Monday, June 26, 2017

MUSIC REVIEW: THE ROAD HOME




New York City composer Peter Calandra takes us down a path of relaxation on his latest release The Road Home. With years of Broadway experience under his belt, this album showcases Peter for what he is, a beautiful composer.
            
If you’re looking for something upbeat, this might not be the album for you. Though if you’re in the mood for something touching and ethereal, Calandra hits that nail on the head. The Road Home plays out like a journey of the mind’s inner monologue. Starting off with “A New Dawn,” the angelic vocals, performed by renowned vocalist Joy Askew, beckon the listener to discover what is ahead. It invites us to forget whatever troubles are currently weighing us down and to start anew, conscious of the moment. Into “Mi Amore” we go, a song that feels like a smooth drive down a sunny highway. Here, Calandra - a Yamaha-endorsed artist - playfully showcases his skills as a pianist. In contrast to the gaiety of the preceding track, “Morning Dove” is a bit more solemn, certainly moreso than the rest of the songs on the album, yet sure to be a favorite among the laid-back piano crowd. 

Once again, “The Road Home” picks the mood back up in a joyous mix of piano and synthesizer. Being its namesake, this track feels like the very core of the album. Continuing to wind down the musical road,  “Night Into Day” caps off a day’s journey with an incredibly soothing melody that puts a mind at ease and celebrates the passing of another beautiful day.  Perhaps the most complexly layered of the tracks, "The Cat’s Eye” plays around with European-inspired accordion and harmonica sounds and incorporates the use of subtle chimes. Finally, “Points in the Sky” slows the pace back down again, seemingly for the purpose of encouraging a final sense of inner peace and reflection.

Calandra’s music evokes a plethora of human emotions and moods. He aptly displays his understanding of composition by proving that emotive music is not always about the complexity of a sound but more so about how to convey an emotion by means of simplicity. In the case of The Road Home, less is more.  

The Pre-sale is now through 6/30; for sale via Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby on July 1st.

                                                              - Samantha Garcia, BEING

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MUSIC REVIEW: ORIGIN


Musician Elise Lebec has grown up with travel in her blood. From New Zealand to Australia and England back to the states, Lebec has soaked up inspiration from every corner of the globe. Her latest release, ORIGIN, is a sonic interpretation of her spiritual trip to Egypt, the first in a series of adventurous cross-cultural albums under the One World Turning Project umbrella of music, videos and merchandise.

               The cultural richness that is entrenched within the sounds of traditional Egyptian music is something that can be felt within anyone. There is something so raw, spiritual and passionate that spills out from the sounds of this most ancient form of music.  The opening track “Taaly Maaya: Come With Me” focuses on Lebec’s smoothly sensual voice setting the stage for what is sure to be a mystical experience. She guides the way into the journey that later disperses into a musical medley of sorts. The following “Queen of Light” begins with a frenzy of doumbek drums and various string instruments driving a memorable melody, and Lebec's voice has a haunting, retro-cinema quality. “Cairo Morning” takes the concept of this album in a bit of a different direction by fusing the old and the new. The iconic Egyptian instrumentals are coupled with a man rapping in Arabic while Elise harmonizes softly in the background. 


               Moving into the midsection of ORIGIN, the song “Bolero” is a mesmerizing and mysterious love song that’s painted over with a slight air of melancholy. It is a song from a lover longingly calling out to her other half. “Rumi Song,” much like “Cairo Morning,” incorporates some more modern musical influences. It throws in some electronic beats on top of the traditional Upper Egyptian instrumentals and couples those sounds with a woman passionately singing in conjunction with a man's hip hop-influenced vocals.

               Remarkably different from the rest of the songs on her album, “Sekhmet: The Goddess Awakens” is an empowering chant that is uses minimal instrumentation but rather relies of layers of vocals and chants to convey a message of strength.  Furthermore, “The Jam: Luxor, Egypt” is a belly dancer’s delight that offers an infectious rhythm section that would be perfect to dance along to. Continuing with the experimentation, “Sufi Dance” incorporates some very obvious funk elements and offers a very strong message about love, compassion and having an understanding for all walks of life. There is an element of gospel in the female vocals in this track. As beautifully as it began, ORIGIN ends in the same light. “Hob Elahy: God is Within” sends the final message of Lebec’s spiritual journey. We are all one and we are all empowered from within.

