What’s in a name?
Choosing a title for songs with no lyrics is an interesting process! These song titles are influenced by the mood, energy or impressions that surface when I’m playing the song or listening to it’s recording.
Sometimes the circumstances around how the song came to me are the deciding factor. This is NOT to imply what any of these songs “should” mean to you, or what your experience of it will be... I encourage you to listen with an open heart and mind, letting the music help you travel within. Often the experience changes with each listen.
This song gets me dreaming of spiritual worlds while staying firmly grounded, rooted to the Earth and physical body.
The first time I listened to this recording I was lying on the floor with headphones on. As I drifted into a dreamy, meditative/expanded state there was a distinct feeling of connection to the whole universe...feeling it simultaneously within me and around me, as if the atoms in my body were stars and galaxies.
I also sense a Nordic vibe with this song, so I chose to name it “Valhalla”...a realm in the afterlife for noble warriors chosen by the Norse god Odin.
The celestial female voice you hear accompanying me is Theda Phoenix, with whom I have had the pleasure of performing with around Vancouver, Canada over the last few years.
I absolutely LOVE the rhythms that percussion master Gilly Gonzalez contributed to this recording! It truly brought the song to a whole new level.
I hold a deep fascination with lost ancient civilizations...Lemuria being one of them.
Lemuria is reputed to be an ancient civilization which existed prior to and during the time of Atlantis. It is believed that Lemuria existed largely in the Southern Pacific, between North America and Asia/Australia.
Lemuria is also sometimes referred to as Mu, or the Motherland (of Mu). At its peak of civilization, the Lemurian people were both highly evolved and very spiritual.
Some of the indigenous Andean cultures say that they are descended from the people of Mu. While any documentation of this ancient culture has been lost for ages, there must be some collective/cellular memories enshrined within our DNA.
When this song began to take form I received impressions of a beautiful sunrise over the horizon of an ancient, highly evolved civilization... Hence the name “Lemurian Sunrise.”
INVOCATION/OPENING THE PORTAL
The first half of this track, “Invocation” is a mashup of Sanskrit mantras for purification and healing.
In 1989 I walked into a small metaphysical shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA) and heard a sound that rocked my world and changed my life.
I was hearing a recording of the Gyuto Monks of Tibet. The person working in the store had the volume of the stereo turned up quite loud. It felt like I walked into a wall of sound that I had no frame of reference for.
Fast forward: In 2008 I miraculously found myself in the presence of Nechung Kuten La, medium for the Oracle of Tibet.
From the Government of Tibet In Exile website:
Like many ancient civilizations of the world, the henomenon of oracles remains an important part of the Tibetan way of life.
The ancient Taoist masters taught that Yin (feminine/soothing energy) and Yang (masculine/activating energy) is most perfectly balanced at dawn and dusk, or twilight.
The energies of the natural world flow in rhythms and patterns. Our bodies function best when they are in sync with these patterns.
Thus, dawn and dusk are considered to be the optimal times to practice energy cultivation, or qigong.
While our modern way of living provides us comfort and protection from changes in weather and seasons, there is a price we pay by reducing our awareness and connection to nature.
The Koshi chime you hear in this song represents the feminine essence. And my voice is, well... masculine.
When balanced and refined, the masculine holds safe and sacred space for the feminine essence to blossom and weave her majik in a sacred dance, returning us to harmony.
THE INCREDIBLE ONENESS OF ALL THINGS
As I ponder this human existence in the midst of this swirling and expanding “Youniverse,” the rapture and awe of being part of it all welled up in my heart, forming this song.
What an incredible miracle it is... to be a human being living on this beautiful and unique planet amongst all of the stars, planets, galaxies, black holes and nebulae in the universe. So diverse, yet one living organism.
As vast and intricate is the macrocosm, so too is the microcosm. The vastness of infinity moves in all directions expanding outward and inward revealing a multiverse within each and every one of us.
“As above, so below. As within, so without.”
These timeless, universal principles are expressed in a multitude of ways by spiritual lineages from around the world. The instrument you hear on this piece is an sound of harmonics on the instrument, when that feeling of connection I just described came over me.
The melody soon followed.
This guitar melody came to me in 1988 or ‘89. I captured it on bass guitar, which was my main instrument during my “rocker” years. (Ok, I’m still a rocker at heart!)
The melody followed me around for decades, always in my consciousness patiently waiting to be birthed into song. I finally found the right touch to play it on guitar, and the vocal melodies soon followed.
When I recorded this with my friend/producer/engineer Mark Fenster, he suggested adding tanpura to the mix.
The Tanpura is a long-necked plucked string instrument, originating from India. Found in various forms in Indian music, it supports the melody of another instrument or singer by providing a continuous harmonic drone.
The tanpura creates a sonic canvas that interacts with the overtones of my voice and creates cohesion with the other instruments.
Gilly Gonzalez added a brilliant touch to this piece with tabla (a pair of twin hand drums from the Indian subcontinent) and a symphony of percussive delights.
SONG OF THE ANCIENTS
In 2010, shortly after I managed to establish permanent residence in Canada, I was introduced to a Q’ero (indigenous) healer/teacher/shaman from Peru, Jhaimy Alvarez Acosta.
I had just performed for a private group healing session. Afterward, Jhaimy pulled me aside and told me “the masters I work with say you need to come to Peru!” Chills ran down my spine. “Sound opens the doorways in these ancient temples.” He said, “You have the key...Come to Peru!”
Over the next couple of years whenever Jhaimy came to Vancouver, BC we began to work together in group meditation/healing ceremonies.
Finally in 2013 he invited me to come to Peru on a group pilgrimage to sacred sites and temples. One night during the journey to Lake Titicaca, we camped out in a high desert valley.
I set up my instruments by the campfire and sang through the night in a sacred ceremony with Jhaimy leading us in prayer and sharing ancient Andean wisdom teachings.
The following morning, as we walked amongst the other-worldly rock formations in this area, Jhaimy showed me there were ancient tombs underneath the rocks all around us.
In December 2011 I was invited to sit in on a live performance with percussion masters, Gilly Gonzalez and Lisa Wimberger, along with master vocalist/multi instrumentalist Beth Quist.
The performance was to be recorded live, and I went in “blind” with no rehearsal.
As soon as the drum groove began, I heard this melody in my head so I grabbed the mic and started singing. Beth danced onto the stage, eyes locked in on mine as she unleashed her voice. The energy was so strong at one point my knees buckled.
I literally could not sleep that night.
Years later, I was finally able to bring the live recording into the studio, and added more layers of my voice to the mix.
“Om Shaman” felt like the perfect fit for this energy.
I recorded the jungle sounds outside of my hut in the Amazon basin during my 2013 journey in Peru with Jhaimy Alvarez-Acosta.
It just felt right to give Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) the last voice in this album. ** I didn’t notice until after the album was produced, but if you listen closely the jungle cicadas are singing the same note that Beth ended the song with!
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