Nouveau Flamenco ensemble Luna Blanca has a new reason to celebrate the year 2012. So do fans of the Bocholt Germany based band, who admire Luna Blanca, a fine group recognized for their energetic song melodies backed by lively drumbeat world rhythms. This spring is the season opener for Luna Blanca’s exciting new Flamenco release El Dorado.
Luna Blanca is releasing El Dorado on the heels of their highly prized release Provence, which climbed the online radio charts to earn the # 7 position on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts for October 2010. The 12 songs on Luna Blanca’s Provence also received award nomination in the ZMR Annual Music Awards in two categories of Best Instrumental Album (Acoustic) and Best World Album.
El Dorado is a new album in 2012 representing the inherent music qualities that first began their rise to fame and admiration as a Nouveau Flamenco ensemble, but in a more pronounced instrumental variety. After listening to some songs from El Dorado, I can say the songs I listened to are comparable to their best songs from the Provence album. Recently I had the privilege of writing the CD inside cover text for Luna Blanca’s El Dorado album, so an exclusive, pre-release album review for El Dorado will be published in a few days here at New Age Music World.
The group Luna Blanca is made up of founder Richard Hecks (lead guitar) and co-composer Helmut Graebe (piano). Contributing artists are Bino Dola (rhythm guitar, 2nd part lead guitar) and Clemens Paskert (bass, percussions, second part keyboards). Springtime is not too far away, so look for new songs from Luna Blanca in 2012. Simply stated, El Dorado is Luna Blanca’s newest prize Nouveau Flamenco album that will be available as a CD album and new song downloads at their online store or at iTunes.
Watch the song video of Desperado (Church Bell Mix), and join the over 35,000 people who have viewed the official song video in less than a month. The Desperado (Church Bell Mix) song video also feature artistic paintings that are often on exhibit during their live concerts. The 13 songs on Luna Blanca’s new Flamenco album are El Dorado, Los Ojos, Obsession, Desperado, Kolibri, Dreaming, Summer Breeze, Dos Guitarras, Guapa, Hurry Up, Río Mamoré, Puesta del Sol & Medianoche.
Visit LunaBlancaMusic.com to sample or purchase CD albums or find single new song downloads soon at their music store or when you visit Luna Blanca’s iTunes page for album and song downloads. Photo is courtesy lunablancamusic.com.
Music of every popular genre is a stimulus that is proven to touch our emotions in a variety of ways. This broad statement has been recited well enough that everyone should be in agreement, knowing firsthand that music can induce sensations and emotional responses from exhilaration to melancholy, and every emotion in-between. Some songs can relax a person to the point it will lull them to sleep.
The Liquid Mind Musical Healthcare® experience developed by Emmy® nominated songwriter and recording artist Chuck Wild, is one of today’s most advanced forms of music designed specifically for sound relaxation and sleep therapy.
Of the 11 best-selling Liquid Mind albums, Dream: A Liquid Mind Experience is the newest relaxation album from Los Angeles based composer, Chuck Wild, a 2009 recipient of a President’s Award from the American Music Therapy Association.
Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience is another sleep enhancing album by Chuck Wild that spent 71 consecutive weeks in Billboard Magazine Top 10 New Age Chart.
Chuck Wild of Liquid Mind is a top recording artist with over 30 years of experience in the music industry. During his lengthy tenure, Chuck Wild has composed over 125 songs, some of which were employed in the television and film industry. Many of you may already be familiar with him like I was since Chuck is a popular artist associated with the high profile groups Missing Persons, Paula Abdul, Frank Zappa, the late Michael Jackson, and a host of top-ranked, pop music icons.
Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience is a Best Selling New Age Album at Amazon, and Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep, was recently the #1 album in the U.S Top Ten New Age Chart at iTunes. This is in direct correlation to his top-ranking status as an artist.
Dream: A Liquid Mind Experience, on the Real Music Label, is a popular Liquid Mind album getting a wide awake, positive yes response from Billboard and iTunes in 2012. Liquid Mind relaxation albums have consistently made the Top 10 Album charts and Top 10 Song charts at Billboard and iTunes.
Chuck Wild is a musician, and not a physician, so he doesn’t make scientific claims about his calm music for relaxation therapy. However his composing techniques do involve non-rhythm, musical metrics and specific filtering of mid and high range frequencies to achieve like physical responses of scientifically supported research. Developed to treat his individual anxiety disorder, the free flowing music is a stimulus intended to help direct other people into a calming state of relaxation. Perhaps his peaceful music will help you get to sleep too.
Even the title Liquid Mind suggests an orchestration that carries a balanced cloud of relaxation. It is like a mental picture portraying his calming song melodies in the form of two words. Perfect for people who like to experience the full spectrum music has to offer, the focus on made for relaxation music is crystal clear.
Liquid Mind albums may or may not put you to sleep, but once you experience the balanced sound qualities for yourself, an image of comforting music that floats weightlessly in your mind becomes even clearer.
Visit LiquidMindMusic.com and sample or purchase his albums and digital downloads at RealMusic.com or Amazon.com. You can get a free mp3 of the song Serenity from the Liquid Mind V: Serenity release. Photos are courtesy Chuck Wild.
Chuck Wild of Liquid Mind is the artist behind his best-selling Liquid Mind albums made for relaxation. While Liquid Mind albums are popular arrangements made specifically for relaxation and sleep, every one of the 11 Liquid Mind albums is perfect for yoga and massage. Developed by Emmy® nominated songwriter and recording artist Chuck Wild, Liquid Mind is synonymous with health, wellness, and relaxation.
Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby is one of the many releases Chuck Wild produced in his Liquid Mind Musical Healthcare® series. His advanced forms of music have universal appeal by the various benefits with health related conditions related to wellness.
Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby is a fine example of the diverse health related practices in which his orchestrations are employed. Designed for sound relaxation and sleep therapy in mind, people who teach or perform yoga and massage have many positive comments about Chuck Wild, and his universal music with widespread appeal. People who have benefited from his music made comments in the song video below.
Sample Whisper to Me from Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby album and visit LiquidMindMusic.com. Cover art courtesy Chuck Wild.
The 54th GRAMMY® Award Winners in some categories were released before the televised presentation held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2012. If you want to see results of your favorite artist or genre, all categories for GRAMMY® Award winners and nominees will be shown when they are released.
Pat Metheny won a GRAMMY® Award in the New Age Music category for his What’s It All About album. Selected best out of five albums total in the new age music category, Pat Metheny’s 19th GRAMMY® award was selected by voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
The GRAMMY® Awards, inaugurated in 1959, was formed to recognize artists for their achievements in the music recording industry. Andreas Vollenweider’s Down To The Moon has the honor of being the first new age artist to win a GRAMMY® in the New Age category in 1986. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had earlier classified the award as Best New Age Recording.
The World Music Genre category was first initiated in 1991, when Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart won an award for his Planet Drum album.
While the New Age Music Genre and some others only have an award category for Best New Age Album, maybe someday more categories like Best New Artist and Best New Age Song will be added, and included in the televised broadcast.
Visit PatMetheny.com to sample or purchase. Sample every nominee’s album on the article I wrote titled 54th GRAMMY® Nominees; Best New Age Album. If you want to read more about NARAS history, you can visit the Wikipedia page for GRAMMY® Award for Best New Age Album.
Photos are courtesy patmetheny.com & grammy.com.
AOMusic is a select group of artists whose foundation for their music is in part, a humanitarian message about children around the world who are in need of our assistance. In addition to the beautiful world fusion rhythms heard on their release – …and Love Rages On! – it’s the children and boys choirs featured on AOMusic’s album that is in itself special.
