HEAVENLY SOUNDS
BY CHUCK DILIBERTO

 


A CONCERT OF ANGELS
ASHA (Denis Quinn)
New World Company
What do you get when you combine a classically trained musician with a devout spiritual bend. Asha's "A Concert of Angels" is the result. Musically, Asha is a gifted composer, his sense of flow is superb, his ability to translate non-verbal feelings and archetypes into his piano playing is truly a gift. When you add overlaying synthesizer flaires and occasional guitar fills, you begin to feel a blending of talent and consciousness coming together in synergistic style.

Asha's compositions are played from the edge, that place where awareness comes into definition, an ongoing meditative state. Musicians can be our interpreters of the unseen and unsaid, a pure artist automatically accepts this role. Asha takes this role to the next step. The reality of angels became his truth. Creation manifesting here on earth the message.

The music has a lofty quality, rising above the mundane to connect with the angels. The feeling is euphoric, trancelike and enchanting. Your imagination leads you to the realization that Asha has formed a nexus with the angels. We are also led to imagine that this is a two-way street.

"A Concert of Angels" can be defined by energy and communication. An angel's energy level would have to be sublime to maintain a level of purity. Asha's music is also subliminal. In order to communicate with angels, you will have to speak their language of love and trust. What Asha has done by creating this music is to innately trust that the love in his music will touch his listeners as deeply as it has touched him. This begs one question to be asked. Could we actually be listening to the angels' side of the equation? You be the judge.

For more information, call (800) 444-9678.

 

AWAKE INSIDE A DREAM
Angels of Venice
Epiphany Records
"Awake Inside A Dream" is a two-part journey through the majestic eyes of Carol Tatum. Playing a variety of traditional and medieval instruments, Tatum is joined by Suzanne Teng on flute and Peggy Baldwin on cello to comprise the "Angels of Venice."

Part 1: Exotic is distinguishably Celtic, yet somehow containing the heart of rock-n-roll. It is obvious that Carol Tatum's vision is the driving force behind the music. There is an abundant amount of soul and sensuality blending effortlessly with a sense of adventure and mystery that is built into the music.

The song "A Chantar Mer" is the only known surviving piece of French medieval troubadour music composed by a woman in the late 12th century. Tatum's arrangement allowed her own emotions and intuition to guide the song into a modern interpretation. Tatum is adept at creating music that is visually lush and supported by a strong underlying theme (mood).

Her moods tend to reflect the dark underbelly of emotion that is being explored in the music. This is a natural expression of talent and not necessarily a foreboding exercise in the grotesque or macabre.

Part 2: Poetic is a softer mix of sounds, cozily lilting through dream-scapes and new horizons. The music embraces qualities that are ethereal and earthy, representing a path of feminine perspective and oneness. Suzanne Teng's flute playing displayed a virtuosity that was both gentle and nurturing, leaving a healing glow within my ears.

"Awake Inside A Dream" is soul quenching and heart fulfilling.

For more information please call (818) 543-4884.

 

GREGORIAN CHRISTMAS CHANT
Sung by the Benedictine Nuns of St. Cecilia's Abbey
New World Company
St. Cecilia's Abbey, located on the Isle of Wight, England, is the location of these recordings. This natural dwelling for the Benedictine Nuns aids in the dynamic of proper set and setting. The nuns are right at home, and the full expression of their souls is obvious throughout this recording. This particular CD contains selections from the Christmas Liturgy, but this is not a prerequisite to only playing these beautiful chants around Christmas time.

Within the complexity of universal thought lies a direct path to the heart of creation. That path is music. The chants were originally masses that were put to music. Though sung in Latin, the translation is not as important as the souls simpatico vibration with the love and devotion the Benedictine Nuns have in their worship for God.

There is a solemn humility that pervades the music, in this quietude the presence of the divine radiates formless and eternal. The chants are meditations, allowing the ability to focus on pure being to become a cleansing expression of the majesty of Creation. This understanding is embodied by the nuns, whom with angelic voices and devote hearts, we are treated to a personal conversation with God. Simply beautiful.

For more information, call (800) 444-9678.

 

PEACE ON EARTH
Kitaro
Domo Records
Kitaro uses "Peace on Earth" as an opportunity to combine his own unique spirituality with the spiritual values of a selected group of timeless, traditional Christmas songs. From the first note, Kitaro takes us on a journey that probes deeply into his realm of Christmas spirit. He delicately develops the soul of each song, stretching majestically through well-known melodies with an approach that is original, fresh and appealing, not only to the tradition of these Christmas classics, but to the soul of Christmas itself.

Kitaro's trademark of highly orchestrated, sensitive and sensual musical interpretations with plenty of soul and spirit, has found a wonderful outlet in these Christmas songs. He has created a cultural pastiche using songs from Germany, England, France and the United States, thrown in the choral backings of the "International Peace Choir", and the mystery and awe beheld with each custom comes to life.

Here is a sample of some of the songs presented on this CD. The "Little Drummer Boy" became a mystical dialogue, hinting at some secret being revealed. The use of flutes and synthesizers on "Jingle Bells" was original and verdant. The song is literally a romp through white snow and all the sensuality this image brings with it. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" was a graceful rendition that explored the intricacies of the original melody, presenting a tone poem that was both haunting and stimulating.

