Music Reviews
By Chuck Diliberto



Heart of the Mother
(A Retrospective Collection) Raymond Powers
There are compelling moments in our lives that would be enhanced if there were a natural musical soundscape underlying the emotion and the grace of that moment. Although most of these moments do not have music accompanying them, if you listen very closely, you can hear where the music would be playing. In “Heart of the Mother”, Raymond Powers compiled a list of his compositions that would heighten and embellish the Spirituality of the child birthing process.

Powers musically explored the nuances of feelings and intuition that could be going through the heart of the mother during childbirth. His instrument of expression was primarily the cedar flute. The floating, swirling echoes of his flute playing hinted at unseen angels and light guides beaming their love from just beyond the periphery of our five senses. A sense of majesty and playfulness combined in an arrangement of dancing notes and trills. The music was soft and gentle, but not without direction or melody.

Powers’ spirituality eased its way unforced through his compositions. His vulnerability in allowing the listener a peek into his unguarded soul reflected the sincerity and integrity of a man who lived his life as an art form. Raymond Powers really cares about the rigors a woman has to go through during the incubation and delivery aspects of child birthing. So much so that this CD project is actually a fundraiser, with 30% of each CD sold benefiting the Ojai, California Birth Resource and Family Center.

For more information, please call 1 (805) 646-6983.


Hiromitsu Agatsuma
Domo Records
Agatsuma is an accomplished player of the Shamisen, a cousin of the guitar. The instrument originated in China, has three strings, and is three feet in length with a body and a neck. The Shamisen was traditionally used as a background instrument for folk singers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Agatsuma first won the Tsugaru-Shamisen Competition in Japan at the age of fourteen. Since then, he has won consecutive Japanese Shamisen Competitions in 1995 and 1996. “Beams” is Agatsuma’s second CD release and the songs were inspired and recorded during his first national tour. It is not so much the traditional sound of the Shamisen that has won Agatsuma respect and prestige, it is within the emotion and intensity of his playing combined with his various musical influences. Agatsuma plays the Shamisen in the same place and role of that of a lead guitarist. The Shamisen has a twangy sound that is unmistakably traditional and culturally indigenous, any other comparisons to the origins of the use of this instrument stop there.

Agatsuma shines in much the same way, as Eric Clapton would lay down blues licks, or Jerry Garcia would play beautiful melodies, or as Michael Hedges would fuse Jazz with rock - n - roll. What Agatsuma does with three strings is reminiscent of what Django Reinhardt did with two and half fingers. It is fascinating how this ancient instrument fits in so nicely with contemporary rhythms and beats. This is another testament to the skill and expertise of Hiromitsu Agatsuma. A definite keeper.

For more information, please call 1 (310) 966-4414 ext. 6.


Indians Indians
Robert Mirabal
Silver Wave Records
Robert Mirabal has many stories to tell. He has the wisdom of an ancient sage sitting atop the proverbial mountain, he has the wry humor of a man who has experienced the ups and downs of life, and he has that one intangible that can neither be forced or faked soul. Mirabal’s life and words has brought the past and the future into the poignancy of this moment. He has no pretense in the stories he weaves, looking at all men as equals in the eyes of the Creator.

When listening to Robert Mirabal pondering the meaning of his life, you are struck with the awe and innocence in which he perceives his surroundings. His attempts at making sense of his Native American heritage as he assimilated the feelings of his own heart with the world around him is completely astounding. Mirabal is the man / child in search of the cosmic connections that divinely underpin all that is seen and unseen. The characters in his stories are real people, the places are real locations, and the moments are real time moments in the development of American culture and American history. Mirabal was a natural beat poet, giving his stories a dimension and a complexity that could have easily been a part of the beatnik coffeehouse culture of the 1950’s.

This review could glowingly go on forever. Robert Mirabal is a cultural mystic who needs to be experienced as well as heard. His songs, poems, and stories make Robert Mirabal a great human being capable of touching many hearts and souls, maybe you are next.

For more information, please call 1 (303) 443-5617.


Tribe Vibe
Ganga Giri
New Earth Records
Ganga Giri is an Australian per-cussionist in search of the rhythmic formula that will unlock the potential of the soul. “Tribe Vibe” is an apt name for this project. The percussive soundscape created by Giri produced ambient trance dance music. Various did-jeridus, congas, Djembe, bougaraboo, talking drums, shakers, cowbells, bongos, clapsticks, natural bird sounds, vocal chants, and the Jews harp were layered together to form a groove so fat you could walk on it.

The music undulated with an energy that was immense in its ability to get inside of your body. Funky beats and rhythms were flowing in streams of consciousness. Swirling patterns of vibrational energy transcended the listener’s experience, expanding the consciousness beyond the mundane to a realm of feelings where the Spirit world was waiting to be explored. The music showed a depth of insight; slowly working past our third dimensional senses in search of the formula that would free the soul.

It was obvious the Ganga Giri was having a lot of fun with the music he was creating. Very subtle mood shifts and musical inflections signified whether or not he was searching for answers, or that he had already found them and was expounding their meanings freely. His inquisitive nature was childlike, reflecting the unbounded joy a child has when playing with his toys. Complexity and simplicity merged in perfect balance to represent the Yin and Yang qualities of life. Obviously, this is no easy feat, but more of a testament to the Spirituality of Ganga Giri as he expressed his vision through neo-contemporary music. Worth checking out.

For more information, please call 1 (505) 466-2471.


Hopes & Dreams
Lisa Lynne
New Earth Records
The world for an artist is loaded with inspiring moments that reach out to the heart and soul. It is not often when these moments contain elements of pain and suffering that the response to this muse is one of a lovely nature. In “Hopes & Dreams”, Lisa Lynne was inspired by the humbling experience she encountered playing to the residents of the internationally renowned City of Hope Cancer Research and treatment National Medical Center in California.

Lynne, through her instrument, the Celtic harp, and the emotional accompaniment of her supporting musicians, has revealed a gentle, thoughtful nature. Her melodies are blossoming with compassion, sensitive to the feelings of those who have inspired these compositions. The music is relaxing and sweet, a warm blanket of maternal security that will caress and nurture anyone on a healing path.

Lisa Lynne measured her feelings in each note, searching for answers and meanings in the plight of cancer stricken people. You can feel her Spiritual dilemma as she attempts to come to terms with the role other people’s suffering has in her own life. The torment of their family members, and the growing realizations of those stricken have combined with Lynne’s feelings and confusion about her own life. This synthesis of feeling has led Lynne to create an opus that has helped her to unlock the secrets of her soul. Sometimes we discover whom we are in the least likely of situations; “Hopes & Dreams” is one such discovery.

For more information, please call 1 (505) 466-2471.

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.

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