Friday, April 29, 2022

New Music: Arkenstone's MIDDLE EARTH Revisited

David Arkenstone Releases Surprise Single 
"The Houses of Healing"

Artist & composer David Arkenstone’s loyal Arkenfans were stunned by the announcement that he is releasing a 20th Anniversary follow up to the original Music Inspired by Middle Earth, released in 2002.

Below, we reveal the cover art for the first single, released today, featuring the legendary Faramir and Eowyn.

Read the full announcement by music blogger Robin James on Ello.

Stream "The Houses of Healing"   

Pre-save the album: 

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Monday, March 28, 2022

REVIEW: David Helpling's New Single "This Burning Sky" feat. Nidhi Bhatmuley

Last Friday, David Helpling released the second single from his highly-anticipated new album, IN, dropping 4.15.22 on Spotted Peccary Music. "This Burning Sky" features vocalist Nidhi Bhatmuley singing expressive wordless vocals conveying the story of a being who sacrifices herself to save her world. In listening to the music and Ms. Bhatmuley's singing, one wonders if she may have the power to elevate consciousness to the level of the divine. 

Helpling creates this new world on guitar and synthesizer, hand drums and percussion; he is joined by Matthew Stewart on drums. Ms. Bhatmuley's vocals interlace with the instrumentals. The music soars and dives, shooting upwards again; we imagine the sun is high and bright as the vocals become evermore passionate. One imagines a phoenix. New textures emerge and vanish again, and we experience breathlessness. Is this Rebirth?

Listener reaction to "This Burning Sky" (7:20) has been highly positive, judging from commentary on social media. It seems we are, collectively, ready for intense journeys and adventures again even if it is through the safety of our headphones for now. We desperately want, even need, the being for whom Ms. Bhatmuley speaks to be triumphant. We ride musical waves of emotion as we empathize with her struggle, and her sacrifice. 

Cosmic energy is at play. Helpling seems to be communicating with worlds far beyond ours. In this track alone, his music echoes across the ether, uplifted by Ms. Bhatmuley's soulful callings. This unforgettable anthem of loss, hope and rebirth told in Helpling's signature cinematic style is a strong choice to follow the lush electronic first single, "Waves Dream of Breaking."

Helpling says IN was created during the span of a decade, and we cannot wait to see what the rest of the album will deliver! Preview the music and the limited edition bundle with vinyl exclusively at Bandcamp.

Nidhi in red sari, David in black shirt, smiling.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Live Concert by Joan Sánchez Presents a Romantic Option for Valentine's Day 2022

A CONCERT IN YOUR HOME: Enjoy Joan Sánchez & Iratxe Ibaibarriaga, from Barcelona to your Big Screen

Joan (aka Juan to fans in the U.K. and U.S.) Sánchez is a classically-trained musician who enjoys experimenting with emotive expression through ambient and electronic music, painting musical worlds of twilight and sweet melancholy, often precise, unforgettable and elegant. The music understands our personal concerns and helps to dissipate any tension, allowing a sense of comfort to surround and protect our spirit.

Sánchez gave a rare live concert on Friday, January 21, 2022 at 8 pm for a small live audience in the Rosazul Studio in Barcelona, Spain. The ticketed event was also live streamed worldwide thanks to a flawless two-camera production by, and runs just under 54 minutes in length. The contemplative nature of the music, the candlelit atmosphere, and lack of dialogue make it a likely favorite for casting to “the big screen” to set a romantic atmosphere at home.

We see the two musicians, Sánchez seated at a black piano with rows of small white candles, and cellist Iratxe Ibaibarriaga, elegantly dressed in black and seated throughout the performance. Ms. Ibaibarriaga plays on many of the selections, alternating with Juan playing solo piano. This review highlights just a few tracks from the concert set list of 11-songs, fan favorites chosen from across Sánchez’ three albums released in recent years.

The first selection, "Piga al Cel" (performed on Piano & Cello) is from the artist’s new album TOUCH & SOUND. The name of the song comes from a Catalan language expression that in English means “freckle in the sky.” Juan shares in an earlier interview, "This is how my sister as a child used to describe the moon, she said that the moon was a freckle in the sky. I always found this description of the moon so sweet and tender that I wanted to write a song about it."

