Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day: Must Do's & Music



Listen to Aural Awakenings Earth Day Special, Vol. 2!


“In nature, nothing exists alone.”—Rachel Carson, 1962

Earth Day Network is asking people to join the Protect our Species campaign. The goals are to:
  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.

THE HISTORY OF EARTH DAY

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. What set the stage for the first earth day?

The height of counterculture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” War raged in Vietnam and students nationwide overwhelmingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.

Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries, and beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health.

Earth Day 1970 gave voice to that emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns on the front page.

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment”to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.

Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism. Despite these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a relevant, powerful focal point. Earth Day Network brought 250,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®–introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 75,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.

Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

In honor of this milestone, Earth Day Network is launching an ambitious set of goals to shape the future of 21st century environmentalism. Learn more and plan ahead with help from:

1616 P ST. NW, SUITE 340
WASHINGTON, DC 20036
+1(202)518-0044

All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more. The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.

MUSIC for EARTH DAY

Listen to earth-wise music from Aural Awakenings Earth Day Special, Vol. 2 while you browse for Earth Day activities in your town:

Episode 29 (An Earth Day Special, Vol. 2)



Steve Gordon and Deborah MartinEarth Dweller – Selections: Deborah Martin
Marcia Watson Bendo –Planting Moon –Woodland Moons
John Tinger –A Walk in the Woods –Between Two Worlds
George Winston –The Good Earth –Restless Wind
Medwyn Goodall –Sungrass –Earth Goddess
James Asher and Arthur Hull –Island Farewell –On the Good Foot
David Nevue –The Wind Blows Where It Wishes –In the Soft Light of Grace
Michael Kollwitz –Crystal Caverns –Serenity III
Scott Reich –Earth and Sky, Light and Love –Instar
Greg Maroney –Dreaming Tree –Secrets of the Sea
Ken McGarity –Sky to Earth Song –Breath of Life
Rémi Orts Project –Algae –Peaceful Moments (The Ocean Story)

Deborah Martin on Apache Reservation in Arizona.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

She Plays: Celebrating Women in Music


When is International Men’s Day? Pretty much every day, so BEING is taking at least this one day to give a shout out to all of the fabulous women of the world! A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

International Women's Day (IWD) is powered by the collective efforts of all. Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes IWD successful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

International Women's Day has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality.

Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.​ So, make International Women's Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women!

Making Hearts Sing

The BEING editorial team has gathered together an array of female artists from this growing community in tribute to International Women’s Day. There is global demand for new music beyond pop, rock and hip hop...contemporary, worldly, instrumental, conscious, new age...by authentic voices expressing real women's lives. For International Women’s Day, let's shine a light on the immense variety of women making music. Their inspiration to create is as diverse as the beautiful new music they make.


Fiona Joy Hawkins, Little Hartley Music
Fiona Joy Hawkins

Australian Pianist and Singer Fiona Joy Hawkins reflects on a busy lifetime career that includes a performance at New York Carnegie (Weill Hall), a live concert on Echoes/NPR and accompanying Deepak Chopra. Having toured China three times now, Fiona Joy is nick-named The Piano Angel, not just for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, but also for her graceful performance style in concert.

A prolific composer, she has always been interested in creating music that evokes images, emotions and stories. It follows that her upbringing was filled with music. Her classical piano training is evident in her thematic and melodic compositions. Ravel’s Bolero emerged as an early influence, she says, adding, “I loved it, I played it over and over and deconstructed every part. George Winston, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn also intrigued me."

One of her upcoming projects is a collaboration with Rebecca Daniel titled Lightness of Dark, which explores loss and mourning. Perhaps her most celebrated collaboration is with the popular New Age group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, and Will Ackerman). https://fionajoy.com/


Deborah Martin, Spotted Peccary Music
Deborah Martin

Deborah Martin’s passion is to visualize and create music that takes each listener on a journey through time and space. With a vivid imagination and a deep love of historic places and peoples of the past, we see her as being blessed; for they are few, those visionaries, who can bring forth into the present, and into our hearts, the spirit of that which has been so utterly lost in antiquity.

“I simply close my eyes and imagine what it would have been like to exist in another time, another place, and then the music comes.”