The children’s youth choirs from Africa, America, China and the People’s Republic of Georgia are underprivileged children who are often the tragic victims of war and famine, in some cases due to greed and corruption within their own governments. Many of the children featured in AOMusic’s choirs are homeless or orphans.
AOMusic has a message to share by their music. The principal members of AOMusic group are founder Richard Gannaway, Jay Oliver, and lead singer Miriam Stockly. The message of the principal members, in addition to their contributing artists, is sincere and a simple one. It’s about children who need our help. Through music they hope to raise awareness by reaching both our ears and our hearts.
For some people it is much easier to let someone else do what is necessary to help combat the plight of children in need, and too many times the message falls upon deaf ears. Thankfully, there are people worldwide who do take on the task by their contributions of time and money. They are the people we would like to express our gratitude.
New Age Music World host John Olsen has interviewed founding artist Richard Gannaway and vocalist Miriam Stockly of AOMusic. It is our hope everyone can learn more about the children and AOMusic’s message through music album entitled …and Love Rages On!
Interview with AOMusic Members;
John P. Olsen: Richard and Miriam, thank you for consenting to this interview. I have learned a lot more about AOMusic, and your mission to bring awareness to the plight of the children’s choirs featured in your newest album. I am able to recognize your personal contributions on behalf of the children, and your desire to get other people involved is sincere, and it’s a privilege to participate by hosting our interview today.
Let me begin by saying your album is a fine release. In fact, earlier I selected AOMusic’s – …and Love Rages On! – for the Best New Age Albums in 2011 Awards on January 1, 2012 here at New Age Music World. I have a lot of questions about the children featured in your release, but let me let me ask a couple questions about the album they have performed choir vocals on first.
Your release was selected a qualifying album in Zone Music Reporter’s 2011 Album of the Year, Best World Album and the Best Vocal Album categories. With the ZMR Awards for 2011 to be announced on March 11, 2012, do you have confidence – …and Love Rages On! – will be among the albums selected in the Zone Music Reporter Awards in 2012?
Miriam Stockly: I have high hopes for – …and Love Rages On! – and certainly winning one of these prestigious awards would be a great honor for us all.
John: With the 3 Zone Music Reporter Album of the Year, Best World Album and Best Vocal Album categories, do you feel you have a better chance of winning in any particular award category – since you can pretty much tell which albums by other artists you are competing with in each award category?
Miriam Stockly: As a composer and artist, I am rooting for Album of the Year or Best World Album. As a singer, a huge part of me would be really chuffed if we managed to get Best Vocal Album. I am very biased when it comes to the quality of vocals we perform on this album.
Richard Gannaway: It is great to see that the album has connected strongly with ZMR’s global network, and we hope the uniqueness of AOMusic’s universal palette shines through in these categories.
John: I must say your release really is special from the rest, so I hope the best for you in the ZMR Awards later in 2012. 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. How did you select the children and boys choirs for your world fusion release?
Richard Gannaway: Thank You! Thus far, we haven’t needed to go searching the world for children’s ensembles. In most of the regions we travel, our hosts procure good choirs for us, and we arrange to record them on location. I also receive numerous invitations to record children in several countries.
With regard to this album: We were introduced to the CRC Children’s Choir during our first trip to Beijing in 2001. The Martve Boys Choir was introduced to me at a press conference in Tbilisi for a possible concert to benefit a local orphanage. The Johannesburg ensemble is from the grammar school Miriam attended as a child, and the other two choirs are from the towns we each reside in.
John: Could you give us some information on the international choirs, featured in – …and Love Rages On! – album?
Richard Gannaway: The CRC Children’s Choir is a group of kids that are handpicked from all over the Republic of China. They are the best-trained youth choir we have ever encountered, and their ears are highly developed. They were very shy and reserved at first, though by our third trip to Beijing, they were in full form.
The Martve Boys Choir in Tbilisi is the preparatory version of the famous Rustavi Singers. A few of the children are recruited from orphanages, and the choir is underfunded. The vocal polyphony is a Georgian folk tradition that blends East, Middle East and Western influence – very beautiful.
The choir in Johannesburg is from a grammar school, well known for its music program, and directed by three women with prestigious classical backgrounds. Several of the children are from the countryside, and a few are adopted by the school, which sometimes takes in homeless kids.
John: What is the best part about working with, and getting to know the kids of all nationalities personally?
Richard Gannaway: There are several things wonderful about that, but primarily it is a tremendous curiosity the children exhibit towards us, because westerners do not often engage them in this way. In the places we tend to visit, their lives are full of tradition, and they are very keen on sharing customs. Naturally their joy and enthusiasm is a great experience, and when we add their tracks to a song, it never fails to surprise the three of us how they bring that final measure of authenticity and spirit we like to strive for. Aside from travel logistics, they are probably the easiest part of the production process, which anyone in the recording arts will attest, can be very meticulous work.
John: I read you have also established a non-profit foundation to benefit the children and other fundraising projects. How are your donations distributed to the organization, and where can people donate money?
Richard Gannaway: AO Foundation International is an umbrella for well-organized, grassroots causes around the globe, and we have barely scratched the surface of what is out there. The focus is on children, community and sustainability.
The AOFI non-profit model will ultimately provide a way for artists to share intellectual property with several of these charities, as well as specific causes in the regions where we record children. Presently, through HavServe, Arcturian Gate (our indie label) donates 10% of this album’s sales to construction of a sustainable village in Haiti, where children were orphaned by the 2008 earthquake. People can make a donation to the AOMUSIC 4 Haiti campaign by visiting our website – aomusic.com.
John: The children and boy’s choirs are very much an integral part of – …and Love Rages On! You also have a number of great artists who perform instrumentals. Could you tell us about the contributing artists?
Richard Gannaway: Yes, the circle of contributing artists has expanded over the years. Sandeep Chowta is a popular Bollywood film score composer, and as a contributing producer, he brings a vast resource of talent in that region. Ashwin Srinivasan plays Indian flute, which Sandeep recorded in his Mumbai studio.
Michael Cooney is a national champion piper from Tipperary who played Irish penny whistle on the album, and was recently nominated for an Irish Music Association Award. Kimba Arem from Boulder, Colorado played didgeridoo on our last two albums, and is known all over the world for her work in music and sound therapy.
The AOMusic regulars are Andy Georges, who helps out with various stringed instruments, and has been recording with Jay Oliver and myself since the early nineties. He occasionally contributes as co-writer, and spends a lot of time doing film score work on the west coast. George Bernardo (percussion) and Doug Lunn (bass) are also regular contributors whom we have known for many years, and they just completed Doug’s first solo album, the Doug Lunn Project, which is now getting excellent reviews in the jazz world.
John: How were you introduced to the music professionals who make up AOMusic?
Richard: Jay Oliver and I are originally from St Louis, Missouri and met there in 1988 through a mutual friend as he was about to go on tour with Jimmy Buffett. We invited Miriam to sing on On Jai Ya in 2001, though we didn’t meet her until she and her family moved to Orlando, Florida a few years later.
Jay introduced me to Andy Georges in 1989, who helped me start the rock project Tiger & the Helix. I met George Bernardo in Tampa, Florida in 1995 soon after releasing the Peace Face album, and in 2002 we all met Doug Lunn at our Carlsbad studio, while he was touring with Peter Buffett’s Spirit Dance project.