"Very Young Old Man" (on Piano) from Sánchez’ second album NOW THE SILENCE pays tribute to the man who shaped Sánchez's view on the piano and music in general; piano teacher Enric Torra Pòrtulas. “I was 20 years old and he was 80 years old. I was amazed, as I'd never seen so much energy and enthusiasm in a person of his age. He loved teaching piano; anyone could see that immediately. He was a Very Young Old Man."

The word Ataraxia refers to the total absence of desires or fears, achieving mental peace and happiness by controlling positive and negative emotions, a state of mind that is characterized by tranquility and the total absence of desires or fears. The concept of ataraxia is to achieve mental peace and happiness impossible to alter by controlling positive and negative emotions, "Ataraxia" (on Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND.

The term "Paralian" comes from ancient Greek origins, meaning "one who lives by the sea.” "Paralian" (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND, "There are a million and one things I take for granted in my life, and living within 10 minutes of the Mediterranean sea is definitely one of them. There’s nothing quite like being able to pop down to the beach in a heartbeat whenever you need it. Because of this, I think it’s one of the best places to go to feel closer to nature and connect with the planet, more so than anywhere else." 

Joan Sanchez
Listening to the music of Juan Sánchez is haunting and profound; sometimes the story is difficult, there is a beauty in the hesitant searching for words, and then cascading ideas tumble forth, a visitation from a blurred face, passions remembered and lost, the warm sunshine and awkward moments meeting new friends for the first time, and always, the quietude that  endures. Sánchez’ cinematic songs inspire filmic moments in listeners’ minds.

Watching Sánchez perform these original pieces in concert reminds us that there is a person behind the magic moments he creates for us. Calm and confident, Sánchez plays effortlessly throughout the concert, eyes closed, head bowed as if in meditation, and then he is present again, transitioning smoothly between solo performances and duets with Ms. Ibaibarriaga. His earlier life experience as a performing musician is evident in his comfort at the piano, and in the generous interplay with his fellow performer on cello.  The candlelight concert concludes with the title track from his debut album, “Rebirth.” 

At the end of the livestream, as the performers stood for applause, Sánchez addressed his live audience in his native Catalan language, a charming reminder that we’ve enjoyed an intimate moment in this elusive artist’s life from across the world.  Hopefully, such performances by Sánchez will be less rare as the world opens up again.

Where to Watch: 


Perfect for fans of: Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Lindsey Stirling

Five Stars *****


  • Piga al Cel (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Very Young Old Man (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Ataraxia (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Woolgathering (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Paralian (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Beautiful Rose (Piano) from the album REBIRTH
  • When Daybreak Comes (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • November 2021 (Piano)
  • Now The Silence (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Those Fridays (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Immersion (Piano) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Rebirth (Piano) from the album REBIRTH

All links to music, information and media are available at



Sunday, December 5, 2021

Composer and Pianist Lisa Swerdlow: Inspired by Her Jewish Ancestry

Beth Ann Hilton interviews composer Lisa Swerdlow on her new concerto, Coming to America, inspired by her Jewish grandparents immigration story. Enjoy this in-depth chat about creativity, inspiration and new music.  

Visit Lisa's official website for more music:  

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

FEATURE: Soundings of the Planet: A Journey From Video Pioneers to New Age Music and Mindful Meditation

Over 50 years ago in 1970, a young couple -- Dean and Dudley Evenson -- got their first video camera, the Sony Portapack, and they literally helped launch a revolution in portable video. This was the first time that everyday people could videotape what was going on in their lives. Prior to that, only a few television channels made video but suddenly the power of media was in the hands of the people.

However, since there were hardly any playback decks in the country and that period pre-dated VCRs, DVDs and the internet, there were virtually no distribution outlets beyond a few Public Access cable TV shows. Now of course with smart phones, YouTube and social media, video can be easily created and shared.

They traveled the country, seeking, observing, and attending  events of the time. They were mindful of the changing times, and gathered countless hours of footage with artists and gurus alike.  Here is one of the most recently released archive stories:

Chief Frank Fools Crow (c. 1890-1989) was a spiritual and civic leader of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He worked tirelessly to preserve tribal sovereignty and treaty rights and led the traditional faction during the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation. He hosted the first ever negotiations with tribal members and White House representatives on his land. Dean Evenson and the video team had traveled to South Dakota then to videotape the standoff. When the occupation ended, Dean stayed in South Dakota for a month, learning from elders and tribal members about their traditions, their respect for the planet, as well as the challenges they faced. 

Founding the record label...

