Do you find yourself having trouble with much of the music out there today that gets airplay over the radio waves? Do you find yourself having trouble with your old play lists that you listened to before awakening? Old favorites that have just….fallen away?
Oh so much changes, doesn’t it? I know that at a certain point in my process, I could no longer watch certain movies or even listen to certain kinds of music. So much of our world is drenched in this vibration of hardness, and it shows in the music we listen to. I recently began to reflect on all of the really great music that I have listened to over the last ten years that helped me to find a place to be where I could still listen to music without going into the wrong kind of overwhelm.
So if that has been the case for you, I have a treat or two hiding in here for you!
I have a list. It is in truth, a lot of different stuff, but its been selected because it has at different periods of time, helped to support me in my process. Some days, I just could not listen to ANYTHING deeply rhythmic because, awakening. But other times, I NEEDED that deep beat. But mostly? I needed something that wasn’t drenched in the drama and BS of popular culture. Some of the music is great for work, yoga, meditation practice (if you use music at all) and for just getting around through the day. I have selected out all of the things that didn’t put me in a funk and that usually tend to lift me up or helps to put me in one great zone or another (some very quiet and subtle). I don’t know about you, but my tastes range all over the place, and what suits me one day does not work the next. I have all kinds of play lists often just to suit the mood. So the list….it ranges all over the place, too. I hope you can pick up a few things to add to your sonic tool box. So sharpen your pencil, take down some names and head over to i-Tunes to listen to the free samples, or try them on YouTube.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there is a lot that is not included because it might only be one great song on one album, but this should be something to get you started on a new sonic-mind space groove. Note: everything I am listing, except for a few noted exceptions, can be found on i-Tunes. Injoy!
What’s your favorite music these days? Care to share? I’m expanding my list on a daily basis and would love to hear from you.
Elephant Revival. An eclectic blend of styles rooted in folk, but without slavery to instrumental styles that hem them in. My favorites from their most recent album Petals are Peace Tonight, Petal.
Their album These Changing Skies is their second most recent album and it’s worth taking a look/listen because the sound is a little different in some ways, while staying true to their quiet calming meditative music. In some ways, there are songs on this album I like even more than their most recent Petals. Make sure to check out
Birds and Stars, and Down To The Sea – I do have to admit that these soft-sided works often get a little much for me; I like some variety, so Down To The Sea feels a little turned inward, but I am sure you will like it in the right pairing, right? Also, Rogue River is worth listening for a bit of unexpected bluesy variety on the same album. Rogue is a bit hard in the lyrics, though.
Here is a link to one of their songs on youtube:
Jai-Jagdeesh. Taking a sudden turn into the Bakhti vibe, there is the work of Jai-Jagdeesh who blends western with Indian sensibilities. This is good for those who want longer songs, more contemplation, less just easy listening, but often delightful and uplifting. Her album I Am Thine is made up of mostly long six to eight-minute tracks that help to keep you in the groove. I liked the first song on the album Aad Guray Nameh. And while the title track I Am Thine might be pretty popular, I liked Om Namah Shivaya Raam more because it departed from the more mellow rhythms and had a more bluesy feel, which is always interesting to me from a creative standpoint. Her earlier album Of Heaven and Earth has a little more upbeat feeling overall, and might be worth a listen.
Bachan Kaur is another artist whose work seems to be designed for yoga. Her album Anahata has a very folk feel, but this is not because it has traditional folk instrumentals, often just a guitar and a sitar in the background. Her work is spare, but if you want to have a fifteen minute tune, her work could be just the ticket.
Mirabai Ceiba is a duo that blends an interesting range of instrumental styles. I found myself grasping for a way to describe their sound. The best I can say is that it is a Celtic-meets-Latin feel. I find that I’d like their work without the singing because the instruments shine so beautifully on their own. Their albums Sevati, and their most recent Sacred Love Meditations, along with several others, are all on i-Tunes.
Matisyahu is less meditative music as it is something with a positive message. It has a reggae backbone, toss in some world, and you are done. Light is one of his recent releases and personally, I like the track on Light, One Day the best.
Trevor Hall has a great message, and isn’t into the trancy eight minute journey’s, which means that Trevor is a bit like Matisyahu not so much in style, but in that they have a rhythmic instrumental style that lacks the rawness often present in music of this type. I like Trevors music a lot and I find I pepper my play lists with his stuff when I need to break up the longer “trancy” stuff with something that has a nice beat. His last two albums Kala and Chapter of the Forest are two you should start with and explore his earlier work from there. I wouldn’t call his work yoga music though. Its really nice thoughtful music with soul.