John: You both are primary members, in addition to Jay Oliver. How did AOMusic begin, and how has AOMusic progressed over the years musically?
Richard Gannaway: In 1996, I had just come off an overseas Helix tour with visions of a new project full of world textures and children. I approached Jay with the idea, and as altruistic as it seemed at the time, he was eager to explore it with me.
Peter Gabriel, Deep Forest and Adiemus had already broken some really interesting ground, which seemed to imply a frontier of hybrid possibilities, so we simply took songs I had written for the next Helix album and replaced the rock instruments with key-generated ethnic samples. Our female singer friends recorded the refrains in a higher register to emulate children, and at the time, Jay was touring on and off with Glenn Frey and Dave Weckl, though we finally released the Grow Wild album in 2000.
Since then, we have been exploring music traditions in other parts of the world, which gives us a new depth of field for putting songs together. Jay offers a lot of possibilities for supporting a piece with interesting harmony. He is also a perfectionist when it comes to rhythm and feel, which has taught me quite a lot.
After our sessions, we spend a good amount of time discussing why we are so smitten with this or that new musical discovery, and most of the time it just comes down to a few simple chords and a melody. We have learned that if we bring Miriam a well-crafted musical bed to sing over, she’ll be inspired to do amazing things.
John: AOMusic was selected to compose theme music for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and Give Kids the World. Plus AOMusic is featured in the 2011 promotional trailer for Project Peace On Earth. How did you both become involved with these projects, and what is the mission behind the projects?
Miriam Stockly: I was living in London at the time when I received a call from Richard in the States. He asked me if I would be interested in working on a piece of music he and Jay had composed specifically for the Chinese Olympics. He had heard my work with ‘Adiemus’ and he wanted to incorporate my African kids tribal sound (to which I had become synonymous) into the track. That is how I became involved.
Richard Gannaway: Frank Mayor of Cinevision International brought Jay and I to Beijing in 2001 and introduced us to a China Record Company executive who was asked by the Beijing Olympic Committee to procure theme music. We gave him Grow Wild as a demo, and the committee liked it enough to give us a go at it.
Give Kids the World is a fantasy resort where terminally ill children from around the world can go with their families – often the end product of the Make a Wish Foundation. Miriam and I were invited to tour the complex, after which they asked us to write their theme piece, which is the first track Gaiya Lo Mane.
Steve Robertson of Project Peace on Earth called me in 2009, just after we released the Twirl album and invited AOMusic to be a musical ambassador for the project. The PPOE vision is to hold concerts once a year at a sacred site, like Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids, Machu Pichu, etc, and simulcast the show to a global audience for fundraising, similar to Live-Aid. The proceeds then feed and clothes children in the Middle East and Africa.
John: Richard, I know you and Miriam are committed to helping children around the world, and you try to spread the message and support them in a number of ways. What moved you, or what was the catalyst that first led to your own personal decision to provide support for children’s projects?
Miriam Stockly: I am a mother of two beautiful and talented children, who have been fortunate enough to grow up in a loving and nurturing environment, unlike so many children in war torn, weather stricken and third world countries. Children are an inspiration to us all. Their innocence touches our hearts and the message that is sent out via the sound of children’s voices is a very powerful one. I have always supported children’s charities, beginning with an African child I ‘adopted’ many years ago via the Red Cross.
Richard Gannaway: At the start of this project, I was simply creating an international aesthetic of children to convey a message of unity. It was not until AO began traveling in the developing world that I saw how many of them live in the most abject poverty imaginable.
It first struck me on a highway outside Manila while driving past miles of city waste heaps where thousands of homeless children lived. I saw the same wretchedness in the slums of Mumbai and urban squatter villages in South Africa. I think it changes most anyone from our culture who sees that firsthand.
John: The album – …and Love Rages On! – was composed different from a studio album. What was the process in which the both of you, and Jay Oliver composed, performed, and finalized the choir, vocal and instrumental parts?
Miriam Stockly: Sometimes Richard would send me scratch tracks, to which I would write top melody lines. I would then fill in harmony blocks of vocals and the track would go over to LA for maestro Jay’s transformation. Other times, the track would come to me after Jay and Richard had put together the music arrangement and I would write melodies and (vocalese) lyrics over the top of the arrangement, followed by blocks of multi layered vocals.
Richard Gannaway: Living in three different cities makes for an interesting way to produce an album, especially with sixty to a hundred tracks to mix per song. It works, because the three of us share a strong commitment to the music, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about for us. After 15 years AOMusic still leads us into new musical territory, and getting people to connect with the songs is what ultimately fuels AO Foundation International, so we have to keep improving.
John: Miriam, you also have your own solo career, releasing the albums Miriam, Second Nature & Eternal, plus you have performed vocals on Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus albums. Was integrating the choir parts and your vocals (vocalese) for AOMusic a lot like the chorales in Adiemus albums?
Miriam Stockly: To a certain extent, yes. The African choral sound I introduced into the Adiemus sound is what originally brought Richard, Jay and I together. However, as AOMusic has evolved, so has the vocal sound. I still use the African sounding voices when required, but I have since incorporated many other vocal textures into the mix to give the project light and shade.
John: I understand you both are presently working on a new AOMusic album in 2012. I would love to release some information to help get the message out about AOMusic’s new album if possible. Is there any information you can tell us about with your newest project?
Richard Gannaway: Our upcoming album is scheduled for release in early 2013, and will feature children from Haiti, Nepal, Germany, Ireland, India and the Cherokee Nation outside of Asheville, NC. We have a new contributing producer, Bill Whelan of County Galway, Ireland whom we are honored to have among us, and we’ll be tracking some interesting new artists in Sandeep Chowta’s Mumbai studio this summer.
John: Perhaps there are some readers today who are interested in supporting the children too. What would you say to anyone reading our interview, about why it is so important to get involved and help support the kids?
Miriam Stockly: John, someone needs to be the voice of these children. They have been displaced by acts of God, man-made wars, greed and corruption within their own governments. They are the future of our planet and we need to take off the blinkers and get involved. As humanitarians and parents, it is our moral duty to do what we can to give these kids a voice and a fighting chance.
Richard Gannaway: Children populating our cultures today naturally enable our transition through the present changes, because they are a living providence of hope, and we should nurture each one as though kindling a flame for our survival.
John: Your message is indeed worth sharing. Thank you both again for taking time out for our interview together and I hope we have a chance to visit again soon. I wish the best for AOMusic in the Zone Music Reporter Awards for 2012.
I always try to write a news publication about the ZMR Awards after the winners are announced so I hope to include AOMusic in one or more categories when announced on March 11, 2012. In closing, is there anything you would like to express to AOMusic fans and people who have supported you and the children over the years?
Richard Gannaway: Our deepest gratitude to ZMR and a world of great radio hosts and listeners for supporting these wonderful music genres. We are sincerely honored and privileged to be in the running this round.
Miriam Stockly: We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your loyalty and your support throughout the years, for believing in the quality of the music and message within. Most importantly, the children around the world thank you for not forgetting about them.
Visit the AOMusic.com homepage to sample or purchase or visit Amazon.com. Visit the primary member’s websites at RichardGannaway.com – MiriamStockley.com – JayOliver.com. Read more about the organizations Richard and Miriam mentioned at; AO Foundation International – HavServe – AOMUSIC 4 Haiti campaign. Photos are courtesy aomusic.com.
