Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happiness is....August in May!

Happiness is: feeling the heat of our 80 degree weather at 7:00 am. (It feels like India!) Walking barefoot through the meadow, parting my way through four-foot tall grasses and wildflowers and fragrant phlox. Sitting down for morning meditation on a literal bed of moss. (So soft! I plan to carpet my future house with moss!) Watching pleasure boats carve silent wakes in the river. Listening to the giant and jubilant nation of birds singing. How many species of birds are there in this Hudson Valley meadow? Dozens? Hundreds? And yet they all live harmoniously, letting their individual calls join into one large healing song. A song that wakens something ancient in this human's blood. There is no "Us verses Them." It's all Everything. Listen. Happiness IS!
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

"Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha (Beyond the Beyond) is another one of my favorite tracks from BEYOND THE BEYOND: A MANTRA MUSIC EXPERIENCE.

"Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha (Beyond the Beyond)" is another one of my favorite tracks from BEYOND THE BEYOND: A MANTRA MUSIC EXPERIENCE. That's why it's the ‪#‎TitleTrack‬. This mantra--known as the Great Supreme Mantra, the Unsurpassed Mantra, the Mantra that Cures All Suffering--brings us to a state of "perfect wisdom" and bliss and contentment. It takes us beyond the mind, beyond the beyond. 

When the music and melodies and harmonies for this mantra first began to percolate in my mind, I realized (to my surprise) that this ancient and revered Buddhist mantra was coming forth as a gospel song. And why the heck not? It's a very celebratory mantra, at least as I feel it.
I am blessed to have yet more amazing vocalists contributing to this track, starting with ‪#‎LamaKarmaThendup‬ of ‪#‎KTDMonastery‬ singing the prelude. The one and only ‪#‎GauraVani‬ takes a solo, sings backup, and set this ship to sail; ‪#‎CaliaMarshall‬ and ‪#‎HelenStyringTocci‬ of ‪#‎KirtanSoulRevival‬ join the gospel choir with ‪#‎KeithFluitt‬, ‪#‎JohnJames‬, ‪#‎ReverendKimLesley‬ and‪#‎RashmiPierce‬. ‪#‎SatyaFranche‬ takes a short solo. The elegant and sublime ‪#‎JohnMcDowell‬ played piano and djembe (and I'll never forget that recording session, in a snowstorm, in sub-zero temperatures in Amherst MA); ‪#‎AnthonyMolina‬ plays bass, organ, tambourine and steered the ship to shore. I played the shaker, thereby earning me a ‪#‎percussion‬ credit. 

Please join us in dedicating the merit of this track, and this album, that all beings be free from suffering and that all beings experience happiness. And that this mantra, in particular, takes everyone beyond the beyond. Thank you!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Preview of another track ("Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha") from my album "Beyond the Beyond"

Here's a preview of another one of my favorite tracks from my album #BeyondTheBeyondAMantraMusicExperience. This track, "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha/Homage to the 21 Taras" features Tibetan vocalist #DrukmoGyalDakini singing the Twenty-One Praises to Tara. WIth #SteveGorn on flute, #HansChristian on saranghi, #GauraVani on harmonium (Gaura also orchestrated and assembled the band), #HollyMontgomery and #BenLeinbach on bass (we have six bass tracks on this track!) and #ANthonyMolina on just about everything else, this is an EPIC fourteen minute track that will transport you into the realm and soundscape of Arya Tara, the mother of all the Buddhas.

