Sunday, October 12, 2014

My new Indiegogo Campaign Music Video!

We finally uploaded a "sneak preview" audio file to the "Beyond the Beyond" campaign page: the track "Om Mani Peme Hum." Featured vocalists are Lama Karma Drodul and Lama Karma Thendup of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, NY--which is HH Karmapa's North American seat. These beloved lamas open the song with the "Prayer of Praise to Chenrezig" and then Chenrezig's mantra (Om Mani Peme Hum), singing the melody written by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa himself. May all beings benefit from the sacred vibrations of this mantra! 

Anyone who contributes to our Indiegogo campaign will receive a free download of this track--when it's officially mixed and mastered and ready to release, of course. For details, visit:

This track--and the entire CD--has been a real labor of love. Other featured musicians are: Steve Gorn on soprono sax, Hans Christian on strings, Irene Soléa Antonellis and Satya-Franche Carlson Straus on response vocals, Anthony Molina and Wynne Ji Paris on guitar, (Anthony also plays on more instruments than I can count), Radha Gopinath Das Marinelli on tablas, Holly Montgomery on bass, Andy Hamburger on drums, Steve Bloom on percussion, and myself (surprise, surprise!) on harmonium.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My lastest blog on Spirit Voyage is up....

Hello Friends. 
Apologies, as usual, for the inconsistent and infrequent posts.  I've been busy with....being busy!
My latest blog on Spirit Voyage talks about the benefits of the Chattr Chakkr Vartee mantra.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Please consider supporting my Indiegogo Campaign!

I have launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the completion of my mantra music CD: "Beyond the Beyond"
For full details, visit my page:

May all beings benefit!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm here with Garrett Sawyer at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst MA, editing the vocals of two very special Buddhist lamas: Lama Karma Drodhul and Lama Karma Thendup. In a studio where the hip young interns are used to listening to the latest rock music, it's delightful to witness how everyone is reacting to the powerful healing sounds of two monks singing "Om Mani Peme Hum" to a funky groove.  May all beings benefit!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I'm back in the studio again!  (And I still haven't tired of the fact that I get to say "back in the studio" by the way, because I get to sound so cool, hee hee....).  I've spent the past few days at White Light Recording Studios with Anthony Molina working on all kinds of techie stuff: fixing timings and tuning vocals, replacing parts, and coming up with even more wonderful ideas for parts and transitions. Anthony is a pure genius, so mostly I'm just watching the engineering process in awe.  Because this is my first time making a record, I cannot help but compare the experience to writing a novel (a process I do know).  In both cases, there is a lot of editing involved...but the fun thing about music is that we get to tap our feet and dance and listen to Stevie Wonder (singing with a Hare Krishna back up choir) for creative inspiration during the grueling editing process.   Fun fun fun!

Here's a video of Anthony working out a new guitar part for my version of "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Here's an inventive selfie...this is a screen shot of the legendary kirtan vocalist CC White recording background vocals of my "Govinda Hare" track at her studio in LA...I'm Skyping into the session from my office in Woodstock, NY.  I love technology! 

I'm still pinching myself when I think that CC's phenomenal voice is going to be featured on this track.  This song is a variation on a very traditional Indian melody, which my beloved friend and teacher Shyamdas used to sing all the time.  The day after Shyamdas left his body (in January 2013), this alternative melody came to me, fully formed, accompanied by a toy piano and a harmonica. Slowly the full song took shape, along with the inspiration to finally go forward with my dream to release this first CD.  

And what a dream!  I know Shyamdas-ji is smiling from the heavens as he listens to his beloved CC singing the Names.  She sounds absolutely amazing. Of course. That's why she's the queen of kirtan.  I freely admit that my voice does not even come near hers in terms of power or perfection, but I also know that we each have our own strengths and gifts.  This whole process of recording a CD is helping me find some of my own.  Finally, those years and years of practice--of yoga, mantra, meditation, prayer, setting of intention, toning, and healing--are manifesting here and now, through this process.

Thank you, CC, for sharing your beauty, talent, voice, and huge MA heart! 

Thanks also to Lynne Earls (our LA engineer), Gaura Vani Buchwald and Anthony Molina. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My dog-in-law is going blind....