Deborah has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the North American continent, experiencing firsthand the diversity of cultures and the historic threads that weave together connecting us all. This perspective enables her to recognize and uncover links between present and past, and to interpret the resulting panorama with a compositional style all her own.

Deborah joined Spotted Peccary Music in 1991, with musical contributions on the album Tracks in Time. Deborah states, “I wanted to combine visual elements of places, people and events of long ago with sound.” Her three compositions, “Tracks In Time,” “Watercolors,” and “Forgot In Stone” did just that and much more. Since then she has created many albums of fine music.

Whether collaborating with other artists or working on her own projects in the future, Deborah Martin, one of Spotted Peccary Music’s highly acclaimed top selling artists is sure to inspire listeners with visions of the past and present; and when the time comes for her to reveal the next installment of her musical saga, it is certain that it will be one for the ages. Learn more at https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/deborah-martin/

Valerie Romanoff 
Valerie Romanoff, Valrock Music
“Music has the power to heal, transform, evoke emotion, underscore and enhance our lives. By consciously aligning with elements of music, we can affect deep changes in our world” proudly proclaims Valerie Romanoff: she loves to share ideas about music, art, meditation, passionate pursuits, intentionality, the upliftment of our world, and the power of LOVE.

“I love playing the electric guitar and creating music; I am devoted to my family; I live mostly in New York and part-time in Sedona, Arizona; I co-founded Starlight Orchestras in 1998 and have spent many years producing and performing live music for upscale events around the country.”

Participating in the growing global conversation about uplifting our world with peace, love and,music has become her life’s work. In addition to her meditation music, look for her new band, SPIRIT JAMFEST, where Valerie and friends are creating a platform for upliftment, celebration, ecstatic expression and the sharing of a common goal; our world in love and at peace! She performs a live concert on Friday March 8, 2019, International Women's Day, at Sedona's Creative Life Center. Visit http://valerieromanoffmusic.com/

Suzanne Doucet, ONAM
Suzanne Doucet

"I devote my total being to whatever I'm doing," says Suzanne Doucet. This principle is the underlying factor in Doucet's success and has seen her through many transitional phases of her illustrious career. She is a former entertainment Star from Europe, Co-Founder of the New Age Music Circle, NewAgeMusic.com, and NewAgeUniverse.com. She became one of the pioneers in the New Age Music industry in West Germany and is now recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the subject worldwide. She has lived in the USA since 1983.

Originally from Germany with an international career first as a teen-pop star, singer and songwriter, then as a TV-host, producer and music publisher Suzanne devoted all her energies since 1969 to help explore the “New Age Music” scene world wide. She is regarded as one of the foremost experts and pioneers of this genre. She opened the World's first "Only New Age Music" store in Hollywood California with her husband James Bell in 1987, on Melrose Avenue, and she founded the International New Age Music Network (1987 - 1992). 

Since 2009, she has produced the successful MP3-compilation series "Sounds from the Circle", which consists of 10 volumes so far, with artists from all over the world, such as Peter Kater, Steven Halpern, Ricky Kej, Fiona Joy, Omar Akram, Bernward Koch, Laura Sullivan and many others. See her full story at http://www.suzannedoucet.com/

Ann Licater

Ann Licater, Photo by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley
Ann Licater is an award-winning recording artist, world flutist, producer and composer. She created and facilitates “Flute for the Soul” workshops where she plays Native American and world flutes as tools for personal discovery. On her five albums, Following the Call, Doorway to a Dream, Invitation from Within, Beyond the Waves and Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation as in her healing concerts, Ann’s unique approach merges her intuition, spiritual perspective and traditional music background. Her love of wood and clay flutes led her to study with master flutist R. Carlos Nakai (Navajo-Ute) complementing her years of classical flute training at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, MN.  

Licater’s music accolades range from “Top Ten Best New Age Album” by Amazon music editors, to “Best Relaxation Album” by ZMR Music Awards and beyond. Her music is featured on Sirius XM, Soundscapes, a Music Choice cable radio channel, Pandora and Spotify and as in-flight entertainment for Cathay Pacific Airlines, Virgin Airlines and Air Canada under the music category “Well-Being.” Licater has performed at the World Flute Fest at Carnegie Hall, the Awakened World Conference in Rome and Florence, Italy and at “Sound Body, Sound Mind” Specialty Week at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate. Mexico. She holds a B.A. from University of St. Thomas, and an M.L.A. in Creation Spirituality from Naropa University and divides her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Explore at https://www.fluteforthesoul.com/

Rigzin

In her wildest of dreams, Rigzin never aspired to become a singer or performer. She devoted her main life’s effort, for now over 30 years, to studying and practicing the meditational lineages, of Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhism.


Her original background was in fine arts photography, she graduated summa cum laude, with a BFA from the University of New Mexico. She traveled to India with the intention of studying East Indian art, and photographing. Wandering, she was drawn to Bodh Gaya, the place where Sakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment, under the Bodhi Tree. Being introduced to Buddhist philosophy there, she stayed for one year, falling deeply in love with the teachings, and the practices of mediation that develop ones love and compassion, on the path to awakening.

Rigzin, Rigzin Music
All of the albums in her Sacred Trilogy Series (Union, Transition, Protection) are a complete practice, effortlessly guiding the listener from lineage to dedication, subtly developing our wisdom and compassion. Mantra are enlightenment through sound vibration, hearing or reciting them is a direct connection to our inherent enlightened nature. The actual CD disks are imbued with mantras, a spinning “prayer wheel” sending out prayers in all directions.The stunning visual art of the Sacred Trilogy is by one of today’s most prominent visionary artists Android Jones. The beautiful six panel package is a small treasure of art and prayers. All eco friendly recycled materials and ink, free of plastic, made in the USA. One tree is planted for each CD sold, which will continue to grow for years, benefiting subsistence farmers around the world, and offsetting carbon emissions, thus easily making accessible the ancient blessings of the Tibetan Lineages, in modern times, with the intention to bring infinite benefit to all beings without exception. Learn about Rigzin, her music and weekly online meditations at http://rigzinmusic.com/

Anaya

Anaya is a timeless composer and vocalist devoted to elevating the human spirit through music, to fulfill a collective yearning shared by humanity for harmony, unity and balance. Anaya’s desire to learn the universal language of music emerged when she was 4 years old reared by a rich culture driven by music and the arts. Her musical journey began on guitar and piano, which led to many years of dedication to composing and producing her own albums.

Anaya, AnayaMusic
Music is the heart of Brazil and has been the foundation for Brazilian culture enriching all festivities, religious ceremonies and simple daily life. As an accomplished composer, performer and producer, Anaya passionately expresses her spirituality and the influence of her Brazilian roots through music, art, and poetry. Her style truly captures the soothing, inspiring and energizing essence of Brazilian music, which delivers a stellar synthesis of genres such as new age, electronic and melodic trance. Anaya is a multi-talented professional with a Post Doctorate degree in leadership and a Phd in Information Technologies. She has a very unique international resume, which includes traveling the world as a performer of Brazilian pop music and working for the University of Brazilia and the United Nations as an Information System Specialist. Anaya weaves her expertise in computer science with a deep understanding of universal spirituality to create a union between technology and the senses, which becomes the heart of her work. “Our best instrument is the universal harmony of being.” Visit http://www.anayamusic.com/

Kristen Speller

“This journey of being a musician has saved me. Whenever I am hurt, I can write about it, which is an emotional attachment that has fed my music quite well. I often struggle with being a “tortured musician.” I don’t necessarily feel tortured as a person, but I can develop music to revert back to pain. So the journey has been fulfilling, in that, I can write the best songs from pain. But my vibration is that of light and that’s where “The Rising of The Phoenix,” came into play. I learned to play Dulcimer, became an energy source within the rhythm of it, strung the cords to my heart’s delight. So the journey has been more emotional than anything. It’s complex, it’s subjective, it’s complicated, it’s beautiful, it’s love and it is my life. As Maya Angelou has so eloquently written, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
Kristen Speller, artist-entrepreneur
“Part of the inspiration for ‘Addiction’ was the conversations I had with people who had asked about David Ness who passed away in 2014. I thought about the wide range of addictions that all human beings are subject to, and the fact that there’s not a huge conversation surrounding that. I didn’t like the fact that people were judging David, just as I wouldn’t want people judging me for being a food and sugar addict. Instead of addiction being a societal norm, I think prevention should be a societal given. I feel like a lot of people can relate to the song and that it could be a catalyst to start the larger conversation.” Listen and explore Kristen's ever-expanding world of music, organic cosmetics, and wellness at http://www.kristenspeller.com/


