Saturday, March 5, 2011

Essay: Magnetic Music

Music as Magnetic Law of Attraction

The topic of applying music to lifting vibration is not new to me. I’ve been using music to lift my moods all my life, and consciously since 2005 when I came up with the concept for my book Whole Music, and 2 years before I launched this blog. Then a few months ago I noticed that jazz vocalist Trish Hatley began a project combining affirmations with music to support the law of attraction concept.

The other day when I played a Rough Guide compilation for the music of Bolivia, I had this image of the bombo drum and flutes in my mind’s eye and I found this music profoundly uplifting. This brought me to the idea that we all have different genres and instruments that lift our vibration. Perhaps the Andes music doesn’t lift your vibration, though this would surprise me. I’ve never seen a passerby frown when encountering street musicians performing Andes music. Just like I’ve never seen anyone frown around the music of Bob Marley or Cuban son.

I propose the idea of exploring music from different cultures, instruments new to you, and genres you would have not considered previously. I meet too many people who have too small of a musical repertoire (pop, rock, jazz, maybe a little classical), and this just isn’t going to cut it if you’re goal is to raise your vibration and keep it buzzing for long durations. Besides, we lift our vibration when we love something, music or otherwise. We lift our vibration when we discover something new and it delights us. This past week, I was surprised with a classical guitar performance and felt delighted by that gift.

It might not feel like enough to just listen to recordings or attend concerts. Musicians and non-musicians benefit from dancing to music and performing it no matter how rudimentary. Don’t get caught up in the ego thinking that you can only perform music as a virtuoso. I’m nowhere close to performing as a virtuoso, but performing and recording music saved me more times than I can name here. Buy a drum, make a drum, buy inexpensive bamboo flutes, or just use your voice to explore music. Maybe you can find a guitar on E-Bay or Craig’s List. Play like the child who doesn’t care how good or bad they sound. This will lift your vibration, I guarantee it.

I think Trish Hatley, who I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, is on to a good thing too since you can employ music as a background for manifestation exercises such as affirmations and Emotional Freedom Technique tapping. You can also employ softer music for Creative Visualization and guided meditations. I personally, like to use the brainwave CDs I have for this purpose, because you must change your beliefs deep in your subconscious and in order to do that you need a key that gives you access. Music is that key.

Once you lift your vibration and keep it high, you will notice miracles and magic in your life. Unsolvable problems right themselves, health conditions improve and so does your attitude. I have experienced these things in my own life otherwise I wouldn’t mention them here. Since we are bombarded with the negativity of the news, gossip, judgment, rants and complains, not to mention low-vibration sounds and music, we need high vibration music to lift us up. I’m beginning to believe that the ascension process is literally lifting the vibration to the stratosphere and staying there. And what better way to do it than with music.

So get out there and explore what the musical world has to offer. Select your recordings and build a tool kit that you can use when you need it most. Make sure you have a variety of music to match a variety of activities and moods. Then dance, sing, play your own music. Pretend that you’re Beethoven or Marley or a great opera diva. Really have fun with this. Sing and whistle with birds and if you’re too shy to do that, at least listen to birds sing. Listen so deeply that you can notice the scales or patterns of notes in their songs. Do this with whale songs too.

In conclusion it doesn’t matter if the bombo drum or the bandoneon or an early music lute calls to you. We are all unique. Daydream with the music, play music that conjures good memories, or recalls your ancestors and heritage. I can think of numerous ways music lifts our vibration, but instead of listing them here, I want you to brainstorm and figure out your own path. Happy Ascension!

Friday, March 4, 2011

In review--Live from Portugal

Ana Moura
World Village

While listening to a fado recording offers a special treat, listening to a live fado CD feels like luxuriating in a hot bath or indulging in chocolate cake. The sensual experience which combines poetry with a rainbow of emotions provides an opportunity for the listener to bond intimately with the singer. The super star Mariza came out with a live CD and DVD documentary several years ago which left a lasting impression. Now, Ana Moura, another Portuguese diva-super star leaves her mark on world music with Coliseu, a recording of a 2008 homecoming concert.

The magical evening is captured in 15 tracks in which Moura wraps her mouth around words as if they were delicious morsels. She carefully shapes every musical phrase with emotional nuances ranging from devastating heartbreak to questionable cheeky humor (And We Came Born of the Sea). So often the younger generation of fadistas such as Moura and Mariza pay homage to Amàlia Rodrigues, but in all honesty, I prefer the younger performers with their musical interpretation of older sentiments. Moura in any case, combines that old archival sound with pioneering arrangements, but she accomplishes this through subtle means. Besides in this case, I believe in living in the here and now; not resurrecting ghosts of celebrated performers.

Moura performs with only three musicians, Josè Manuel Neto (Portuguese guitar), Josè Elmiro Nunes (Portuguese and classical guitar) and Filipe Larsen (bass), but the trio captivates and provides more than a backdrop for Moura’s contralto vocals. Jorge Fernando comes on board as a producer and composer of the lion’s share of the songs and several fado styles appear on the recording (see liner notes). While Moura doesn’t compose any fados herself, she treats each of them as her own. Similar to an actress she sculpts the meaty roles that the fados provide.