               Whether you are seeking a musical journey, a spiritual awakening, or just curious to try something new, ORIGIN provides all of the above. With Lebec’s beautiful voice, wonderful Egyptian music, and powerful message, it is certain to bring meaning into your day.  

ORIGIN releases July 21st, but is available now for pre-sale on iTunes, with one early download to enjoy, and on Amazon.
                       
- Samantha Garcia

Friday, June 2, 2017

MUSIC REVIEW: INTO THE MIST



Few musicians have the ability to capture both the light and dark sides of human emotion quite as elegantly as Fiona Joy. Just when you think she has hit the pinnacle of her musical expertise, she unveils a masterpiece like Into the Mist (Blue Coast Records). With only a year in between the release of Signature Synchronicity and Into the Mist, it is clear that Joy has been stricken with a fever to create. The audiophile edition is being officially released at the LA Audio Show on Saturday June 3rd at 3 p.m. in a "Listening Party" with the Sony-Sponsored Magic Bus, as announced earlier on BEING.

The opening title “A Walk in the Park” begins the album with a wave of gaiety and radiates with a warm sense of peace. It feels as though a door has been burst open and has led the listener directly into the beautiful world that Fiona paints with her songs.  Segueing into “Moon Over Lotus Pond,” the mood is glazed over with a dash of pensive melancholy and evokes a sense of gratitude and wonderment.

Fiona Joy
The true heart of the album resides within the title tracks. “Into the Mist” is where Joy begins to bleed her emotion onto the ivory keys of her piano. That same air of melancholy echoes into “Mist Rising” until finally lifting once again in “Mist Before Dawn.” The symbolism in the titles is not lost within the music with the “mist” standing for emotional turmoil that eventually comes to pass.

All sense of sadness and doubt is lifted as soon as “Feeling Sunshine” rolls around. It tinkers around playfully in stark contrast to the opus that precedes it.  Complimented by “Grey Sky Morning,” a song that conveys a feeling of softness of having woken up from a nostalgic dream.  “Galloping” is an oeuvre doused in rising crescendos and plummeting diminuendos that leads the album to its graceful end with “The Void.” The final track has a languid air of mystery that ends the journey with an elegant touch.

There is no doubt that Fiona Joy is a being defined by her raw sense of emotion.  Considering it is only her second solo release, one can only imagine the powerful works that are yet to come.  Into the Mist is a beautiful continuation of Fiona Joy’s musical autobiography.


- Samantha Garcia

FIONA JOY VIDEO: GALLOPING


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

MUSIC EVENT

 Audiophiles Like Cupcakes, too... 

Australian Pianist Fiona Joy officially releases her new audiophile recording of  INTO THE MIST amidst a flurry of "pink treats" at this Saturday's LA Audio Show.  The public is invited to enjoy a heightened music-listening experience inside the Sony-sponsored Hi-Res MAGIC BUS.



"Hear to Make Music" is the theme of the LA Audio Show and Saturday, June 3rd will be a special day for piano music fans in Southern Californians. At a special event open to the public, Fiona Joy will greet fans and officially unveil her latest solo piano album, "Into the Mist" and three new music videos. In a nod to her beloved pink dress, the Australian talent will serve pink lemonade and her favorite pink treats (including Yummy cupcakes and Tim Tams) at her "Listening Fest" from 3 to 5 PM on June 3, next to the Sony Sponsored Hi-Res Magic Bus, located near the Sheraton Gateway hotel's main entrance.  


"This is a chance to enjoy piano music on a million dollar sound system; it almost feels as though you're playing it yourself," she says, adding, "I'd really like younger people who've only experienced music in a compressed mp3 format to come and experience this for themselves."

"Into the Mist" is the second album for the acclaimed Australian  musician.  The first, "Signature Solo," was well received and won a number of recording awards.   Both are on the Blue Coast Records, which is also an exhibitor at the Show. 

This worldwide release will include SACD, CD, and high-resolution audio download formats as well as Internet radio. The neo-classical program, a #1 album at Blue Coast Music for high-resolution audio sales, was recorded in and released as DSD256. It may be downloaded in additional formats as 44.1kHz (WAV), 96kHz (FLAC) 2.8 MHz (DSF), 5. 6MHz (DSF) and 11.2MHz (DSF) files . 

Cookie Marenco, founder of Blue Coast Records, recorded, mixed and mastered the album using her proprietary recording technique called Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) that includes recording the musicians in the studio without headphones or overdubs onto DSD or analog tape. Into the Mist was recorded in a single take using the E.S.E technique.

Blue Coast will have a model studio set up at the Show and after the official launch of the album, held in conjunction with Sony and the Magic Bus, Ms. Joy and Ms. Marenco will host a tour of the studio.  While the Fiona Joy album debut is set for the first day of the LA Audio Show, other Blue Coast artists will appear during the course of the Show's three-day run.

See event info on Facebook for existing friends and fans, here: https://goo.gl/x9BMDo 


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Snackin's

Happy Easter, Pesach Sameach!


I just had to share this yummy Easter Popcorn Snack from MidWestern Moms / Life Captured because it is my favorite combo of salty and sweet!

Wishing you and your family holiday blessings. Enjoy in peace and good health!

B.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Cruise for the Cooler Set: June 2017



MSC Divina Awaits You with Audiosyncracy at Sea

Audiosyncracy at Sea is a series of musically-themed cruises featuring renowned artists on first class ships heading to amazing destinations, and the next one is boarding this June 2017 out of Florida. The inspiring musical talent on this cruise makes it an excellent gift for newlyweds, romantic couples, music lovers, and (especially) college students in need of relaxation after finals!  

 Audiosyncracy at Sea (named after the popular radio show), features highly-talented acoustic performers that match the relaxing island vibe of its destination. No loud zydeco or atonal jazz sprees on this cruise! Sailing and performing this summer 2017 are pianist Elijah Bossenbroek and guitarist Matteo Palmer, two very talented and charming artists and composers; think of what it would have been like to witness a young George Winston and a budding Will Ackerman! Treat yourself to a visit to their websites, hear music previews and imagine the Bahamas, a warm wind, twinklelights, friends and a Tequila Sunrise in your hand. Bliss.


 You'll cruise to the crystal blue waters of the Western Caribbean on the beautiful MSC Divina, and all Audiosyncracy at Sea guests will receive special welcome gifts and amenities and exclusive invitations to private concerts at sea. Your hosts for the cruise are KTEP 88.5 FM Audiosyncracy radio show and podcast host Jamey Osborne and his wife, Stacey Osborne, former host of State of the Arts on KTEP. 

Enjoy insights on the tremendous success of the 2016 cruise featuring award-winning pianist Michele McLaughlin here.  SPECIAL GIFT: If you mention to the booking agent that you are a BEING reader before May 5th, then you'll receive a $25 on-board credit. 

Matteo Palmer, produced by 
You know we love living well on BEING, so a word or two about the ship, the MSC DIVINA...it was inspired by the divine award-winning actress Sophia Loren! MSC Divina brings you all the elegance and glamour of the golden age. Experience every modern comfort available along with a variety of sports, leisure facilities and a world-class entertainment mecca, including Kids and Teen Clubs. Spacious and elegant; every element of the ship is designed with you in mind and with the utmost attention to detail. From MSC Divina’s real stone piazza to the opulent Casino Veneziano and the Broadway-size Pantheon Theatre, the onboard experience is incredible. Feel like a star on our Swarovski crystal staircases or find inner calm in the gorgeous Infinity Pool, which extends seamlessly out to sea and the horizon beyond. 

ITINERARY AND BOOKING INFORMATION:
MSC Divina: Western Caribbean
7-Night Cruise
Departs Miami Saturday, June 17th 2017

PORTS OF CALL: Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas

Cabins start at just $569 per person plus taxes and fees.
$200 deposit per person. Final payment date May 5, 2017.
KIDS 11 AND UNDER SAIL FREE

To book your cabin, visit http://www.cruisethesevenseas.com/rw/view/7035 or call 844.213.1996. If you mention the Being blog at the time of booking we will throw in an additional $25 on-board credit for anyone who books with a deposit prior to May 5, 2017. 




Monday, January 30, 2017

Review: Inner Rhythm Meditations


Byron Metcalf is a man that pours his soul into every avenue of his work. The passion that he holds for healing is ever-present in his latest release entitled Inner Rhythm Meditations: Music for Expansive Awareness & Inspired Movement, which is comprised of six soothing tracks that evoke a sense of peace and serenity. Explore his history, and one quickly learns that Metcalf is a man who goes above and beyond what is expected of him in order to breathe life into both his artistic and scientific achievements.

The beauty of the nature of the songs in Inner Rhythm Meditations is that they can be used as the background for personal meditation or listened to as simply blissfully serene music.  The opening “Garden of the Peaceful Warrior” woos the senses with the presence of resonating bansuri flute and very soft percussion running throughout the background.  The stage is set for the listener to delve deep into their subconscious and commence the process of transformation. A bit of trance influence can be noted in “As Clouds Dance” along with the incorporation of more drum work performed by Byron. The intensity and the frequency of Byron’s beats progress into “A Perfect Place” which serves as the climax of the album.  At this point, the listener is fully invested in the journey. Sailing into “The Awakened Heart”, this track evokes a sense of floating and conscious presence. It is the sonic equivalent of existing in the moment and simply being. Capping off the album, “The Presence of Longing” brings the listener back into an actively emotional state with the languid sounds of distant flute and gentle, tinkeling sounds in the background.

Byron Metcalf
As a man whose musical career spans over 5 decades, Byron Metcalf has the adequate tools to create a breadth of music that coincides with his HoloShamanic Integrations.  His enthusiasm for examining the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness has earned him high acclaim and success in facilitating personal growth and healing inner turmoil.  For over 25 years he has been using sound, breath work, and music to buffer his shamanic practices and benefit the greater good in the most organic way possible and proving that the most important tool in healing is the mind.  

Metcalf shares his HoloShamanic Integrations in select workshops throughout the year. He offers an intensive retreat that combines shamanic practice, transpersonal psychology, ancient wisdom teachings, and various contemporary methods of spiritual growth and personal transformation.  The next retreat, scheduled for March 15-19th in Frost, West Virginia, will also incorporate the work of Karen Malik, MA, a uniquely gifted workshop/retreat facilitator, therapist and healer. Tickets are available from The Inn at Mountain Quest.

The Inn at Mountain Quest

To explore Inner Rhythm Meditations and Byron Metcalf's trance dance, meditation and drum music visit www.byronmetcalf.com or Bandcamp.


- Samantha Garcia for BEING

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Rest & Relax with Piano: Music for Rejuvenation of Body & Mind




Finding music to relax to is such an individual choice, which is why we love to share a variety of relaxing new music here on BEING.

This week, the premiere media company, Times Music, released "Rest & Relax with Piano" by Fiona Joy, subtitled Music for Rejuvenation of Body & Mind. While this is the Australian piano phenom's first release with the company, it is a point of interest that Fiona Joy is also featured on the 2015 Grammy-winning album Winds of Samsara, also distributed by Times in India.

Renowned music writer, Vivek Kumar, reviewed the album on 2Indya.com last week, which can be seen here.
 
While the new album is only available in India, one can enjoy sampling all the music & merchandise of Fiona Joy on her official website. Her music is perfect for both "active listening" audiophiles, as well as entertaining, yoga, driving and, of course, relaxing.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GOOD WORKS / NonProfit Events Spotlight




HavServe Gala Honors VOLUNTEERS,
Fundraises for Haiti on Saturday 1/14, 6-11 p.m.

The public is invited to join Volunteers, Partners, and Dignitaries for an evening of food, dancing, entertainment and prizes at Veteran’s Plaza soiree in Silver Spring, MD 

WHAT:                HavServe’s 6th Annual Volunteer Recognition Gala & Fundraiser forRebuilding After Hurricane Matthew will celebrate Volunteerism with Haitian food, culture, great raffles and entertainment by Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) a Haitian folkloric dance troupe, and PanLara, a youth steel drum orchestra. The event is open to the public, with ticket purchase online (price range $45 children - $75 adults, $80 at the door): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/6th-annual-volunteer-recognition-gala-tickets-28942603105

WHO:                     HavServe, a 400+ volunteer strong non-profit organization, promotes youth social and economic development in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and in Haiti through education, leadership development, and community volunteer service. Founded after the 2010 earthquake, HavServe is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in the Washington Metropolitan Area and in Haiti; it is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity.  Links:  www.havserve.org, https://www.facebook.com/HavServe, https://www.instagram.com/havserve/

WHY:                     To fundraise for HavServe programs, to thank our volunteers, while enjoying Haitian/Caribbean entertainment, dancing and dinner by Chef Marie Miriame Michel of Chez Yiamme Catering.  HavServe partners with individuals, volunteers, institutions, businesses, and communities to help change lives through volunteering and service. We are especially proud to uplift our volunteers, partners and sponsors, including the Montgomery County Maryland Office of Community Partnerships.