Jennifer DeFrayne

Jennifer DeFrayne, Palo Isle Music
Jennifer DeFrayne is an international award-winning contemporary new age pianist and composer. Her music has been described as ~ Inspirational ~ Uplifting ~ Calming ~ Relaxing ~ Healing ~ Storytelling... She began writing music at a young age, is self-taught, and finds her emotional voice through the piano… She didn’t’ release her first album until she was 40 years old when she realized how precious life really is… and finally followed her passion for music and healing.

Born amongst the stark (and, in winter, savage) beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one of the cradles of Finnish heritage and culture in North America, Jennifer (Palosaari- her Finnish given name) came to love playing piano by the age of five. She eschewed the more typical classical lessons, opting instead for crafting her own original melodies, inspired by the surrounding beauty of her physical world as well as her emotional connections to her family. During favorable weather, neighbors would request that the family leave their windows open to allow Jennifer's melodies to reach into their homes. One (of several) musical turning points came when, while playing at a local art gallery as a teenager, the gallery owner compared her music to George Winston's (who was unknown to Jennifer at the time). Needless to say, the discovery that others "out there" embraced her style of music propelled her to explore a more concrete vision of performing and recording, leading her to college studies in music management, where professors, friends, and performers all offered more encouragement. Visit Jennifer at https://www.jenniferdefrayne.com/

Kimberly Haynes

Kimberly Haynes, Music Medicine Woman
Despite limited exposure to art and music in the inner city where she was raised, Kimberly Haynes bravely followed a divinely inspired call to song. Naturally immersed in music of all kinds as a young child, Kimberly knew that she wanted to be an artist and a songwriter very early on. She began performing at a young age making her professional debut at age 12 singing with the televised group Young Life Singers. By age 15, she was already recording demos for other songwriters. At 19, Kimberly traveled to Japan and began a decade of performing in various clubs and venues there and in Los Angeles.


You will hear Kimberly’s greatest musical influences – such as Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell, and Sarah Mc Lachlan – as she harmoniously weaves inspirational heart-felt lyrics into a rich tapestry of world instruments to create poetic reflections. “Having risen from my own ashes multiple times, it is my mission to carry a positive, uplifting message into the world,” She says. “My life and my music are richer and deeper for the challenges I have overcome, and my songs are a reflection of my personal journey.” She sings en Español for the first time on "Pinta" (see the video up top); enjoy more  at http://www.musicmedicinewoman.com/


Madhavi Devi

Electronic musician, harpist, and meditative sound painter Madhavi Devi (Cheryl Gallagher) produces and performs music with intention towards supernal inner growth and development, composing inspiring sound-spaces reflective of mystical vibrations and light from the center of being. Her critically acclaimed releases feature rich textures and nuanced melodic structures that are evocatively moving and intimate, and yet celestial in scope. Nature sounds, various acoustic percussive elements, and subtly crafted electronic sub-components all add eloquence to her sonic palette and choreography. With several releases over the last couple decades, Madhavi Devi continues to explore her innate sensitivities towards musical conversation, evolving sound as a vital connection to personal discovery.

As a visual artist, Madhavi creates beautiful atmospheric spaces, inspired often by both Western and Asian ancient art, but always by sacred themes, spiritual culture and other natural influences especially intended for meditation, divine development, healing, and support of inner wisdom and truth.

She has specialized training in creative arts education using the Intentional Creativity Methods, established by maestra Shiloh Sophia, offering transformational painting experiences using intuitive methods for revelatory self-discovery, personal development, release of limiting beliefs and healing. Listen and explore the many gifts of Madhavi Devi at https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/madhavi-devi/

Listen in on International Women’s Day: March 8, 2019, then click the link to get everything you need to run a successful International Women's Day celebration! 

