The prolific Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya loves to collaborate with other musicians. He has released exquisite solo albums as well as remarkable collaborations with jazz and world music artists. On this occasion, Debashish and his brother Subhasis (tabla) team up with two acclaimed jazz musicians, Norwegian saxophone player Anders Lønne Grønseth and innovative American guitar player Kenny Wessel.
The East West fusion works perfectly, especially when the two totally different guitar styles interact with each other. Debashish uses his habitual mesmerizing resophonic guitars while Kenny Wessel uses the electric guitar and the interplay is exquisite.
Anders Lønne Grønseth’s saxophone also blends well with the guitars and tabla, especially when he uses the softer form of playing the sax, when it feels more like a whisper.
The lineup includes Debashish Bhattacharya on chaturangui and National resophonic guitars; Anders Lønne Grønseth on tenor and soprano saxophones; Kenny Wessel on electric guitar; and Subhasis Bhattacharya on tabla and percussion.
Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, son of the legendary Ustad Alla Rakha, has built a reputation as one of the finest tabla players in Indian classical music.
Zakir Hussain was born March 9 March, 1951 in Mumbai, India. He began performing as a child prodigy at age 8. In constant demand as an accompanist, he has performed with most of India’s greatest musicians and dancers. While he has few equals as a traditional tabla player, he has also been an innovator, bridging the Hindustani and Carnatic traditions by performing with both North and South Indian masters and presenting percussion concerts both as a soloist and with other drummers.
In addition to his dedication to the Indian classical music tradition, Zakir has been a pioneer in introducing the tabla to wider audiences in the West through his collaborations with jazz and rock musicians, and with percussionists from Latin America, Africa and Europe. As a member of the East-West fusion group Shakti, he won critical acclaim for his virtuosity.
Zakir’s father, Alla Rakha passed away in February of 2000, but his legacy continues with the Masters of Percussion tours that feature Zakir and two of his brothers (Fazal and Taufiq Qureshi).
Zakir Hussain’s 1986 ECM album Making Music was a major statement in the world music arena, with Jan Garbarek, John McLaughlin and bansuri flute genius Hariprasad Chaurasia as contributors.
Zakir Hussain has composed and performed music for various films. He arranged the opening music for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Hussain has also played on several ECM albums with violinist L. Shankar: Who’s to Know, Song for Everyone, Nobody Told Me, M.R.C.S., and Pancha Nadai Pallavi.
He played with Tabla Beat Science whose high-volume clash of cultures incorporated an ever-shifting cast of percussionists and DJs around a core of Zakir, sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan and bassist Bill Laswell. Zakir Hussain has also collaborated on music for ballet with Yo-Yo Ma.
In 2007, Zakir was chosen by the government of India to compose an anthem, “Jai Hind,” to celebrate India’s 60th year of independence.
Zakir has been the recipient of many awards and titles, including Padma Bhushan (2002); Padma Shri (1988); the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991); the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, this country’s highest honor for achievement in the traditional arts; and Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album for Planet Drum (1992) and Global Drum Project (2009) with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo.
Saudade is a collection of beautiful, poetic songs composed by some of Brazil’s greatest songwriters and performed by the remarkable voice of Renato Braz. The album combines Brazilian melodies and rhythms with Paul Winter’s global jazz sound as well as world music elements from Russia and other cultures.
Renato Braz has been an essential member of the Paul Winter Consort family in recent years. Even though he has made recordings in Brazil, Saudade is first release in the United States.
The lineup is quite impressive. His band includes the Paul Winter Consort, the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble, Dori Caymmi, and Ivan Lins.
Saudade is beautifully packaged, featuring an extensive booklet with photos, lyrics and descriptions of the songs.
Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita’s album Transparent Water (Ota Records, 2017) is the Transglobal World Music Chart’s number one album for March 2017.
Transparent Water elegantly combines world music and jazz. The album features Omar Sosa (Cuba) on piano and Seckou Keita (Senegal) on kora along with traditional Chinese flute player Wu Tong, Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, and Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki.
Karl Seglem was born in 1961 in Årdalstangen in Sogn. He’s one of the most important contemporary tenor saxophonists in Norway.
With the group Sogn-A-Song, the trio Utla and the duo Isglem, Seglem has consistently broken through musical boundaries with his wide range of musical perceptions and daring improvisational style.
Seglem’s influences include Norway’s rich folk music traditions and jazz, combined with his own sense of expression make his music a modern soundscape that gives equal weight to improvisation and composition. His saxophone tone is innovative in its use of breath, resonance and syncopation.
He also plays the Norwegian ram’s horn. Seglem’s music has a wide scope, ranging from folk to free form and world beat, inspired by and invoking Nordic nature. In addition to his many CD releases, he has composed several major works and has performed them in public.
Seglem was awarded the Edvard prize in 1998 for his piece “Tya.”
Seglem has toured extensively throughout Norway and abroad.
* Poems for trio (NOR-CD HCRCD 49, 1988)
* Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9101, 1991)
* Rom, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9102, 1991)
* To Steg, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9204, 1992)
* Utla (NOR-CD 9205, 1992)
* Juv, with Utla (NOR-CD 9309, 1993)
* Rit, with Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9410, 1994)
* Brodd, with Utla (NOR-CD 9514, 1995)
* Null g, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9615, 1996)
* Prosa, with Jon Fosse (NOR-CD 9616, 1996)
* Tya, with Reidar Skår (NOR-CD 9717, 1997)
* Spir, with Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9830, 1998)
* Dans, with Utla (NOR-CD 9935, 1999)
* Daa, with Henriksen, Seglem, Isungset (2000)
* Nye Nord (2002)
* Fire, with Isglem (2003)
* Song, with Utla (2003)
* Femstein (NorCD, 2004)
* Budda og reven Singie (NorCD, 2005)
* Reik (NorCD, 2005)
* Urbs (NorCD, 2006)
* Spelferd – a playful journey DVD (NorCD, 2008)
* NORSKjazz.no (NorCD, 2009)
* Skoddeheimen (NorCD, 2009)
* Draumkvedet (NorCD, 2009)
* Ossicles (NorCD, 2010)
* NyeSongar.no (Ozella Music, 2013)
* Som Spor (NorCD, 2014)
* Waves, with Christoph Stiefel (Challenge, 2015)
* Laerad The Tree (NorCD, 2015)
* Live In Germany (NorCD, 2015)
* WorldJazz (NorCD/Ozella, 2015)
* Nordic Balm (NorCD, 2016)
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jon Hassell grew up with ears alert to divergent aspects of the jazz tradition, one early influence including Maynard Ferguson’s “stratospheric” trumpeting with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, Hassell became increasingly interested in serial music and more experimental expressions of the new music avant-garde, in the mid-1960s traveling to Cologne to study with pioneering composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Returning to New York in 1967 he met and befriended Terry Riley. Hassell played on Riley’s landmark recording In C, and was introduced by Riley to La Monte Young with whose Dream House project he toured through the 1970s.
An encounter with the music of Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath was fundamental. Hassell studied extensively with Pran Nath, subsequently incorporating vocal techniques of raga into his trumpet playing, developing a new style for his instrument and his music as a whole.
Vernal Equinox (1977) laid down the essence of the idiosyncratic yet wide-open musical expression Hassell has continued to develop and redefine over the past decades: “My aim was to make a music that was vertically integrated in such a way that at any cross-sectional moment you were not able to pick a single element out as being from a particular country or genre of music.”
In 1986 Brian Eno, a frequent collaborator, would observe that “Jon Hassell is an inventor of new forms of music – of new ideas of what music could be and how it might be made. His work is drawn from his whole cultural experience without fear or prejudice. It is an optimistic, global vision that suggests not only possible musics but possible futures.” An enticing proposal for the most diverse musicians, Hassell’s collaborators over the years have ranged from Peter Gabriel to the Kronos Quartet, Ry Cooder and rock star Bono, and his trumpet performances have featured on recordings with Björk, Baaba Maal, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ani di Franco, David Sylvian, the Talking Heads and many others.
Additionally his playing and/or music has been heard in numerous films including The Last Temptation of Christ, Trespass, Wild Side, Greenwich Mean Time, Angel Eyes, Owning Mahowny, Million Dollar Hotel and more.
In April 2009, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno delivered their Conversation Piece at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. This “conversational remix”, an animated juxtaposing of philosophies of life, art and music, was premiered to acclaim at Norway’s Punkt Festival in 2008.
Glare of the Tiger is a series of remarkable world music jams performed by a superb collective of forward-thinking jazz musicians led by acclaimed composer and percussionist Adam Rudolph.
Throughout the album, the rhythm section lays out a solid foundation of creative percussion and bass over which you get a series of horn, electronic keyboard and guitar melodic evolutions and improvisations that mix jazz, jazz-rock and world music elements. You can hear influences from Ethiopian, Indian and Gnawa music at times, and from many other parts of the world.
Adam Rudolph plays a wide range of percussion instruments, including a drum set composed of hand drums from different traditions: Haitian kongos, West African jembe and Moroccan tarija (small frame drum).
The state of the art recording of Glare of the Tiger was made at Bill Laswell’s Orange Music Studio with James Dellatacoma as head engineer.
The lineup on Moving Pictures includes Adam Rudolph on handrum set, sintir, cajón, itótele, glockenspiel, gongs, additional percussion; Alexis Marcelo on Fender Rhodes, electric keyboards & Hammond B3; Damon Banks on electric bass; Graham Haynes on cornet, flugelhorn, electronics; Hamid Drake on drum set, percussion; James Hurt on sogo and kidi drums, oghene bell, okónkolo, Fender Rhodes, smart phone synthesizer module and sound design; Kenny Wessel on electric guitar, electronics; and Ralph M. Jones on c flute, alto flute, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones, husli and bamboo flutes.
Music fans should settle in and enjoy the sumptuous ride that is Transparent Water. Co-creator Omar Sosa, the Cuban-born composer, bandleader and pianist, has such recordings as Eggun – The Afri-Lectric Experience, Jog, Ile and Calma under his belt, while Seckou Keita, the Senegalese kora master, has released albums like 22 Strings/Cordes, Afro-Mandinka Soul with his own Seckou Keita Quartet and Clychau Dibon. Joining forces under the Ota Records label, Transparent Water, set for release on February 24th, pairs Mr. Sosa’s Afro-Cuban and jazz sensibilities with the lush African traditions of Mr. Keita’s long musical legacy of his griot family.
Transparent Water is where world music meets world jazz, where tradition meets improvisation and where the lines of spiritual and earthy meet. The result is stunningly evocative.
With Mr. Sosa on piano, Fender Rhodes, sampling, microKorg and vocals and Mr. Keita firmly enticing listeners with his kora mastery, as well as talking drum, djembe, sabar and vocals, listeners are treated to the interplay between these two musicians and composers. But as luck would have it, Mr. Sosa and Mr. Keita turn the music on its ears with the additions of Chinese musician Wu Tong on sheng and bawu; Japanese koto master Mieko Miyazaki; Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles on bata drums, culo’puya, maracas, guataca, calabaza and clave; Korean geojungo player E’Joung-Ju; and Rajasthani nagadi player Mosin Khan Kawa.
Cuban rhythms, African melodies and Asian influences pile up, separate and mesh together in an expansive musical tapestry where it’s impossible to pull at one musical thread and undo the lot.
Like water, Transparent Water flows easy from the jazzy opening track “Dary” into the delicately piano and kora interplay of “In the Forest.” Lush track flows into lush track with goodies like the sheng laced “Black Dream,” the catchy African influenced “Mining-Nah” with Mr. Keita’s vocals warming up the track and mysteriously moody “Another Prayer.”
Listeners can’t help but be charmed by tracks like sassy offering “Fatiliku,” the dreamy musical landscape of “Oni Yalorde” with Mr. Tong on the bawu or the piano lines of “Zululand.” Transparent Water is one of those recordings that requires listeners stop and really listen and it’s best if you just go with its flow.
Mr. Sosa, Mr. Keita and company have conjured up a truly brilliant collaboration on Transparent Water. Mesmerizing, evocative and sophisticated, Transparent Water begs for a listen.
World music band Baraka remixed traditional Pamir music recorded by folk band Samo and the result is Samo Remix. While Samo provided vocals and traditional acoustic instruments from the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, Baraka added electronic keyboards, electric guitars, bass and additional percussion.
Although this a remix, it’s not an electronic dance music recreation. Instead, Baraka inject contemporary jazz and trip hop. The remix also includes three rappers on a handful of pieces. I usually find rapping extremely annoying in world music albums. Thankfully, the rapping by Mister Ruslan is essentially spoken word, which fits much better with the world jazz arrangements.
Baraka is based in the Baltic nation of Latvia. They are known for performing world music with a jazz edge, combining Central Asian music with jazz improvisation and electronics. The Samo Remix project came about when Baraka ensemble leader Dmitry Yevsikov traveled to Tajikistan in 2015. There, Samo played a home concert for him and Baraka was given a CD with Samo’s music and made a promise to respond to it. Samo Remix is the answer, a European tribute to the sounds of the Pamir.
“We decided to preserve the original vocal line in most compositions in its entirety,” explains Dmitry Yevsikov. “If possible, not to cut vocals into bits, so that even in the new arrangement those who speak the language could hear the Sufi message that comes through the ages.”
The Baraka musicians who created Samo Remix include Dmitry Yevsikov on mridangam, ghatam, darbuka, tabla, congas, bongos; Devika Yevsikova, his daughter, on vocals, Chapman stick, fretless bass, and bass guitar; Viktor Rytov and Artem Savry on Rhodes piano; Yegor Kovaykov on guitar and badakshani setor; Artur Kutepov on guitar; Denis Pashkevich on tenor saxophone; and Raivo Stasans on soprano saxophone.
Samo means “sky”. It’s a group of musicians from the Pamir, who started performing together in 2006. Their permanent headquarters is the Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments in the city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. There, instruments are on display, Samo’s rehearsals are held, and recordings are made. Samo perform in the museum regularly and at other venues. They toured in Germany in 2008 and the United States in 2009.
Samo perform the ancient music of the Pamir, based on the verse of the classical Persian poets: Rumi, Hafiz, Sherazi, and Khayyam. Their lyrics’ often focus on the spiritual path, described in metaphors and symbols. Their performances are mystic in nature and both musicians and the audience might slip into a trance-like state during the live shows. The Samo Group lineup includes Shavqmamad Pulodov on setar, rubab and vocals; Faizmamad Nazariev on rubab, tanbur and vocals; Shanbe Mamadgaminov on ghijjak, nay and vocals; Daler Pallaev on daf, tablak and vocals; and Qurbonhaseyn Alishaev on daf, tablak and vocals.
The rappers are Mister Ruslan, Imomdod Orifov, and Alijon Boynazarov
Samo Remix is a fascinating international collaboration featuring European musicians, a Tajik folk ensemble and rappers, released by a Russian record label.
Canada-based saxophonist-composer Sundar Viswanathan has recently released the album Avataar. It is a brilliant blend of Indian classical music and jazz, reflecting his own journey in an immigrant backdrop in the West. He teaches at York University in Toronto, and has played with musicians ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Vijay Iyer. Sundar joins us in this interview on his musical experiences and messages.
Q: From jazz to Indian classical music and fusion, that’s quite a journey! What is about music that inspired you so much to devote your life to it?
A: The cliche is: “You don’t choose music, it chooses you”. While that’s very much true in my case, at some level I just stumbled into it. I was involved in music with my family from a very young age, and later, in high school, it was the one subject area for which I had a natural talent.
I also think being an introvert led me deeply along this path; music was an outlet for me and a way in which I could express my creativity most effectively. My interests in different genres were in good part due to the influences of different people in my life: primarily music teachers and musicians that I knew and respected.
Q: What are the challenges you face as a musician and composer?
A: I would say, overall, music is a low-stress occupation! 🙂
However, there is a great deal of pressure to maintain a high level as a performer, especially in the times when other things are going on in your life and you really don’t feel like being on stage in front of all those people (luckily this feeling most commonly passes after a tune or two.)
Along with that are the dual pressures of what I call “the weight of tradition” and “the curse of innovation.” These two pressures are polarities; the first references the vast influence of musics that came before, and that beg to be attended to (even when there is not enough in a lifetime to do so); and the second has to do with the need to sound fresh, to create new material. Again, when one tries to do so, it seems to slip away more quickly! Both can sit like heavy weights on your shoulders when you give too much attention to them.
With regard to composition, there’s the challenge of accessing the creative spaces that lead you to works that you are willing to add to your portfolio. In other words, the challenge of being able to write something you are willing to keep! It’s not so easy to do.
And then again, there are the economic challenges.
Q: Who would you say are the leading influences in your musical career, from the jazz, Indian and fusion sides?
A: The range of my influences is broad, going beyond jazz and Indian classical, to Western classical, Brazilian, Indonesian gamelan, groove, ambient and ‘New-Age’-type music.
More specifically, my influences include; Jan Garbarek and Keith Jarrett, Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin), John Coltrane, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ornette Coleman, Shakti, Zakhir Hussain, Paul Motian trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, Scriabin, Alban Berg, Trilok Gurtu, Nitin Sawhney, and artists like DJ Shadow, Enya, Bliss, and Loreena McKennitt.
There are many others that have influenced me in my compositional path, but I think these have had a more direct impact on this album.
Q: Who are some of the musicians you collaborate with the most, and how did these relationships get formed?
A: I’ve been very fortunate to have played with a lot of great musicians from jazz and world music, including Rez Abassi, Dave Holland, Charles Tolliver, Kiran Ahluwalia, Vijay Iyer, Wynton Marsalis, Yair Dalal, and more.
I wish I could say these are recurring collaborations, but given my proximity (living in Toronto) and focus these days, most of my collaborations are with (equally excellent) local musicians, like those on my recordings and with other bands I play with, like world music band Jaffa Road.
A lot of the musicians I meet and play with come through a mutual awareness of our interests, or through word of mouth. Also, musicians of like-mind tend to radiate toward one another, and cross paths a lot on the festival circuit and in clubs.
Q: How are you able to do ‘fusion’ of different styles and instruments without ‘confusion’?
A: Good question. Firstly, I never liked the term ‘fusion’, because the picture I get is of two parts fused or slapped together, without integration of either part. I see my music as more of a hybrid, a ‘new form’ created by the many styles (and instruments) coming together in a natural, assimilative fashion. I think the key here is that I don’t think about the genres when I write the music.
As I mentioned before, I’ve studied a lot of different styles, hopefully deeply enough that their essences have seeped into my musical psyche, and so will come together seamlessly when I compose. The challenge created here, however, is that it can become harder to ‘categorize’ the music into a specific genre. This sometimes throws off industry types and festival ADs. But some of my favorite music is music that goes beyond genre, so that’s ok.
Q: How long were you working on the album Petal? What is your next album about?
A: Petal took over a year to record, edit and produce. We could have spent a lot more time nuancing the album, but I didn’t have that luxury! And, I really haven’t given much though to the next album – my focus now is to get the band playing and touring as much as I can.
Q: The tracks Agra, Monsoon and Annapoorna are fabulous please tell us how you composed them!
A: My compositional process is typical – I usually get the initial melodic ideas or a bass line and sing them into my phone and work with them later. Then I write my music alone, in my basement, with or without piano. It ends up being a very intuitive process; I was also inspired by the narrative theme, and the title of the songs. I might also work with specific ragas or scales I create that have a sound that I like, and want to develop.
Sometimes I also map out the phrase rhythms that I want, that follow a shape that feels good to me, and fill in melodic material from there. These processes apply to all three pieces you mention here.
Most of the time I don’t go back and edit my writing in great detail; sometimes there are small things that I change/add/remove. With this music, there was some editing and revision during rehearsals – some of my bandmates suggested things that we liked, and then incorporated into the tunes.
Ultimately, if I don’t feel moved myself by the narrative (the story behind the song), it’s very difficult for me to put out interesting material – by the way, most composers will tell you that you should be able to write whether you’re inspired or not (I guess I’m not a natural! 😉
Q: How would you describe your musical journey? Where do you see yourself headed in the next 10-15 years?
A: How much time do you have? Seriously, though, I suppose my musical journey parallels my life journey. I could quote Charles Dickens “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
Certainly, my musical journey was not without bumps – I worked very hard over the years and sacrificed a lot to develop my musicianship, but there were great rewards, like meeting and playing with fascinating people and traveling all over the world and getting paid for it. And those moments on stage when I feel most connected to the music, musicians and to myself, in turn, make all the work worth it.
The next 10-15 years? Hopefully there will be more records and a lot more touring and good times. And money, oh yes, LOTS of money! 🙂
Q: What have been some of your collaborations with other musicians from India, and other parts of Asia?
A: I’ve played with some very good jazz musicians in Japan – interestingly (and this speaks to the universality of music) none of them spoke English well enough for us to communicate. But the musical experience was great.
I’ve done some jamming in India with Louiz Banks, and others like Shivamani and Adrian DeSouza, but my musical experiences in India have been limited, so far. I hope to do more there and with other Indian-based artists. I have played with several NRIs (non-resident Indians) in Canada and the USA (I mentioned Vijay Iyer, Rez Abbasi (who is of Pakistani heritage) and Kiran Ahluwalia).
There are a lot of very good musicians of Indian origin (and others who play ‘Indian music’) in the Toronto area, such as Ravi Naimpally, Suba Sankaran, Rakesh Tewari, Ed Hanley, Neeraj Prem, Azalea Ray, Ernie Tollar, George Koller, and others.
Q: Which are your favorite musical festivals, and what makes them so special?
A: I’ve played a lot of jazz and folk festivals in Canada, USA, and Europe. I like the folk festivals for their relaxed atmosphere (read: hippies!) and the collaborative nature (there are frequent ‘jam sessions’ with featured bands).
Worldfest in Grass Valley, California was a trip – so much fun and interesting people. I’ll never forget the experience of playing in full sunlight at 2AM at The Rocking Walrus Festival in Igloolik, right near the Arctic Circle. The Vancouver Jazz fest was excellent – so organized and the intensity of performances was impressive.
Local festivals like Sunfest and the Ottawa Jazz Festival were also great experiences. I also have to acknowledge some of the jazz festivals in Europe that I’ve played at: Viennes, Pescara, Umbria, Blue Note, North Sea — they really made us feel like royalty and the music experiences were incredible. Rubbing shoulders with people like McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman and others didn’t hurt either.
Q: What are some unusual reactions you have got during your live performances?
A: One comes to mind: I was presenting a CD release of my album Hope and Infinity with Sundar’s Induswest Project. The great pianist, Dave Restivo, was in the middle of an intense solo – the rest of the rhythm section had dropped out, and Dave was traveling into outer space.
Somewhere along his solo excursion, a lady in the audience passed out. People flocked to her, to help. Meanwhile, Dave was still going, his eyes closed. Eventually I had to put my hand on his shoulder and break him out of his meditation. The lady was ok, but I don’t think Dave ever recovered from being so rudely interrupted… 😉
Q: Do you also teach workshops for students and musicians?
A: Yes! As you probably know, I am a University professor (I teach at York University in Toronto), so I have a lot of different ideas/concepts worked out. And as you can also see from my long answers, I like to talk!
Q: What kinds of social and political messages have been conveyed in your recent albums?
A: There are many ways that the music on Petal can be interpreted. I wanted to let the listeners draw her/his own conclusions – this is why I didn’t include extensive liner notes about the meanings of the songs. The two songs with lyrics and the last track, though, give some insight into the meanings of the CD as a whole. The main themes are impermanence, universal consciousness and the idea of no-mind.
Having two little children, I’ve often watched them and been struck by how small and fragile they are, how they are like flower petals. Through them, I’ve also observed the reality of my own mortality, and of the fact that nothing lasts forever. Interestingly, during my research around these themes (and for the record) I also found that a lot of spiritual thinkers see flower petals in this way, as a metaphor for humanity.
With regard to the idea of no-mind, I’d been reading some great dialogues by the Indian mystic Osho – he talks about the idea of there being no ‘mind’, just a series of photographs that we put together in our brain that creates our past and projects our present. I directed the singer, Felicity Williams, toward some of these ideas and she wrote lyrics around them for the record.
And I’ve always believed that there’s an invisible connection, a vibration, between all humanity, and really, all life. In our day, and more than ever, this is something we all need to pay attention to. If we do, maybe we can transcend our differences and move toward empathy for each other, With regard to the record, at the end of the day, I also hope that I can move my listeners to a place of some emotional depth.
Q: What is your message to the musicians and artistes of the world in this age of globalization and also conflict?
A: Keep doing what you do, with honesty and love. Pay attention to your inner music – be authentic to your voice. Write and play/sing what you are; don’t try to be anyone else. Our world would be a richer place if more artists and musicians did this.
Finally, there is a lot of suffering and conflict in the world – if we all direct our artistic vision toward healing, maybe the masses will hear our collective message of peace and move into that space…
Headline photo: Sundar Viswanathan (Avataar)
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