In 1979, husband and wife team and Soundings of the Planet co-founders, Dean and Dudley Evenson, decided to blend their peaceful music of flute and harp with the sounds of nature and start their own record label. They wanted to carry the message of the earth through their music into urban areas where decisions about the planet were being made. This inspiration came to them directly from their contacts with Native American elders and medicine people. They were also motivated to create a more peaceful and meditative form of music that would support yoga and massage and their evolving spiritual path. 

This anniversary video tells the tale...

Music of Peace and Healing...

In this interview, the couple speak with sitar master Deobrat Mishra from his home in Varanasi, India on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Deobrat represents the 11th generation of the Benares Gharana vocal lineage. India’s rich heritage of music is at risk of being lost so to preserve this precious legacy, Deobrat and his family formed the Mishra Academy of Indian Classical Music which replicates the system of passing down knowledge from master to student. Deobrat composes in traditional Indian raga style and has collaborated with Dean Evenson on the album YOGA MANTRA featuring the Gayatri Mantra and six other devotional chants.

Listen to their latest release with Deobrat & Prishant Mishra, titled YOGA Mantra:

The Gayatri Mantra is considered one of the most important, powerful, and ancient Vedic mantras. A mantra (otherwise known as a chant) is a word, sound, or sequence of phrases repeated, to aid in concentration or meditation. 

Traveling to Monet's Gardens...

Dean Evenson has always loved the paintings of Claude Monet and now he has experienced in person the beauty of the flower and water gardens that the Impressionist master cultivated and painted for 40 years. For Dean, spending five days videotaping Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France was a dream come true. There are many reasons Dean has been attracted to the paintings and life of Claude Monet. Dean and Dudley created a beautiful album based on their journey. 

Authoring Affirmations...

Life gets better when we think and feel better about ourselves.

This collection of 52 high-powered affirmations is based on practical wisdom helping us affirm and manifest the best parts of our being. Out with the old, negative, and self-limiting thoughts – in with the new, empowering and positive beliefs. Affirmations allow us to recondition, re-program and re-set our perceptions and beliefs with greater clarity and wisdom—so we can be happier, more at peace, and more successful in our lives. 

Each affirmation is complemented with beautiful contemplative photography and additional background information, allowing you to go deeper while personalizing each affirmation to fit your own life. Every week, explore and fine-tune another facet of yourself. Being able to focus on one guided meditation a week is an effective way to entrain yourself with more positive thought patterns—while allowing time to immerse, reflect, assimilate and integrate each one of these provocative and positive affirmations. 

Immerse yourself...

Incredibly rich content is presented in a pleasing way at the Soundings of the Planet website and YouTube channels. Visit again and again to enjoy hours of watching interviews or relaxing to music and videos; stay tuned for the duo's new lifestyle channel, coming soon!

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

INTERVIEW: Juan Sánchez of Barcelona, Spain on Composing, Evolving & The Latin Grammys

With just two albums and already an impressive MIN music awards nomination under his belt, Juan (aka Joan) Sánchez is a rising talent on the world music scene. The Barcelona-based sound designer and producer is already a success in the business world, and now he's ready to share a more personal aspect of his music and move into giving live performances. (Watch a performance clip in the video above.)

Juan's albums Rebirth and Now the Silence are supported by 25,000+ Spotify followers, a multitude of reviews and creative music videos made by Juan and many filmmakers who find his emotive music just the right touch for their movies. Now the Silence recently won Best Neoclassical or Minimalist album from the El Aljibe Musical program aired on Spain's Ivoox platform, and the sublime album will get its chance at The Latin Grammy Awards and the Grammy Awards this summer and fall.

In her review of Now the Silence, Rebecca Cullen (Stereo Stickman Music Blog) wrote Long-time favorite and categorically one of our generation’s most compelling and inspiring creatives – Juan Sánchez explores the topically relevant impact of enforced solitude and quiet time with this superb and aptly titled album “Now The Silence”. This album, as much so as silence itself, provides a powerful catalyst for reflecting on precisely these aspects of existence. It puts the breaks on, so to speak, and allows us time to breath, to cry, to be grateful. Undoubtedly a stand-out project from this tumultuous year – and one well worth checking back in with throughout the years to come." 

Juan announces a new album on the horizon in the video interview above, and reveals the stories behind his emotional music, overcoming his shyness, and how he found inspiration during quarantine.

Learn more about Juan and hear the music at

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