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Awareness Magazine
5753-G Santa Ana Canyon Rd. #582
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Music & Media Reviews

By Michael Diamond



Ann Licater

Invitation from Within

The flute has to be one of the most soothing instruments of all, and in the hands of a sensitive multi-talented artist like Ann Licater its sound is a gift to the body, mind, and spirit. On her latest release, Invitation from Within Ann plays silver and alto flute, as well as Native American flutes. The album features solo, duet, and multi-instrumental compositions. Accompanists include co-producers Peter Phippen on bass and percussion, and Ivar Lunde on piano, as well as some of my favorite artists like vocalist Lis Addison, and Jeff Oster on trumpet, among others. Ann’s interest in spirituality and the healing qualities of music is evident on this recording and this album provides a deeply relaxing listening experience. I have greatly enjoyed Ann Licater’s previous releases, and Invitation from Within is no exception, in fact it is my new favorite.


Darlene Koldenhoven

Tranquil Times

On her new “all-instrumental” release Tranquil Times, Grammy-winning vocalist Darlene Koldenhoven rests her golden voice and draws on other aspects of her professional talents. Hearing Darlene’s piano playing exposed like this without being in the background of her vocals was a revelation. While Darlene’s skills on piano and synthesizer are formidable to say the least, I really can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am with her work as a composer, orchestrator, and arranger. Darlene’s compositions feel exquisitely crafted and expertly produced. In this regard, the music exudes a polished elegance as well as deep feeling and passionate delivery. There is a cinematic quality to her music, which could easily lend it to being used in a film soundtrack. While “Tranquil Times” provides a rich experience for the ear, it is equally evocative to the mind’s eye, stimulating luminous inner visual imagery from one track to the next. Although Darlene has the voice of an angel, it is wonderful to see her spreading her wings to reveal her other equally impressive musical gifts.


Get Tribal

God of Drum

In my more than 30 years as a new age music journalist, I’ve written about a number of albums specifically created to attune the energy centers or chakras. However, God of Drum by Kari Hohne, who records under the name of Get Tribal, is certainly one of the most unique. She describes the recording as “a collection of percussion-based tribal music inspired by the thunder deities of world mythology.” According to Kari: “Each track was composed based on an archetype and shamanic drumming pattern from different parts of the world.” These reflect Native American, Norse, Celtic, Chinese, African, Mayan and more. As can be expected, there is a broad spectrum of ethnic instruments, while her parallel interest in electronic music brings in synthesizers, samplers, and other contemporary sounds. Although meditation music is generally soft and soothing, Kari purposely sought to unlock energy, and this album certainly does that.


School of Irish Music

Winter Air

While a recording of Gaelic or Celtic music is not unusual to find, one performed by children is. However, you would never guess by listening to it that the instrumentalists and vocalists range from age 9 to 18. All of the songs are traditional Irish tunes representing Christmas, New Years, and the winter season. The students spent hundreds of hours practicing. Randy and Pamela Copus of the new age ensemble “2002” provided their professional studio for the recording, and their 9-year-old daughter Sarah is featured on harp, tin whistle, and vocals. In addition to students, a few tracks include the school’s Irish Heritage Advisor, world-renowned and award-winning fiddler James Kelly. With all the technologically-enhanced superficial teen pop music flooding the market these days, it is gratifying and encouraging finding a project with depth and substance such as this.


David Helpling

And Jon Jenkins



The new release by David Helpling and Jon Jenkins marks the third and final chapter in a musical trilogy that began six years ago. On this one, they “felt a major responsibility to make something bigger and deeper, both musically and emotionally.” The music blends cinematic electronics with rock power and spacemusic sensibilities. While all of the tracks are deeply atmospheric, some are grounded by a powerful rhythmic foundation. It’s hard to overstate how incredibly dreamy this music is with its fusion of lush synth textures, intimate pianos, shimmering electric guitars, and percussive elements, that at times brought to mind the music of Patrick O’Hearn. There is also a special guest appearance by virtuoso vocalist Miriam Stockley on the title track. Not only is this a triumphant masterpiece for the duo, but is another in a long string of innovative ambient albums from the southern California-based Spotted Peccary Music label.

Michael Diamond is a music producer, recording artist, and music journalist in the San Francisco Bay area with over 30 years of experience writing for nationally-published magazines and more recently worldwide on the internet. He currently has five CD’s including two with new-age music pioneer Steven Halpern. For additional reviews of CD’s, DVD’s, and more, please visit: