Archive for the ‘Posts by John P. Olsen’ Category
Upcoming interviews with important music celebrities: Learn more about your favorite artist by three new exclusive interviews at New Age Music World.
I am pleased to announce three important artists are soon to be featured at this site. The first is with former The Pretenders drummer and founder of group Moodswings, James Hood. The second interview is with famous Celtic musician and vocalist, Loreena McKennitt. The third interview scheduled is with world-class concert and studio recording artist Yanni.
One thing I have learned over the years as an interview host is the fact fans do want to know more about their favorite artist. While I am knowledgeable about the lives of many important celebrity artists I meet and write about, I can honestly say I too enjoy learning even more about the artists myself. Needless to say, popular music celebrities live fascinating lives.
The upcoming interviews are an actual interview conducted by me, not lesser quality teaser articles or copied content consisting of a few quotes taken from another person’s interview. In other words fans and visitors can expect the full conversation comprised of original, up-to-date topics presented in each interview.
I work hard for an artist’s fans to cover interesting topics and ask artists relevant questions so each all-inclusive interview is unique and contains the most current news content available. Currently there are 35 exclusive interviews to read at this site. Below is a list of artists I have interviewed so far. The popularity of this site has never been greater so watch for more interviews with major music artists presented to visitors in the near future. Select from the musician’s names shown below and read about your favorite artist in my Interview Section or Interview Category. Big Stock Photo by Viperagp.
35 Popular Music Artists with Interviews:
1. Yanni Chryssomallis – Multi-platinum, international studio and concert artist and composer.
2. James Hood – Popular UK based new age music recording artist and Moodswings founder.
3. Moya Brennan – Legendary Celtic vocalist, harpist, Clannad group member from Ireland.
4. Diane Arkenstone – Popular vocalist, instrumental new age, world music recording artist.
5. Chuck Wild – Composer and founder of Liquid Mind Musical Healthcare® Experience.
6. Peter Kater – Multi-platinum selling new age music composer and concert pianist.
7. Nicholas Gunn – Multi-platinum, best-selling instrumental flutist and EDM producer.
8. David Lanz – Legendary new age music composer, studio recording and concert pianist.
9. Eric Tingstad – GRAMMY® Award-Winning guitarist and record label owner and producer.
10. Will Ackerman – GRAMMY® Award-winner, guitarist, and Windham Hill Records producer.
11. Kitaro – GRAMMY® and Golden Globe Award-Winning recording and concert musician.
12. AOMusic – New age, world fusion group with humanitarian message and organization.
13. Al Conti – New age, world music composer, studio recording, GRAMMY® Nominee.
14. David Arkenstone – Award-winning Top 10 Billboard charting multi-instrumentalist.
15. Jim Brickman – Gold and multi-platinum selling Top 10 Billboard Chart concert pianist.
16. Suzanne Doucet – Award-winning music composer, recording artist and TV personality.
17. Colburn Tuller – New age music recording artist and inventor of The Tones instrument.
18. Fionnuala Sherry – Ireland based violin soloist and leading member of Secret Garden.
19. Randy & Pamela Copus – New age music artists, Billboard Charting music group 2002.
20. Jon Anderson – Former vocalist of group YES, solo concert and studio recording artist.
21. Gandalf – Internationally acclaimed concert and instrumental composer from Austria.
22. Steve Orchard – New age music composer and instrumental recording artist from the UK.
23. Davol Tedder – Electronic new age music composer of inspiring contemporary music.
24. Bryan El – Classical electronic composer of symphonic new age music based in Belgium.
25. Clifford White – Multi-media producer and instrumental electronic composer based in UK.
26. David Wahler – Award-winning, U.S. based electronic and instrumental music composer.
27. Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria – New age composer, flutist, clinical psychologist and author.
28. John Adorney – Contemporary instrumental new age, world music composer producer.
29. Mars Lasar – Award-winning electronic, instrumental music and film score composer.
30. Paul Sills – UK based electronic and instrumental keyboardist, new age music composer.
31. Cadence Spalding – Multi-talented new age singer, songwriter and stage performer.
32.Oscar Aguayo – Electronic new age, neo-classic, ethnic music composer and keyboardist.
33. Salva Moreno – Electronic music composer from Spain with artist title Psicodreamics.
34. Vicki Logan – Multi-talented singer, flutist, new age instrumental and electronic composer.
35. Colin O’Donohoe – Director of Pangean Orchestra and new age, world music composer.
It stands to reason when searching for the best new age music ever on the internet, only the very finest music available is what you are looking for. Thanks to search engines, online music stores, and social media sites, finding the best albums in all popular music genres has become much easier. Even music blogs like this site play an essential role by publishing their yearly award recommendations for best new albums of the year.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as interview host and review publicist at New Age Music World, I have sampled many of the very best new age songs and albums artists worldwide produced in 2012. Like previous years, I have had the opportunity to write review publications for a respectable number of new age, instrumental, and world albums released in 2012, of the nearly 200 new albums in all categories sent to me for review consideration this year.
While the new age music genre in general covers an extensive range in compositional style with varying elements from one album to the next, there are a number of factors that help me determine which artists I believe have produced a quality album nearly everyone will enjoy listening to in the fascinating new age music category.
One characteristic everyone can count on like all other music category are the select number of top shelf music recordings artists created that seem to rise above and stand out from the rest. With so many new releases in 2012 to choose from why wait any longer? Today I am pleased to present my yearly awards recommendation for the 10 best new age albums I have sampled or reviewed in 2012.
My selection of the 10 Best New Age Albums is listed in alphabetical order using the artist’s name. If you would like to find new music from many of today’s top new age artists, this publication includes direct links so you may visit each artist to sample or purchase music direct from the artist or select from their online stores.
Best New Age Music Albums in 2012:
1. Intuition by Dan Kennedy.
The contemporary piano instrumental album Intuition, by Dan Kennedy is a stylish collection of 10 songs total, with several new age solo piano pieces. The extensive list of professionals providing instrumental include David cullen, Jeff haynes, Jill Haley, Steve Holley, Mehuman Jonson, and Premik Russell Tubbs. Together the artists have performed with Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Pat Metheny, Santana and Cassandra Wilson.
Dan Kennedy, who began his career playing improvisational piano music in coffee shops, delivers a wonderfully diverse atmosphere on his newest release Intuition. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Corin Nelsen, Dan Kennedy’s sensational Intuition conveys his forte with creating an upbeat, rhythmic brand of contemporary music in classic fashion. Find the artist at DanKennedy.us and sample or purchase Intuition.
2. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by Echo Us.
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is a progressive concept album featuring 12 songs illustrated by an experimental range of musical textures, brought to life by Ethan Matthews, Echo Us guitarist and founder of the progressive rock band Greyhaven. The group’s primary artists are GRAMMY® Nominated singer and songwriter Henta, and harpist Raelyn Olson.
The most interesting feature with Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the futuristic blend of electronic landscapes set to vocal overlays in a neo-classical, ambient fusion. The deep enigmatic atmosphere, unlike anything you have heard before will leave you breathless! Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the second release in a multi-album concept project, and follow-up to earlier releases The Tide Decides & Echo Us. Find more about the artist at EchoUs.net and to sample or purchase Tomorrow Will Tell The Story. Look for another release by this unique group named Echo Us.
3. Glimmerings by Elika Mahony.
International recording artist Elika Mahony has given the world one beautiful piano and instrumental album with her 12 original songs on Glimmerings, whose tonal depth and beauty go far beyond what I first anticipated. Currently over thirty online radio stations worldwide, like UK based One World Radio and Celtic Radio are apparently reaching the same conclusion by their constant online radio airtime.
The 12 songs on Glimmerings are mainly solo piano pieces. Beautiful as the solo piano songs are themselves, the piano and instrumental songs Realization & Final Journey are equally beautiful and expertly conveyed by international, award-winning cellist, Bo Peng. Elika Mahony, who was born in the United States and raised in Kenya, now lives in China where she is truly making a grand impression on persons from every corner of the globe. Find more about the artist at ElikaMahony.com and to sample or purchase Glimmerings.
4. Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg is a 2012 release of 10 orchestrations that are uniquely bold and dynamic while embracing a classical atmosphere on this new age instrumental album. Rudiger Gleisberg is a music teacher from Germany, renowned for creating works of music far from conventional for over 25 years. Clearly the year 2012 is no exception.
Symphonic orchestrations are the best way to describe the graceful songs which were recorded with members of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra of Odessa, Ukraine. The cinematic depth and beauty of rich orchestrations are what make this release special. Rudiger Gleisberg’s extraordinary talents as a composer and instrumentalist are vividly apparent in Symphonic Arts. You may find more about the artist at R-Gleisberg.de or visit BSCmusic.com to sample or purchase Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
5. Beyond the Turning by Heidi Breyer.
Beyond the Turning features 14 eloquent piano instrumental songs by artist Heidi Breyer. This is her third album, and follow-up to Another Place and Time, an album produced by founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman. Another Place and Time earned Heidi 2 ZMR Awards in 2010 for Best New Artist & Best Instrumental Piano Album.
Beyond the Turning, produced by GRAMMY® Winning producer and engineer Corin Nelsen, is another magnificent testimonial to the talents of composing pianist Heidi Breyer. An elemental variation in moods and influences is what makes Beyond the Turning shine from the rest. Artists include Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat, Samite, Michael Manring, Steve Holley, Jeff Haynes, Jill Haley and David Cullen. You may find more about the artist at HeidiBreyer.com and to sample or purchase Beyond the Turning.
6. These Are the Moments by Michael Dulin.
New Age recording artist Michael Dulin has delivered his very best collection of 16 songs from six of his most popular piano albums over the years with These Are the Moments. The 16 songs at over an hour in duration are mainly solo piano pieces, with several songs having instrumental accompaniment and song finale by vocalist Jeania Major.
For the modern day composer and concert pianist Michael Dulin, who happens to be a classically trained pianist and Juilliard School graduate, composing emotionally compelling music is purely a natural process. Included are in this wonderful album are two of my favorite songs, Moonlight Sonata & Winter Dreams, featuring Jeania Major, who was a finalist in a Cirque du Soleil national talent search. Listen to Michael Dulin’s best of the best album at MichaelDulin.com and to sample or purchase These Are the Moments.
7. Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba.
Passionate beauty in the form of heartfelt vocals intertwined with a warm instrumental setting are the divine elements for Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba. Peaceful harmony and poetic verses are gently brought to life on the 10 songs that are magnificently serene and light to the touch, yet show inner depth and romantic intensity.
Mirabai Ceiba is comprised of guitarist and vocalist Markus Sieber, and harpist, keboardist and vocalist Angelika Baumbach. Top ranked instrumental artist join Markus and Angelika on Between The Shores of Our Souls, like Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, cellist Noah Hoffeld and Yoed Nir, Megan Gould on violin and viola. Jamshied Sharifi performs keyboards, bass, and strings, and Benjamin Wittman on percussion. Find more about the artist at MirabaiCeiba.com and to sample or purchase Between The Shores of Our Souls.
8. Lovers by Paul Avgerinos.
The new electronic instrumental album Lovers is a serene collection of 11 songs by one of today’s best producers of ambient music, Paul Avgerinos. Recognized as a pillar in the new age music industry today as he was yesteryear, GRAMMY® Nominated composer Paul Avgerinos is a constant, award-winning frontrunner in the ambient music scene.
Paul Avgerinos is owner of Round Sky Music record label, Studio Unicorn recording producer, and an artist with a long history of winning best album and song awards over the course of his career. In addition Paul has performed with major symphony orchestras and toured with legendary artists Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich, and composed over one hundred music scores for major television networks HBO, PBS, and Lifetime. Find more about the artist at RoundSkyMusic.com and to sample or purchase Lovers.
9. Sounds from the Circle 4 by Suzanne Doucet.
Sounds from the Circle 4 is the fourth MP3 compilation by members of Suzanne Doucet’s New Age Music Circle online community forum. Produced by Suzanne Doucet, Sounds from the Circle 4 is one of the best song collections of new age and sub-genres in 2012. Like all Circle Albums the fourth release is a quality driven song compilation sampler.
The diverse music styles heard on all Sounds from the Circle albums include acoustic, ambient, chill out, classical, contemporary instrumental, electronic, groove, meditation, neo-classical, piano, progressive, world, and vocal. International artists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway, Spain, the United States, and other countries make this release special. Join or visit Music Circle members at NewAgeMusik.Ning.com. Sample or purchase Sounds from the Circle IV at iTunes.
10. Mountains Take Wing by Timothy Wenzel.
Instrumental new age recording artist Timothy Wenzel has a decisively elegant music recording for 2012. I was amazed to learn the 12 electronic, acoustic songs on Mountains Take Wing is his first release. For Timothy Wenzel, who lives near the mountains of West Virginia, composing majestic songs inspired by nature is a natural process.
Mountains Take Wing reaches a full palette in rhythm and harmony like heard in the title song Mountains Take Wing & Christopher’s Dreams. Timothy Wenzel has already been a finalist in prestigious music awards including Hollywood Music in Media Awards, UK Songwriting Contest, USA Songwriting Contest, and West Coast Songwriters International Competition. Find more about the artist at TimothyWenzel.com and to sample or purchase Mountains Take Wing, and another 2012 album, A Coalescence of Dreams.
This concludes my Best New Age Albums in 2012 recommendations. Look for more outstanding new releases this year when I present the Best Instrumental Albums – 2012 on New Year’s Day 2013.
Cover art courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo by Paul_Lewis.
When selecting music for yourself or for another as a gift, it’s obvious from an auditory point of view the album cover artwork has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the quality of music you are about to purchase. For many consumers however the visual qualities of album cover artwork created by a designer or photographer can make a difference. In some cases the visual features of an album cover can influence a consumer, and may even prevent a shopper from making a purchase.
Cover artwork for any music genre is in effect, an artistic statement to the contents inside like an advertisement. The Rolling Stones Magazine published a reader’s poll of the best album covers of all time last year. Listed in order, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon & Nirvana’s Nevermind album, were the top 3 best album cover art picks.
If you visit Rolling Stones Magazine, you will most likely recognize the album artwork in their publication. The Rolling Stone Magazine’s list, chosen by readers was often selected based on their notoriety or artwork created for superstar artists or famous celebrities.
The Rolling Stones (band) Sticky Fingers album with a working zipper and a painting by Andy Warhol are two more famous album covers readers selected the best album covers in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 list. There is even a GRAMMY® Award for Best Recording Package, which began in 1959 with the first award given to Frank Sinatra for the LP vinyl record cover Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.
When selecting the Best Album Cover Artwork below, I decided to go a step further by choosing 16 visually and audibly appealing album covers in the Instrumental, New Age, Progressive Rock, and World music genres. While each organization makes their selections for the best album cover art based on different rules or guidelines, in terms of aesthetic value, the cover art collection I selected gives you get the best of both worlds, so sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the music!
Read the RollingStone.com publication Reader’s Poll: The Best Album Covers of all time, along with the Wikipedia page for Best Recording Package. The cover artwork shown is courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo – Dogi78.
16 Best Album Cover Artwork:
Best Cover Art Award – Albums & Artists:
1. Believe album by 2002 – 2002Music.com
2. Island Paradise album by Hennie Bekker – HennieBekker.com
3. El Dorado album by Luna Blanca – LunaBlancaMusic.com
4. Elysium album by Jo Blankenburg – JoBlankenburg.com
5. Floating on a Melody album by Christopher Boscole – ChristopherBoscole.com
6. Great and Terrible Potions album by Ben Craven – BenCraven.com
7. The Memory of Trees album by Enya – Enya.com
8. Altitudes album by Fredziak – Arts21.net
9. Forest Piano album by Dan Gibson – Solitudes.com
10. Guitarrista album by Ciro Hurtado – CiroHurtado.com
11. Sacred Journey Vol. 4 album by Kitaro – Kitaro.com
12. Logical Drift album by Logical Drift – LogicalDrift.com
13. The Fusion Syndicate album by Billy Sherwood – BillySherwoodhq.com
14. Ambient Monkeys album by Tangerine Dream – TangerineDream-Music.com
15. Soul Food album by Raven Wolf – PugDogRecords.com
16. Relayer album by Yes – YesWorld.com
Sarah Brightman News – Dreamchaser Album Release in 2013 and Spaceflight to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz Rocket.
For international music celebrity Sarah Brightman the year 2013 will surely be one of the most memorable years of her esteemed career of professional vocalist, actress, songwriter and dancer. With 2013 arriving before long, look for her next starring role as a space cosmonaut included in her incredible list of lifetime achievements.
In a live news broadcast Sarah Brightman provided details of her upcoming flight to the International Space Station in 2013 during a press release in Moscow, Russia. There will be more about this special announcement soon, but I can tell you Sarah Brightman will begin cosmonaut training, after getting word she passed preliminary evaluation tests. You may watch the official news release at her newly designed website where she describes this extraordinary aerospace voyage as a dream come true.
Dreamchaser is the new album by classical crossover superstar Sarah Brightman, set to be released on April 16, 2013. The first song titled Angel and second song One Day Like This are two exclusive song singles you can sample from her highly anticipated new album.
The entire list and title of all songs is not given at this time from what I can tell, but first song Angel is as exquisitely performed as you might expect. The first single song Angel is a sensational melody that is wholeheartedly captivating by the contemporary vocal and lyrical propensity for which Sarah Brightman is famous.
Sarah Brightman’s new album Dreamchaser is surely destined to be one of the hottest new releases in 2013! With 180 Gold and Platinum awards in over 40 countries worldwide, including her #1 Chart topping hit in the UK titled I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, Dreamchaser could be her newest album to rocket into the stratosphere!
Discover the new SarahBrightman.com website to download the first song titled Angel and share your thoughts on the news in the fan community forum upon membership. After you sign up, fans may also access exclusive news, photos, videos and new music samples. Below is the official music video for first song Angel, from her upcoming 2013 album Dreamchaser. Space Shuttle photo courtesy NASA – Big Stock Photo Rkasprzak.
Life of Vangelis – TV Interview with Chariots of Fire Composer.
If you are following the London 2012 Olympic Games, you may have noticed the song Chariots of Fire playing during the Official Olympic Torch Ceremonies, Opening Ceremonies, and during every Medal Award Ceremony. The electronic instrumental song, often referred to as a composition in the new age music category, is an epic melody with an inspiring theme.
If you have ever wanted to know more about an Official London 2012 Olympic music composer, this exclusive interview with Vangelis takes you deep inside the artistic process of creating brilliant music compositions like Chariots of Fire. The famous music score is not the main topic, but this particular interview is quite remarkable by the depth in which Vangelis opens his heart and mind about his work and lifetime achievements.
In the newest Interview with Vangelis on the Al Jazeera Satellite Television Network, interview host Tony Harris asks the questions about the role music plays in today’s modern society, his creative process as a composer and award-winning film scores, plus a conversation about his life’s work and legacy.
There is also a special segment of Vangelis music scores set to memorable images of top news events that have occurred during the past year. It’s easy to see why Chariots of Fire by Vangelis was the theme song selected for the Official London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. It is after all, one of the most recognizable cinematic movie scores in the world.
Along with a top slot in the Official Olympic Ceremonies, Vangelis and his beloved Chariots of Fire, is the song played during (every award presentation) during the London Olympic Medal Awards Ceremonies. In addition, the London Philharmonic Orchestra has reproduced 5 new Chariots of Fire song remixes from the original Vangelis composition.
The new Vangelis album titled Chariots of Fire (On Stage) was recently released on July 23, 2012. The Olympic themed movie score is an original theatrical play soundtrack with 11 songs of new orchestral music by Vangelis, which was created for the theater stage adaptation of the Academy Award-winning Chariots of Fire movie. The theatrical play adaptation timed with the London 2012 Olympics, recently premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in London, England.
The Al Jazeera interview is an exclusive new look into the life of Vangelis, being the latest television interview in the past 20 years with the esteemed composer. There is an array of segments showing his achievements, and the ways his music has been utilized internationally. This new interview is perhaps the most in-depth interview with the modern day cinematic composer.
The round of personalized interview questions given by Al Jazeera English Anchor Tony Harris was excellent news coverage. Mr. Harris did an outstanding job procuring a rare glimpse of Vangelis, and his inner perspective as composer.
This interview around 25 minutes in duration was uploaded on YouTube January 22, 2012 and is titled Talk to Al Jazeera: Vangelis: A Message of Hope. For more about Vangelis visit the best site dedicated to Vangelis at Elsew.com and find more on my section for Vangelis at New Age Music World. Sample or purchase Chariots of Fire (On Stage) at iTunes. Photo and cover art from YouTube & Amazon. Big Stock Photo by Adrian Grosu & Pkruger.
New Age Music World is pleased to present an in-depth, 2012 interview with GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist, producer, and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman.
John P. Olsen: Thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview Will. It’s funny since I feel like I already know you in a way since I have written, and plan to write, reviews for artists who have their newest album produced by you at your Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont. It’s a privilege to finally meet you Will.
Will Ackerman: Hi John, I’ve been admiring what you’ve been doing online for some time and am delighted to have a chance to talk with you.
John: Many of these artists have received award recognition with albums that you produced. Many are now top ranked artists. To what degree does a producer ultimately affect the success of a music recording would you say?
Will Ackerman: Perhaps this is a crafty test of my humility? I hope I pass. Perhaps this is a question better asked of the musicians I’ve worked with. They’re better able to tell you how, specifically, I influenced their work. The process of producing is not at all formulaic for me; each project and human being has their own specific needs and my job is, as much as anything, to be conscious of what their needs are. How active I am in shaping a project is also a very individual matter.
In some cases I am simply helping to create a standard of excellence for the players to achieve in their recordings and in other instances I’m getting into the arranging of the work itself and being very active in envisioning how the material might be dramatically affected by additional production. It really is all over the place and I guess I’d say that my proudest achievement is to figure out where I can best be of help and respond to the person I’m working with rather than imposing the same set of Ackerman rules upon everyone.
John: Some may have a limited knowledge of a record or music producer’s role, and how a producer can greatly influence an artist’s instrumental music composition. Would you provide some details specific to your production services?
Will Ackerman: Again, the role of producer is simply all over the place. Looking back to Windham Hill days, I think of how my utterly subjective and spontaneous decision to edit George Winston’s Colors/Dance into the epic ten minute piece we know as opposed to the three minute piece it was intended to be is an example of how my instincts manifested themselves.
Likewise the decision engineer Steve Miller and I made on the dramatic guitar sound for Michael Hedges’ Ariel Boundaries was a milestone. Michael was initially outraged with the liberties we’d taken with what he heard as a simpler acoustic piece. Steve had provided an opportunity and I jumped at it. Michael needed to take a walk for about an hour before coming back to the board to listen, still somewhat incredulous that both Steve and I loved the sound.
I think this story tells a lot about how I work. It’s very subjective, intuitive and flexible. It’s a series of almost binary questions… yes and no… go there or don’t go there? I simply have to trust my instincts and earn the artists trust in those instincts as well. However much success I’ve had and can point to, each new artist I need work with needs to learn that they can trust me. That trust means more to me than anything. I take it very seriously.
John: I have more questions related to your present day role as a producer, but would you first like to tell us how your career began and how your business has progressed over the years?
Will Ackerman: I recorded my first album in 1975. An engineer named Scott Saxon offered to allow me to record free of charge if he was listed as producer and received a royalty. Not having a lot of dough in those days, I easily agreed. Scott then produced my second record, It Takes a Year as well. In watching Scott I learned a lot and at some point decided that I knew enough about recording and had a familiarity with my own tastes sufficient to allow me to trust in my abilities to call myself a producer.
In terms of how my endeavors have changed over the years, it’s easy to point to GRAMMY® nominations and awards, platinum and gold records, millions of records sold and all that. I’m proud of that of course, but I can say with utter sincerity that what I am proudest of is that I’m better at what I do than ever because this is a process of learning about people, learning about yourself and trying to find what’s unique in that combination with every single human being you engage with.
John: In 1976 you founded, and made famous, Windham Hill Records label. After selling Windham Hill Records you chose the name West River Records for your new release The Gathering. Is West River Records modeled in a similar design as Windham Hill Records?
Will Ackerman: I had begun recording in 1975 with my debut guitar album. I had managed to put together a network of 6 independent distributors and was getting a surprising amount of radio airplay out of that recording when those distributors started asking “what’s going to be next of your label.” I didn’t even know I had a label (the Windham Hill name only came into being in 1976 with the awareness that I could release more records into this pipeline) and was stunned to learn that they would distribute anything I brought out. That’s now naive I was.
Windham Hill became huge. We were doing 30 – 40 million dollars in business annually by 1992 when I sold Windham to BMG in May of that year. I then had a three year non-complete clause and delved into spoken word recordings with a company named Gang of Seven. I absolutely loved that label, but I didn’t have the same success with it that I’d enjoyed with Windham Hill Records.
Virtually on the day that my non-compete with BMG ended in May of 1995 I created Imaginary Road Records with PolyGram, signing a contract with Chris Roberts who had been a friend for many years. Chris Roberts remembers me driving up to the record store he managed in Portland, Oregon (Everybody’s Records) in my Volkswagen bus asking if he’d take 5 copies of my first recording on consignment. Dawn Atkinson, who had been the second most prolific producer for Windham Hill Records was my partner in this.
West River Records is actually a brand new name, created for the release of The Gathering. Imaginary Road Records would have been the ideal name, but because that name is owned by Universal Records via the sale of PolyGram to Universal (and there are still titles in print on that label) we needed to look into another name. My Imaginary Road Studios looks over the West River Valley in Windham County, Vermont and I liked that sound of that.
John: In addition to your role as producer, you are a twice nominated, GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist. What were some of the turning points in your career, and how did these events affect your career as a producer going forward?
Will Ackerman: The whole thing was a Tiger by the Tail kind of experience. Windham Hill Records grew routinely at 600% a year, sometimes going into even greater growth. There were so many milestones, whether laying Carnegie Hall, playing Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl. Touring Europe and playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Touring Japan and playing at the Imperial Palace. Our first Gold Record, our first Platinum Record. The list is long and is more a feeling to me than a set of tangible events. It was impossible to hold on to anything, as you reached for it, it was gone because we were moving forward so quickly.
John: In Search Of The Turtles Navel is credited as one of the earliest, founding recordings in the new age genre. What characteristic qualities do you feel define the compositions we recognize today as new age music?
Will Ackerman: I’ve never been a proponent of the term “New Age” to be honest. Going into the reasons for that would be didactic at best. I’d rather talk about what I know, which is Windham Hill. Windham Hill, at least initially, was about acoustic instrumentation. It was about melody and heart.
I’ve learned to take pride in the fact that the music can be listened to enjoyably while washing lettuce in the afternoon (as a woman from Idaho once described to me in a letter) or being the music someone who is soon to leave this earth chooses to listen to in their last hours. Both are honors paid to the musician who provides that pleasure or solace. To me, that is reason enough for being as a person and for Windham Hill Records to have represented a genre unto itself.
John: I read that none of your guitar recordings use standard guitar tuning, which permits an unconventional acoustic sound. Are there any advantages to playing guitar using non-standardized tuning?
Will Ackerman: I don’t know that there are any particular advantages. Most people would probably say that it’s more bother than it’s worth. I happen to like the sound of open tunings and, after years of contemplating the reasons for my utterly obsessive adherence to constantly changing tunings I’ve finally come to an understanding of my process. I’m playing a trick on myself. By creating a new tuning I am removing intellect completely from the process of “composing.” I simply don’t know the landscape I’m in and so have nothing but emotion to guide me.
I’m lost, but in a beautiful, emotionally connected way. I inevitably find a bit of an alpha state and wander about in that landscape until I find various paths which I employ intellect to connect later. So the music is about emotion, not thought. It’s about heart, not mind.
John: New age music is like any music genre by progressing over the years. What do feel makes a good new age or instrumental recording?
Will Ackerman: I listen to all sorts of music. I honestly can’t remember who said it, but I’ve always loved the quote “There are only two kinds of music; good music and bad music.” Obviously I’m not going to pretend to be the arbiter of those definitions tangibly, but I know what I like. I know what I’m looking for as a producer and in these two elements I think this is as close to a Holy Grail as I can offer.
Firstly, does the artist have a musical “voice?” In other words, does this artist sound like everybody else or is there something unique, however hard to pinpoint, in their music. I can hear 2 guitar notes from BB King or Mark Knopfler to know who it is and I can hear two chords from Erik Satie to know who it is.
Secondly, is heart or ego driving the music? This is obviously a judgment call as well, but it’s as clear as can be to me. Maybe another way of asking the question is “am I hearing the truth,” or “do I believe this person?” I have to believe who I’m listening to and investing my heart in, both as a listener and as a producer.
John: Your new West River Records compilation album The Gathering features a lot of great instrumental artists exactly like your highly successful Windham Hill Samplers, which achieved gold or platinum recording status. Do you feel the artist’s songs on The Gathering have the potential for equal prominence?
Will Ackerman: The record industry is a very different thing today. Even at the major record labels, they refer to 100,000 CDs sold as “the new million.” In other words, the potential of the marketplace even with legal downloads, is probably 10% of what it was. A gold record used to be 500,000 records sold and platinum were 1,000,000. There were a lot of gold and platinum records being handed out in those days, but if we had to wait for achievement of those kinds of numbers today, there would be only a handful of them.
The good news is that the internet can spread the word about good music brilliantly to every corner of this planet. Part of my ambition with The Gathering is to create strength in numbers to some degree. Rather than sit back and let each of these artists fend entirely for themselves, I’ve chosen to move more into the public realm again and, as with the Windham Hill Samplers, say “this is great music… these are great players… these are artists your life will be richer for taking the time to get acquainted with.” I’m doing this interview and others and will not balk at any opportunity to express my faith in these players and in this recording. I genuinely believe we can achieve a much greater visibility together and that we’ve literally just begun.
One last point is, I think, important to mention here. The known Windham Hill Records audience is easily identified and we certainly want to let those millions of people know about The Gathering. But what is also heartening to me is the number of emails from kids under 20 I’m getting now. These are kids who are digging through their parents LPs and finding music that they love. I’m guessing that maybe 10 -15% of my emails are from kids in this age range and it’s clearly a growing number and percentage. How great it would be to find a young audience who loves this sort of music, much as my generation found the forgotten American blues players in the late 60′s and 70′s (certainly with the help of the British Invasion). I’ve been contemplating a Gathering sort of recording for some time and now that it’s here I know it’s the right choice.
John: When selecting an artist’s song for a compilation album like The Gathering, what key elements do you look for in terms of the music qualities?
Will Ackerman: Understand that all the people on The Gathering are people I’ve chosen to produce. These are all people I have the highest regard for as musicians and as human beings. Without being at all lazy, I’ll refer you to my answers a bit earlier on in this dialogue. I need to feel these musicians have a voice that is uniquely theirs and I have to believe that they’re telling me the truth musically.
John: In regards to your production services, you have enlisted engineer and co-producer Tom Eaton. Plus, many of the session musicians in your productions are themselves, award-winning artists who have their own careers. What do you look for when selecting a session artist for a client’s recording?
Will Ackerman: I think you’re asking me how someone ends up being a session player for my productions? The answer is to be the best on the planet and be consistently so and be a genuinely kind, patient, generous human being. Whether we’re working with bassist Tony Levin who’s recorded with John Lennon, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor and a million others or Steve Holley who’s the drummer for Paul McCartney and Elton John, the people who add to our work here are consummate professionals who are able to pour their hearts into the music and do so in a remarkably ego-less, kind, considerate and caring way.
The criteria for who works here go way past simple talent. Imaginary Road is my home and I’m only letting wonderful people into my home. I don’t care how talented you are; if you’re not able to wear your heart on your sleeve don’t bother to turn up. We use Keith Carlock (Sting and Steeley Dan) as a drummer too along with Arron Sterling (John Mayer and Sheryl Crow). Only last year I met Premik Russel Tubbs who plays sax and wind synths for us.
Premik has become part of the family and has played with Santana, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Billy Joel just to name a few. Violinist Charlie Bisharat and I met when he was playing with Shadowfax on Windham Hill. He and I remain great friends and we work on sessions together often. Charlie Bisharat’s played with Beck, Mary J. Blige, Black-Eyed Peas, Fiona Apple, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and the list goes on.
We have a stable of players who are simply too great not to use often: Four time GRAMMY® winning cellist Eugene Friesen just happens to be a neighbor here in Brattleboro and has been a close friend for twenty years now. English horn player Jill Haley drives up from Reading, PA to play for us. Pat Metheny’s percussionist Jeff Haynes has been a dear friend for decades now and lives just over the Green Mountains from here.
Trumpet and Flugelhorn player Jeff Oster has a place in Vermont and we get him in here for sessions as often as possible; singer Noah Wilding was crazy enough to marry me so she’s pretty much local too. Jeff Pevar, who records and tours with everyone from Ray Charles to Crosby, Stills and Nash, does guitar work for us too. We’ve just added the incredible talents of Gus Sebring, French horn player for the Boston Symphony to our list of friends. The talent pool we draw upon is considerably larger than this, but you get the point.
John: Let’s say for example I am an artist scheduled to have my music produced by you at Imaginary Road Studios. What can an artist expect when they arrive, and is there a set schedule or itinerary for the duration of an artist’s visit?
Will Ackerman: There is absolutely nothing that is formulaic here. Projects have taken days or months. No two projects are the same. There is a tremendous amount of dialogue that takes place between me and the artist before sessions begin and out of that a plan very specifically designed for the project emerges.
This isn’t a matter of someone simply turning up and starting the recording process. By the time we begin we’ve probably selected 80- 90% of the material, have worked out the arrangements and have some ideas as to what the additional instrumentation will be. That said, we’re never completely right. Some of the music will inevitably change and evolve. You have to really listen to what you’ve recorded and hear what’s it’s telling you.
Part of producing is knowing when your preconceptions are no longer valid, but that the music has evolved into something new. It’s part of my job to realize when we have to abandon preconception and allow the music to instruct us. Some of the best music comes about by being open to change and allowing spontaneity to be in charge when it’s productive.
John: When you are in a recording session, do you find yourself constantly motivating an artist in the desired direction, or do you and the artist connect automatically?
Will Ackerman: Once again, John, every person and every session is different. Thankfully, that is the case as the newness keeps me on my toes and aware.
John: How do you make an emotional connection with an artist Will?
Will Ackerman: I’m a musician so I know what it takes to make music that is connected to emotion. How people get there varies greatly. What doesn’t change is the trust that has to be established. If people are going to allow vulnerability into their hearts and music they have to trust me and it’s my responsibility to make that possible for them.
John: Do artists ever have any common misunderstandings about your occupational or leadership role as producer?
Will Ackerman: There is nothing dictatorial in the role. I do have strong opinions and I’m not reticent to express those opinions, but at the end of the day, I’m working for the musicians and their needs and wishes are the ultimate arbiter of where we’re headed.
John: Have there been artists you simply can’t work with?
Will Ackerman: Yes, but thankfully that was long ago and my instincts about people and my understanding of myself (including a realistic evaluation of my own strengths and weaknesses) have made for a decade of very happy encounters. It’s hard work and very stressful, so we try not to record for more than a couple of days in a row.
Learning how to keep spirits up even when everyone is very tired and spent is an important part of the process, but simply knowing that everyone needs rest to be productive and happy is a surprisingly important piece of the puzzle. This is where being a bit older actually helps. One comes to understand their own limitations better which is actually more freeing than limiting.
John: You have produced music for esteemed artists like George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Alex de Grassi, and many more top-ranked artists in the music industry.
This may be a hard question to answer Will, but do you believe some of your more recent artists, including debuting artists, have the potential to reach the same success? And if so, do you have any advice or a strategy you would offer to artists wanting to improve their performance skills or advance in their music career?
Will Ackerman: I think it’s a matter of scale to some degree. CD sales are way down and legal downloads don’t begin to compensate for the real losses in pirated music. At the same time we’ve gotten to the point where there is very little a major label knows about the current music business that the average internet-savvy teenager doesn’t know.
In fact the average teenager may be far hipper and more contemporary and imaginative than the guys who are still at desks at the big companies. One line I’ve used in talking with people is why give away 90% of the profits to an organization that doesn’t understand the marketplace any better than the average teenager?
I don’t think this is an exaggerated perspective at all and I think the question is valid. We see established acts reaching the time of contract expiration with major labels and just leaving the majors and creating their own labels with web presence and touring being focal points of their endeavors.
Artists recording on their own labels are keeping 100% of the profit rather than getting maybe a 12% royalty from a major label. Keeping an eye on budget becomes more important than ever (as there are fewer sales and less gross income) and the objective now seems to be about creating a constant internet presence rather than making one huge marketing effort in order to recoup the investment in recording or video etc.
Radio exposure is still important, especially with all of the internet music outlets. Getting reviewed, as always, matters in a big way and given all the websites devoted to niche markets there is more opportunity for attention than ever. Ultimately, however, it’s all about harnessing the internet and touring to cement a relationship with an audience and hone one’s craft.
I recently met a young woman name Kina Grannis who created this incredible video for YouTube. It took 3 months to make the first 10 seconds of this and nearly 2 years to finish. It’s a stop motion video shot against a constantly changing backdrop of paintings done with jellybeans. You heard me right, jellybeans. The video is brilliant, as is Kina, and I believe she’s now had something like ten million hits on this YouTube single. Jelly Belly heard about this and are now underwriting her touring and she just finished a tour of major markets in Europe, then traveled to the far east and Australia as well as the U.S. All of this fueled by a very clever video that her friends help her create.
In looking at the New Age market, I see people still doing a video of a babbling brook and posting it as if there is anything compelling in this. It was novel in 1984 when I did the world’s first digital audio laser discs with Pioneer Home Video and Paramount, but that’s been done and done and done. Be clever. Take a chance. Do something different. You may fail, but it’s ordained that you’ll fail by being one of a million people doing the same thing.
In terms of live performance, George Winston and I would play a benefit for any 5 watt radio station in the U.S. who would give us airplay and we were willing to work from the ground up. I can remember audiences of 6 people where I gave everything I had.
I think you have to have that commitment and the talent to offer something very special to the world, but what is learned on the road is valuable on so many levels and connects you with your audience.
Getting a sense of an audience’s reaction to a new piece, getting a feel for what’s working and what’s not (both for you and for the audience), is something most effectively done in front of a live audience. They’ll tell you a lot about what will be effective in the marketplace. So in answer to your question; yes artists in any genre can still break out onto the world stage, but to really succeed these days you almost certainly have to have brilliant and original (not necessarily expensive) videos and I continue to believe that live performances are an invaluable training ground.
John: Technology has undoubtedly changed since the time when you first began to produce. What are some examples of how new technology changed the way you produce music in the studio today?
Will Ackerman: Fundamentally, the only deep change is digital and I do a great deal to refrain from a complete embrace of what is contemporary. I’m convinced that digital is not all for the best, though the manipulation of digital information in editing, for instance, is just simply brilliant and is an important part of our process here. My principal microphones are VERY expensive matched pairs of Neumanns. What we do with microphone positioning and configurations are literally unique and very much on the cutting edge.
Despite the fact that we’re understandably regarded for our audiophile recordings, our methods are bordering on heretic. I like that. The Hemmingway preamps are rare and a brilliant part of our arsenal. I sometimes use analogue process even in the highest quality digital recordings if I feel there is something to be gained. My own Returning album, which won the GRAMMY® in 2005, was run through Studer heads as part of mastering, for instance.
And there’s Tom Eaton. Tom’s been with me for over a year now and is simply the most talented engineer I’ve known in my entire life. A pianist himself (he actually plays a range of instruments) Tom brings an academic knowledge of music to the room that my intuitive side is grateful for. I was recently having trouble explaining to Tony Levin what I wanted in a piece and Tom took a minute to talk with me and then hit the talk back and said to Tony, “Tony, Will’s hearing it on the one.” It would have taken another 10 minutes for me to finally explain what I was hearing.
I’ve come to respect Tom’s opinion as much as anyone I have ever known. Increasingly he and I are co-producing and the recordings are the better for it. Tom knows the Windham Hill Records catalog better than I do and this history also informs his understanding of where we’re going and why. He respects my position in the producer’s chair, but he always has my ear and no one in my history has been able to command more attention with a gentle, “I was just wondering if.” The man’s simply brilliant and has brought more to my production environment than anyone in my history. He’s also a wonderful, bright, funny human being who has become family in a very short while.
John: You have a one of a kind Steinway piano, and other high-tech equipment at your studio. Is having the highest quality equipment available for artists to use during their visit, one of the most essential components for your productions?
Will Ackerman: Our Steinway is simply magical. I have never recorded anything that compares to it in my entire career. It came here by chance a decade ago as a rental and it simply never left. I just told the owner that he’d have to come up with a price. I called him and told him this and took the rest of the day off and nailed the load-in doors shut and resided the building. He had to sell it to me. When you think of how important the piano has been to my career and how much piano recording I’ve done and you realize that I’m begin utterly honest when I tell you that this is the finest sounding recording piano I’ve ever worked with, that’s a pretty dramatic statement.
There are many quality products that I don’t need. We actually don’t have a lot of toys here. It’s very fundamental stuff. I have some very purist ideas about how to record instruments and it begins with the fact that I want to be inside the instrument. I want to be more proximate to the instrument than almost any producer on the planet.
I want to hear guitar recorded so that it sounds as it does to me when I’m holding it. I want the piano to move from left to right, bass to the high notes and feel like you’re sitting at the piano. I don’t want to soften edges a lot. I don’t want the recordings to be dreamy even if the music itself is. I want the listen to be deeply aware that this is a piece of wood and steel they’re listening to. I think this is partly why I just shy away from keyboards (however good their sampling has become) so much. I love the world of acoustic music. It’s what drives me, and I’m always searching for ways to get even closer and more detailed in my listening and recording. I’ve recently made a discovery about cello, for instance, that pleases me a great deal.
John: Thank you again for giving me and everyone a moment of your time Will. I have a deep respect for your work, and I hope we have a chance to interview again in the future. I am sure there will be fans and artists worldwide reading the newest Will Ackerman interview in 2012. Is there anything you would like to express to the artists and fans that have supported you over the years?
Will Ackerman: First of all, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who agreed to be on The Gathering. My deepest thanks to these wonderfully talented and lovely human beings;
Masako, Paul Jensen, Stanton Lanier, Kathryn Kaye, Rudy Perrone, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Jeff Oster, Dean Boland, Frank Smith, Todd Boston, Rocky Fretz, Shambhu, Kori Linae Carothers, Peter Jennison, Denise Young, Devin Rice and Erin Aas, Lawrence Blatt, Ronnda Cadle, Ann Sweeten, Ken Verheecke and Patrick Gorman.
My thanks too to all the musicians I’ve been blessed to work with. There are musicians I’m producing now and musicians I’ve just finished producing that we didn’t have room for on The Gathering. I hope our success with this project is such that we’ll have a chance to release a second volume.
I hope your readers will support The Gathering. We purposefully decided to make this affordable. At $12 and 74 minutes it’s a bargain and getting turned on to 22 new musicians is a pretty great experience in life. We hope you’ll think of The Gathering as gifts and just a thank you to those in your lives. We’ll be deeply grateful for your help. Will Ackerman.
Visit WilliamAckerman.com and the Imaginary Road Studios. You can sample or purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com. The majority of artists Will mentioned on The Gathering compilation release have album reviews at this site. Visit my pages dedicated to Will Ackerman and artist tags located in a right hand module. Photos are courtesy williamackerman.com.
New Age and World Music News Blog – 2014.
When it comes to site popularity, New Age Music World is one of the best international new age music blogs worldwide. Here I provide exclusive music news and on-topic press coverage for artists in the New Age, World, and Instrumental music genres.
While it’s impossible for me to provide news reporting for every artist, I do what I can to tell visitors about some of the most newsworthy events by today’s most popular artists and music organizations within the two genres and sub-genre categories.
Every year I provide news reporting on several best album award ceremonies by high profile organizations like the GRAMMY® Awards, Billboard Magazine, and Independent Music Awards.
Another exclusive award article at this site is my yearly New Age Music World – Best New Age Albums Award publication. Every New Year’s Day I report on the best new albums and new songs I have reviewed or sampled throughout the year.
In addition, I regularly write a best album awards publication related to Zone Music Reporter’s Best Album Awards, and offer exclusive news coverage by a variety of articles about a specific artist or group who have received award recognition for their music.
Regardless of whether an award is determined by voting members, album sales, popular choice, online radio airtime or broadcaster votes, each organization I write articles about, including my own, is an excellent source to find the latest news about top artists worldwide and the best new music available today.
This latest international music news publication at my blog is an efficient way for me to provide music news reporting, and provide coverage for a variety of topics or events, ranging from concert tour dates and information by popular instrumental artists who perform international concert tours. This also allows me to inform visitors about top 10, and top 100 radio chart information, along with top albums at Amazon, iTunes, and other on-topic music news stories.
Current updates to this music news article will be added as they arrive. On future visits to Music World, you can check for news updates to this publication by clicking on the “International Music News Banner” located in a right hand module. Naturally I invite you to visit my homepage.
The tabs at the top of my site will direct you to various sections including my profile, interviews, new music reviews, music awards, song videos and additional music news about the international artists I feature on a regular basis.
In the modules located on your right, you will find various module banners which link to specific articles. Some of the most popular banners publications are the Best Album Awards and Best New Music in 2012 banners. Other popular banner articles are Interviews, Live Concert Tour Information, and Music Promotion.
I also feature a Live 365 Stars Radio Player, operated by B.T. Fasmer, who often gives the artists I feature, free online radio promotion. The 365 Stars station radio player is free to use, or like all radio stations at Live 365 Internet Radio, you can listen to thousands of commercial free music stations when you sign up for a low cost VIP subscription at Live365.com.
Nearly every day I receive press releases from music promoters, producers, artists, and their public relations persons regarding an artist or music group’s latest press news or their latest publicized events worldwide.
I know many international artists personally so many times I can provide early news reporting by this news bulletin before an artist’s official press release. I look forward to providing exclusive music news coverage in the months and years ahead. Thank You for your return visits to New Age Music World, one of the top nonprofit music blogs worldwide. BigStockPhoto.com credits – Pcummings – MOKreations – Alexwhite.
Worldwide Music News Blog 2013 – New Age, World and Instrumental Music Genres:Sochi, Russia: The Olympic Organizing Committee for the upcoming 2014 Winter Games has announced the official anthem for the Olympic Torch Relay. The song titled We Are All Under the Sky, performed by the band Kasta, will be performed in all 2,900 towns and villages Russia hosting official Olympic Torch Relay celebrations, held prior to the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games on February 7, 2014. Read the official press release at Olympic.org. – See more at: http://www.newagemusicworld.com/new-age-music-news-blog/?preview=true&preview_id=15619&preview_nonce=11e13fea1a#sthash.F0JmVdqd.dpuf
International concert and recording celebrity artist Yanni is the most recent music artist to be interviewed at New Age Music World. This newest Yanni Interview contains news and information about the members of his elite orchestra, new album Inspirato, and Yanni’s plans for the future. I am pleased to present my exclusive Yanni Interview.
Sochi Russia: As stated earlier, there will most likely not be an album or soundtrack for the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony. There is another album of official Sochi Olympic music available for purchase however. The group Audiomachine produced the inspiring promotional music for the NBC Network and the International Olympic Committee in promotion for the Sochi Olympics in 2014. Find where to sample and purchase the Audiomachine album Champions Will Rise in the publication titled: Official Olympic Music by Audiomachine.
Sochi, Russia: Many are asking whether there is an album of official Olympic Opening Ceremony music. The songs performed during the Opening Ceremony will most likely, not be released. However there is an album, anthems and songs for official Olympic music. I have a list of Sochi Olympic songs and anthems in the publication titled: Sochi Olympics – Artists Songs and Events.
Yanni World Tour – 2014: International concert artist Yanni and his world-class orchestra have released new concert information at Yanni.com. There are several concert dates currently scheduled for the 2014 tour include Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and United States. New concert info and tour updates for the Yanni World Tour in 2014 can be found on the Yanni Tour Dates Page.
America’s 56th GRAMMY® Award-Winners were announced. Read about Laura Sullivan who made top honors by winning the Best New Age Music Album Award. Sample or purchase the winning album Love’s River at Laura-Sullivan.com. Find more Grammy Awards information in the categories of New Age, World and Score Soundtrack For Visual Media in my section named Grammy Awards.
The GRAMMY® Nominees Compilation Album for 2013 with 22 songs by 22 artists is now available in the formats of CD or album download. Find information at 2013GrammyAlbum.com.
Read Music World’s yearly best albums recommendations from 2012 in the electronic, instrumental and new age categories by clicking the upper Awards and Best Albums tabs.
American multi-platinum artist Nick Gunn and vocalist Carmen Rainier have begun producing an exciting mix of electronic dance music by the artist title of (We Are) Nexus. Sample their original club mixes of EDM at WeAreNexusEDM.com.
Scottish singer Susan Boyle has a new album titled Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage. Her rise to stardom after the TV reality show Britain’s Got Talent is a phenomenal success story. You can sample or purchase Standing Ovation at the U.S. and UK Amazon websites, major online stores, or visit SusanBoyleMusic.com.
Sarah Brightman News for 2014. In a press conference Sarah Brightman announced information related to her newest album Dreamchaser, upcoming World Concert Tour, and details of her future spaceflight to the International Space Station. For complete news details and 2014 concert information visit SarahBrightman.com.
Flutist Nicholas Gunn recently announced his new 2012 album Thirty-One Nights is on the Voting Ballot for Nomination in the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards in the World Music Category. Sample or purchase Thirty-One Nights at NicholasGunn.com.
There are several popular U.S. based artists I will be interviewing in the months ahead. The high profile artists scheduled include guitarist Eric Tingstad, pianist David Lanz and flutist Nicholas Gunn. Check back in the days ahead, and read earlier interviews with top ranked artists my Interview Section.
The U.S. music duo 2002 has a new 2012 release unlike any previous album. The newest project by Randy and Pamela Copus titled Believe has the signature sound of 2002 music we know and love, yet there are elements of music by popular era bands like Kansas, YES, Phil Collins, and Seal. It has every hallmark of becoming their best albums to date. A pre-release album review will be posted soon.
London Paralympic Opening Music 2012: Enlightenment – Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games is the album title of the official Paralympic song playlist for the opening ceremonies. Sample or purchase the 18 songs on Enlightenment at iTunes.com.
London Olympic Closing Music 2012: A Symphony of British Music – Music For The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is the album title of the official Olympic song playlist for the closing ceremonies. The songs release in (digital format only) was made available on August 12, 2012 at DeccaRecords.com. Purchase by pre-ordering A Symphony of British Music at Amazon.co.uk.
London Olympic Opening Music 2012: Isles of Wonder – Music For The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is the album title of the official Olympic song playlist for the opening ceremonies. Purchase Isles of Wonder at Amazon.co.uk, iTunes or Decca Records.
Greek composer Vangelis has two new releases in 2012. Vangelis – The Collection and a new soundtrack for the Olympic themed theatrical Chariots of Fire (On Stage) play, made available in July, 2012. Find both titles in audio CD and digital download format at Amazon.co.uk and other online stores.
U.S. based producer Will Ackerman is an artist I recently interviewed. Read about the esteemed artist and record producer in the exclusive 2012 in-depth interview with Will Ackerman.
Progressive rock group YES from the UK has released new 2014 concert information. With over 50 million albums sold worldwide, YES remains a leader in progressive rock music. Check the current 2014 YES tour schedule at YesWorld.com.
Germany based group Alphaville has the 2014 concert tour schedule posted at their site. The highly successful pop electronic/synthesizer music of Alphaville has sold well over 80 million albums. Having earlier performed concert tours in Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Russia, Singapore , Sweden, and the United States, Alphaville is a favorite electronic pop group with millions of fans worldwide. Visit the Alphaville.de Tour Page for Alphaville Concerts in 2014.
Sony Masterworks has released The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Live) on DVD and Blu-Ray, featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. The live recording was also filmed for a future PBS Special to air nationwide in May, and pledge drive program scheduled throughout the month of June on PBS.
Bulgarian based artist Bryan El, who specializes in electronic music has released a brand new album follow-up to Out of This World & Spiritual Evolution. The newest album by Bryan El is titled Boundaries Of Imagination. Find more details at BryanEl.com.
California based artist Mars Lasar is currently working on a sequel to Karma. Mars Lasar’s newest follow-up release is called Afterworld. You can also check out his new website at MarsLasar.com.
Artists worldwide: If you are an artist looking for a music promoter to help market your newest album, I now have a contact list of the marketing specialists I know personally, who offer promotional services. Artists can find their contact information in my article titled; New Age & World Music Promotions.
To find live concert tour info worldwide in the new age, world, electronic, and instrumental music genres check my Live Concert Tours in 2014 information section.
U.S. based artist Australis is offering a free digital download called Interlude, which is a music sampler of his entire discography to current new age album Sentient Genus. Find the free music download and purchase his albums at AustralisMusic.com.
International site visitors to Music World can find the newest 2014 albums in the new age, world, electronic, and instrumental music genres, in a news publication titled Best New Music Albums in 2014.
Being a new age music reviewer, publicist and interview host, I often consider the puzzling question, what is new age music? It’s a perplexing question, even without taking into account the numerous music influences and sub-genres. More often than not, artists prefer not to be categorized by their music compositions which add yet another piece to the puzzle.
While I feel the “what is new age music” question is largely dependent upon an individual’s viewpoint to a degree, there are of course, a number of basic facts about the new age music genre to consider. As a music reviewer, I like to think of whether the songs are in a style or music category most people will find compelling or inspirational being a good indicator, regardless of tempo. Music made for relaxation, sleep and nature sounds are also an enhancing characterization to the overall new age classification.
Defining the new age music genre to one hundred percent accuracy is more than a challenge, it is nearly impossible, similar to assigning a single definition to all popular music genres. In my view, music is like a work of art, where individual perception is more important than organizing all the variable pieces into the ready-made design it is supposed to represent.
With that said, here are 2 Wikipedia pages that should prove helpful. The first page gives a definition for new age music, and the second page shows a partial list of new age music artists associated with the genre. Photo is courtesy Ihfgraphics.
Music Review: Mysterium Tremendum by Mickey Hart Band.
Legendary Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart may be recognized most for his progressive music as drummer with American rock icon, Grateful Dead band, but as everyone knows, time and the universe itself advance forward like clockwork. It’s no surprise superstar Mickey Hart has made progressive advancements of his own. In this case, it is more of an intergalactic leap!
The significance of Mickey Hart’s role as a Grateful Dead percussionist makes its presence known on his new 2012 album Mysterium Tremendum by his group, the Mickey Hart Band. While some popular artists may be content taking more of a back seat role by riding out the success of an earlier career, Mickey Hart steps aboard and climbs into the pilot seat as he steers his music career, and Mickey Hart Band members in a bold new direction.
The Mickey Hart Band is an 8 member group with Mickey Hart, and selection of the best artists and vocalists he could find. Together they transmit his multiple genre project that treks into uncharted territory musically.
Upon sampling his new 2012 release Mysterium Tremendum, I can say Mickey Hart clearly has selected a rare and talented group to make this flight. Like a man on a mission, his selection was based on those artists who he felt possess the precise aptitude needed to communicate the full depth of a majestic experiment in sound. And it truly is a soulful new direction on the exploratory album Mysterium Tremendum, which also includes the illustrious Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.
To call Mysterium Tremendum simply an adventurous album would be an understatement, and downright disrespectful. Daring is a more suitable word. Recorded at Mickey Hart’s Studio X in California, Mysterium Tremendum is innovative in many ways, and unlike anything you have previously heard.
Unequaled by a divergent fusion of popular music genres, World Music best defines the improvisational jam band combination of great instrumentals, vocals, and profusion of original percussion elements.
On this new 2012 release Mickey Hart has selected a rare and brilliant group who he felt possess the precise aptitude needed to interconnect, and then communicate the complete depth of this grand experiment in sound.
The artists had to be special knowing Mysterium Tremendum follows up in linage to his GRAMMY® Award-Winning album, Global Drum Project from 2007.
Never content with merely composing and performing music, the 3 time GRAMMY® Award-Winning Mickey Hart has become more attune to a scientist by researching the primordial origins, history, and cultural aspects of music. It is on this album his research taps into light waves of the universe to the beginning point of time and space, transforming light waves into sound waves using researched scientific data.
This may sound like science fiction, but in fact, real-life scientific data was utilized, thus becomes an integral component of Mickey Hart’s music composition that revolves around many music genres but touches down in the World Music category.
Something I noticed right away was the pronounced cinematic qualities on many of the ambient, vocal and world percussion backed songs, so it’s easy to imagine Mysterium Tremendum being used in a Science fiction film score. These songs are Heartbeat of the Sun, Who Stole The Show, Djinn Djinn, Ticket to Nowhere & Through Endless Skies.
You will find that even the popular crossover songs with lyricized vocals, you are sure to love have cinematic qualities involving various movie genres too like songs Slow Joe Rain, Cut the Deck, Starlight and Starbright, This One Hour, Supersonic Vision, Time Never Ends & Let There Be Light.
Currently the 8 member Mickey Hart Band is on traveling the country on their “Above The Clouds Concert Tour” which is garnering excellent concert reviews. One point to clarify however, on the Mysterium Tremendum album release, a number of special guest artists join the Mickey Hart Band to complete the symphonic landscape. Clearly Mickey Hart has left no stone unturned in the launch of his innovative sound experiment with his new band, and special guest artists.
The music of Grateful Dead is an inherently colorful stripe woven into the fabric of American music culture, as every Deadhead fan will vehemently attest. Never content to take a backseat role with his earlier success, Mickey Hart is clearly in the pilot’s seat with both hands placed firmly on the controls while navigating the spirit of Grateful Dead in a new direction. Hang on and enjoy the ride!
Album Credits: The 8 member Mickey Hart Band consists of Mickey Hart, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Grammy winning percussionist and longtime band mate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, TSO vocalist Tim Hockenberry, drummer Ian “Inx” Herman, guitarist Gawain Matthews, keyboardist and producer Ben Yonas. Special guest artists joining the Mickey Hart Band during select tracks on Mysterium Tremendum are Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, and longtime collaborators, Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
Visit MickeyHart.net homepage and sample or purchase Mysterium Tremendum, other albums, and check out the Mickey Hart Band’s live concert tour shows schedule and my Mickey Hart Band pages. Photos are courtesy mickeyhart.net.
Gallery of Dreams – Plus Live by Gandalf with Steve Hackett.
With the advent of the New Year 2012 well past us, new age and popular artists of every genre are releasing their best new project for 2012. While brand new CD and mp3 album downloads are arriving daily at music stores, legendary new age artist Gandalf and popular rock music icon Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis, have a new 2012, re-mastered release of an exquisite instrumental music classic.