- by Robin B. James






Friday, February 22, 2019

MUSIC REVIEW

Toward the Horizon
by Craig Padilla and Marvin Allen


Hypnotic, captivating, dreamy, and vivid, the music drifts from electronic soundscapes to atmospheric textures, at times swirling and spinning through dazzling sequences and epic soaring refrains. Toward The Horizon is spacemusic in every sense. It's just what the doctor ordered to drown out the maddening buzz of current events, or to encourage new visions. The track “Tidal Disruption” suggests a better place than ours...a place similar to the album's intriguing cover, with beautiful horizons touching silver seas; “Liquid Heaven” could be the essential exploration of those same mysterious empyrean waters. One’s imagination is inspired to wander.

Electronic, ambient and rock music fans will thoroughly appreciate the resulting explosive melodies and ambient soundscapes. Allen uses Strymon Effects on his guitar, and all of the synthesizer parts on “Distant Waves” were created using only a modular synthesizer that was designed by legendary synth builder George Mattson. How does that sound in the end? In their words, "It’s a combination of our unique sensibilities. There are elements of progressive rock, spacemusic, Berlin-school, trance, as well as influences like Pink Floyd, Camel, and Tangerine Dream, etc..."

Composed, performed and produced by prolific electronic music artist Craig Padilla and multi-talented performer and music educator Marvin Allen, one would never guess it is the duo's first time working together. These skilled musicians have crafted a masterful free-flowing dreamscape that moves through a myriad of moods, revealing the many colors of an ever-changing sonic skyline. Melodic and rhythmic, surreal and drifting, the resulting music is a timeless adventure through illuminating guitar tonalities and majestic synthesizer vistas.

Very few labels offer an album "unboxing" playlist of videos, which was fun to discover on YouTube, and is just one of many quality touches that makes Spotted Peccary such a fine record label to follow; watch the unboxing of Toward the Horizon or visit Spotted Peccary to listen, purchase and browse.

In brief: Pulsing with life and vibrant energy, Toward the Horizon (Spotted Peccary Music, 2019) is a striking collaboration combining electronic music veteran Craig Padilla’s analog and digital synth mastery with the electric guitar wizardry of Marvin Allen.

Toward The Horizon releases today, February 22, 2019. on Spotted Peccary Music in both
physical and digital formats, as well as 24-bit Audiophile format.

Track listing:
1. Toward the Horizon (17:39)
2. Distant Waves (4:58)
3. Tidal Disruption (13:06)
4. Beneath the Surface (13:24)
5. Hidden (11:00)
6. Liquid Heaven (4:35)



Friday, January 4, 2019

Music Review: Healing Music Volume 2


Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Valerie Romanoff has succeeded in delivering the ultimate two-disk relaxation album. Comprised of seventeen tracks, Healing Music Volume 2 is a two-hour serenade rife with delicate textures and brilliant guitar work. Most clocking in over five minutes each, these songs are designed to keep the listener in a peaceful mindset from beginning to end. The free-flowing nature of this music promotes a sense of openness and clarity and promote an uplifted state of mind.

Having studied music since childhood, Romanoff has always been driven to create atmospheres with her extensive knowledge of different instruments and genres. She categorizes her work into a spectrum that she likes to call “STILL, CHILL, THRILL,” all of which she uses to determine what kind of "life" or vibe each track will take on. She describes “STILL” as music for times of reflection and relaxation, while “CHILL” encourages active thought, and “THRILL” ignites energy during energetic peak times.

Staying within the realms of STILL and CHILL, disk one of Healing Music Volume 2 features eight of Romanoff's full-length compositions. “Pink Skies Over Still Water” showcase Stevin McNamara’s beautiful sitar playing as well as Tom Rossi’s ethereal flute. Paired with Romanoff’s guitar work, this trifecta comes together to create a piece with plenty of space, atmosphere and overflowing joy that continues on into “Pink Skies Over Waves.” Further down the list, “Om Shanti Shalom” has more of a groove than most of the other songs do. It is carried by solid percussion and her guitar playing layered on top of some ambient synthesizer work.

