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The Lightness of Dark: a new Classical Crossover album by Fiona Joy Hawkins and Rebecca Daniels The renowned Australian and English musicians Rebecca Daniel and Fiona Joy Hawkins present a powerful exploration of loss and beauty amidst life's sadness in an uplifting Classical Crossover style. On this new album, The Lightness of Dark, the two explore the many facets of life and loss, the search for something positive in the crippling shadows; the resulting album is an example of the potential beauty that can emerge from mourning and sadness. Hawkins and Daniel will be supporting the Classical Crossover-style album with U.S.-based performances in Fall 2019, at Dizzy's in San Diego (, also in Colorado, Julian, CA, and at an exclusive ticketed event in Los Angeles; updates on the duo's Facebook page. “We believe our album will connect with everyone because we all experience loss in varying forms,” Hawkins says. “It can be the loss of youth, a loved one, a pet, your changing events where we are left to mourn because of loss. People only face their own issues when you lead them to a safe place to do this.” Both Hawkins and Daniel know that when real life becomes art, experiences can be shared, learned from and resonate with others who are going through similar challenging situations in their lives. Both were channeling the effects of difficult personal experiences into the music they were creating on their own, and soon realized their intent, ideas and visions for what this project could ultimately be melded perfectly. Music critic Jonathan Widran observes, "While The Lightness of Dark is most-richly experienced in its entirety as the duo converse and ultimately merge their expressions into a singular statement of grace, several pieces stand out thematically" on the 11-track album, including "Interwoven Threads of Chance" and "Ghosts, Insanity, Angels." The Lightness of Dark weaves its lush, cathartic narrative via music with varying instrumentation depending on the emotions the two are expressing. The opening track “Heavenly Voices” blends string quartet (featuring The Kanimbla Quartet) with organ, piano and vocals. Other tracks, feature solo piano (“Ghosts, Insanity, Angels”), piano/violin duet (“Elegy”), piano with quartet pads (“Lake of Contemplation”), string quartet only (“Interwoven Threads of Chance”), string quartet featuring piano (“Empty Moments”) and other combinations uniquely fitted for the compositions they imbue. Daniel’s fascination with Trauermusik (mourning or funeral music) began with the study of Paul Hindemith. Hindemith wrote a famous piece of Trauermusik for solo viola and string orchestra, and since performing this in the UK, Rebecca has embraced the rich and layered sounds of viola with string accompaniment. She says, “I drew inspiration for the Theme and Variations on a Ground Bass, from Hindemith's ‘Trauermusik’ and Purcell's ‘Dido's Lament’, which I have performed in the UK. Both pieces are powerfully tragic, and yet the beauty that comes through is deeply moving and engaging, in a way that leaves you uplifted, and wanting the experience again. On the title track ‘The Lightness of Dark,’ for instance, I use viola as a solo voice, as did Hindemith, and a simple descending bass line in the strings and piano, as a repetitive foundation for solo lines, as used by Purcell. The piece is written for string quartet, piano and vocalist, and uses repetition and simplicity to convey an emptiness and yearning, juxtaposed with rich chords in the strings and piano. The listener should be left emotional, yet content and at peace.” The duo have enjoyed a long history of collaborations, and enjoyed working together with renowned Australian Producer Llew Kiek on the project. Daniel and Hawkins have performed over 50 concerts together including at the Sydney Opera House for the 2012 MusicOz Awards, New Orleans for 2014 ZMR Awards and 2017 Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival; Daniel has appeared on nearly every one of Hawkin’s solo albums. The two have played together as part of Hawkin’s Blue Dream Ensemble, and Daniel produced the group’s album, Live at the Q. Rebecca Daniel studied violin and chamber music with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet at The Royal Academy of Music. She worked with Trevor Pinnock and Simon Standage, and The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Orchestra Leader for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. She has recorded and performed with, John Denver, Bread, James Galway and the Chieftains, Will Ackerman, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Men at Work and INXS. Fiona Joy Hawkins, a