With the advent of apps, free music was sure to be available, and there are of course a variety of places you can enjoy free new age music anytime you want. Finding exactly which app is best for you is easy too when you visit the iTunes store, where you can download free, legal music right to your iPhone or iPod.
iTunes has a Free New Age Piano App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. On the New Age Piano app, you can listen to 60 free songs by 20 of the top new age pianists in the music business. With the iTunes app, you can also visit the artist’s websites, watch videos, connect on Facebook, and purchase songs and albums by your favorite artist.
Some of the artists with free music on the iTunes new age piano app are artists I know, or are artists I wrote reviews for over the years. Laura Sullivan is one artist featured on the Free New Age Piano App by her 3 songs, as is Chad Lawson, Doug Hammer, James Cahall, Ken Elkinson, Mark Pinkus and Peter Kater.
New age piano artists on the iTunes app also include Brian Turner, Clifford Borg, Gary Farr, Jason Farnham, Joseph Akins, Louis Landon, Philip Wesley, Rebecca Oswald, Richard P. John, Robin Spielberg, Steven Cravis and Wayne Gratz.
A new piano album by Laura Sullivan is planned for release later this year in October of 2012. Laura Sullivan classifies her music influences in the style of Enya and Yanni, with piano melodies likened to Liz Story, George Winston and David Lanz, but clearly, Laura Sullivan is within an artistic category of her own making.
Admired for her graceful solo piano releases, some piano albums have artists performing instrumentals of cello, guitar, violin and keyboards. Laura Sullivan’s Pianoscapes for the Trails of North America is an elegant piano and instrumental release presenting America’s grandeur with a sense of wonder and admiration.
Although Laura Sullivan is recognized for piano music in the adult contemporary, classical and new age music styles, she is also a vocalist who composes, arranges and records almost all of her own music.
Until later in October when Laura Sullivan releases her new piano album for 2012, here is her Hope for the Trees song video from her album Pianoscapes for the Trails of North America. Hope for the Trees is a song featuring Laura and artists who accompany her on cello, guitar, keyboards and violin.
Pianist Laura Sullivan is also a featured artist on the Free New Age Piano App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. On the New Age Piano app, you can listen to 3 full length songs by Laura Sullivan for free, along with 56 additional songs from 20 of today’s top New Age pianists.
Touring concert pianist Jim Brickman has released “The Romanza Tour” concert tour schedule for the beginning of the 2012 concert season. Knowing Jim Brickman and his team of professional concert artists are in high demand around the country, more venues are likely to be added to his current 2012 tour schedule at JimBrickman.com.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, and Jim Brickman’s prized distinction for producing some of the top romantic piano albums, “The Romanza Tour” is just a part of Jim’s year around celebration. The JimBrickman.com online store is sure to be a popular place to visit for Valentine’s Day gifts. Where else could music for Valentine’s Day gift giving be any easier!
I interviewed concert performer Jim Brickman a couple of months ago, weeks prior to the start of Jim Brickman’s 2012 concert season. Presently, my New Age Music World publication is Jim Brickman’s most current interview.
If you missed seeing this comprehensive article at his website and Facebook page, you can read Jim Brickman’s newest interview in which he talks about the vocalists and instrumentalists who make up the entire concert team for 2012, and much more. It’s the newest Jim Brickman interview publication every fan will enjoy reading.
Jim Brickman tells about his newest piano albums Romanza & All Is Calm, which are currently in the Billboard’s Top 10 New Age Charts. Below is the Jim Brickman “Romanza Concert Tour” schedule for 2012. Please note the dates shown below are subject to change. For schedule updates and most accurate concert info visit the JimBrickman.com Tour Page. Here you can read Jim Brickman’s most current interview. Photos and concert information courtesy JimBrickman.com.
Jim Brickman – Romanza Concert Tour Dates 2012;
February 9, 2012 – Grand Junction, CO – The Avalon Theatre
February 10, 2012 – Denver, CO – Boettcher Concert Hall
February 11, 2012 – Canton, OH – Palace Theatre
February 12, 2012 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theatre
February 14, 2012 – Madison, WI – Overture Center
February 15, 2012 – Sheboygan, WI – Weill Center
February 16, 2012 – Fargo, ND – Fargo Theatre
February 18, 2012 – Philadelphia, PA – Merriam Theater
February 24, 2012 – Logan, UT – Ellen Eccles Theatre
February 25, 2012 – Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Lewis Family Playhouse
February 26, 2012 – San Diego, CA – Copley Symphony Hall
February 27, 2012 – Malibu, CA – Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University
February 28, 2012 – Napa, CA – Napa Valley Opera House
February 29, 2012 – Spokane, WA – Bing Crosby Theatre
March 9, 2012 – Austin, TX – One World Theatre – 7:00pm
March 9, 2012 – Austin, TX – One World Theatre – 9:30pm
March 10, 2012 – Hays, KS – Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center
March 11, 2012 – Manhattan, KS – McCain Auditorium
April 18, 2012 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap
April 19, 2012 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap
April 20, 2012 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap
April 22, 2012 – Newberry, SC – Newberry Opera House – 3:00pm
April 22, 2012 – Newberry, SC – Newberry Opera House – 8:00pm
May 13, 2012 – Fairfield, CT – Quick Center for the Arts
Visit the JimBrickman.com Tour Page for updates.
Norway based artist Tron Syversen is considered one of today’s leading new age artists in the Northern-European music community. During the past 15 years his serene orchestral song compositions have been the regional introduction to fellow Scandinavian citizens of his Norwegian homeland, all the while, making the journey farther abroad into international markets.
Peaceful Journey is one of nine releases by Tron Syversen, who is a classically trained pianist and trumpet player. Throughout his music career, Tron has studied jazz improvisation and has performed with a number of bands and choirs. One significant orchestra was Norway’s prestigious The Kings Guards Band.
I read Tron finds inspiration for his peaceful music in customary sources like nature, poetry and art. However, I would imagine the eons old Fjords of Norway, viewed from his North Sea cabin near Oslo are the ideal scenic panorama while he composes serene songs that embrace the equally natural setting of his Nordic homeland.
Given Tron Syversen’s picture-perfect locale, clearly few artists could claim a more magnificent setting and natural ambiance to channel their work. It is from inspiring realism the quality melodies on Peaceful Journey find a natural bearing.
Peaceful Journey is one of Tron Syversen’s finest symphonic albums made specifically for peaceful relaxation. Of his 9 serene releases, Peaceful Journey best defines his improvisational abilities as a jazz pianist, whose long heritage as a music composer includes closer to home Norwegian Folk melodies.
The instrumental splendor on Peaceful Journey is clearly picturesque by the fine cohesion conveyed by every performing artist. Tron Syversen’s composition unifying piano, guitars, and vocals with English horn, flute and cello, is a pleasing, open invitation for listeners to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.
The Peaceful Journey album is an instrumental beauty that also happens to feature some of Norway’s finest artists and their accompaniments on the 9 songs total. Co-producing vocalist Elin Lokken complements this album wonderfully by her wordless vocals on a number of songs. Three of the guest musicians have performed for the duo Rolf Loveland and Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden.
The three artists who have performed with Secret Garden are Per Elias Drablos (bass), Rolf Kristensen (acoustic guitar), and Henrik Eurenius (English horn). Peaceful Journey also features Glenn Kristiansen and Jorn Takla (acoustic guitarists), and Randi Krogvoid Lundquist (flute), Silje Katrine Gotaas (cello), Sunniva Bergsaune, Ase Haga and Lise Sorensen (electric and acoustic violinists).