Kitaro has shown himself as the ambassador of Christmas Spirit. Every note was a bubble rising in our hearts and collective consciousness, releasing the memories of Christmas' past. This release created a critical mass within me that freed the unexpurgated joy of the little child anxiously awaiting Christmas Day when the magic of love unfolds through the gift giving and receiving of our family and friends. There is an abundant amount of sentimentality being displayed. The heart of Kitaro vibrated brilliantly in each song, his charm and charisma resonating from within his personal world, a world where music brings us to the inner workings of Creation. This is a must purchase.

For more information, call (310) 577-2100, or visit the web site at http://www.domo.com.

 

ANGEL SLEEP
Medwyn Goodall
New World Company
Goodall's "Angel Sleep" is a concept CD with no pretensions. Goodall, a multi-instrumentalist, not only lifts us into the arms of angels, he merges us with the essence of the angels themselves. The music is light and reflective, sometimes moody as we journey through consciousness, delighting in a subtle grace that is extremely profound and nurturing.

You begin to get a sense that Goodall himself is an angel. There is a finesse and naturalness that harkens to an unseen domain; Goodall is that domain. In his oneness of spirit, the breath of the angels is his gift and his purpose. The otherworldliness of Goodall's compositions enforces the underlying theme of this concept CD, by going beyond concept to the abstract where logic and rationale hold no sway. Feelings are your guide, intuition your handrails on this journey of formlessness and timelessness.

Goodall is the kind of musician who is able to capture the moment. Each song is a moment in the sleeping chamber of the angels. In this dream the music becomes mystical and ethereal, floating into a heaven that is surreal yet enticing. We are not escaping, but going back to the core of our being where it all began, no conflicts, no pathologies, and definitely no darkness. The melody emerges from a hidden place, leaving invisible traces of its beginning and end. The music was never forced, each note was offered as a gift from and to Creation. Make sure you are not driving while listening to "Angel Sleep."

For more information, call (800) 444-9678.

 

GIFTS OF COMFORT & JOY
Medwyn Goodall
New World Company
Medwyn Goodall's "Gifts of Comfort & Joy" is just in time for the holiday season. If you are tired of the same renditions of traditional Christmas songs, then this CD is for you. It is apparent that the songs Goodall chose were some of his personal favorites. Classics as "O Christmas Tree," "The First Noel," and "Deck the Halls" are presented in a prolific and fresh approach.

Playing guitar, flute, pan-pipe, percussion and keyboards, Goodall uses a layered sound technique to support the central themes of the song and leaves his stamp of personal creativity upon it. The traditional "Silent Night," through a masterful rearrangement by Goodall, is instilled with joy and presence. A song that was once a lament has become a celebration in the playground of angels. The traditional English folk ballad "Scarborough Fair" was rendered close to its original root. Goodall interjected the song from a bard's point of view, traveling from town to town, wooing the women with song and dance on the chance that his faire maiden would avail herself.

Goodall truly enjoys expressing the joy in his heart. This joy flowed through each instrument, articulated as a child relishing in the simplicity of being alive, delighting in every breath. This collection of songs is a must on your Christmas play list.

For more information, call (800) 444-9678.

 

CHANT OF THE ANGELS
J. Donald Walters
Clarity Sound & Light
"Chant of the Angels" is the most recent release of J. Donald Waters' compositions. Walters has exhibited a special ability to compose music that facilitates the spiritual growth of his fellow sisters and brothers. This is not the first, nor will it be the last Walters project I review. I admire and deeply respect Walters for his contributions and service to the practice and celebration of spirit in our daily lives.

This CD is formatted in alternating segments, Choir, Organ, Choir, and so forth, ending with the Choir. Each segment has its own direction, purpose and meaning. Walters' work always contains an element of spontaneity, how can you rehearse the release of spirit? With this understanding, the simple, yet profound mantras (chants) that he has written are combined with the talents of the "World Brotherhood Choir." The Choir is allowed to explore the mantras' meanings through their feelings, as the meanings are felt and understood, the quality of heart and soul transmutes in each individual choir member. These changes contribute to the "Chant of the Angels." The feelings evolved from this music are akin to those achieved by the Benedictine Monk Nuns performing Gregorian Chants.

It is obvious that an evolution of culture is happening here, as in East (mantras) meets West (choir). It is comforting to know that spiritual growth and commitment to the divine are no longer confined to established religions of the world. Maybe the peoples of this planet are beginning to grow (up), only our angels know for sure.

For more information, call (800) 424-1055.

 

MYSTIC ANGEL
Mike Rowland
New World Music
Mike Rowland has a dream he wants to share. In his dream the magnificence of divine love touches his heart, resting for a moment, then flowing outwardly to the world. The music is composed through piano, strings and orchestrated instrumentation, highly produced and tonally pleasing.

The quality of soul Rowland brings to the "Mystic Angel" is refreshing and light, yet tinged with a somberness that reveals the responsibility of expression for such soulful sounds. The complexity of his walk through creation unfolds with a sensitivity and grace. Each note holds a drop of the universe, melodies begin to arise in Genesis, flowing with charm and elegance. A fine mist that surrounds and then is absorbed in the same way as the gentleness of a lover's touch.

The "Mystic Angel" is Rowland's awe of creation, quietness, reflectiveness and joy for life coming together. He has nothing to hide, willfully giving of his heart, revealing deep secrets while still searching for that moment of eternity, truth and everlasting peace. A very inspired collection of songs indeed.

For more information, call (800) 444-9678.


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