Conservatorium-trained pianist, renowned for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, is a prolific composer, who regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary New Age instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Fiona’s song “Grace" is on a 2014 GRAMMY-Winning album, and in 2016 she won two Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York. She has several Best Piano Album ZMR Awards and regularly works with Producer Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records) and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) for hi-resolution audiophile recordings. The artists invite fans to connect on social media to share stories of loss and healing through music: Facebook - Twitter - Twitter - Instagram - San Diego Concert Info: Location: Dizzy's Arias Hall Date: 10.4.19, doors open 7:30pm 1717 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA, US 92110 Cash or Venmo at the door, or tix online:   The Lightness of Dark is available today for purchase at Amazon, Bandcamp and other fine retailers, as well as streaming at Apple Music and other platforms worldwide, including Spotify:   more
Mantras, Faith, and Compassion Inspire Sangeeta Kaur Sangeeta Kaur's new album COMPASSION is an astonishingly-beautiful recording of outstanding performances and deeply-emotional expression.  "My inspiration for producing this album Compassion was from seeing and feeling the world’s suffering," Kaur shares. "Everyday, there is something tragic that is happening in our world, with our children and with our planet. Some days, I feel an unbearable weight for people, for my loved ones, for the strangers we pass by." Collaborating with Kaur are GRAMMY®-winning percussionist MB Gordon as well as GRAMMY®-nominated cellist Eru Matsumoto, with renowned composer and trusted producer Nicolas Neidhardt featured on piano and keyboard, while Duy Tran and Danaë Vlasse gift their talents in choral writing. Performances are enhanced by the sonic simplicity of crystal singing bowls, improvised by Sangeeta Kaur and GRAMMY®-winning soprano Hila Plitmann. According to Felicia Tomasko, Editor-in-Chief of LA YOGA Magazine and President of Bliss Network, "Sangeeta Kaur is a unique talent. Her soaring and transcendent vocal range is expressive throughout a wide variety of musical styles. In songs like 'May the Long Time Sun' Sangeeta offers a completely fresh interpretation of a classic that is played and sung in Kundalini Yoga communities. Each of her albums and live performances feature exquisite musicianship that provides the personal soundtrack to our modern-day spiritual experience. Sangeeta Kaur's New Age/Classical crossover album Compassion is a must-have addition to the modern-day seeker’s playlist.” Compassion is based on mantras from different lineages and practices that promote compassion, some with original lyrics and others without. “Rise Up” is an anthemic song to lift the spirits of those who are falling deep into darkness and who need a push into light, while “Transcendence” and “We are One” create an experience of wonder and bliss to help the mind stay in an elevated space, without words. Deep yet uplifting to the soul, Kaur’s hope is that Compassion can be a first step in raising one’s vibration and spirit to a place where he/she can at least have a sense of hope. Once there, infinite possibilities arise for listeners embracing the music. A series of live concerts are planned to share Compassion with the world. To all of her music, Kaur brings a passion for performance and an award-winning pedigree aligning classical opera training, Kundalini yoga and a deeply personal Tibetan Buddhist practice. Her unique style and commitment to honoring her dharma as a Voice for the sacred path has taken Kaur all over the globe from world renowned U.S. venues such as the Broad Stage and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Follow concert dates at Compassion was produced by Sangeeta Kaur and Nicolas Neidhardt, recorded and mixed by Gerhard Joost, and mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering; it was recorded at East West Studios and The Village Studios, and mixed at Groove Mountain Studios. Previous New Age/Classical Crossover albums by Kaur include MIRRORS, Ascension, and Niguma, which was the first work of its kind to congruently combine Ancient Sacred Wisdom of the East with a cinematic visual choreography on the stage, building a bridge between the worlds of sacred chant, classical opera and modern dance.   