Last night I visited my good friends Mindy Pickard, Gregory Lee Pickard and their son Clayton Pickard who were among the first people I met when I moved to Woodstock in 2005. I actually met them--like many dog people do--through our dogs. Their dog Rainbow is/was my dog Chloe's "husband" (Clayton having performed a quick wedding ceremony for them a few months before Chloe unexpectedly died.) Rainbow will always hold a special place in my heart--not just because Chloe loved him above all other dogs; or because he is an English Setter mix (and I secretly love setters above all other dogs); but because he is just so extraordinarily fun and smart and expressive and exuberant. He's one of those human dogs---dog lovers will know what I mean. Anyway, I was shocked and saddened to learn that Rainbow has gone blind. Apparently he has diabetes and his family didn't realize how quickly this illness would manifest.

Rainbow was sitting outside on the front steps when I arrived at their house, but he didn't get up. I immediately went up to him and hugged him, of course, and Rainbow whined in return--but it was not the whine of sorrow; he simply recognized my voice and my smell and was happy to see me. He looked so different with his filmy, non-seeing eyes. He looked both younger and older. Older because of the filmy eyes, and younger because of his lost, somewhat uncertain expression. Rainbow has always been a bold dog--pushing through doors; leaping over fences; jumping off decks and out of second-floor windows unscathed if he objected to being left inside. Indeed, Rainbow was the one who taught Chloe how to open doors and--if need be--push through screens. Rainbow did what he wanted, when he wanted, and he did it with such exuberance and single-pointedness that you couldn't get mad at him. He had a mission and his mission was to have fun and be with the ones he loves.

I started to cry, of course--A) because seeing my Rainy-bow makes me miss Chloe and B) because everything keeps changing, and everyone I love keeps growing old. Rainbow, sensing my distress, stood up to lick my face. Then Mindy opened the door and-- being a practical no-nonsense sort of person who doesn't want people crying at her house--told me to come inside. She also told Rainbow to go make his pee-pee so that he could come inside too. "And be careful on those steps," she told him in her motherly voice. "Go slooooow."

I watched Rainbow as he made his way down the steps and out into the yard. This new Rainbow moved slowly and cautiously, the way a mole might, pushing his snout along the ground to sniff his way through any potential obstacles. He lifted his leg, did his business and then quickly returned to us, bumping into our legs as we all walked into the house. He didn't seem to mind the fact that he couldn't see, as long as we were there with him. (Greg and Clayton were still out at the grocery store but were due back any minute.)

Anyway, I could go on and on about witnessing the gestures, movements and behaviors of a newly blind dog...and maybe I will in the future, if I have the opportunity to spend more time with Rainbow. Part of me is still sad that I didn't get to witness Chloe's golden years; and part of me is grateful that she passed so quickly, from great health to poor health to death, in a matter of days. But I do finally realize that there is no such thing as perfect--no perfect way to age, no perfect way to die, no perfect way to adjust to an illness.

When Greg and Clayton returned, I saw signs of the "real" Rainbow: he ran to the door, leaped in circles, and barked with joy. As soon as Greg walked into the door, Rainbow began nipping at his (that would be Greg's) crotch. This is one of Rainbow's signature moves, and Greg wears loose jeans specifically for this reason. I was impressed that Rainbow could still find his target despite his poor vision. What moved me most last night was the way the family handled Rainbow: so tenderly. So lovingly. Mindy coached Rainbow around the furniture. Greg took him out to play fetch in the yard, but this was a new version of fetch, which Greg called "hide and seek." Greg would toss a toy duck a few yards in front of Rainbow, and Rainbow's job would be to find it (by sniffing) and bring it back to Greg. A simple task, but joyous nevertheless. Gone are the days of launching tennis balls far, far into the woods from a rocket launcher and watching the dogs tear off at full speed into the trees. Gone are the days of dog youth, I guess. But life for a dog always just goes on. Until it doesn't. The attitude never changes.

Rainbow receives his veterinary medical care from the same vet that Chloe used to see--the marvelous Dr. Rothstein at Saugerties Animal Hospital. And apparently there's a chance that they could perform cataract surgery on one or both of Rainbow's eyes. The catch is, the procedure is expensive and the family might not be able to afford to repair both eyes. They're in the process of debating all this right now. Rainbow is ten years old. First they want to get more information on the root causes of the blindness and the diabetes and then make a decision based on that. I'll keep you posted, because if they decide to go ahead with eye surgery, I said I'd help promote their Kickstarter campaign. It would be an honor to help my beloved dog-in-law and his family, in Chloe's honor. It's what she would have wanted.