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ny, world leaders could learn a
lesson from their example. Ma-
riah Parker's "Sangria" is a won-
derful cross-cultural musical
experience and highly recom-
I was very happy to receive
this new release from Char-El
(Charles Thaxton,) having en-
joyed his previous CD's "Heaven
& Earth" and "Worlds Without
End." This 2009 release is ac-
tually a time capsule of sorts
and features unreleased music
he recorded at various periods
over the past 20 years, which
has been re-mastered and some
new tracks added. As such, it
fits right in with the current re-
vival of interest in vintage analog
keyboards, with the particular
sounds, and retro 70's-80's vibe
they evoke.
Char-El's music is mainly syn-
thesizer-based with symphon-
ic overtones. Perhaps the term
"synth-phonic" would be most
appropriate. Fans of Kitaro, Tan-
gerine Dream, David Arkenstone,
and perhaps early Yanni, will
feel right at home here. There's
also a shade of progressive rock
influence on some songs that
leans towards the Genesis/Yes
side of the spectrum, although
the music on "Resurrection" is
Along with classic analog
and digital synths are electronic
drums, samplers, sequencers,
and some stellar guitar playing
by Bob Baratta. And speaking of
retro, Char-El's music features
a Mellotron, a keyboard instru-
ment from the psychedelic 60's,
popularized on The Beatle's
"Strawberry Fields," as well as
on many of the grand epics by
the Moody Blues, one of Char-
El's major influences.
Song titles like Star Danc-
ing, Astral Flight, and Ancient
Temple, reveal a fantasy, sci-fi
storybook quality that is pres-
ent in much of his sound. Lis-
tening with headphones accen-
tuated this element even more.
With 19 tracks spanning 80 min-
utes, "Resurrection" is a treasure
trove of sparkling sonic gems
and magical melodies.
Michael Diamond is a music pro-
ducer, recording artist, and journalist
in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit:
EVERydAy GOddEss
Spiritual Guidebook for
Contemplation and Prayer
By Pamela Wells
Many people are now find-
ing meaning in their lives by
turning to contemplative forms
of knowing and higher learn-
ing. This Collector's set includes
22 oversized, gold-framed Af-
firmation Cards for prayer and
meditation, a 120-page spiritual
Guidebook and Wisdom Prayer
This boxed collection is a
powerful tool for the journey to
greater self-knowledge, under-
standing and awareness. Women
and spiritual seekers of any age
will enjoy the way these beauti-
ful goddess art cards honor the
feminine way of learning through
creativity and inner vision.
Pamela Wells, the artist and
author, is committed to commu-
nicating a message of love, joy
and hope through her inspira-
tional visions and wisdom. Her
website offers a line of beautiful
goddess art and a preview of the
cards to read online.
Her goddess illustrations on
each card are quite beautiful,
making the guidebook and Af-
firmation Card set a pleasure to
use as a daily practice for deep-
er spiritual contemplation and
guidance. For even more clari-
fication, Wells has added ap-
plicable quotations form many
spiritual and religious traditions
that demonstrate universal pow-
er and relevance.
Published by Artmagic Publishing,
the set and other goddess products are
available at www.artmagicpublishing.
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis
12 sTOnEs
Directed by Sandy Smolan,
Twelve Stones is a film of com-
pelling content, condensed into
a twenty-two minute documen-
tary short. Winning the Best
Film Documentary designation
at two film festivals, including
the Newport Beach Film Festi-
val, Twelve Stones is storytelling
at its finest.
The sublime beauty of Nepal
has been well framed by cin-
ematographer Jacek Lasku. The
breathtaking landscape is in
marked contrast with the living
conditions of most of its peo-
ple. Nepal is one of the poorest
nations in the world.
With the support of Heifer In-
ternational, a nonprofit that sup-
ports sustainable development
in communities, an experiment
began to see if empowering the
marginalized women in the area
would make a difference.
Set in the village of Belsi off a
main highway that connects Ne-
pal to India, the film focuses on
four women, Shanti, Sita, Sonia
and Parabati, who like other Ne-
pali village women, were poor,
illiterate and too withdrawn to
speak to strangers before being
given a gift of a goat to provide
an incentive toward becoming
more economically viable.
Through Heifer's program, the
women were also introduced to
an understanding of how to de-
velop more of a foundation in
life through making use of core
values, or cornerstones, from
which the film takes its name.
What seemed like a small
idea has sprouted into something
truly remarkable -- transforming
the economic and social status
of these women. They have be-
come increasingly self-sufficient
community leaders, able to start
financial cooperatives, and they
have continued the Heifer model
of giving the gift again, offering a
goats to other women to widen
the circle of sustainability. As a
result, many women of the vil-
lage of Belsi and their families
have now been raised out of ab-
ject poverty.
Another unforeseen benefit
was the dramatic change in dis-
solving gender inequality with-
in the families. This film makes
good use of the camera lens
to create an intimate view and
provide a rich tactile sense of
life in a far away place. It aptly
shows the human face of happi-
ness as each of the women found
they had something of value to
for information and screening infor-
Reviewed by Donna Strong
"The Environment"
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