PEACE ON EARTH
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 holiday songs. From the first note, Kitaro takes us on a journey that probes deeply into his realm of holiday spirit. He delicately develops the soul of each song, stretching majestically through well-known melodies with an approach that is original, fresh and appealing. Kitaro not only adds to the tradition of these holiday classics, but to the soul of the season itself.
His trademark of highly-orchestrated, sensitive and sensual musical interpretations with plenty of soul and spirit, has found a wonderful outlet in these holiday carols. He has created a cultural pastiche using songs from Germany, France, England and the U.S. Throw in the choral backings of the International Peace Choir, and the mystery and awe beheld with each custom, brings the songs to life.
Kitaro has proven himself as the ambassador of the holiday spirit by donating a portion of the proceeds from the album sales and by sponsoring a meet and greet at the Universal Ampitheatre on December 10 during his west coast "Peace on Earth '97 Tour", to E.C.O. (Earth Communications Office). E.C.O. is a non-profit organization that uses the power of communications to improve the global environment. For the past six years, E.C.O. has produced a series of award-winning environmental public service announcements that have been seen by more than 500 million people worldwide on thousands of movie theater screens and TV stations.
For more information on Kitaro's album or "Peace Tour", call (310) 966-4414, or visit their Web site at: http://www.domo.com
WALK WITH THE ANGELS
Hannah & Friends
Hannah Schoenbach's "Walk with the Angels" is an easy-listening stroll in-to her life and world. Hannah has a large welcome mat outside her heart, inviting all listeners to come in and sample her music and artistic sensibilities.
The music is decidedly light jazz. The strains of Herbie Hancock and Kenny G can be heard in her flute playing. Hannah has an effortless, fluid style that is seamless and enchanting. She has an innate ability to capture the focus of her heart in the music. The music is transcendent and relaxing, albeit somewhat commercial, yet this does not distract from the true feelings of her compositions. In Hannah's friends, she has gathered a competent group of musicians to back her up on bass, guitar, keyboards, saxophone and percussion.
"Walk with the Angels" is not strictly an instrumental piece. There are four songs on which Hannah shares her vocal prowess. Her vocal style is much akin to the folky, ballad offerings of Judy Collins and Carole King. There is also an ethereal flair that is reminiscent of the angelic resonance of Annie Haslam (Renaissance). Hannah's inclusion of Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen's "Bernadatte" spoke volumes for her own soul's trials and tribulations.
I was very pleased with "Walk with the Angels". There was nothing obtrusive or unnatural about Hannah's music or perspectives. This is the true energy of an angel, and I enjoyed the walk just fine.
For more information, call (707) 939-1181.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
I feel honored that singer/songwriter Scott Kalechstein asked me to review "Let There Be Light", his greatest hits (2 CD set) that covers the years 1988 to 1993. This collection culls material from his first four releases, including a total of twenty eight songs.
Scott is a transcendental folk musician. His pure heart and his quest for true love and light is explored through his music and lyrics. He is not afraid to show his vulnerability, nor his struggles to find himself. Scott's songs are an inspiration to anyone wishing to live their lives always focused upon compassion, understanding and forgiveness. There is an undeniable spirituality that guides Scott's songs, casting a light of wisdom that is gained from experiencing the ups and downs that searching for the truth of creation brings. "Let There Be Light" is his exploration to find his divine self, while still coping with the inconsistencies of day-to-day existence, no easy task indeed.
This is a beautiful collection of songs, soft and gentle, yet very telling in the simple offerings of the message of love. Scott Kalechstein has come a long way as an artist and as a person. Watching him and his music expand and blossom has been a personal joy to see. Keep up the good work, Scott.
For more information, call (760) 753-2359.
A VERY GREEN CHRISTMAS
Artists for Earth
Seventh Wave Productions
It may seem a bit early, but in "A Very Green Christmas" the Christmas spirit is brought into focus through contemporary means. Andy Williams and the Ray Coniff Singers will have to step aside as the "Artists for Earth" have redefined the direction and muse that has belied traditional Christmas songs for too long. Well known songs as "Oh Holy Night", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Little Drummer Boy" have been richly orchestrated, yet not overstated. The original melodies lilt between personal interpretation and the omnipresent quality of Christmas spirit.
This project was recorded at Christmastime, capturing the energy and rejuvenation of spirit that is really the heart of Christmas. The list of musicians who comprise "Artists for Earth" are all accomplished in their own right, with many CD recordings credited to each of them. This banding together of best known and beloved contemporary instrumentalists is a tour de force that has become commonplace in music today.
The music is laden with emotion, joy and sentimentality. If there is an on switch for Christmas spirit, I felt something click as the peace and love of these compositions poured forth. Sales from "A Very Green Christmas" also benefit the Trees Foundation with $1 from the sale of each CD being donated. This CD contains a wonderful collection of songs and musicians. It is truly sad that Christmas spirit is only promoted once a year; here's a chance to keep it going all year 'round.
For more information, call (415) 380-9997.
Trans-Hyperborean Institute of Science
I have to admit I was in awe and somewhat dumbfounded at the reality premise offered by "Vulcan's Child". We are presented with the understanding that the "music uses the principles of Vibrational Medicine to cultivate your own innate natural balance."
In "Environment" the music is an "Acoustic Feng Shui", designed to heal your living and work environments through the creation of an organic natural balance. We are informed that we need not listen to the music; turn it on, leave the room and the task at hand will be performed.
First, it is best to describe the music. Keyboards and synthesizers are used to create familiar tones and sounds. It is not as much as what is being played, but how the music is being played. There are a series of notes played in subtly changing rhythmic patterns with intermittent pauses between the series of notes. These patterns create the "Vibrational Medicine" mentioned above.
Secondly, I listened to the music to get an idea in which direction it was going. It was then that I began to feel energy move around me. It was a most peculiar sensation, as if the invisible were beginning to separate, move and lift. I decided to leave the room and allow "Environment" to do its cleansing.
When I returned there was a noticeable difference, as if what was once out of place was now in place. I periodically returned to my room to sense if the room vibration somehow returned to its previous state. There was no looking back, the vibrational frequency of my room had been changed.
"Vulcan's Child" is in a class of its own. "Environment" is a fascinating, if not truly wonderful reality in holistic living. You have to try this for yourself, the results will truly surprise you.
For more information, call (415) 389-1764.
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