With all of the attention given to the state of Florida in U.S. politics, the time is right to revisit the television soundtrack to Miami Vice by Jan Hammer. While the TV show is history, Miami Vice Theme song, Colombia, & Crockett’s Theme song and entire Miami Vice Original Soundtrack have already won the popular vote.
Miami Vice: The Complete Collection is a soundtrack with 42 Jan Hammer songs. The entire collection is a classic, like the Original Miami Vice Theme, New York Theme, and my favorite, Crockett’s Theme. Wonderful harmony is heard in laid back songs Tubbs And Valerie, Rum Cay, & Crockett’s Return. The 42 songs on Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice Complete Collection is one of his finest albums.
Jan Hammer is a GRAMMY® Award winning artist recognized for his high octane electronic hit music, but there is much more to the composer, keyboardist Jan Hammer, than his chart topping hit songs and albums like the Miami Vice Complete Collection. Jazz fusion, pop, soundtrack and film music are mainstays, but the entire musical expression of Jan Hammer is pretty diverse, as is his professional associations with other legendary music icons.
Jan Hammer was a Mahavishnu Orchestra member, led by John McLaughlin. Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana and Jeff Beck, are some of his music associations. The fashion statement of wearing a sport coat with white tennis shoes may be out of style, especially for a politician, but Jan Hammer and popular hit songs in his Miami Vice soundtrack are still in vogue. The video is from The Best of Miami Vice twentieth year anniversary. During the interview style narrative with Jan Hammer, he and his fans discuss the impact Miami Vice Original Soundtrack made in music history, featuring song Crockett’s Theme. Visit JanHammer.com to sample or purchase, or visit Amazon.com. Album artwork is courtesy Jan Hammer.
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.
Legendary artist Jon Anderson of Yes fame has released his new concert tour schedule for 2012. The North American concert tour is comprised of U.S. concert venues at present, and more concert dates are sure to be added later in 2012. The North American tour, in support of his CD album – Survival and Other Stories, is sure to be an amazing event for everyone in attendance.
Jon Anderson’s 2012 North American concert tour, publicized as “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson,” is an intimate evening with a celebrity artist who has entertained millions of people over his decades long career.
During Jon Anderson’s career as a music professional, Jon has covered popular music like progressive rock, but often shows his diversity as an artist by producing new age, adult contemporary, and Christian music releases.
Jon Anderson’s 2012 concert tour will feature some songs from his newest CD release – Survival and Other Stories. Jon’s vocal instrumental album can be described as his personal message of inspiration, with themes regarding love, life, understanding, healing and survival.
Concertgoers in 2012 can anticipate a fun evening of entertainment with select songs from Jon Anderson’s prolific solo career, along with favorite songs by Jon & Vangelis, and classic YES songs. For many people, 2012 is going to be a great opportunity to hear a true music legend in a more intimate concert venue!
Visit jonanderson.com for music news and full tour schedule. Read our interview in 2011 on my pages for Jon Anderson. Below is Jon Anderson’s 2012 current tour schedule. Concert tour schedules frequently change so for updates please visit Jon Anderson’s site for the most accurate tour information. Photo and tour info is courtesy jonanderson.com.
Jon Anderson – 2012 North American Concert Dates;
June 1, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
June 3, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI – The Pabst Theatre
June 6, 2012 – Chicago, IL – Mayne Stage
June 8, 2012 – Lincolnshire, IL – Viper Alley
June 11, 2012 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
June 12, 2012 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
June 16, 2012 – Napa, CA – Napa Valley Opera House
June 19, 2012 – Livermore, CA – Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
June 21, 2012 – Rio Theatre – Santa Cruz, CA
July 6, 2012 – The Coach House – San Juan Capistrano
Visit jonanderson.com for concert tour updates.
With many popular new age concerts scheduled, and popular artists who regularly perform concert tours, the chance for you to hear live new age music in 2012 is available to just about anyone who would like to attend. Many popular artists have 2012 concert tour date schedules listed at their websites.
Given the various live concerts currently scheduled in 2012, and future concert dates that will be scheduled in the days and months ahead, New Age Music World is happy to keep you informed about these live shows as they become available.
A Concert Tour Information – Live Music banner is in a right hand module. When you click on the 2012 concert tour banner, you can find your favorite artist’s concert schedule, or follow my direct links to their complete concert tour schedule. You can also find even more by reading about their newest release or interview. While I can’t keep up with every artist’s concert tour schedule, I now have a convenient place where you can check for live new age music by popular artists with concert venues in your area.
Popular artists with live concert tours include; Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Jim Brickman, Blackmore’s Night, Mannheim Steamroller, Tangerine Dream, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Yanni and Yes. Many are touring, or have updated concert information listed at their websites. Some of these popular artists may even have a live concert tour dates already scheduled within short driving distance of your city, state, or country.
Live concerts given by popular artists who are seasoned entertainers have thrilled audiences for years, so everyone in attendance can expect a fun evening of entertainment provided by experienced music professionals. If you want to stay updated on the latest live concert information for a variety of popular artists, bookmark this site. I will do what I can to add more artist’s concert tour dates, and keep you informed on the most recent concert news and tour information. Concert tour dates frequently change, so for updates please visit the artist’s website for complete concert tour dates and information.
Read my Live Concert Tour Information section or Live Concert banner in a right hand module. Big Stock Photo – dws.
International concert artist Yanni is now preparing for his 2012 North American Concert Tour, publicized as “An Evening With Yanni.” The North American concert tour that begins in Florida on April 17, 2012, has a long list of live concert venues scheduled in the countries of the United States and Canada, with more concert dates to be scheduled soon in 2012.
The North American Concert Tour in 2012 has a song playlist said to be comprised of classic concert favorites, along with songs from his original studio release Truth Of Touch. In succession to his sold out world concert tour last year, this year is destined to be another successful concert season for Yanni and his world-class orchestra of professional musicians.
If you have ever read a Yanni concert review by those who have attended a concert, it’s easy to comprehend their enthusiasm. For the millions of people who have watched him perform live, Yanni is a natural attraction, but the lineup of top artists he selects for his concerts is equally legendary. Every venue in 2012 is expected to be an extraordinary evening of entertainment from the composing mulit-instrumentalist, and his orchestra.
The North American Concert Tour will showcase the international artists and talented music professionals that complete the Yanni concert experience. If you would like to read more about the professional musicians who perform live in concert with Yanni, there is a page at Yanni.com where you can read the biography for the outstanding artists who provide vocals and instrumentals. With 35 Gold and Platinum records to date, Yanni remains one of the most popular and exciting international concert artists in the world!
Visit the Yanni.com homepage, and find out more about the orchestra artists. Below is the current concert schedule, but please note the dates shown below are subject to change. For updates and most accurate concert info check the 2012 Concert Tour Schedule at yanni.com. Mexico Dates; March 20,2012 – Arena Ciudad De Mexico, Mexico City & March 22, 2012 – Arena Monterrey, Monterrey. Photo and concert schedule courtesy Yanni – Wake Entertainment.
Yanni – North American Concert Tour Dates 2012;
Sept 30 2012 – Santiago, CL – Movistar Arena
Oct 3 2012 – Buenos Aires, AR – GEBA Stadium
Oct 7 2012 – Porto Alegre, BR – Teatro do Sesi
Oct 9 2012 – Curitiba, BR – Teatro Positivo
Oct 11 2012 – Sao Paulo, BR – Credicard Hall
Oct 13 2012 – Sao Paulo, BR – Credicard Hall
Oct 14 2012 – Sao Paulo, BR – Credicard Hall
Oct 16 2012 – Belo Horizonte, BR – Chevrolet Hall
Oct 18 2012 – Brasilia, BR – CC Ulysses Guimaraes
Oct 21 2012 – Rio de Janeiro, BR – Citibank Hall
Visit Yanni.com for complete tour schedule updates.