The sad lament My Friend João shifts into a jaunty melody that seems incongruent with the text that reflects on an untimely death of a tragic figure. Moura delivers the text with sheer power. Her stunning performance of I belong to Fado, I’m a Fadista makes me weak in the knees and her heart-wrenching delivery of I Come to Voice My Fear causes me to swoon from the sadness. The bulk of the recording features songs of loss, mostly reflecting on love lost, except for the sexy nugget The First Time which portrays the passion that accompanies a new love affair. Certainly Moura rouses the senses with her authentic voice. She might pay homage to Rodrigues, but she takes ownership of the songs that appear on this recording and then some.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In review--Veena is Queen

Jayanthi Kumaresh
Mysterious Duality Just Me

I first heard veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh perform on collaborative recordings on Sense World Music in 2007. On rare occasions I heard classical Indian music from South India and even more rare that I heard veena recordings. In many ways, the veena resembles the sitar of North India’s classical music tradition, but the veena’s tones sound warmer and resonate deeper than a sitar. On her solo recording Mysterious Duality (Just Me), Kumaresh layers several veenas, up to 7 overdubs on the 4 tracks that appear on the recording. I thought I read somewhere that she performed on 12 veenas for this recording, but now that I look for that information I’m unable to find it.

In the press notes, Kumaresh reflects about how she wanted to bring out the nuances of the veena. “The pieces that emerged once Jayanthi found her footing move from contemplative layered arpeggios to energetic, complex melodies, from percussive grooves to dancing with shimmering tones.” I think the press notes describe the listening experience better than I can. First, I know so little about this wonderful instrument and second, I’ve never heard a recording like this one ever. I don’t even know if any recordings like this one exist.

The title track provides a full spectrum sound with deep bass resonating throughout. I find the contemporary Indian sound appealing. Strings With No Ends provides lovely textures and rich timbre and at times sounds like a band of veenas. I think the “energetic” mentioned in the liner notes derives from listening to this piece. Wandering In Dimensions moves at a slower pace while emphasizing lower tones. The veena sounds like an Indian slide guitar at times or two guitars in conversation. Again we have rich bass overtones and we are left with a powerful ending. Finally, Waiting at Dusk possesses a feminine quality, sounding like a sitar at times. I find that this song has the most pleasant melody of the 4 songs and it’s relaxing.

Mysterious Duality is going to sound bold and pioneering to a lot of listeners, even experts of classical Indian music. I applaud Kumaresh for following her instincts and allowing herself to get lost in this musical experience. I’m certain that it was one of those journeys a musician never forgets. and

In Review--Old Tales from Ireland

Sara Banleigh
The Folk EP

Not many journalists are going to struggle about whether or not to include a review of a CD on a blog because of dark subject matter. But my blog features the healing power of music and leans towards softer material (even though Sara Banleigh introduces the song All My Trials with Bach’s Prelude #1 in C major). So I’m reviewing Banleigh’s recording The Folk EP as a culture preservation project and not as a healing music CD. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review a CD featuring Irish songs from 500 years ago, especially arranged for piano and voice.

Banleigh mentions in the press notes that she preferred to give a grittier interpretation of these old murder and love ballads. She’s not the first to accomplish this task since Irish song interpreter Susan McKeown covered similar territory on her 2006 World Village recording Black Thorn: Irish Love Songs. Similar to McKeown, Banleigh provides gutsy vocals instead of the misty-eyed vocals featured in Celtic music. I have no problem with this approach except that it loses the irony of dark material sung in sweet voices. Banleigh’s creates an edgier sound by bringing her piano center stage and lightly framing it with violin and guitar. At times the beauty of the instrumental arrangement transcends the dark text.

When I first listened to this disk, I thought of an American folksinger from the 1950s, Barbara Dane who also sung folk ballads in a more urgent tone. In fact, I dug the archival reissue of Anthology of American Folk Songs from my collection to draw comparisons between Dane and Banleigh. My hope is that Banleigh sticks with this Irish song project and releases a full-length album because I can see a crossover appeal for alternative music fans and Celtic music aficionados. Just one listen to the song Geordie and I think Banleigh’s going to win listeners’ loyalty. I think she’s onto something and has the talent to pull it off. Hopefully, she includes some uplifting songs in her repertoire in the future. and

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Announcement: WME Celebrates 5 Years

I was looking for an archival article on WME and I saw that I first launched the blog in January 2007.  So that means this year marks the 5th Anniversary of The Whole Music Experience.

I never intended on launching a blog and was hosting the website Cranky Crow Whole Music at the time.  I had enrolled in an online marketing class and one of the class projects was creating a blog.  I was the only student who launched a community service blog since I didn't want to post my personal life online, nor did I think anyone would be interested.  I wouldn't even feel interested in reading about my personal life on a blog.

Since the creation of WME, I have interviewed fabulous musicians, healers, and promoters, reviewed I don't know how many recordings, and branched out from just world music to traditional, sacred, new age, old age, classical and jazz.  It has been a wonderful journey thus far.  I hope you'll keep traveling with me down this musical road.

Yours in music,

Patricia Herlevi