By Chuck Diliberto
Red Thunder / Robby Romero
Eagle Thunder Records
We co-exist in a world where heroes are relegated to animated super-status, fictitious Hollywood role models, or even worse, media-created personalities that suit the ulterior motives of those in power. It is frustrating wanting to support various causes without knowing how your money is actually distributed. I guess sometimes we have to follow our own intuition and hearts.
This is where Robby Romero and his band Red Thunder stand. The CD “Hidden Medicine” is the sound-track Romero composed for his latest project, a film special in support of legislation now pending in Congress to protect the remaining 4% of our national forests. Romero is an activist who supports indigenous people’s rights around the world. Primarily the right to protect Mother Earth from corporate (governmental) destruction and the ensuing cultural deterioration of the people’s lives shaped by natural energies of the Earth.
The music is a mixture of commercial rock-n-roll, sensuous ballads, and Native American rhythmic sensibilities. Romero has a smooth, sultry vocal style, impassioned, emotional and sensitive. The lyrical context of his songs conveyed an optimistic approach to an uphill battle. The injustices of the world are only sights along a path to the Spiritual Promised Land. Romero’s message was positive and without anger, subtly inferring we are all in this together. His cause is a worthy one, if successfully supported, future generations may have new, real, heroes to emulate.
For more information, please call (212) 582-5400.
“Mystic Rhythms” is an exploration of musical rhythms, beats, and vocal chants that may lead to a Spiritual catharsis. The music is a blend of contemporary beats, synthesizer samples, sound effects, and pulsing rhythms combined with Native American, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Aboriginal chanting. The music also compares with certain selections of Gabrielle Roth and Douglas Spotted Eagle.
This is music composed for dancing. Dancing has long been con-sidered a form of communion with God (whirling dervishes). The ”mystic rhythms” are musically designed through a pattern of beats that tantalize and motivate our subconscious energies to flow. Once these energies begin to flow, the body seeks out natural patterns of movement to release blocked energies. The releasing of these blocked energies leads to the aforementioned Spiritual catharsis. In this regard, music is often used to awaken and cleanse the soul. Getting under our skin, so to speak, to work on a deeper level of our untapped consciousness.
The use of various vocal chants lent a cultural authenticity to the music. Chanting is also another form of communion with God. The same releasing of blocked energies also occurs. In ”Mystic Rhythms” we are offered the opportunity to shed our fears and dance, and possibly attain some holistic exercise.
For more information, please call +31 (0) 23 548 35 35.
New World Music
South Africa’s struggle to create a social balance is reflected in ”Zulu Heartbeat”. Mamelang (Zulu for listen) can be heard rising from the ashes of a nation trying to reshape and rebuild its identity. The emotional and psychic scars of South Africa have torn a piece out of all of our hearts. Mamelang has put a strong effort forward to facilitate a much-needed, and long-awaited healing for the people of South Africa. Beyond the babble of politicians, the passion and creativity of musicians and artists have filled in the voids caused by a blatant lack of humanity and compassion.
The music is very upbeat. Percussive instruments pulse and radiate with the African soul. Composer Simon Zagorski-Thomas and keyboard player Brian Short have come together to interpret the musical sensitivities of South Africa. A host of well-known South African vocalists have put their hearts on the line to express the new beliefs and transitions vital to the identity of South Africa. Each song is thematic, individually addressing the culture, the beautiful sights, the intended healing, and what South Africa’s new role as an independent nation could be.
South Africa’s artists, both black and white, have remained courageous and optimistic, amazingly, through years of turmoil. In the souls of South Africa’s indigenous people, we can hear the ”Zulu Heartbeat”, pumping life into the hearts of all oppressed peoples.
For more information, please call (888) 476-8745.
The Heron Smiled
I sat looking for words and feelings to describe Annie Humphrey and her music. It was easy to point out her familiar rock-n-roll influences, but, in mentioning them I would only undermine her Spirit and originality. I could group her with the likes of Sara McLaughlin, Sheryl Crow, Jewell, and even Joan Baez, but that would just distract us from experiencing Annie Humphrey directly.
Annie Humphrey offers the intangibles that can only be expressed from a wizened soul. She has a passion and conviction that is highly infectious, sensual, focused and direct. Annie Humphrey has the rare ability to get inside the listener without forcing herself. Her voice is speaking to our hearts and souls, gently removing the barriers of race and culture. Vocally she could sing any style and still get her point across.
Lyrically we are presented with a combination of common issues (day to day), historical journeys of freedom (her Native American roots), and the ability to place one’s life in perspective amidst the chaos of choices, good or bad. Humphrey, by all accounts, has found a way through her acoustic guitar and piano playing, to relate her wisdom to all of us. This is by no means an easy feat. She is a strong woman who has obviously spent a lot of time soul searching and ruminating. “The Heron Smiled” so that Annie Humphrey could share her indomitable Spirit and music with us. This CD is destined to become a big seller, and a must purchase!
For more information, please call (719) 548-9872.
Spirit of the World
New World Music
We think of the world as a vast place, miles of oceans and forests with modern and ancient cultures co-existing side by side. Each culture has a representative Spirit that only through experiencing, not spoken words, can it be best described. In ”Spirit of the World” Terry Oldfield has composed individual pieces to musically describe his multi-cultural and Spiritual experiences.
The Spirit of Aboriginals, Tibetans, Native Americans, Cambodians, Greeks, and Africans is uniquely explored. Each culture has a distinct rhythm and mood that Oldfield musically immersed his soul into. His strongest vehicle of expression is the flute. He plays notes in a haunting refrain, sensitive and passionate, harkening to feelings behind the words. The result is a mixture of indigenous chants interluded with Terry Oldfield’s musical extrapolation of the individual culture’s Spiritual meanings. In this vein, the music is highly personal and original.
Oldfield takes time to explore the nuances and quirks that separate each of these cultures. Each composition resonates with visual imagery, in closing our eyes, we are transported to a foreign country, imbibing in the smells and sights of his vision. Terry Oldfield has created a soundscape that transcends the boundaries of his format. We are not only listening to the music, we are coming as close as possible to being there. Worth checking out.
For more information, please call (888) 476-8745.
Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York State. Having written for a hometown publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. His main interests are spiritual in nature and right living in practice.
Return to the July/August Index page