Track List: 1. Om Tare Tuttare Ture Sona 2. Rise Up 3. Transcendence 4. May the Long Time Sun 5. Song of Compassion Feat. Hila Plitmann Vocals & Danaë Vlasse Crystal Singing Bowls   6. Om Vajra Sattva Hum 7. We are One 8. Sa Re Sa Sa 9. Voices and Crystals Feat. Hila Plitmann 10. Voices of Compassion Chorus Medley   About Sangeeta Kaur: Sangeeta Kaur (Teresa Mai) is a Vietnamese-American trained opera singer, mantra singer, producer and Global Peace Song Awards 2016 winner. She is a sound artist who is inspired to bring healing and awakening through music and yoga. Sangeeta was musically trained at California State University of Long Beach Music School and also at The Boston Conservatory of Music, with focuses in Opera and Voice. She has performed many different operatic roles throughout the US and Europe. Her love for mantra music began when she met her spiritual teachers in New York City who then guided her toward the practice and studies of Tibetan Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga of Lady Niguma and the Yoga of Sound and Mantra.   About Compassion: Compassion is an astonishingly-beautiful recording of outstanding performances and deeply-emotional expression. Sangeeta Kaur's fourth New Age/Classical Crossover album presents fresh collaborations with the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Hungarian Studio choir and Los Angeles based choir The Sterling Ensemble, which raise her heavenly soprano vocals to angelic levels. Renowned composer and producer, Nicolas Neidhardt, features again on piano and keyboard, while Duy Tran and Danaë Vlasse gift their talents in choral writing. Enhanced by the sonic simplicity of crystal singing bowl, improvised by Sangeeta Kaur and Grammy winning soprano Hila Plitmann, Compassion provides a vocal healing balm for our souls, expressed deeply & emotionally from Sangeeta's loving heart.   Social Media: Facebook- Instagram- Twitter- Compassion is available for purchase in physical and digital formats at Amazon ( and fine retailers, and is available for streaming at Spotify (, Apple Music ( and other platforms worldwide.  #SangeetaKaur #Compassion #NicolasNeidhardt #Mantra #NewAgeMusic #MusicforMeditation #MusicforHealing #ClassicalCrossover #ContemporaryClassicalMusic #ChoirMusic #Soprano #TheSterlingEnsemble #HungarianStudioOrchestra #HungarianStudioChoir #FemaleComposer #VietnameseAmericanComposer #TeresaMai #DuyTran #HilaPlitmann #DanaëVlasse #KundaliniYoga #TibetanBuddhistpractice #AsianArts   more
Cupid Blindfolded by Michael Whalen -- Solo Piano -- Back to Basics The music of healing and survival, romance, meditation, and perfection. What you will hear is entirely instrumental but every note tells a story with a rever e nt lingering familiarity. Precisely articulated emotions, the story is told in the notes and the space between the notes. Hear a man with gifted fingers and a piano, the perfect heartfelt connection. The songs are peaceful, packed full of romance and yearning, seeking love in all the right places, carefully, note by note; true, slow, and thoughtful. Let your tension evaporate in this cool resting place. Let your mind return to the oldest mysteries of the heart. Romantic, contemplative and dreamy, Cupid Blindfolded is a 10-song album filled with the gorgeous melodies and air that has made Whalen an internationally-celebrated recording artist and film composer. Recorded, mixed and mastered earlier this spring by Tom Eaton at Will Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios, Cupid Blindfolded was recorded on the studio’s famed Steinway B in single, full takes without editing, while being simultaneously filmed by 6 cameras; Whalen debuted a mini-documentary called “ The Making of Cupid Blindfolded ” for his fans in May. “Making this album is the fulfillment of a dream and it represents a wonderful new era for my music,” Whalen commented. “I am so excited about partnering with Real Music on Solace. Having my own imprint label is a dream come true. The name Solace says everything you need to know about the intention of the music. After decades of creating recordings and content on my own, I am so happy to have a team of great people to create with, collaborate with and plan the future with. Cupid Blindfolded is the first of some really exciting music we’ve planned. I can’t wait!” The New York Times once wrote, “Michael Whalen’s music echoes in your soul...” and his return to solo piano is already resonating with music writers. Kathy Parsons of , who  interviewed Whalen extensively in June, shared her opinion, writing “With his first purely solo piano album since 1999, Michael Whalen returns to his “unplugged” roots and pours his heart into every note. Cupid Blindfolded will certainly stand as one of the best albums of the year as well as one of the best piano albums of the decade.” Amazon: Spotify: iTunes: Track List: 1. “Cupid Blindfolded” (4:05) 2. “All Of My Heart. All