Legendary Yes members Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman have released a new “In Concert CD” to complement their earlier in studio version of The Living Tree release. This of course is fantastic news to millions of progressive rock music fans everywhere. You can always count on Jon and Rick for new music in a variety of genres!
The Living Tree – In Concert Part One was released earlier on Gonzo Multimedia beginning November 28th 2011. The live in concert version of The Living Tree was recorded during Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman’s successful British Tour in 2010. For a description, the cover art designed by Mark Wilkinson, is similar to the royal blue background, with yellow and orange colored tree on the studio version cover.
The partnership of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman is certainly close and enduring after having worked together over the years since 1971, during their innovative Yes album Fragile. In more recent years, they began performing live concerts together for audiences in the United Kingdom beginning in 2006.
Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman’s celebrated North American Concert Tour in 2011 was the most recent live concert venue where concert attendees could hear songs from The Living Tree live, which is the number of live songs selected by Jon and Rick for their newest collection of songs on The Living Tree – In Concert Part One.
Fans of the group Yes have something to cheer about since the CD features some classic Yes songs. I did read a concert review that described their songs from Yes is a departure from what you might expect, but is still endearing as you can imagine.
The 12 tracks on the CD album are; And You & I, Living Tree (Part 1), Morning Star, Long Distance Runaround, The Garden, Living Tree (Part 2), Time and a Word, Just One Man, 23/24/11, Southside of the Sky, House of Freedom, & The Meeting.
Jon Anderson recently released his download song Give Hope & OPEN, along with another 2011 album review I wrote for his Survival & Other Stories. I also had the opportunity to host a comprehensive interview with Jon Anderson last year so you can read my interview with Jon Anderson in 2011 exclusively here at New Age Music World.
Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson together gave their press comments about The Living Tree – In Concert Part One. Below are their press comments and store locations where you can sample or purchase their new recorded live album.
Jon Anderson; “The live recordings have a unique feel, the way we perform the show, it’s as though all the songs ‘old and new’ were written just a few months ago, all very timeless.”
Rick Wakeman; “For many years Jon and I have felt it was really important to record all we do” adds Rick, “whether for general release or just personal purposes, the decision being very much that of quality. We were so happy with the way that the live music was happening that we felt this was a must to record and put out a mixture of the music, both old and new, as a record of where we are at, at this moment, and also perhaps giving a hint as to where we can go on to. Music for us is progressive in all genres, and this album is yet another stepping stone in that quest.”
Visit gonzomultimedia.co.uk or gonzomultimedia.com in the U.S. For Jon’s 2012 concert info visit JonAnderson.com and RWCC.com. Read my pages for Jon Anderson, and Rick Wakeman. Cover artwork & photos are courtesy Mark Wilkinson, Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman.
Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria is a 54th GRAMMY® Awards Nominee in the Best New Age Album category this year, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. Nominated for his Gaia album, Michael is also a new age artist with a continuous mission.
For the past 30 years as an integrative psychotherapist, Michael has committed much of his life helping people resolve their personal issues.
Bindu is the brand new 2012 release from Michael Brant DeMaria, who is a top ranked new age artist in his own right. The first release in his Ontos Healing Sound Project is The River, which led to his GRAMMY® Nominated healing/meditation release Ocean.
Remaining the number 1 album for 3 months on Zone Music Reporter’s top 100 monthly charts, Ocean ended the year 2009 achieving ZMR’s Best Ambient & Best Relaxation Album Awards.
GRAMMY® Nominated in 2012, Gaia has a graceful vibrancy that gently renews the inner spirit. Gaia is comparable to The River & Ocean, but the innovative world music inspirations found in Gaia heighten the emotional sensations of calm, and ascertains our undeniable connection with planet earth. Many may remember in 2010, Gaia achieved Album Of The Year & Best World Album in Zone Music Reporter’s Music Awards.
Bindu is a wellness driven musical experience from the directive of four time GRAMMY® Nominee Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria, who is conceivably the most accomplished artist in the field of relaxation/meditation music today.
Fourth in his popular Healing Sound Project, the serenity of Michael’s performance on Bindu reaches the pinnacle of healing music, this time turning his focus inward on the identity of oneself, and the identity of one another.
Michael Brant DeMaria as a professional caregiver has supported others by guiding them through some of life’s most challenging situations. And so by this directive, Michael transforms his capacities as a healthcare professional into therapeutic music designed to help people manage life’s challenges.
Bindu is another exceptional new album with award winning potential, but only time will tell if Bindu will secure his fifth nomination in 2013, and if Gaia will achieve GRAMMY® Award status in 2012.
Michael’s firsthand experience as both a professional caregiver and top award nominee in 2012 has placed him in a unique position by becoming a benefactor on one hand, and a potential beneficiary on another.
Visit ontos.com homepage and sample or purchase at his music store page or Amazon.com page. Read our interview and album reviews on my page dedicated to Michael Brant DeMaria. Photo images courtesy Michael Brant DeMaria.
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.
Al Conti is a GRAMMY® nominated musician people worldwide recognize as a composer with a natural ability for producing some of the most vibrant, story based albums in the new age and world music genres. Al Conti’s ability to intermingle his story based tales of intrigue into every one of his award winning albums, in part, originates from his life experiences and extensive international travels.
Al Conti is a nominee for the 54th GRAMMY® Awards in the Best New Age Album category, selected for his 2010 album entitled Northern Seas. Along with Al Conti’s GRAMMY® nomination in the new age genre, Northern Seas was also selected in Amazon’s Top 10 list for Best New Age Albums of 2010. Earlier albums Scheherazade, Poeta & Shadows have made other “best album of the year” and “top 10 album charts” at other organizations.
Northern Seas is the fourth album from Al Conti, and a fine release that highlights his abilities as composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. The storyline on Northern Seas chronicles the ancestral homeland and Nordic heritage of Scandinavia with wondrous glory. The rich instrumental landscape captures your imagination, and valiantly stands the high ground on this resolute masterpiece aptly named Northern Seas.
Northern Seas features 10 songs in a fascinating blend of new age and world fusion with a Celtic inscription on several songs. There is a unique atmosphere by using ancient instruments in parity with traditional instruments. Al and contributing artists create a unique feel blending kantele, harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion, and tribal drums with piano, violin, cello, acoustic and electric guitar.
The folklore of Norse traditions brought to the surface by Al Conti is deep, rich, and intriguing while portraying a tale of Norsemen during a time of Viking sovereignty. Every song on Northern Seas is crisp, clear and refreshing, as if detailing the pristine landscape and panoramic mountain vistas by the deeply spacious tonal qualities.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had the opportunity to conduct a December 2011 interview with Al Conti, a 54th GRAMMY® nominee in the Best New Age Album category. Today we are pleased to present their up-to-date interview to Al Conti’s fans and to our site visitors – several days prior to the New Year 2012.
GRAMMY® Nominated Al Conti Interview;
John Olsen: Thank you for consenting to my interview, Al. First I would like to congratulate you on your GRAMMY® nomination for Northern Seas! This is great news. It always pleases me when I hear an outstanding artist and their work are given the recognition they deserve. Northern Seas has many fine qualities, many of which were pointed out by a number of positive reviews at your site, AlConti.net. I was glad to be among those to contribute an album review, and I hope to have conveyed the award-winning potential, and some of the finer aspects of your work in the album review I wrote earlier.
