Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Review--Earth Chants

Marjorie de Muynck
In The Key Of Earth
Sounds True

Diana Rogers
Love Reigns (Kirtan Chants)
Sounds True

In the liner notes of her CD, In The Key Of Earth, sound healer and musician, Marjorie de Muynck (de monk), tells us that "Ohm" is the vibration of the earth. She cites, "Ohm (aum), exists in the harmonically rich valley between the musical notes of C and C sharp, an alternative, or "cosmic," tuning that predates keyboards or modern Western music. Ohm is felt in nature, in the cycles and rhythms of the Earth, and the movement of the cosmos."

Marjorie de Muynck combines her background as a jazz performer, (Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet), with an MA in music education, and her own therapeutic work, (she is the creator of Ohm Therapeutics ™). Her lifelong journey with the earth's sounds, music, and vibrations began at an early age and her life story presented briefly in the liner notes proves immensely fascinating to me.

In The Key Of Earth features all acoustic instruments performing "primordial vibrations" and overtones. The ambient music sets a meditative atmosphere that grounds the a meditation practitioner, and the earth spirits seem to enjoy this music too, although I have no scientific proof of this, just happy flickers, (woodpeckers), responding in my backyard throughout the duration of this recording. I found that I am able to take the high of a mediation and ground it into my lower chakras, my feet and the earth, while listening to this atmospheric music.

I agree with Marjorie in that this music is best utilized in a meditative state and it also helps with such practices as creative visualization in that it grounds a vision. The album includes 4 long tracks, which employ different combinations of Ohm tuning forks (4 octaves), bass, vocals, baritone saxophone, Native American flute, Berimbau, and Ohm crystal balls. Ryan Montaño brings in jazz trumpet on the track, Breath.

The music here tends to fall into dissonant chords that are often followed by release. Yet, this grounding music, even without flights of fancy can appear whimsical at times. This might be a good remedy for people who get stuck in their minds, or people who have a difficult time meditating due to wandering minds. Certainly the flickers enjoy this recording, often calling out from the trees. And since I am a bird lover, I have found heaven on earth. Let this one be your calling card to the natural world & its Spirits.

You can find out more about Marjorie and her work at Sound Healing Tools

You walk into a yoga studio, watch a small group of musicians set up, possibly on a small stage, and people from various backgrounds sift into the room. You might expect a concert in the traditional sense, but instead you experience a fusion of spiritual devotion from the Hindu tradition, call & response chanting between the musicians and the active viewers in the room. What you would experience has been an emerging trend for some time, with kirtan chants growing in popularity among people from varying spiritual backgrounds.

Some of the popular names of this tradition include, Deva Premal & Miten, Jai Uttal, Diana Rogers and others. Diana Rogers who hails from a diverse musical background, (Gregorian chants, renaissance music, and opera), possesses an amazing voice that lends itself well to kirtan chanting. She handles lead vocals on her recording, Love Reigns, and is backed by gorgeous melodies performed on acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, harmonium, ektar, bass, drums, percussion, bamboo flute, shakers, banjo and other instruments.

Musicians Ben Leinbach, Carolyn Ross, Sofia Ross, Jai Uttal, Manose, Daniel Paul, and a long list come on board creating a vibrant atmosphere. Even though this music lends itself to active meditation, I am listening to it while I type this review and it lends itself well to other types of activities. This music would also lend itself well to creating a mood for a healing circle, spiritual conversation group, or even for a gathering of friends. The music lifts moods and inspires us to move past our egos and go with the Divine flow.

This CD employs active listening, and you might end up, responding vocally during any call & response phrases. I am pleased with this recording from start to finish, but one song in particular has quickly become a favorite, Jai Jagandambe with its descending phrases. Another track, Jai Radha Madhava features Diana reciting in Portuguese--something I would not have expected on a kirtan chant recording! But then, this one can also be catalogued with global or world music.

Each devotional chant is sung to a Hindu deity, sometimes several at one time. I cannot talk for those folks that listen to kirtan chants on a regular basis. However, I find that when I listen to these chants, even without being a devotee of this spiritual tradition, that I can engage in a flow that allows me to magnetize positive events in my life. This music helps me to stop clinging to obsessive thoughts, or ideas that are long past their sell-by date. In other words, this music has the potential if a listener is willing, to let go and surrender to The Divine, however you define it.

For more information on these artists and release dates visit Sounds True

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