Disk two offers nine tracks which are radio edits of the songs on disk one, providing a compact version of the compositions from the previous disk. Concluding the second part of the collection is the bonus track “Prelude Went Beyond.” A celebration of love, it includes Tom Rossi once again on the kora as well as McNamara on sitar. Loaded with layers of strings and a variety of ornamental flourishes, the listener is left with a warm glow of motivation and positivity.

With this second album -- and a variety of notable singles including one with beloved yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch -- Valerie Romanoff emerges as an exciting new voice to follow in the arena of World and New Age music. Her lively social feeds, especially Instagram, offers a daily dose of positivity and good energy.

For more information on Romanoff and a list of her upcoming talks and live performances, visit www.valerieromanoffmusic.com. Healing Music Volume 2 is now available anywhere music is sold or streamed, as well as on her Bandcamp page.
- Samantha Garcia

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Freeze Frame: Remembrance



Photo by Nic Jackson
(Little Visuals / Hand on Heart)

During the holiday break, I was looking for New Years Eve images for social media posts. A search for copyright free images led me to the work of a young twentysomething named Nic Jackson, who released a loosely topical mix of interesting images each week. His work was clean, spare, striking...and as I wondered for the 100th time if my love of minimalism is embedded in my Nordic DNA, I wondered if some of his landscapes had been taken in Norway or Denmark, and so I followed a link to his full site and found this shocker:

_________________________________

Announcement

Those of you who look at Little Visuals and any new visitors will be aware there have been no further uploads for over a year now. Sadly the young man who created this site died suddenly in Nov 2013. His name is Nic he is 26 and we are his family. Nic is one of far too many young adults who’s death comes under the heading of S.A.D.S ( Sudden Adult Death Syndrome ). We are now fundraising in the hope to provide a number of schools or sports areas with portable defibrillators in Nic’s memory. With this in mind we would like to ask if any of you that view his site and download the images would consider a small donation towards the Hand on Heart Charity. We hope to update this site in the near future with previously unpublished photos. 
With thanks, Nic’s family
_______________________________
Nic was bright, passionate and generous with his talent for photography....how could such a visionary young person be gone? I stared at the screen and the term S.A.D.S.  Sad memories flooded over me and tears welled as I remembered Jamie Hall, my beautiful friend who had also died of S.A.D.S in his sleep during his junior year of high school. Jamie seemed a man among boys back then...handsome, extraordinarily kind and very talented in sports. I've thought about him often over the years, and it is his example that I think of when teaching my son that it's so much cooler to be kind.  I lost touch with his family after moving away, but I was glad to see that his memory is still honored annually at our high school: 
The Jamie Hall Memorial Awards are presented to a junior boy and girl athlete at the (Governor Mifflin Senior High School) All-Sports Banquet. The awards are presented by Jamie’s parents in memory of their son. The awards are given to a junior boy and girl who have earned the highest number of varsity letters in their sophomore and junior years.
S.A.D.S is well named. Both of these young men were beloved by their families and had a zest for life. We are still bewildered by the mysterious killer S.A.D.S...as teens, it really wasn't a diagnosis that helped us to understand why our friend had been taken from us, and as the parent of a teen now, it is terrifying that it remains a possibility today. 
In answer to their loss, Nic's family has established a U.K.-based charity called Hand on Heart, which supplies portable defibrillators to schools and sports establishments in the event that they are needed to save another young person from S.A.D.S (donations welcome).  
Here in the U.S., there is a slightly different acronym for S.A.D.S, which can be found at https://www.sads.org/, a supportive site for families and friends who have lost loved ones, and for the many who have survived thanks to growing awareness and advocacy. 
As we ring in a new year, I'm realizing that while time moves on for all of us, it freezeframes the memories of our beautiful young friends and family who left us too soon. Thank you Nic and Jamie, for making a difference in our lives....and know that I am #grateful for your time among us, and for your gifts, which continue to give. 
I will be showing more of Nic's photography (and his story) in my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook throughout 2019. Whenever you recognize his work, I hope you will leave a 💗 & ✋ in tribute.
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