John: Aside from the fact Northern Seas is in the category for Best New Age Album, I feel Northern Seas is to some extent the most progressive of the five GRAMMY® nominated albums by a variety of instrumental qualities. Do you agree, and if so, do you feel having a nominated album that varies instrumentally from the rest will work to your advantage?
Al Conti: Hello John, it is my pleasure to be here with you! Many reviewers have commented before on how my work is rather different than much of the New Age music available these days. Some have called my work ‘cutting edge.’ Personally, I feel that New Age music is very rich in its diversity, and my work is a part of that spectrum. Whether my music’s edge works to my advantage or not, I am not sure.
During the nomination process, I have indeed heard from many peers, mostly from other genres, how they found my music to be so different. I guess it has, in the end, worked to my advantage. The ironic thing is I never strive to compose music that is different, per se, but just to be true to myself as an artist and simply create what comes from within me. The rest is all excruciating work!
John: On Northern Seas you pair old-world instruments of kantele, harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion and tribal drums with modern instrumentation of piano, violin, cello, acoustic and electric guitar. I am familiar with the majority of songs on your earlier albums Scheherazade, Poeta & Shadows, but I would like to know, if this blend of ancient and modern instruments is consistent throughout every one of your four releases?
Al Conti: Since my album Scheherazade, I’ve been drawn consistently to rediscovering ancient instrumentation, and this also blends very well with the mystical landscapes I like to explore. People have responded very well to the use of these instruments. There is also something beautiful to me in bringing instruments and sounds into a modern content. It feels like I am in some way honoring the past by bringing these instruments into a more contemporary setting. I am never quite sure what will come out of me musically and I am always challenging myself as an artist with each release.
John: Would you tell us about the outstanding artists who performed instrumentals with you on your GRAMMY® nominated release?
Al Conti: I have been blessed to have worked with some amazing people, and continue to do so. For Northern Seas I wanted to work mostly with local talent, and except for Francesca Genco (vocals), all are Vermont artists. Among the contributing talent in Northern Seas there is the immensely-talented violinist Hannah Beth Crary, who was truly magnificent to work with and my trusted guitarist and engineer André Maquera.
John: You also have a team of music professionals you depend on for technical details and final production. Would you like to mention the people who helped you finalize Northern Seas?
Al Conti: While I do a big part of an album’s mixing myself as I compose, I depend heavily on André Maquera, of West Street Digital, in Vermont, for the final mixing and mastering on my projects. I have worked with him since my first release, Shadows, and feel he understands my approach so well at this point as to know how to work with whatever I bring his way. Mastering is also a very arduous process and my hearing can only handle so much. Aside from the actual music engineering and recording, I work with a fantastic team of people that help oversee the other aspects of my career, without whom I could not do what I do.
John: What do you feel are the most positive attributes of Northern Seas?
Al Conti: I think Northern Seas went in a different direction than my previous album Scheherazade. I feel it showcases my versatility as a musician and composer. My audience can hear a more classically-oriented side of me in my album Poeta, a more exotic and sensual one with Scheherazade and a more aggressive and brooding, yet also fun and hopeful side with Northern Seas.
John: In addition to your GRAMMY® nomination, Northern Seas made the Amazon Top 10 list for Best New Age Albums of 2010, and many of your earlier releases were also awarded “best of the year”, “top 10 charts”, and other “best album lists and top 100 charts.” What do you believe has been the most important influence that has led to your overall successes as an award-winning composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist?
Al Conti: I compose what comes through me, and this changes depending on the project I am working on at any given time. I tend to go to a certain emotional place when I compose and the right material flows through me. When a project is finished, it is as if someone has turned the creative faucet off, and nothing else comes through, so I know I am done. I believe that the key to anyone’s success, especially in this business, is made up of various elements such as what I mentioned above, coupled with hard work, perseverance, gut feeling, luck, timing and fate.
I also believe it is important to follow one’s own path and not be overly influenced by what other artists do. While there may be a music trend we all follow and music that influences our style, it is good to do what really comes from the heart and not try to imitate someone else. I simply do what I do, surround myself with a magnificent team and we all pull forward in our own way, but in the same direction.
John: Every one of your new age albums is based a theme or legend and portrays a story. What is the story based representation or theme behind Northern Seas, and how did you arrive at the concept for Northern Seas?
Al Conti: Northern Seas is based on Norse mythology. While my previous album, Scheherazade, was based on the teller of the fantastic Arabian tales, Northern Seas was a little more complicated to nail down as a concept. I did a tremendous amount of research when the idea for this project first came to me. I could have based the album on a particular Norse myth, but I felt that there were many important ones that would have been left out. The album as a concept takes many of the Norse myths and weaves them into one cohesive narrative.
John: How do you transpose an inspirational or story-based theme into a musical arrangement?
Al Conti: This is also something that is very hard to describe, because I do not have a specific formula that I follow. Each project is based on a particular myth or tale. This already sets the parameters I will work within because each part of the world and its respective culture has a definite music style, which I then follow.
Scheherazade was Middle Eastern; Northern Seas is Nordic, Celtic and Germanic. But I also do not want to compose an album that is fully regimented by a culture’s musical style and mood, thus I tend to modernize the music to make it more appealing to a Western audience. As such, I end up with the music I compose, which is peppered with world cultural influences, yet remains primarily New Age. I do believe my past as an actor also thoroughly influences my approach to my music compositions because I innately tend to approach my music composition as a film.
John: At your music blog – alconti.blogspot.com – you detail how producing music has changed for you since the earliest years when you first began producing music. What are some of the changes you have made over the years, and the challenges you face while producing music today?
Al Conti: Many of the changes are dictated to me by the music industry that I am a part of. I feel one of the biggest mistakes artists can make is to not accept the fact that the music business is, first and foremost, a business. Since I came from an acting background, well versed in the complex workings of that business, I simply translated acting to music and brought along with me the same work ethics I had from that part of my life. I also feel each project I undertake lays the groundwork for the direction of my career. Because I am also a perfectionist, nothing I compose is ever good enough for me and I always strive to better myself.
John: Has having your own Shadowside Music label been a major influence with the manner you produce and market your music?
Al Conti: Absolutely. I can decide what I want to create without having to answer to someone else’s idea of what I should be creating. I also have full control over every aspect of my career and creative output. Because I happen to also be the producer and arranger of my own albums, I can truly follow my gut instinct and move forward from there. Of course, I knew that the path I chose was plagued with risks and I did not know if these would pay off until they did.
Much like an actor producing and directing his or her own film, producing one’s own album can either make or break you. For me, luckily, it was the former, not the latter. It was a great risk, but I took it head on. I am at a point now in my career where I can honestly say that the path I chose has indeed paid off and I can continue forward knowing I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and that it is working out well. As people now ask me for advice, I find myself saying, “Hey, my path and how I walked it to this point has worked for me, but it may not work for you at all.” Thinking of many successful artists, I venture to say you’ll find each got there in very different ways.
John: Early in life you were determined at a very young age to become an actor. You appeared in commercials and were an actor in the acclaimed As The World Turns American television series. By all accounts Al, you had achieved the acting career you envisioned for yourself. What was the turning point where you decided to change direction to pursue a music career, and how did this change to a new career transpire over the years?
