, dancer, instrumentalist, performer, educator, healer, entrepreneur, writer and mother of 6 children. She has performed as a solo artist, and collaborated and performed with trumpeter, composer and Guggenheim Fellow, Wadada Leo Smith. She has also collaborated or performed with Talking Drums, Juba, Susumi Dance Theater and served as assistant artistic director to Master Dancer Eno Asabo Washington in Power of the Drum Ballet. She conducts workshops and gives talks at schools, colleges and community centers on Sacred Economy, The Currency of Love, Raising Our Future and Inner Cultural R/Evolution. She has taught African Dance at the Putney School in Vermont, Williston Northampton, Suffield Academy and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School where she also served as interim director of the department of dance and founded and directed the school’s first African Dance Company. From 2001-2008 she produced, directed and taught a popular all ages summer camp focusing on African dance and culture housed at Smith College. For 20 years, she has toured the U.S. and West Africa with her band, ReBelle and was recently the recipient of a business expansion grant, which she is using to grow her music performance, touring and distribution nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of numerous grant awards including a finalist in the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for dance in education. She was recently commissioned by Deepak Chopra to compose an instrumental mantra music featuring original African chants.
Kalpana Devi’s experience includes teaching and facilitating dance experiences for thousands in various settings in and around New England, the eastern seaboard, and West Africa. Her contributions in dance education incorporate West African dance technique; also taking into account, world history of dance, dance in the community, drumming, drumming for dancers, composition, and body conditioning, all curriculums which she has taught. She founded and directed a youth–lead drum and dance company and brought them to tour in West Africa where they had opportunity to study with master dancers and drummers of the region. She also toured the company to Philadelphia where they were selected to perform at the National High School Dance Festival by a rigorous panel of international judges. Between 2001 and 2008, she produced and founded an intergenerational summer dance and drum camp, housed at Smith College. She has been invited to teach, perform and speak across New England, the United States and west Africa.
Her band ReBelle has been voted the best reggae band in the region where she resides, for 5 consecutive years by popular polls. Their performance roster has included performing at a maximum-security prison in North Carolina, regularly selling out the iconic performance venue in their region, the Iron Horse Music Hall. They have performed nationally at the House of Blues, SOB’s and noted festivals including Harmonic Convergence, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Fire Water Festival, LEAF, Bel Chere and Unifier in the U.S. and Bahia Das Gatas and Reggae Sunsplash in Africa.
She has training and certification in the healing arts and is the creator of Tuning Life Counsel and Tuning Mastery Programs, an online program and private counsel practice.
Kalpana is a rare change maker who reaches for the magnificent in everything. She enjoys closing the gap between financial and artistic worlds, conveying relational strength through a cascade of visionary purpose, inviting connection between people where value and enthusiasm gets expressed through mutual benefit/sustainable good fortune.
She is president of the Heartbeat Collective Board of Directors.
Ult Mundane has been studying traditional West African drumming for over fifteen years, playing djembe and dunduns. He has learned from world-renowned teachers such as Famoudou Konate and Mamady Keita. Since 2010 he has been studying with Namory Keita, a master drummer from Guinea. Ult currently teaches a weekly class where he lives in Southern New Hampshire.
Ult loves to blend the high energy of traditional African rhythms with the dynamic conversational elements of group improvisation. In his classes, he guides his fellow drummers to deepen their ability to support establishing a rhythm, to use call and response to hear and be heard, and shows how to add some fireworks when the energy is on its way up.
Steve Young is passionate about creating opportunities for nature to exert it’s innate powers that bring healing, inner clarity, and that secret sauce that makes us fully alive. He was unknowingly mentored by a 10-acre patch of woods across the street from his boyhood home and then in his 20s by the Adirondack wilderness. In his 30s, he embarked on a 2nd career building organizations that taught wilderness survival, naturalist and nature connection skills to children and adults. Steve has been visiting a sit spot in the woods near his home most days since 1994. He is a graduate of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, an extensive home study program in the art of building a long term relationship with one place in nature and with the plants, animals that live there. In 2018, Steve attended the Unifier Festival and Forestdance. After Forestdance, he experienced a powerful and long lasting transformation that inspired him to join the board of directors to help provide experiences like his to more people.
He leads sometimes relaxing and sometimes intense nature immersion adventures at Heldeberg Workshop right in his hometown of Voorheesville, New York.