ATTENDEES:        Int’l & Local Dignitaries, NonProfit Professionals, Volunteers & Individuals interested in HavServe’s efforts to rebuild partnering communities in southwest Haiti and to uplift youth, including those from new American families in the DC Area.  Members of the general public are welcome to this festive event.

WHEN:                   January 14, 2017, from 6:00 pm – 11 pm.

WHERE:                 The SILVER SPRING CIVIC CENTER at 1 VETERANS PLAZA, Silver Spring, MD

PHOTO OPP:          Guest Arrivals* and Entertainers (Jean Appolon Expressions, PanLara) from 6 – 7 pm.

CONTACT:             Media Contact for event access, photo opps., or more information, please contact Beth Ann Hilton, Director of   Communications and Marketing, at 310-560-8390 or bethannhilton@havserve.org

PRIZES:                 Silent Auction includes a RoyalCaribbean Cruise - Ocean View Stateroom 4-Night or 5-Night Caribbean Cruise for 2: Enjoy Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination Labadee, Haiti, with the world’s longest zip line over the water! And many more items...

ENTERTAINERS: Dancing by Jean Appolon Expressions
                               Music by PanLara Youth Steel Orchestra

Visit our ticketing website for all details at https://havservegala2017.eventbrite.com/

Monday, January 2, 2017

Artistic Works in Progress...

Protection and Giving in 2017: Rigzin Tromge


The one who conquers oneself is greater than one who conquers an army of 10,000.   
    ~ the Buddha

One of the most extraordinary artists and projects that crossed our desk in 2016 is Rigzin Tromge and her gift of sharing ancient prayers in music.  Rigzin, a deeply-dedicated Buddhist whose path included extended studies in Tibet, has only recently allowed her voice and prayers to be recorded to share with the world. An indie artist, she launched a Kickstarter effort for the radically-loving project, PROTECTION, and with over 100 sponsors and less than $6k to go in the coming days, it has a fair chance of making its goals. For us, it falls into the realm of "what the world needs now."

The artist, who embraces stunningly dramatic visual presentations of her work, released two albums to date -- UNION and TRANSITION -- and is in the process of crowdfunding to master & manufacture what may be her final album in a trilogy. Her lastest (perhaps most important album) is PROTECTION: Ancient Prayers for Radical Compassion, and it is a ceremony of protector prayers from the Tibetan Buddhist Lineages. 

Despite her fierce appearance in the PROTECTION promo materials, Rigzin's voice is gentle, ethereal, unforgettable. There is great comfort in knowing that she is constantly praying for all of us from her remote home in Northern California, surrounded by nature, her organic gardens, and her beloved dogs. Previews of the recorded vocals promise it to be as uniquely beautiful as her previous works, complemented with graphic design by celebrated artist Android Jones.



In the artist's own words, "PROTECTION is the wrathful aspect of enlightenment. These are more advanced, swifter and powerful than the peaceful practices. In these 'degenerating times,' the great highly-realized ones practice these wrathful practices.  What makes these practitioners great, more advanced, is that the practitioner must be unequivocally steeped to the deepest core of their being in selflessness and loving kindness."

If one is looking for authentic, artistic projects to support, look no further than this heart-based artist's KickStarter page. Among Rigzin's creative donor gifts are brilliant red prayer flags, Tibetan counseling, 3-album trilogy sets, and even a retreat to a remote cabin on her land in NoCal. See more, and hear a sample of the new music here.

As we enter a new era, we can all become patrons of the arts for just the price of a coffee or lunch; a good habit to adopt for the future of the authentic, positive, hi-quality art & music that we want in our world.

Visit the artist's official website: http://rigzinmusic.com/