Friday, December 24, 2010

FYI: 3 Most Powerful Words

I Love You said to anyone in any language.

Say these words and sing these words often.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top 20 Folkloric/World Music Women Vocalists

Marta Topferova, World Village
WME Top 20 Folkloric/Traditional Women Vocalists

1. Mariza (Portugal)

2. Cristina Branco (Portugal)

3. Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde)

4. Lura (Cape Verde/Portugal)

5. Savina Yannatou (Greece)

6. Oumou Sangare (Mali)

7. Rokia Traore (Mali)

8. Lila Downs (US/Mexico)

9. Monica Salmaso (Brazil)

10. Tania Libertad (Peru)

11. Mariana Montalvo (Chile/France)

12. Barbara Luna (Argentina)

13. Marta Topferova (US)

14. Sui Vesan (Czech Republic)

15. Jenny Wilhelms (Finland)

16. Julie Fowlis (Scotland)

17. Uxia (Spain)

18. Marina Rossell (Spain)

19. Estrella Morente (Spain)

20. Omara Portuondo (Cuba)

Women or Mixed Voice Ensembles

1. Faraualla (Italy)

2. Kitka (US)

3. Corou de Berra (France)

This wasn't an easy list to compile.  Many fabulous vocalists weren't included, such as Native American, Indian classical, jazz, blues, bluegrass, or American folk artists.  I'll compile those lists at another time. 

I enjoy the music of hundreds of women vocalists so this list represents mainly artists that command our attention and inclusion in our CD collections.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In review--Soulful Bliss

Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon
Soul Call
Om Namo Narayanaya

When I first heard about vocalist Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon’s Soul Call, I thought I’d received a kirtan CD in the mail. So I felt surprised when I received a famous healing chant set to Indian pop music. Krishnamurthy Tandon sings the same chant throughout the nine tracks that appear on the invigorating CD. It’s not surprising that the overall feel compares to a Bollywood soundtrack since the producer and musicians recorded it at a soundtrack studio, with orchestral arrangement duties handled by Tejendra Narayan Majumdar.

The Grammy-nominated album has received a devoted following at the Soul Chants website (site listed at the end of the review). Visitors cite the healing effects the chants have had on them. According to the liner notes, “The powerful healing mantra translates to, ‘I surrender all to the Divine Protector; I salute the Divine Maintainer of all; I belong to the Divine Grace that created me; Please bless me to serve The Grace at all times.’”

Also in the liner notes, “Continuous recitation of the mantra’s eight phonemes, Om Na Mo Na Ra Ya Na Ya, is said to cleanse the body of disease causing cells in eight vital centers…” I’ve listened to the recording four times and I’ve not experienced a boost to my health yet. However, I feel relaxed when I listen to Krishnamurthy’s powerful voice. Perhaps, in order for this mantra to live up to its full potential, I’m supposed to sing along, but what a fete singing along with a classically-trained Indian vocalist! Most of us would rather just listen and lose ourselves in her voice.

I’m currently producing a new workshop on Ayurvedic doshas and music and I find that the music on this recording dovetail with my mission. For instance, the first track, Bhoopali, with its slow dreamy beginning leading to invigorating beats and phrases would be ideal for someone balancing Kapha (dosha). The slower tempo Shuddha Sarang could balance Vata as well, as calm Pitta. I also recommend the second track, Bageshri for Vata and Pitta balancing. The Arabic-sounding Basanth Mukhari sounds ideal for individuals with Kapha imbalance who have trouble getting out of bed every morning.  In fact, this chant recording lends itself to a morning listening session. Winter is ruled by Kapha so many of us will feel sluggish during this time and need an extra boost that this recording provides.

I end this review sending out a blessing to Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon for devoting her lifework to this special chant and engaging with the healing power of music. The vocalist’s life story acts as an inspiration to any of us seeking our true life calling. First, there’s the courage to leave the old life behind, and then the determination to drift into the unknown until our feet land on the right path for us. If you seek a healing, it certainly doesn’t hurt to listen to this recording a few times. The end result might surprise you like it has the 12,000 visitors to Soul Chants website. And a Grammy nomination awarded to a recently unknown musician is significant too. Miracles happen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Celebration of the Solstice Eclipse...

I'm compiling a list of songs with references to the moon or have moon in the title.  I can use your help.  Genres I'm looking at are: World, traditional, classical, Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks, jazz, and blues.

I'll get us started: "Clare de Lune," "Moon River," "Blue Moon,"....

Please leave a comment with the song titles.  Thanks.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

FYI--What's On Your Holiday Music List?

Holiday Recordings (In My Collection)

I gave most of my holiday recordings to my parents. And the list you’ll find here features Christian and pagan music. I have not received any holiday recordings from other spiritual and religious traditions, but I'm open to recordings featuring music for Kwanza and other religious traditions.

But on this list, I’ve included Corsican polyphony, Nicoise and Provencal polyphony, early music, early colonial music from Latin America, polyphony and carols from the United States (early music), choral music from Eastern Europe, and some unique small ensemble music. Of course you’ll also find a recording of Handel Messiah, which is also featured during Easter season.

I realize that these recordings don’t comprise a comprehensive collection, (Tchaikovsky’s incidental music for the ballet The Nutcracker is missing from this list). However, the loving spirit of all the recordings comes through loud and clear, especially on a good stereo system.


1. Stile Antico, Puer natus est (Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas), Harmonia Mundi

2. Corou De Berra, Christmas Carols from Southern France, Buda Musique

3. Jean-Paul Poletti & The Men’s Choir of Sartene, Messa Sulenna (Corsican chants), Universal France

4. San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, La Noche Buena (Christmas Music of Colonial Latin America), World Library Publications

5. Polyphony/Britten Sinfonia/Stephen Layton, Handel Messiah, Hyperion (UK)

6. Anonymous 4, The Cherry Tree (Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas), Harmonia Mundi

7. The Terra Nova Consort, Renaissance in Provence (folkloric Christmas songs), Dorian Recordings

8. Kitka, Winter Songs, Diaphonica (Holiday Songs from Eastern Europe)

Small Ensembles (mostly instrumental)

1. Rolf Lislevand, Jul I gammel tid (Norwegian), Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV)

2. Mathias Eick, Pasha Hanjani & Ertan Tekin, Three Wise Men, KKV

3. Loreena McKennitt, A Midwinter Night’s Dream, Verve

4. Solveig Slettahjell, Little Town of Bethlehem, KKV