Gandalf’s Gallery Of Dreams – Plus Live featuring Steve Hackett is the title given to this definitive 3 CD Anniversary Edition, that is progressive instrumental music at its finest! Also available as mp3 digital downloads, the first CD is an original studio Gallery Of Dreams album digitally re-mastered.
Plus, Gandalf and Steve Hackett’s previously unreleased 2 CD live concert recordings at the Wiener Konzerhaus concert in Vienna, Austria are included in the special 3 CD Anniversary Edition, comprised of several world-class quality guest instrumentalists, and a wonderful vocalist named Tracy Hitchings on the title track.
Gandalf – featuring Steve Hackett – Live in Concert Part 1 & Live in Concert Part 2 are the official titles for the 2 live concert CDs. The 3 CD Anniversary Edition of Gandalf and Steve Hackett’s legendary studio recording, plus their 2 CD live concert recorded during the Wiener Konzerthaus concert in Vienna Austria is an exceptional collection of songs. The finer points with this release are the artisanship, cinematic qualities and cultural fusion of new age and progressive rock music.
Gallery Of Dreams by Gandalf, featuring Steve Hackett is a masterful arrangement that amazed the music world in 1992, like the definitive anniversary collection carries on the tradition today.
Gandalf’s Gallery Of Dreams is a timeless instrumental classic, powerful in depth by the beauty of orchestral instruments of oboe, flute, piano and English horn in perfect rhythm with classical, acoustic and electric guitar. Even while conveying an air of refinement and complexity, the focus on instrumental warmth and harmony create a personable atmosphere from beginning to end.
It is in a likeness to predecessor Symphonic Landscape, another instrumental album by Gandalf whose symphonic innovations remain ageless with the passing of time. I say with near certainty, Gallery Of Dreams – Plus Live is one of the rarest albums destined to be one of the best progressive instrumental albums I, or any review publicist will write a review about in 2012.
Gandalf featuring Steve Hackett – Live In Concert – Part 1 & Part 2 CDs are previously unreleased live recordings during Gandalf’s Gallery Of Dreams in 1992 at the Wiener Konzerhaus concert in Vienna Austria, with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett as special guest artist.
Live In Concert Part 1 & Live In Concert Part 2 is parallel to the Gallery Of Dreams studio album by the inherent music qualities given by the artists involved, but perhaps more dynamic being a concert recording made on stage in front of a live audience.
Steve Hackett takes the lead in rock opera styled guitar refrains on a number of songs. Live In Concert Part 1 contains the two Genesis songs Horizons & In that Quiet Earth. As fans of the band Genesis know, guitar virtuoso Steve Hackett in classic form and bravura will leave a lasting impression on the listener every time.
Gandalf and Steve Hackett each have their own highly successful solo albums with distinctive style and technique, but it was Steve Hackett’s musical influence that made a major impression on Gandalf’s music. The natural ability of both artists as soloist is legendary. Gandalf and Steve Hackett complement one another beautifully during their performance, so it’s no surprise their collaborative effort together has resulted in a phenomenal collection of songs.
The 3 CD Anniversary Edition comes with a 6 page color photo booklet, concert poster, and a song video clip of Face in the Mirror that is playable on your computer. For Gandalf concert information, the Gandalf – Art Of Infinity Concert is scheduled for November 3, 2012 at the Planetarium Bochum in Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany.
Full credits for artists performing on Gallery of Dreams – plus live, Live in Concert Part 1 & Live in Concert Part 2 are; Gandalf – electric guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, piano, keyboards, sitar, sequencers and atmospheres. Steve Hackett – electric and classical guitars. Robert Julian Horky – flutes. Andrea Krauk – oboe, English horn.
Peter Aschenbrenner – flutes, soprano saxophone, and keyboards. Erich Buchebner – bass and fretless bass, taurus, bass-pedals and acoustic guitar. Toni Muhlhofer – percussion and Tracy Hitchings is the vocalist on Gallery of Dreams title track.
Gallery Of Dreams – Plus Live featuring Steve Hackett is the title of Gandalf’s 3 CD Anniversary Edition of progressive instrumental music featuring former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. An album and concert review of their 3 CD Anniversary Edition will be ready before “Earth Day.” Until then, here is a song video of Face In The Mirror.
The first CD is an original studio Gallery Of Dreams album, plus Gandalf and Steve Hackett’s previously unreleased 2 CD live concert recordings are included in the special 3 CD Anniversary Edition digitally re-mastered for 2012.
The live concert CDs of Gandalf’s Gallery Of Dreams European Tour in 1992 was held at the Wiener Konzerhaus concert in Vienna Austria. Steve Hackett, former Genesis guitarist joined Gandalf as the special guest artist on the Gallery Of Dreams studio album, and the 2 live concert CDs titled Live in Concert Part 1 & Live in Concert Part 2.
Gandalf and Steve Hackett of Genesis complement one another on stage, and in their own words below;
Gandalf: “Steve Hackett is one of the people who in the past had a major influence on my musical development. Over the last few years, I have been finding my own personal style and working with Steve felt like closing a circle. I managed to build a bridge to my musical roots.”
Steve Hackett: “Working with Gandalf on this album has certainly been one of my most enjoyable recording experiences. In his field, he is undoubtedly a musical genius without parallel.”
Concert Tour – Mysterium Tremendum by Mickey Hart Band.
Former Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart has always been an artist identified by his progressive music, both as a percussionist for the iconic Grateful Dead band, along with his 3 time GRAMMY® Award-Winning albums, and innovative sound excursions with his group the Mickey Hart Band.
The Mickey Hart Band “Above The Clouds Concert Tour” in 2012 is underway, with concert reviews for the bands performances getting admirable music reviews for their giant leap into progressive new sounds that becomes somewhat problematic when you try to categorize or brand his music.
Mysterium Tremendum is the Mickey Hart Band’s new album in 2012. Call it progressive rock, pop, adult contemporary, new age, world, or whatever you like, but identical to their new Mysterium Tremendum release, The Mickey Hart Band’s music is unlike anything you have previously heard. There is a variety of innovative sounds matched with great instrumentals and vocals.
During the Mickey Hart Band Tour – 2012, they perform a number of songs from their fantastic new album Mysterium Tremendum, just released on April 10, 2012. It’s a great album that shines by a contrasting fusion of music genres during every one of the 12 songs total. Possessing deep percussions, vocals and heavy rhythms, the divergent mix is extraordinary.
Can you envision the Mickey Hart Band will be among those in the New Age or World music categories in the GRAMMY® Awards in 2013? If there were an innovative music category, the Mickey Hart Band would definitely be the winner! Mickey Hart is a constantly evolving musician with no final conclusion in sight for the former Grateful Dead drummer who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and earned the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.
Band members are; Mickey Hart, Crystal Monee Hall, Tim Hockenberry, Dave Schools, Gawain Mathews, Sikiru Adepoju, Ian “Inkx” Herman and Ben Yonas. The YouTube song sample video below is live music from the Mickey Hart Band Concert Tour.
Visit MickeyHart.net to sample or purchase Mysterium Tremendum, and check out the band’s 2012 Concert Tour schedule. Special VIP packages are also available. Below is the current Mickey Hart Band 2012 Concert Tour schedule for 2012. Please note concert dates shown below are subject to change, and more concert dates may be scheduled once confirmed. For concert updates and most accurate concert info visit MickeyHart.net tour page. Photos are courtesy mickeyhart.net.
Mickey Hart Band – Concert Tour Dates 2012;
April 17, 2012 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
April 18, 2012 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
April 20, 2012 – Live Oak, FL – Wanee Festival
April 21, 2012 – Atlanta, GA – Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 22, 2012 – Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay Theatre
April 23, 2012 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
April 25, 2012 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
April 25, 2012 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
April 26, 2012 – Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa
April 27, 2012 – New Orleans, LA – Tipitina’s
April 28, 2012 – Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen
April 29, 2012 – Memphis, TN – New Daisy Theatre
May 7, 2012 – Bend, OR – Tower Theatre
May 8, 2012 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre
May 9, 2012 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
May 10, 2012 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
May 11, 2012 – Ashland, OR – Ashland Armory
May 12, 2012 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
May 14, 2012 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma Theater
May 15, 2012 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
May 16, 2012 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
May 17, 2012 – Denver, CO – The Ogden Theatre
June 30, 2012 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
July 21, 2012 – Bridgeport, CT – Gathering of the Vibes
July 22, 2012 – Thornville, OH – All Good Music Festival
July 22, 2012 – Thornville, OH – All Good Music Festival
September 5, 2012 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theatre
September 6, 2012 – Charlottesville – The Jefferson Theater
September 7, 2012 – Harrodsburg, KY – Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival
September 11, 2012 – Ozark, AR – Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival
September 14, 2012 – Ozark, AR – Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival
October 13, 2012 – Columbia, MO – Blue Note
October 14, 2012 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
October 15, 2012 – St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theater
October 17, 2012 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
October 18, 2012 – Live Oak, FL – Magnolia Fest – Amphitheater Stage
October 19, 2012 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
October 20, 2012 – Black Mountain, NC – Lake Eden Arts Festival
Visit MickeyHart.net Concert Shows Page for future schedule updates.
New Age Music is a popular music genre, but sometimes an overlooked genre when searching for the best new music available. Being the website host of a popular new age music blog, independent artists, promoters and producers continually send me new music for review each year.
This collection of the best new music in 2012 gives me an opportunity to tell my visitors about popular new music in the new age music genre, plus subcategories like contemporary instrumental, progressive rock, electronic, neo classical, ambient, piano, relaxation, chill out, groove, vocal, and world music.
New Age Music World is pleased to be a helpful source for website visitors searching for top quality music. Writing about today’s top artists in the new age music genre is my specialty, and I can tell you that artists in the new age music industry have already begun producing some of the best new songs and albums in 2012.
The album cover art shown below are a sample of the newest music CDs sent to me for possible review so far this year. From the albums below I select new music for my review section. I feel you will find many of these new albums of interest. Over the course of a year, some of these albums will make the top 100 new age radio charts and top 10 radio chart listings. Some new music will eventually become award winning albums or award nominated albums as the year progresses.
The year 2012 is already shaping up to be another great year for some of the best new music produced by some of today’s top new age instrumental artists. You can sample the newest songs at my site, and read about many new releases in 2012 on my reviews page, and read a recent award article about the best new age albums from 2011.
Visit Amazon to find new album releases and the best-selling albums. Visit iTunes for the top 10 albums and top 10 songs. Check my reviews section for more of the best new music in 2012, and publication about the best new age albums in 2011. Big Stock Photo – Devulderj.
Best New Music in 2012;
Kitaro is a GRAMMY® and Golden Globe Award-Winning musician in the forefront of today’s international music scene. One notable fact about his artistry is its universal appeal, bringing forth a message of peace, respect and unifying cultural connection of Eastern music with Western music.
Kitaro is a music icon recognized worldwide as a primary founder of the New Age Music Genre, but then again, the principal influence heard in his instrumental classics are uniquely his own, and in a classification by themselves. This is a point of admiration about Kitaro’s music that simply cannot be overstated.
Over the course of his distinguished music career which spans over three decades, Kitaro has produced an extensive collection of beloved instrumental classics to millions of people from every nation.
Kitaro began his innovative music career with the release of his debut solo album entitled Astral Voyage in 1978. From this time forward, Kitaro has been a leader in the music industry. The recipient of a GRAMMY® Award, 14 nominations and a Golden Globe award, Kitaro is an artist accustomed to winning prestigious awards and acclamations for his quality work year after year.
You will discover Kitaro’s music compositions are masterful in style and theme. The Silk Road series, Sacred Journey Of Ku-Kai series, Thinking Of You album, and Impressions of the West Lake are some of his most prized work.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview Kitaro in the early part of March 2012, prior to Kitaro’s performance at a special multimedia, live concert event in Uruguay called FAROSUR. Today we are pleased to present their conversation to Kitaro’s international fan base and to all site visitors.
Kitaro Interview in 2012;
John P. Olsen: Hello Kitaro, thank you so much for accepting my interview invitation. It is a privilege to host your newest interview in 2012, here at New Age Music World. I was already very familiar with you, and the music you produce, plus I enjoyed reading even more about you while preparing for our interview together. You are indeed one of the most fascinating artists I have ever interviewed Kitaro.
Kitaro: Hello this is Kitaro, Thank you for inviting me to this interview.
John: Let me begin by saying, you are an artist who has acquired worldwide, international fame. You were born in Japan, but have lived in America for many years too. Your music regularly has a fusion of ancient or ethnic instruments with modern electronic synthesizers. What first gave you the idea for integrating instruments with near opposite sound qualities?
Kitaro: I started my music career in high school, that’s era (end of 60′s and beginning of 70′s). I listened to so much music from other countries, mostly from USA and Europe. I was very surprised by impressionable sounds. I felt like I opened the door of the new world. It was a synthesizer.
John: In regards to ethnic instruments and electronic synthesizers, do you find it a challenge to unite the two classifications of instruments in your arrangements?
Kitaro: For me, it was not difficult to combine these elements. It’s a very enjoyable moment.
John: Has living in countries around the world with varying cultures been the greatest influence with your music, and if so, how much of a role does social culture influence your music?
Kitaro: I still have a home on mountainside in Japan. It’s a 250 years old home. I learned many things; living culture, nature, life – how important these element are for our lives. Also I believe that my music is one of the elements of nature.
John: You were honored with a Japan America Society Art Without Borders award in 2002. Can you tell us about the organization and the reason they presented their premier award to you?
Kitaro: I believe most of the members of this organization want to make a better relationship between Japan and USA through our work.
John: Your Love and Peace Planet Music Tours have made your music accessible to concert audiences worldwide. Your music has universal appeal. It is what sets you apart from other artists, and makes you special. How do you make the connection of unity with your concert audiences?
Kitaro: I believe music has a power to influence audience’s mind and soul. So, we are trying to make peaceful mind within our sounds.
John: Since people of various countries often have their individual tastes in music, have you ever performed concerts to fit the tastes of Eastern or Western audiences, or do you always strive for universal sound qualities?
Kitaro: Sometimes when we visit another country and perform, we try to re-arrange the song to fit the audience and perform some of the songs which people know as a popular song. It’s very fun for us too.
John: You are proficient on a number of traditional instruments like guitar, keyboards, and percussion. What indigenous instruments do you play, and what do you feel are the natural melodic qualities of each one?
Kitaro: I have traveled many countries and collected many traditional musical instruments. And I’m still trying to play and make beautiful sounds of these instruments. Since each instrument has a deep culture influence of each country, it is a timeless process for me.
John: Of the many orchestral and ethnic instruments you play, which instrument(s) do you feel best speaks from the heart, or are your collection of instruments simply a tool for your own inner expression?
Kitaro: I’m trying to have an experience of different cultures to see the behind of the sounds and instruments.