This is his Youtube channel:
In a similar kind of rockin’ vein is Michael Franti. Again, his stuff might be too fast for some yoga, but his message is supportive and strong with his hi-hop reggae blended style. In fact, his music is often really great to dance to. His most recent album is Soulrocker.
Deva Premal was music I listened to when I did my Qi Gong practice. Her music has a contemporary backbone but well within the New Age style. The focus is on her voice, which she uses very well for create rich landscapes that can help carry you along in your work. It tends to be faster tempo than, say Bachan Kaur. If you want a really wild sound scape, try her Tibetan Mantras for Turbulent Times. This album is most definitely for trance work, if you ask me. Much of her work tends to be mantras sung in the Sanskrit.
NOT ON I-TUNES: Now for one that might be hard to get to, but at a certain point in my work, especially meditation and Qi Gung, Vyas Huston’s Victory Over Death fit the bill. It’s a bit severe sounding sometimes, but when its good, it can be really good. I copied the file twice and burned a disc for listening for long periods since it is one giant circle of mantra (but somehow, it doesn’t listen as repetitive because of how the phrases are paced out with the music). And to be fair, he isn’t singing mantras, but reciting a prayer whose words can be found on other sites dealing with Huston and his work. I was introduced to his work by my teacher Robin and I was able to copy his disc. If you do Thai Chi or Chi Gung, you might see how the pacing of his recitation works really well with the moves of Qi Gung (which my teacher Robin presented to the rhythm of his piece, which is almost half an hour long-perfect for getting in a number of important moves in the Gung).
When I went looking for his work on i-Tunes, it didn’t show up, and honestly besides a Youtube video, I am not sure where to tell you to go to get it (if you like it). Vyas is mentioned on the internet here and there, so maybe you can get lucky (and maybe share back here for a link?). Let me know what you think of his work! Until then, this is the link to the youtube that has the piece on it (and a few images that are a dead-ringer for places where I live):
Moksha (featuring Kanchman Babbar). If you want something in a similar and perhaps more traditional vein, try these Vedic chants by a chorus of 21 Brahmins. Just type “Moskha” in i-Tunes and it should be the first choice that comes up and give it a try. All of the chants are done in a pitch and style that does not vary except the mantras being chanted.
Odesza. So nice. One album worth listening to is In Return. First track: Always This Late. This is not meditation music per se, but its great texture and a sonic landscape for….running, working on writing (if the vibrations match what you are doing), cleaning, dancing (?)and heck, maybe even an active yoga routine. Check them out and let me know what you think. Very upbeat, bright, and lovely vocals with a definite electronic backbone to it all. I own their work.
Emancipator. Another electronic trance groove kind of sound-scape in a similar vein as Odesza. See their album Seven Seas, safe In the Steep Cliffs, and Soon It Will Be Cold Enough. I like their stuff. I have a few of their songs, too!
Peter Gabriel. I know, “isn’t he that pop artist who was once with Genesis and did Shock the Monkey?” Yes! If you listen to his music, you will find that all of his work has a driving desire towards awareness. He is a modern Gnostic in my book with his revealing More Than This. He is a kind of revealer of important issues concerning our place in the world. While his music has hit the charts and has had a lot of play, giving his music a listen to revealed, at least to me, a great depth of comprehension about spiritual issues. His album Growing Up, which was also released as a DVD of his live concert (in France, if I remember correctly). While his work with Genesis was more in the pop/rock vein, his work began to mature once he broke from the band. Some of his work gets hard and even edgy, but some of his songs, like Signal To Noise are dealing with the issue of disinformation and seeking truth. His music was indispensible at a certain phase in my awakening. Blood of Eden speaks to the union of the opposites in consciousness.
- IZ. Also known as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Iz is Polynesian and has a beautiful melodic voice that he matches with equally sensitive lyrics. Iz is no longer with us, but he has left a number of albums like Facing Future, and Alone in IZ World. His is a Hawaiian experience.
Yoga Music Co. These folks create music expressly for yoga. Might be worth a try. If you want a quick intro, you can go to youtube:
I am not sure if they are i-Tunes but their web site is www.yougamusicco.com. I liked what I heard!
For that matter, there are a number of channels on youtube now with music like Yoga Music, so it might be worth a listen and a little seeking to find things that you like.
Deborah Van Dyke is a chanter and her work is, as you might have guessed, very repetitive, but these are mantras after all.
In a more melodic and musical vein is the work of Donna De Lory, a mix of English and Sanskrit language styling.
So what music do you like? Please feel free to share and we can make a nice list for others in desperate need of a sonic transformation!
Until next time,