Of My Soul” (4:10) 3. “Reflection Of My Affection” (3:56) 4. “Sunrise in the Desert” (3:59) 5. “The Muse” (3:56) 6. “At The Touch Of A Lover” (3:09) 7. “Standing in the Rain” (5:04) 8. “Serendipity” (4:38) 9. “Isle Of Skye” (4:26) 10. “City Of Lights” (5:15)   About Michael Whalen: Known for his beautiful melodies and gorgeous textures, Michael has fused his expertise with sound design and his love of soaring cinematic melodies into a unique sound that has been loved since his first commercially-released music on Narada (Universal) in 1993. Michael is an expert on music copyrights, music monetization and is seen frequently on panels and on-line talking about the future of the music business. Michael has been adjunct professor at the Berklee College of Music, The City College of New York, NYU, The New School and now teaches at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.   more
The Fire Opal is a richly red-orange colored stone in Mexican folklore that is believed to have been created in the heavens, and imbued with mystical powers of healing and protection. Massergy’s expressive album, FIRE OPAL , seemingly transforms that myth into music, a sonic blending of his analog recordings and the great outdoors. He has created other albums, two can be heard on bandcamp ( ), A Novel Sense of Calm and Mestizo . He candidly shares with us that "A Novel Sense of Calm was inspired by the passing of my younger brother. In my culture, death is embraced and celebrated as an important phase of life. It’s customary to give ofrendas or offerings to the dead in the form of food, drink or other tokens to refresh the spirits and ease the burden of their journey. This album is an ofrenda to my brother, his guidebook for traveling in the hereafter and a soundtrack to the lucid dreams I share with him." The album Fire Opal was "captured" in Austin, Texas 2015. It was nocturnally improvised and recorded in an undisclosed nature preserve. All sounds are true to the original performances and have not been treated in a studio. Anomalies and imperfections were left intact. No software was used to generate or alter this music. No sequencers, loops or stretchers were employed. No post-effects were added and no compression or limiting was applied.   1) Vinesong (03:21) 2) The Shepherdess (10:24) 3) Lunar Cinema (06:25) 4) Cold White Smoke (17:57) 5) Fire Opal (17:17) 6) El Viajero (05:25) 7) La Extraña (09:25) With a mystical light through impossible colors a slow mood unfolds. The title song “Fire Opal” (17:17) includes little sparkles that are hidden in darkness, an ethereal old church organ holds slow notes and the mood suspends time, cautious steps in unseen territory, timeless echoes with birds somewhere far overhead. It wanders near what appears to be the seaside, for a few moments you can hear the surf in the darkness. For a few moments time stops as you simply try to comprehend the beautiful miracle. “My ‘studio’ is a small elevated balcony in the middle of a nature preserve, essentially my backyard” Massergy reveals to us. “The preserve is home to several coyotes, owls, deer and other creatures. Think 2AM with a huge sky full of stars, eerie moonlight, and the sounds of strange creatures. I can see my own breath, there’s a light mist in the air, it’s very sleepy; that’s the kind of atmosphere where my magical moments often occur.” This album’s musical theme was inspired by a Mexican ceremony called “Velada” which is a psychedelic healing ritual performed by Mazatec Indian doctors and healers referred to as “curanderas” The purpose of a Velada is to break the boundaries of our plane in order to commune with gods, spirits and divine beings. This is achieved through mantra, meditation and the use of sacred entheogens native to the Mazatec region like psilocybin mushrooms or salvia divinorum. It’s important to note the reverence Mazatecos hold for these substances. They are not seen as recreational drugs –they are medicinal tools used to enhance one’s own growth and help the user overcome personal challenges. A Velada can reveal profound visions, uncover buried secrets and evoke several contrasting emotions. Ultimately, this deep experience grants divine healing and knowledge. Fire Opal is a tour through various stages of a Velada, essentially the stages of a non-recreational psychedelic experience. Each track a different stop along the journey with the sole traveler bearing a Fire Opal stone for safe passage. You can find Fire Opal on the Spotted Peccary Music website:      Tags: #Massergy #Fire Opal #Spotted Peccary Music #Velada #Mazatec #Austin Texas #Electronic ambient #Experimental music #Deep listening #Atmospheric more
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