John: Percussion instruments likewise have a special place in your heart too. I read each year you make a customary pilgrimage to Mount Fuji to perform a formal drum ceremony. Would you like to tell us about the Wadaikos tradition?
Kitaro: Rhythm and beat is our PULSE and our BLOOD. I have never learned drumming but we can play some, because drumming is a simple thing but deep – following our heart beat.
About Taiko-drum ceremony at Mt. Fuji in Japan: It has been already 24 years since we started. This ceremony is not complicated explanatory thing. It’s very simple.
This is an appreciation for this Mother Earth and to create ties to it through drumming.
We invite many people from the young to the old. Any ages can come to Mount Fuji. Then we play drum together on the full moon night in September every year. Same as many spiritual Native tribes doing, we try to connect to spiritual moments through the drumming.
John: Your instrumental music is an unlimited collection, or in a universal category of its own style. Although your music can’t be defined by one music style or genre, your earliest albums began the structural foundation for the New Age Music Genre.
When you first began producing music decades ago, did you envision the instrumental music you were producing at the time was to be a major influence, past, present, and future with the new age genre?
Kitaro: I have never thought of becoming ”New Age Music” like an individual Genre. But I believe this kind of sounds and music is what we need. I’ll keep going on my music.
John: You have a long and enduring relationship with Tangerine Dream founder Klaus Schultz. What is your association with Klaus Schultz, and how did your friendship begin?
Kitaro: In my First recording at England during the 70’s, we tried to propose him if he could produce for our Band, because we like Tangerine Dream sounds. Our Band (Far East Family Band) focused on progressive and electric music since we started the band.
John: I read you and the late Takeshi Kato, who was the Chairman of the Korg Corporation also had an enduring relationship over the years too. Would you tell us about your friendship with Takeshi Kato and the influence he has made with your music?
Kitaro: Mr. Kato supported many musicians, not only Japanese musicians but musicians from all over the world for more than 40 years. In early days of company “KORG,” he and I always worked with engineer discussing and explaining what kind of sounds we like to have, then engineer tried to create machine. In those days, we have still used analogue technology (I still like this technology).
He passed away last year – He was like my FATHER.
John: I am truly sorry to hear of your personal loss. I didn’t realize you were so close. Takeshi Kato will be missed by many people worldwide. You have collaborated with many equally great rock music artists like Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, on The Light Of The Spirit, and progressive rock YES vocalist Jon Anderson, on Transcendent Dream, both of which were highly successful albums. Your soundtrack and modern day opera Impressions of the West Lake was likewise a partnership with international filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Would you please tell us about your projects with Zhang Yimou?
Kitaro: Mr. Zhang Yimou offered me to make original music for “Impression of the West Lake” in 2007. First, it was their idea – Then I had a trip to China to have meeting with production people. And they showed me my recent DVD ”TAMAYURA,” which is a collaboration with Butoh Dance company performed at traditional Japanese Garden.
Mr. Zhang Yimou told me that they wanted to make the stage like this – I was so surprised, and the production was not easy. Because work continued with construction and composing music at same time, depending on stage direction handled by Mr. Zhang Yimou. We always waited for his comments. During the project, I enjoyed working with him so much for his dynamic direction and mind.
John: You were honored by a Composer Award at the 51st Golden Globe Awards for your wonderful Soundtrack for Heaven & Earth, a movie directed by Oliver Stone. Would you like to tell us about your soundtrack compositional work with film director Oliver Stone?
Kitaro: This Film was a third film of Vietnam War by Mr. Oliver Stone, as for my understanding. I learned many things; film score, filming, production and etc. I had a trip to Vietnam with him (Mr. Stone), his crew, actors and actresses. Since the film director decided everything; sounds, editing and all the details, even when my composition has done, he needed to confirm if music is right for the scene. And it took four years. His work had a lot of intention. That is good mood for me.
John: The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai series was conceived during the days after the tragedy of September 11, 2001 (9/11). What was the setting, and the reasons for you to produce the Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai series?
Kitaro: I focused on thinking about what is ”world peace,“ then I came up with this project. It has not finished yet. It’s still on the way to become “World Peace.” I believe Human will make “World Peace” someday.
John: The Silk Road Series is said to be one of your many arrangements considered a musical masterpiece. What were the circumstances surrounding the production of your highly acclaimed Silk Road Series?
Kitaro: I had been influenced by the theme of Silk Road which is an ancient road between Asia and Europe.
My imagination has grown so much with this theme at the time NHK offered to me to make music for Silk Road. Also I had a trip to China and Soviet Union (old day) after finishing composition. It was a fun trip. All of the places I visited were peaceful. But they changed too much today.
John: You composed the soundtrack for a Japanese television documentary series that ran for five years titled Silk Road. How does the soundtrack music differ from the Silk Road series album collection?
Kitaro: I had a travel to Silk Road by “SOUND.”
John: Your music has earned you a GRAMMY® Award and 14 Nominations over the years. These are significant awards and nominations. Are album awards and acclamations of your musical works important to you at all, or do you consider them simply a testimonial of your many achievements?
Kitaro: Awards are not my goal.
John: Over the years while attending the GRAMMY® Awards, you have had many opportunities to form friendships with other artists who were under award consideration like yourself. Could you tell us about your experiences while attending the awards ceremony?
Kitaro: When I got 43rd Grammy Awards, my friend David Foster was on stage and he called my name. David said “congratulation” and I could release my tension and relax and talk.
John: I am certain there will be a number of debuting and professional artists who will read our interview. Many artists maybe look to you like a mentor, and hope to achieve the level of success you have reached in your career. Do you have any words of advice you can offer, or a strategy an artists should bear in mind during the course of their music careers?
Kitaro: Each artist has a different theme. So it’s not easy to say something. Maybe only I can say is, “You can compose and create Music for another person, simply just as a gift for another all living thing and for this planet. That would be GREAT. Trust your feeling.”
John: On March 27, and March 28, 2012 you have a special live concert event in Uruguay. It is a premiere event conceived by Emil Montgomery called FAROSUR. I read this is a multimedia artistic show, and collective group effort. Who are some of the artists involved?
Kitaro: This event will be a great friendship concert between Emil. Suzanne Ciani and I will perform some of the music (new song) together. We will perform every song from our HEART.
John: What is the theme or purpose of the FAROSUR concert event?
Kitaro: My understanding is “WORLD PEACE.” It’s beyond everything.
John: Your philosophic viewpoint is a matter of record. It is one of peace, respect and unity, shared by many people. What does it “feel like” to be a respected artist, who has an opportunity to express your message of peace worldwide?
Kitaro: We hope music effect all over the world. People can feel and think about future.
John: During your international concerts around the world, you have performed live before audiences of over 50,000 people. Would you like to tell about your experience meeting people worldwide, what it means to you personally, and how it influences the music you produce?
Kitaro: We always appreciate that many people come to see our performance. But our performance is not only our performance. We are performing with an audience, making collaboration.
John: I would love to release some news for your fans about a new Kitaro album or a concert tour in the planning stages. Is there any additional Kitaro news you would like to announce today?
Kitaro: I’m working and producing a Native American person’s (Dennis Banks) song which is related with Nature, living with Nature, songs coming from life style and spiritual experience.
John: Your music is very much on the forefront of today’s music scene. Interest in your music has grown tremendously over the years, and you have a wonderful story to share. It has been a privilege to host your newest interview in 2012 Kitaro. I hope we have a chance to visit again to update everyone on the current news about you. In closing for now, is there anything you would like to express to our readers, and the fans that have supported you throughout your career?
Kitaro: I really appreciate all of listeners and audience and all of living things on this planet.
“Thank you so much.” Kitaro
Photos are courtesy kitaromusic.com and domomusicgroup.com.
Legendary musician Kitaro continues the time honored tradition of bringing his ageless instrumental classics to millions of fans worldwide. The year 2012 is after all, much like another other year in the past, where fans of popular new age music can find many selections of the best new albums and songs all from a man who goes by the name Kitaro.
The fascinating story of Kitaro is legendary. Beginning his music career over 30 years ago, Kitaro’s intriguing journey to prominence arose with the release of his first album entitled Astral Voyage back in 1978.
Crossing many milestones along the way, Kitaro is a true innovator who remains in the forefront of the music recording industry today, just as he was the vanguard in the new age music scene years ago.
Fans of Kitaro know his discography has not only increased in volume, but has increased in popularity as time goes by too. In recent years to the present, some of the best new music from Kitaro has progressed in diversity more than ever, but the admiration for his work is at all times constant. It may leave many of us wondering what motivates or inspires him.
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai – Volume 4 from 2010 is one of his best albums in the Ku-Kai series. The 4 CD Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai album collection is inherently monumental, and in an exclusive class by itself. The motivation for Kitaro’s Ku-Kai series as many fans may know arose after the global events on the fateful day of September 11, 2001.
On 9/11 Kitaro was on a jet from Japan traveling en route to Los Angeles when the transcontinental flight was diverted to Hawaii for 5 days due to the tragedy. It was during this time of disbelief and uncertainty Kitaro envisioned the Ku-Kai series as a means of uniting the world by music embracing a universal message of peace.
Peace thru music is not a new concept on the surface, but I, like other people find his personal belief and inner conviction with producing Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, an honorable concept of peace and unity that is profound nonetheless.
The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai series is an earthly travel that transports the listener to 88 sacred temples located on Shikoku Island in Japan. The music is a serene journey in its own right. The true to life excursion made over 1100 years ago on Shikoku Island in Japan endures to this day.
The music in Kitaro’s modern day journey has an itinerary of refined harmony made for reflection. Every instrumental song on the series is comprised of bells from one of the holy temples, integrated into the series with Kitaro’s internal vision of peaceful harmony in music and in life shown externally. It may be why many consider Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai series the best new albums by Kitaro.
Nearly every day I describe an artist’s album and its qualities, but rarely do I focus or reveal the intrinsic motivation of an artist’s instrumental creation. Ku-Kai series Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 & Vol. 4 earned Kitaro a GRAMMY® Nomination in the Best New Age Album category, which basically speaks for itself. The admiration for Kitaro and his music that unites the world is, of all things, real and constant.
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai - Vol. 4 has 8 songs titled; Lotus Mountain, Yakushi, Magic Seeds, Reflection Of Water, South Wind, Circle Pray, Requiem & Ritual Winds. I have the privilege of interviewing Kitaro in the near future. During our interview I hope to reveal the central element that inspires one of the top instrumental music producers today.
Visit the Domo Music Group Kitaro pages to sample or purchase Kitaro’s music, and then visit DomoMusicGroup.com. Read Kitaro’s Ku-Kai page at Domo Music Group for more about this special series. Photos courtesy domomusicgroup.com.
Kitaro is a GRAMMY® and Golden Globe award-winning artist who earned acclaim and respect from the beginning of his music career. Over the past 30 years Kitaro has remained passionate with his music creations, maintaining the highest quality standards as a composer, while delivering voluminous concertos to music fans worldwide.
With volumes of Kitaro CD albums and song downloads to choose from wouldn’t it would be advantageous if the best albums by the legendary artist Kitaro were sold as a single collection? Now it is!
Domo Music Group makes the decision making process easier by offering a limited edition of Kitaro’s best albums. This extraordinary collection isn’t cheap, but when you average the cost per CD, and bonus DVD, it turns out to be an economically priced collection.
The Ultimate Kitaro Collection – Silk Road Journey is an extensive selection of the best albums by Kitaro. The Ultimate Kitaro Collection includes 15 CD albums and the Yakushiji Live DVD. Of the 15 CDs total, you will find most are albums in which he received either a GRAMMY® Award or received nomination.
Kitaro’s GRAMMY® Award winning Thinking Of You is included, along with other favorite albums like The Impressions Of The West Lake soundtrack, Journey Of Ku-Kai, Volumes 1 -4, The Best Of Silk Road, Peace On Earth CDs, and more.
I am pleased to announce I have an interview scheduled with Kitaro in the near future. New Age Music World is preparing to roll out the red carpet for Masanori Takahashi, and the millions of international fans who would like to read the newest interview with Kitaro in 2012. Until the new interview with Kitaro in 2012 is published, view the video below for The Ultimate Kitaro Collection – Silk Road Journey.
New Age Music World prides itself in offering visitors a variety of ways to find out more about their favorite artist. Music interviews are an excellent way to learn more about today’s popular artists and their music in a contemporary setting. I am pleased to announce two esteemed popular artist have accepted my interview invitation.
Kitaro & Yanni are two popular interview guests whose open conversations about their life and music are currently scheduled for an exclusive music interview here at NewAgeMusicWorld.com.
Kitaro & Yanni are two of today’s top instrumental artists, whose fans of all nationalities number into the millions. It’s a privilege to present an interview for their fans and my site visitors. A word of thanks to Kitaro and Yanni for giving us a moment of their time.
Read 30 music interviews with popular artists on my interview section. I am preparing for more music interviews with popular artists so check back for another announcement about future guest artists. BigStockPhoto copyright – Ihfgraphics.
International music celebrity Yanni has millions of fans worldwide, but what some visitors may not know is that in addition to the official Yanni.com website, there are a large number of international Affiliate Yanni websites offering exclusive news and original content about Yanni and his orchestra. In addition to other responsibilities, international affiliates play an important role in Yanni’s world tours by orchestrating concert pre-show social events with fans.
Yanni – India is an international affiliate website offering official Yanni news and information, along with their perspective and exclusive content on one of the world’s favorite international concert artist. Recently I had the privilege of being introduced to some of the dedicated team members with India’s international affiliate website.
The people at Yanni – India are a great group of people, which was my earlier experience with the public relations representatives at Yanni – Wake Entertainment. Knowing the entire organization is an outstanding group is something every affiliate team member can be proud of, plus it speaks volumes about the quality and dedication of the people Yanni selects as his domestic and international representatives.
This international affiliate serves Yanni’s East Indian fans, along with all international website guests. Their website text is written in English, plus they provide a built-in Google dialect translator for many other languages.
Featuring official news, press releases, and exclusive content, Yanni – India provides streaming music, and website links to the world-class musicians in the orchestra. They also post a bulletin of official sites, and provides an exclusive presentation of Yanni’s extraordinary 1997 Tribute Concert.
The Tribute Concert at the Taj Mahal was aired on U.S. Public Broadcast Stations (PBS) nationwide. It was the first televised concert where I saw a live Yanni performance, and instantly became a fan myself. There is a pretty good chance the Tribute Concert in India was the same concert venue where you, and Yanni – India Team Members became fans too.
The Taj Mahal concert venue featured a variety of world-class musicians who provided outstanding instrumentals. I thought it was one of his most memorable concert events ever! Years ago I wrote a concert review article about the Tribute Concert featuring violinist Karen Briggs and woodwind specialist Pedro Eustache, both of whom performed amazing solos during the song Renegade.