Joe McKinnon is a crafter of experience, stitcher of community, student of the arcane, and pourer of tea. He has worked in a variety of capacities to introduce groups of people to the healing power of ritual and ceremony through tea. He is dedicated to instigating societal change through sacred work.
Joe moved to the Northeast from Northern California and is raising a family in community In Ashfield, Massachusetts. He can be often found in the woods foraging for dinner, contemplating moss, and conversing with ancestors.
Still with us in HEART, Past Board Members:
Glenn Smith has been involved in artistic and healing communities for many years, both in California and now in Massachusetts since moving here in 2012. As a musician playing multiple instruments, Glenn has played at many different kinds of events, including numerous dance jams, festivals, schools, community events, cafes, etc. Glenn has also been facilitating his own Vocal Voyagers improvised singing circles since 2005. Over time, he has found that gatherings focused on participatory expression involving music, dance, and art to be the most valuable.. Since discovering the Forestdance gathering, Glenn has gotten more involved as a staff member for this and other gatherings organized by the Heartbeat Collective. He hopes to continue to serve, to grow the community, and increase its reach of service in the world.
Amanda Moore is a New England based visual and performance artist/ producer originally from the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York. A wife and mother of two, She’s been described as an “Earthbound mystic who intuitively channels an awesome spirit within the boundaries of life and body, both of this world and other ethereal adjoining veils”.
Amanda’s natural passion for bringing communities together through the arts has lead her to organize and produce within a multitude of collaborations. Amanda has been invited to perform, teach, and create all along the Northern East Coast. Beginning as the founder of Home Spun Entertainment and Finger Lakes Community Art nights, these creative phenomenons still continue to inspire and encouraging students to step into their most creative voices through art, music and poetry. For the better part of her adult life, Amanda has been invited to teach, perform, produce and hold space from Canada, all along the Northern East Coast.
Amanda’s more recent projects include contributions to the Tedx Black Rock City’s production team, BOD member for WNY’s Portal Burn and Unifier’s workshop coordinator for 2017.
As a member of on the board of the Heart Beat Collective, Amanda looks forward to supporting the vision of bringing communities together to honor the callings of the collective.
Thomas Matherly is a lifelong musician, he plays guitar, writes songs and performs as Fissure Cat and in other collaborative musical projects around the pioneer valley of Massachusetts and in Ithica, New York. Since 2009 he’s been training as an herbalist and in 2010 began studying with Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals. During his 7 year apprenticeship with Clearpath he learned to heal through the modalities of Chinese and Native American medicine and gained extensive knowledge and experience with clinical herbalism, sustainable wildcrafting, Cultivating and harvesting medicinal plants, herbal preparation and extraction and managing a fully functioning apothecary.
Since 2012 he’s been practicing and teaching wilderness awareness, survival skills and nature connection. In 2012 he founded Hawk’s Eye Landscape Design (HELD.) HELD is a garden design, installation and maintenance company serving the Pioneer Valley. Most recently he has become certified in Permaculture design and has set out to increase access to food and medicine for all by bringing permaculture designs to private clients and participating communities. He sits on the board of the Heartbeat Collective and brings his healing skills and nature connection to the organization to further spread natural wisdom and to offer this knowledge to the human community in order that we may live in harmony with ourselves, each other and nature.
Joy Massicotte is a yoga teacher, meditation instructor, sound practitioner and dancing fiend:) She has received her 200 hr yoga teacher certification from Live Love Teach, Gong Mastery Training with Don Conreaux and Sage Academy, Healing with Crystal Bowls and Sacred Sound with Nancy Waters at Luminous Tones, and Biosonic Tuning Fork Sound Healing with John Beaulieu. She also has her Reiki II certification. She has a BA in Environmental Studies and a Masters in Natural Resource Administration and Management and has worked in the field of sustainability and clean energy for the past 10 years. She has traveled the world volunteering in different capacities but mainly on organic farms in India, Thailand, Ecuador, Honduras and Belize. Being outdoors or barefoot on dance floor are her favorite places to be. She also volunteers as a snowboard instructor and is a yoga teacher for youth and adults with disabilities and special needs. In 2018, Joy co-founded Sweet Soundscapes and regularly holds yoga & meditation soul-syncing workshops and sound immersions and loves bringing community together to connect with each other and to our higher selves.