This song and melody came to me fully formed while I was in the middle of a #GreenTaraRetreat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery. So I feel the melody carries the essence and blessings of Green Tara herself. May all beings benefit.
#greentaramantra #omtaretuttareturesoha #omtaretuttaretureswaha #homageto21taras #21praisestotara #mantramusic #kirtanmusic #buddhistmantramusic #buddhistchants #contemporarybuddhistmusic

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy Maha Shivaratri! Here's my track "Om Namah Shivaya/Holder of the Moon

Happy Maha Shivaratri! 
It's a beautiful day to celebrate the union of Shiva/Shakti, the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine. It's also a great time to integrate those aspects of ourselves that we think of as "opposites." Think union, not separation. And love everything. And chant Om Namah Shivaya as much as you can during this auspicious time.
Here's track 2 ("Om Namah Shivaya/Holder of the Moon) from my new album BEYOND THE BEYOND: A MANTRA MUSIC EXPERIENCE. 
There's a long story behind the title, and behind the music and melody for this mantra, which you can read in my liner notes. 
This track features an amazing ensemble of maestros in the kirtan world: the incomparable #CCWhite on backing vocals, #StevePostell on electric guitar, #WynneParis and #AnthonyMolina on additional acoustic and electric guitars, (Anthony also plays piano, percussion and more); #HollyMontgomery (my idol) on bass guitar and #AndyHamburger on kit drums (channeling his inner #KeithMoon). The elegant and talented #JohnMCDowell plays Hammond organ and African drums. Internationally reknowned sound healer #PhilippeGarnier sings the intro and plays the Sruti box, crystal bowls, chimes, and overtones. Response chorus includes sweet devis Eileen O'Hare and Cat Guthrie of #Blissing. Produced with my beloved bhakti brothers #GauraVani (who also came up with the great song title and got this big ball rolling) and #AnthonyMolina (who held things together as the ball kept rolling). I love you all!

#spiritvoyage #beyondthebeyond #mantramusic #kirtannewreleases #omnamahshivaya #musicforshivaratri #shivashakti

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My cure for post-India withdrawal and jetlag:

My cure for post-India withdrawal and jetlag: lying in the Florida sunshine, eating ‪#‎HailMerry‬ chocolate tarts (note the plural), reading YA fantasy fiction, studiously avoiding the gargantuan To-Do list, and listening to ‪#‎SinghKaur‬. If I had at at-home steam room, I'd add that to the list as well.


I am back in the land of hot baths...

I am back in the land of hot baths, high-speed internet, Western toilets, paved streets, and silence. While I appreciate that I am no longer at risk of having my long-trailing scarves and kurtahs getting accidently dipped into toilets pits, I miss the noise and the chaos and the mayhem! Last night was the first night in two months in which I was not waken up by amplified music at 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6:00 am. There was total silence all night long. My ears are buzzing as my system readjusts...someone told me this would happen (the post-India ringing-ear syndrome). What's that about?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The amazing women at Amma's ashram

It's Friday morning here in India, and it's a day of goodbyes as most people are leaving the ashram to follow #Ammachi on her South Indian tour. I've met so many amazing people: the kind Monique from Montreal, who follows Mothe Meera; Padma from Michigan (by way of India) who loves Sai Baba; Patrizia from Italy, Uta from the Netherlands, the elegant Mireille from Paris, who looked so much like my Aunt Isabelle I could not stop staring at her. The two people who have struck me the most are 1) Maddie from Montana--who decided at age 79 to leave her life behind and move to India for good, because she had always wanted to and "never got the chance until now." Until NOW! My other superstar inspiration is Winnie from California, who left home at age sixteen, graduated high school at 16 and came to India at 17. This young, brave, nonplussed person has all the makings of a swamini. She has been talking about India since third grade, she says, and furthermore, she recognizes that any problems she may have had at home with her birth family were simply catalysts to get her to India. I rejoice in her has taken some of us years (decades!) to recognize that most life challenges are simply catalysts for growth. And here she is, at age seventeen, accepting her past and willing to accept whatever comes. From Maddie I learned it is never too late to become who you are meant to be; from Winnie I learned it's neer too early either. Rock on, little sister! And rock on, revered grandmother. I love you all.
#keralachronicles #amritarpuri #beyondthebeyond #spiritvoyage #ammachi #ashramanecdotes