The solos by Karen Briggs and Pedro Eustache during the song Renegade were delivered with increasingly more intricate and complex solo rhythms, which is what I remember most. While a lot has changed since then, some things remain the same.
Yanni is now preparing for his 2012 North American Concert Tour. Publicized as “An Evening With Yanni,” the 2012 tour covers a large number of live concert venues in the United States and Canada. Each exclusive concert will be equally extraordinary, like earlier events described by concert attendees who have written a concert review about the legendary Yanni and his orchestra.
There are over 23 International Affiliate Yanni sites, each providing exclusive news, information, and original content. Presently there are international affiliates from the countries; Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Haiti, India, Iran, Italia, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russian, and Turkey. Many countries listed have multiple international affiliate sites supporting Yanni.
The Yanni Community Fan Club is an interactive social outlet with special offers, exclusive content, and newsletter upon membership, including participation in All Access: Yanni On Tour, previews and contests. Community Fan Club members can participate in forums, create their own blog with profile, and meet Yanni fans worldwide.
The Yanni Street Team is designed for those who have a presence on the internet. Street Team members are given exclusive information and assignments like sharing exclusive content on blogs and social network pages in their community.
Yanni – Wake Entertainment really delivers by constantly finding new ways to provide a fun and friendly environment for fans who want to share the excitement and get involved. The International Affiliate sites, Community Fan Club, and Street Team are just a part of the fan friendly programs that people can participate in at Yanni.com.
The dedicated people at Yanni – India and their area of expertise are; Webmaster and Moderator: Prajit Nair, Graphics, Design and Art: Akriti, Copywriter: Jerin George, Video Editing and Flash Graphics: Prajit Nair.
Visit the Yanni.com homepage and find news and new Concert Tour information, and International Affiliates pages. For albums, DVD concert videos, gifts and merchandise visit the Yanni Store. Find out more about the Yanni Street Team, and free online Community Fan Club which offers pre-sale concert tickets, plus special offers for members. Visit the Yanni-India.in homepage and archive collection for Yanni in India.
Photos are courtesy Yanni.com & Yanni-India.in. Big Stock Photo – Taj Mahal – pius99.
New Year’s Day 2012 symbolizes another brand new beginning for everyone. Knowing this, I can assure you many artists are beginning, or are contemplating their new albums for 2012. As the year progresses, it will be a privilege to keep you informed about the best new age music albums with my review and interview publications.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as review publicist and site host for New Age Music World, I have sampled some of the best new age songs and albums music artists worldwide have produced last year. Like previous years, I have had the opportunity to write review publications for a proportionate number of the best new albums released in 2011. Today I am pleased to present my recommendation for the 12 best new age music albums I have sampled or reviewed in 2011.
When it comes to new age music, I can tell you many of the popular artists I write about have produced some of the best new age music to date! For me, it takes only a moment to recall the collective number of excellent new releases public relations persons, music promoters, and new age artists sent to me for a review during 2011.
While true I couldn’t review every CD or MP3 album from 2011, I have listened to every release sent to me and many more, so I am confident of my assessment in regards to the overall quality artists have produced this past year. In fact I am certain most, if not every new age promoter and review publicist would express a similar, if not identical viewpoint.
Every artist has given their best in 2011, and so begins the process of determining who will win the various best album awards by high profile organizations like the GRAMMYS® or Billboard magazine.
Finding the best new age albums for your listening experience is even easier in 2012, thanks to the internet and online stores like Amazon and iTunes, where you have easy access to sample or purchase your favorite music in either CD album or MP3 formats. Similarly, online internet radio and television radio stations make finding new music you can call your favorite a relatively easy task.
The GRAMMY® Awards, Billboard Charts, Independent Music Awards or Zone Music Reporter is a great source for discovering some of the most popular music available today.
Regardless of whether a top album award is determined by voting members, album sales, popular choice, online radio airtime or broadcaster votes, each organization is an excellent source to discover some of the best new music available.
Likewise, I am confident you will find some of my January 1, 2012 recommendations made today about the best albums from 2011 will be included in various top album awards ceremonies later this year.
My Best New Age Music Albums in 2011 recommendation is listed in alphabetical order of the artist tags at my site, using each artist’s first name. If you are interested in finding popular music from some of today’s top artists, my 12 best albums publication includes direct links so you may sample or purchase my music recommendations at the artist’s website or on their music page at Amazon.com.
Best New Age Music Albums 2011;
1. Damayanti by 2002.
Damayanti is the newest release from 2002 featuring 10 celestial song melodies in the graceful style only 2002 can produce. You can tell the beautiful songs on this quality orchestration is a 2002 production, but this is a compliment about 2002, who made the list of top new age artists in Billboard Magazine’s Year in Review, December 2003 issue.
Damayanti does embrace a magnificent change in tonal atmosphere from earlier albums, and supports the cinematic aspects of their work that have made every one of 2002’s music releases special. Based on a legendary love story, Damayanti features instrumentals of Randy Copus performing piano, electric cello, lead guitar and bass guitar.
Pamela Copus performs flutes, harp, keyboards and a WX5 wind instrument. Their young daughter Sarah Copus sang some vocals on Damayanti, and I read Sarah is again going to be a vocalist on the new album from 2002 entitled Believe.
The heart and spirit of 2002, Randy and Pamela Copus are nearing a significant milestone in their music careers by a forthcoming 20 year anniversary as the award winning, 2002 music duo. After having charted at Billboard with 9 of their albums, and sharing the limelight at Billboard as equals with artists like Enya, Mannheim Steamroller, Jim Brickman and Yanni, Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002, truly do have many reasons to give pause, reflect, and celebrate their 20th year as esteemed new age artists.
2. And Love Rages On! – by AOMusic.
And Love Rages On! – by AOMusic is a brilliant world fusion release with 9 colorful songs of instrumentals and vocals. AOMusic shares a genuine message of unity on their 2011 release with an album title proclaiming – and Love Rages On! It is on this very unique release where ethnic harmonies of children and boys choirs from four continents are united with superb world music rhythms and contemporary instrumentals.
The principal members of AOMusic are Richard Gannaway, Jay Oliver, and lead singer Miriam Stockly. Founding artist Richard Gannaway sings vocals and plays stringed instruments. Jay Oliver performs keyboards and synthesizers. Miriam Stockly is a beautiful vocalist in – and Love Rages On!
During the combined careers of the three artists, they have worked with popular groups like; Sheryl Crow, The Eagles, Queen, George Michael, Jimmy Buffett, Celine Dion, Bonnie Raitt, and Tina Turner. This all-star celebrity lineup is a partial list, but it does give you an idea of the high level of quality Richard, Jay, and Miriam are recognized for.
The children and boys choirs featured on And Love Rages On! – are youth choirs from Africa, America, China and the People’s Republic of Georgia. Additional key members are Sandeep Chowta who plays Indian flute tracks, and regular contributing artists Andy Georges (strings), George Bernardo (percussion), and Doug Lunn (bass guitar).
Integrating world fusion music with lively world-beat rhythms and select children’s choirs from four continents, the heartfelt singing by children from varying countries have helped unify and transform this exclusive world fusion release into something very special!
3. Autumn Sky by Blackmore’s Night.
Autumn Sky is a new album from the legendary renaissance inspired new age and folk Rock touring band Blackmore’s Night. Debuting at #1 on Billboard’s New Age Chart, Autumn Sky has 15 classic songs of Blackmore’s Night best music to date. Traditional instruments of keyboards, violin, woodwinds, acoustic and electric guitars are integrated with hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, vintage instruments, and elegant vocals by Candice Night.
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night are GRAMMY® nominated artists who are the core essence of Blackmore’s Night. Autumn Sky serves as a platform to accentuate Cadence Night’s talents as a vocalist, along with ancient and modern instrumental fanfare for which this group has become internationally famous.
The entire seven member troupe of Blackmore’s Night performs in dramatic fashion by wearing renaissance attire during their popular concerts, fairs, and festival events.
The international success for Blackmore’s Night is truly impressive. The elite musical focus they have engraved for themselves has resulted in an enormous following in North America, South America, Europe and Japan. Their melodies have gained crossover prosperity by the enchanting lyrical vocals and fascinating instrumental music that often contain the metrical structure of music dating back to the seventeenth century.
Blackmore’s Night is a true champion by their consistent ability to create transcending music that varies with every new album they have produced. This bold renaissance inspired band which transports progressive music into contemporary times is a model for success, past, present and future. Blackmore’s Night fans will be pleased to know Ritchie and Candice are working on a follow-up album to Autumn Sky.
4. Reflections by Candice Night.
The Reflections album is an excellent solo release from Candice Night, lead vocalist of the legendary renaissance inspired new age and folk rock touring band Blackmore’s Night. Candice Night’s worldwide presence as the popular lead singer and songwriter for Blackmore’s Night has proven to be the perfect overture for her exclusive solo release.
GRAMMY® nominated Candice Night, who is the recipient of numerous gold records and prestigious awards, along with husband Ritchie Blackmore, find musical inspiration from the beauty of nature. You will find Candice Night’s vocal and lyrical point of view is even more a focus of attention on Reflections.
Candice Night’s new solo album, made of her own creation is popular music produced in a more contemporary, crossover theme from the renaissance motif of Blackmore’s Night. One constant characteristic of her solo release is her incomparable vocal and lyrical qualities, which turn out to be an expert expression throughout her first new release.
One cannot talk about Candice Night without pointing out her leading role as singer in the forefront on Blackmore’s Night albums. The songs on Reflections are diverse in many ways from the renaissance themed Blackmore’s Night albums as one would expect.
Best of all, Reflections reveals another aspect of Candice Night, and her many talents for producing popular crossover music in a contemporary theme you are sure to love. Candice Night’s Reflections is an online radio favorite worldwide, and Reflections made #4 at Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 Chart during the month of October, 2011.
5. Echoes of Creation by David Arkenstone.
Echoes of Creation is a masterful 10 song soundtrack from the award winning instrumental composer David Arkenstone. On Echoes of Creation, the three times GRAMMY® nominated musician David Arkenstone teamed up with Emmy Award winning film director Jan Nickman. The inspiring nature film by Jan Nickman, in unison with David Arkenstone’s magnificent instrumental soundtrack is an absolute masterpiece!
Diverse in his song writing aptitude, David Arkenstone, and his always popular music collection is an array of ambient, Celtic, contemporary instrumental, world, electronic, and new age fusion.
It is this unique characteristic of David Arkenstone’s ingenious songwriting abilities and extensive discography which practically guarantees there is a favorite album for just about everyone, including Echoes of Creation.
Many of you may have watched the televised Echoes of Creation film and soundtrack since the film aired nationwide on Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) in 2011. In this case, the Echoes of Creation soundtrack is a beautifully articulated cinematic music score I am certain nearly everyone will appreciate.
David Arkenstone’s popularity as a favorite artist is apparent when you consider he has sold over one million albums, and has been listed in the Top 10 Billboard New Age charts twenty times. It is clear David Arkenstone was the perfect choice for Jan Nickman’s nature inspired film. The collection of songs on Echoes of Creation is a sure winner, and an easy decision to make in my best new age albums recommendation.
6. Groove Tribe by David & Steve Gordon.
Groove Tribe is the Gordon Brother’s new groove/chill out album featuring 11 songs in a vibrant blend of electronic music with ethnic percussion rhythms miles apart from many other forms of multicultural world music. Featuring electronic groove and chill out music with world drums and musical instruments, each of the 11 songs on Groove Tribe convey the relaxing yet vibrant trademark quality in which David and Steve Gordon are famous.
David and Steve Gordon are two prominent names people identify as one of the most prolific music team in today’s international music scene. After founding their esteemed Sequoia Records label 28 years ago, the award winning Gordon Brothers have earned the reputation of legendary music producers.
Groove Tribe has the calming metrical rhythms and vibrant electronic harmonies that keep the Gordon brothers in the forefront of new age and world music styles. It likewise highlights their ability to fashion a wide selection of popular music in a variety of sub-genres. The Gordon brother’s new album is an exotic assortment of smooth song melodies in step with ethnic percussion rhythms so it’s no wonder the songs on Groove Tribe are presently a bestselling choice for many people.
David and Steve Gordon’s compilation albums are another significant component of their work together during their role as award winning DJs, which showcase top artists from around the globe. Selecting the best international talents, top quality artists on Sequoia Record’s playlist lineup can be found on many of the Gordon Brother’s compilation releases.
7. Songs From Before by Fionnuala Sherry.
Songs From Before is Fionnuala Sherry’s first solo release, and her personal revision on some of Ireland’s most beloved melodies. Born of Irish heritage, Fionnuala Sherry is an extraordinary violinist extensively known as the fairer side of the internationally acclaimed music duo Secret Garden.
Songs From Before is a contemporary instrumental album with 10 songs, including some previously unreleased original compositions that highlight her expertise as a professional violinist and vocalist. Her solo release became an instant success, and was chosen #3 in the Top 25 at Echoes in August 2011.
Fionnuala Sherry’s solo release Songs From Before in entirety is a moving experience and inspirational beacon showing her in a new light, yet remains true to character in regards to the remarkable violin melodies for which she is famous.
The overall sound quality on Songs From Before is rich and opulent, uplifting at one moment to deeply poignant in another. I felt every song has an elegant tenor of sophistication and depth without being overly classical. Fionnuala’s modern revisions of Irish song melodies capture traditional moments with new-found charm and charisma. Fionnuala Sherry is a longtime RTE Concert Orchestra member, and has performed with top artists including The Chieftains, Sinead O’Connor and Bono of U2 fame.
While Fionnuala Sherry’s fame and success as a partner with Norwegian composer and pianist Rolf Løvland of Secret Garden has earned them admiration by millions of people as a music team, Fionnuala Sherry can claim a brilliant success of her own by the release of her first solo album Songs From Before. Rolf and Fionnuala together have a beautiful new Secret Garden album entitled Winter Poem.
8. Spectrum by Hennie Bekker.
Spectrum is a wonderful collection of 14 songs pointing to the diverse abilities of a world-class musician. Spectrum is a relaxing album that accents the entire range and variety of award winning Hennie Bekker. The highly prolific Bekker has composed and produced over 60 albums, and over a thousand compositions and collaborations.
Hennie Bekker is a multi-platinum artist who has spent his entire music career exploring a wide array of genres, from new age, electronic, world music, and acclaimed nature soundscape albums. His work with Dan Gibson’s Solitudes – Exploring Nature with Music series was so popular the albums achieved gold, platinum, double and triple platinum status.
Hennie Bekker is also one of three leading members of the techno/dance group BKS. The group BKS won a prestigious Juno Award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), which is the equivalent to an American GRAMMY® award. You can include film scores, television and radio recordings in his long list of achievements as a musician. Presently, Spectrum is the #1 album in Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 Chart for November 2011.
Spectrum – An Anthology Of Relaxing Instrumental Music is like a “best of Hennie Bekker album” by the wide range of melodic songs on this impressive album. Of the 14 songs total, eleven songs are recordings selected out of his rather extensive music collection. Hennie Bekker from Canada, who was born and raised in Africa and lived in England, brings a world of experience to his music. Take a minute to sample Spectrum, and the world-class music of Hennie Bekker.
9. Survival & Other Stories by Jon Anderson.
Survival & Other Stories is a concept album from music celebrity Jon Anderson, former front man, and lead vocalist of the group YES. The concept album has a collection of 11 songs of wonderful orchestrations unified with Jon Anderson’s heartfelt vocal energies, beautifully articulated as optimistic, upbeat and positive.
Jon Anderson’s influence and starring role in music over five decades is legendary. One can say Jon’s divine voice and lyrical message is an unforgettable story people want to hear.
It is estimated over 38 million albums were sold during his years as the dynamic lead vocalist with YES, and his successful solo career to date. Entertaining millions of people during his lengthy career, Jon Anderson without a doubt has a wonderful story to share with the world.
Jon Anderson began the concept for Survival & Other Stories after he nearly perished from a serious illness. This unique project began to take shape after his recovery. It was during this time period when Jon published a written message on his website inviting artists to submit their music for his new Survival & Other Stories project.
Select musicians from all corners of the world sent their ethnic music over the internet for consideration, and the genesis of something beautiful was born. Jon then mixed, composed, and co-produced with wife Jane Anderson, the first of three concept albums.
While Jon Anderson will always be recognized as the legendary lead singer and key lyricist of the progressive rock band YES, Jon Anderson’s prolific music career continues to be as inspiring and significant today as it was yesteryear. Jon has been performing concert tours with former YES member, and acclaimed keyboardist Rick Wakeman, in support of their live album The Living Tree in Concert Part 1. Jon is also on tour with numerous live solo concerts scheduled for 2012.
Visit jonanderson.com to sample or purchase Survival & Other Stories by Jon Anderson, or you can find at Amazon.com. Read our interview together and my album review for Survival & Other Stories on my pages for Jon Anderson.
10. Unconditional by Marc Enfroy.
Unconditional is a cinematic piano release from pianist Marc Enfroy featuring 10 classic songs. Award winning pianist Marc Enfroy created Unconditional in a partnership with Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002, who are another award winning, Billboard Charting band. Unconditional is a passionate musical portrait by the beautiful union of contemporary instrumentals and piano music.
Marc Enfroy’s new release from 2011 is an innovative contemporary instrumental release that was bound to be a success right from its conception. It’s a newly born sound creation you are sure to love.
The attributes of Unconditional are best defined by the fine piano performance from Marc, unified with beautiful performances of flute, strings, bell tones and chorales. Produced by Randy Copus of 2002, Pamela Copus sings vocals, and Jack Chen plays flute, in an exclusive fusion of professional talents.
Marc Enfroy’s music career first emerged after the death of his sister Suzanne Whiting to cancer, but it was from the profound loss of his sister his progressive music legacy arose.
Finding inspiration in memory of Suzanne, Marc proceeded to compose music for the senses, and as it turns out, Marc Enfroy indeed has the natural gift of a true artisan. Empowered by design to take flight, the uplifting composition of inspiring song melodies on Unconditional is the ultimate music experience to celebrate life.
11. Winter Poem by Secret Garden.
Winter Poem is an exciting new release from Secret Garden. The fabulous lineup of 11 songs on Winter Poem is made up of original arrangements from Rolf Løvland. Featuring professional violinist Fionnual Sherry, the mainly vocal instrumental release includes the award-winning Expo Suite Rolf composed for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai China.
Norwegian composer Rolf Løvland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden are a successful music team who has sold over four million albums. Along with the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest award, they have performed before thousands of people worldwide at live concerts covering many countries.
On Winter Poems, Secret Garden preserves their signature sound that has made them an international success, but they have taken a fresh approach on their newest composition by featuring special guest musicians. The outstanding Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry is happily the centerpiece artist, plus Secret Garden’s vibrant new release is special by the inclusion of exceptional Norwegian and Irish musicians.
One guest is dynamic vocalist Moya Brennan from Celtic group Clannad, who sings on song The Dream. Guest vocalist Fionnuala Gill sings on song Mary’s Lament, while Tracey Campbell and Espen Grjotheim perform on song Powered By Nature. Winter Poem also features instrumentals by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Popular music given by a popular music duo is a good indication that you will love every verse of Winter Poem. Secret Garden recently completed a live concert tour in Norway.
12. Truth Of Touch by Yanni.
Truth Of Touch is a passionate reflection of what Yanni does best, which is to create personal interaction with an audience through his extraordinary music abilities. Famous for his exceptional live concert performances, this time around Yanni’s social interaction is shared with his fans by virtue of his magnificent studio version of 15 songs. The hour long symphony of refined music harmony is an original composition, and fascinating expression from the international superstar Yanni, and his select orchestra.
Yanni is conceivably the greatest influential musician of our time, and Yanni’s exceptional abilities as a gifted composer and keyboardist by are by themselves a true testament to his universal appeal.
When taking into consideration the extraordinary artists and vocalists by his side, the collective inspiration pay tribute to a universal, heartfelt music experience. On Yanni’s Truth Of Touch album the energy and excitement of their performance is palpable.
Yanni – Live at the Acropolis began his historic rise to stardom, and it may have been the first venue where many of you witnessed Yanni’s grand entrance onto the world stage. It is estimated over 500 million people from 65 countries have viewed this top public television fundraising program for the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) alone. Yanni – Live at the Acropolis alone to date has sold 7 million copies worldwide.
Truth Of Touch is an sensational studio composition of pure refinement. The phenomenal caliber of musicians Yanni enlisted on Truth Of Touch is boldly demonstrated on what I feel is Yanni’s greatest electronic and instrumental music composition to date. Yes, we have heard many exceptional new albums and songs in 2011 from a variety of artists, and what better way to close than by recommending one of the best new 2011 albums produced by one of the world’s most exciting international concert artists we identify simply as Yanni.
This concludes my Best New Age Albums in 2011 recommendations. Later in 2012, I plan to write several feature publications about the various best new age album awards presented by high profile music organizations. Thank you for your visit today, and I invite you to visit New Age Music World again soon.
Cover arts are courtesy of each individual artist. Big Stock Photo copyright – BSoriano – Stuarthe – Edobric – Baloncici.
GRAMMY® nominated composer David Arkenstone is a celebrated new age artist who has produced an extensive collection of great instrumental albums over the course of his distinguished career. David Arkenstone’s popularity as a favorite artist for many persons including myself is clear when you consider he has sold well over a million albums throughout his extensive career as a popular favorite.
The admiration for David Arkenstone and his reputation as a top new age artist is apparent by other benchmarks too, having reached the Top 10 Billboard New Age charts twenty times. He is a gifted musician accustomed to playing a variety of instruments, some of which include electronic keyboards, piano, cello, flute, harp, mandolin and a number of ethnic guitars. David is also a talented percussionist, sings vocals on some of his albums, and regularly performs live music during tours as a performing new age concert artist.
David Arkenstone is a three times GRAMMY® nominated musician, having earned nominations for his three albums In the Wake of the Wind, Citizen of the World, & Atlantis. In addition he has composed numerous recordings for film and television, some of which are shown on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, NBC Sports and many other televised programs.
Echoes of Creation is a new soundtrack he composed for Jan Nickman’s nature inspired film that was aired on PBS stations nationwide. David has also composed a number of top rated computer gaming scores like World of Warcraft, Blade Runner, Lands of Lore, Earth and Beyond & Emperor.
David Arkenstone and his popular album collection are a broad array of ambient, Celtic, contemporary instrumental, world, electronic, and new age fusion. Diversity is a unique characteristic of David Arkenstone’s ingenious skills as a songwriter and his extensive music collection. He also performs live concerts with Seth Osburn and John Wakefield in his world music inspired band Mandala.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen recently had the opportunity to provide a December 2011 interview for internationally famous David Arkenstone. Today we are pleased to present their up-to-date interview conversation to David’s fans and to our site visitors weeks prior to the new year 2012.
David Arkenstone Interview;
John Olsen: Thank you for giving everyone a moment of your time David. Like your many fans, I too have been an admirer of your music for many years, so our interview together is especially rewarding to me personally.
I noticed at your website you appear to have a close connection with your fans by easy access and information for them at your website news page, Twitter and Facebook social networking pages.
Over the years, the internet and technology has influenced everyone to some extent, and new technology directly applies to the technique in which you produce music.
John: Would you like to begin our interview by telling us about your life as a musician in the early years, preceding the time when technology changed the way you produce music?
David Arkenstone: I had several different configurations of my rock band, Arkenstone. I played guitar and keyboards. I’ve always loved synths and used them in my music, as well as all kinds of different sounds. So I was doing that. Once synthesizers and computers started communicating, I threw myself into that world and never looked back. I was able to hear things I could only previously imagine.
John: Since computer technology or electronic music has influenced the process in which you compose, what has proven to be the most beneficial aspect of your electronic enhanced orchestrations?
David Arkenstone: That would be all the things I can hear at the same time. Like a fully orchestrated piece with percussion, strings, brass, woodwinds. Or if I’m doing a more non-orchestral piece, I can hear the guitars with the drums, keyboards, generally all the sounds I use. This is so beneficial to being able to shape the piece as I go. There is an endless amount of tweaking until I’m satisfied. This can sometimes take a long time!
John: Many of your releases have bold majestic themes and popular music influences. When composing, do you intentionally set out to merge many influences into your music compositions, and how do you achieve a proper balance of electronic and instrumental orchestrations?
David Arkenstone: I usually try to start with a concept that resonates with me, and then decide which aspects of that concept I would like to illustrate with music. After the pieces begin coming out, I figure out my ‘palette.’ From that I can find a balance of sounds and decide which elements can be computer generated and which should be live musicians. This period includes a lot of exciting exploration.
John: Along with your Echoes of Creation Soundtrack & Ambient World releases, don’t you have a varied collection of Celtic songs?
David Arkenstone: Celtic Journeys is a compilation of my Celtic inspired recordings on the Green Hill label.
John: In your diverse music collection, Visions of Christmas is another relatively new release. With the holiday season drawing nearer every day, perhaps you could tell us about the songs on Visions of Christmas, and how your holiday album was produced?
David Arkenstone: I love the holidays and have been doing holiday concerts for a long time. This album came about because I was playing a lot of arrangements in our Winter Solstice concerts that I’d never recorded.
I really wanted to do another Christmas album and my producing partner, Victoria Paige Meyerink, suggested we combine the concert tunes with some of my favorites for Visions of Christmas. We’ve also filmed several of the concerts and we’re working on a DVD of the Winter Solstice Tour.
John: Again, I am very familiar with your entire discography David. Likewise, I am confident the majority of people reading this interview are too. For those who may be less familiar with your variety of great releases, what 4 albums would you recommend to them as a starting point to begin sampling your discography?
David Arkenstone: Visionary, Atlantis, Myths and Legends & Ambient World.
John: Yes, I certainly agree your 2 disc collection of songs on Ambient World is an excellent choice. This is one of your new albums I would recommend to everyone too. Earlier, Victoria Paige Meyerink informed me that Ambient World was listed in the 25 Essential Echoes CD’s for 2011. In your diverse music collection, I find many of your albums “boldly adventurous” if I can phrase it this way. Many releases including Eternal Champion & Quest Of The Dream Warrior are best described as having epic or majestic themes. Do you begin a project with a predetermined theme or does a project’s theme define itself later on while you are composing?
David Arkenstone: I usually start with a thread of an idea, though also it can materialize after I’ve composed several pieces. That can generate ideas for me, or a more specific direction.
John: You have composed numerous music recordings for film and television like the History Channel, Discovery Channel, NBC Sports and others. The Echoes of Creation soundtrack you produced with Emmy award winning director Jan Nickman is another example of your outstanding film scores.
In addition your numerous computer gaming scores like World of Warcraft, Blade Runner, Lands of Lore, Earth and Beyond, & Emperor. What are some of the challenges and dissimilarities involved with soundtrack, film and gaming scores verses composing music for an album?
David Arkenstone: A music album is completely free. I think of the road I want to go on, what instruments I want to use, and all of the final outcome. With a project involving another person’s vision, I have to determine the palette, style, and mood that will best fit the project. Then I have to please my collaborators and make sure all the elements work together.
John: Would you tell us about your world music group Mandala?
David Arkenstone: I recently started this group with a couple of my friends, Seth Osburn & John Wakefield, to perform more world music inspired pieces that are more improvisational in nature. Some are very danceable, and some are very moody, but all of them have a spiritual aspect. Mandala is evolving and we recently filmed a concert. We will be releasing footage once it’s fully edited.
John: In addition to your numerous album releases, you have been a concert performer for many years, including the renaissance festivals earlier this year. Would you like to provide some details about the musicians who perform with you, and what one can expect when attending a David Arkenstone concert in terms of atmosphere, interaction, and songs you play?
David Arkenstone: It’s fun to step back in time. Basically, it’s me and the band without synths and sometimes little amplification. We’ve been invited to several Renn fairs and enjoy being in costume and playing some of my Celtic inspired works.
A lot of the World of Warcraft fans attend and I really love performing live to such enthusiastic crowds. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and I have the opportunity to meet with people who’ve been following my career – one person saved tickets from one of my first concerts, brought them to the fair and asked me to autograph them! People bring all sorts of memorabilia.
John: I heard the news you have plans for a new David Arkenstone album with a release date sometime in 2012. Do you have an album title for your new project, and can you tell us about the music you have in mind for your new release for 2012?
David Arkenstone: Well, I’m not ready to say too much about it yet. There are vocals, lots of drums and orchestra, as well as all the other instruments I play. I’m very excited about it. The album is collaboration with Charlee Brooks, a wonderful singer and writer, and it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. We have written it almost as a soundtrack.
John: You have a large international fan base, and you have enjoyed a successful music career practically your entire life. What do you find the most rewarding experience as a professional musician?
David Arkenstone: That’s simple, the most rewarding aspect is that people enjoy my music and because of that, I get to do what I love every day. I’ve been lucky to make music that resonates with so many people, and their support and kind words make every day a musical joy.
John: Your new website looks fantastic! It’s easy to navigate too. I know you have a new album project you are working on and a busy schedule so I want to thank you again for letting me host your most current interview David. It has been a privilege to provide today’s news coverage about you!
I will publish more articles about you in time but do you have any departing words before we close for now?
David Arkenstone: Just that I appreciate your support of music and your efforts to connect musicians with the listeners. I hope everyone will enjoy my new 3-D website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit the new davidarkenstone.com website and purchase his music at David’s online store or find at David’s profile page at domomusicgroup.com. Discover more fine artists at domomusicgroup.com homepage and read my David Arkenstone page. Interview photos are courtesy David Arkenstone.