Al Conti: I do not think any artist will ever say, “Yes, I achieved what I artistically set out to achieve,” because we’re always looking forward to the next creative project. As an actor, I do not think I ever fulfilled that which I strived to achieve since I was a child, and I believe music has allowed me to express artistically in ways acting did not. I also came to a place in my life where I did not have the need to play someone else to express myself. With music, regardless of the project, I am always expressing my truest self through my work, yet I can be an actor at the same time because my projects are pretty much like a film that is being played out musically.
John: I read you were born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Your grandfather was a concert pianist, and your mother was a classical ballerina. What are your thoughts – do you believe talents in the arts, in fields like theatre or music, are heredity, or, do you feel non-genetic factors play more of a role with inclinations toward an individual’s profession?
Al Conti: I cannot honestly say. I know I was born an artist, which as a child created nothing but problems for me in school. But because my parents and grandparents (and even beyond that to my extended family) were and are artists in their own way, I was lucky in that they completely encouraged me. I do, however, believe that we are born with the talents we will hopefully hone throughout our lives, whether you are an artist, teacher, lawyer, social worker or whatever. I tried being other things than an artist and failed miserably.
It was clear to me that I could only work in the arts. This is why I cringe when parents force their kids to play the piano or do anything else artistic if the child really has little inclination in that direction. It would have been the same for me if, say, my parents had forced me to be right handed while my inclination was to be left handed. As an actor, I saw some sad things happening with parents who would bring their children into auditions. Not pleasant!
John: While living in Argentina, you grew up listening to ethnic music from many parts of the world, plus you have extensively traveled the globe. Would it be fair to say your music is a vehicle that describes many of your life experiences and international travels?
Al Conti: I think as artists we take everything we have gathered throughout our lifetime and put it into our work, because what we do comes from the deepest fibers of our beings. Because I was raised in different cultures, this broadened my horizons culturally. I innately know how one culture can function differently from another. When I compose music, based on a certain culture, the way that culture expresses itself deeply affects how I compose.
John: You have led a diverse life compared to many people. You now reside in the state of Vermont in the United States. What is it about the state of Vermont you adore?
Al Conti: I have always felt at home in Vermont. It is a state with deep French Canadian roots, which in many ways resembles the culture in which I was raised. Those cultural roots can still be felt in Vermont. While I have lived in a few different states in the U.S., Vermont is definitely the only one I have ever felt like calling my home.
John: I read at – alconti.net – you are currently working on your fifth album. I would love to release some Al Conti news for your fans and our readers today if possible. Can you release any information about your newest, fifth album project?
Al Conti: I usually tend to be very private about what project I am currently working on. I blame my past as a superstitious actor for this! I never want to jinx the project. There are also the legal ramifications of my talking about it at such an early stage. What I can say is that the album’s progress is half way, and I am excited that there are some very well-known guest New Age artists that will be participating in the project.
I can also say that the album will be more on the lines of my previous work Scheherazade, and I think people will be very happy about that, even though it is far from that album’s Middle Eastern theme. As an artist, I never want to repeat myself musically, so I strive to keep moving forward. While I know that many people loved Scheherazade, and it would be easy for me to fall back into another Middle Eastern theme, I refuse to do so. My current project is based on yet another beautiful legend and I will let my audience discover it as the time approaches. It is tentatively scheduled for release in September 2012.
John: During your work with humanitarian organizations, you teamed up with television celebrities Kevin Bacon, Jessica Alba, and Shelly Morrison for a charitable benefit. Can you tell us about your contributions with humanitarian organizations over the years?
Al Conti: As an artist with a certain level of success, I always feel I need to give back. Because I have been touched by many situations in my life, I feel like those are the ways I can give back. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has many, many causes we could rally for, but eventually, one can only do so much.
I have chosen carefully the charities I align myself with. AIDS, Leukemia and Alzheimer’s, as well as breast cancer, have all affected people I care about. In my own way, I try to raise awareness about these illnesses. I find that when people like what you do they are more apt to listen and take notice. When recently asked by a dear friend and fellow New Age artist about how I felt regarding my GRAMMY® nomination, I replied that I feel like this now allows my heart to give more. I truly mean that.
John: I read you are also involved in a wellness organization called The Spa Buzz, an organization that helps spread the message of wellness through activities like their awareness-raising bus tour. Would you like to tell us about your contributions with The Spa Buzz organization?
Al Conti: Yes, I was involved with this event as they toured the country promoting a message of health and wellbeing. This is something my team initially brought to my attention and I agreed to take part in it by lending my music to the project and attending events on the East Coast, because I truly believe people can be healthier, pay more attention to and be in tune with their bodies. The Spa Buzz did a great job for health awareness, and promoted the way music can contribute to wellness along the way.
John: You have enjoyed a remarkable career as a musician, Al. What do you find most rewarding as a professional musician?
Al Conti: I think, as I mentioned before, the more success I find as a musician, the more I am able to give back to others. Once I heard a saying that went: “When you get to the top floor, make sure to send the elevator back down for somebody else.” I never forgot that. While I do not think I am anywhere close to the top floor, I do believe that with a certain amount of success, there comes a responsibility to give back, and the universe sends our way those who can benefit from what we have to give, and vice-versa.
John: Thank you again for taking time out for our interview. I wish the best for you in the 54th Annual GRAMMY® Awards scheduled for Sunday Feb. 12, 2012. In closing for now, is there anything you want to bring up, or express to your fans and the people who have supported you over the years?
Al Conti: There are always a few things, for sure. One is something I always speak of when able to, and that is the sad state of music piracy. Since I have been involved in the music industry, I have become increasingly aware of the ravages that the illegal download of music is doing to artists worldwide. Many people do not even realize that they are actually stealing music. While some do indeed believe that we, as artists, should work for free, most simply do not realize the impact they have on the economy with even just one song illegally downloaded.
Independent musicians now form a large part of the music industry and they do not make millions, far from it. Many can barely survive on the income they receive from their music work. I would hope the right amount of respect be given to their efforts by actually purchasing their work rather than downloading it illegally.
A fellow artist, Loreena McKennitt, is a big spokesperson for this, and she has actually had to lay off people from her company because the illegal downloads of her work have made it impossible for her to maintain their employment. This is extremely sad for me to see. No one would ever accept to work for free, why should artists?
Thanks so much for this time, John, and for the work you do for New Age music!
John: I get to know many artists personally, and I feel the same way too about the music piracy issue of illegal downloads. I am pleased to be in a position to help get the message across. I look forward to writing more about you soon Al.
Visit the alconti.net homepage and his music store where you can sample or purchase all four albums, and keep up with the latest news. You are invited to visit Al’s official blog at alconti.blogspot.com and Facebook page. Read my Al Conti page.
Photos are courtesy alconti.net and with additional photographer credits of – Michael Mattern, Patrick Cote, John Young, Gerrit Ohm, and Kay Dillenberger.
Christmas music has always been a popular topic here at New Age Music World. There were so many new age Christmas albums from 2011 that it has been a challenge to tell you about every single one. Some of the newest Christmas albums can be seen in an earlier article I wrote entitled; Best Christmas Albums for Holiday Music.
The 2002 music duo Randy and Pamela Copus have one of the most popular new age Christmas albums around too. Christmas Dreams by 2002 is a wonderful Christmas album they released in 2008. Randy and Pamela’s Carol of the Bells animated video has received over 868,300 views, so this gives one an idea just how popular 2002’s music has become!
Believe by 2002 is their soon to be released project, plus 2012 marks the year Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002 celebrate their twentieth year anniversary as a band! Below is a Christmas video of Carol of the Bells by 2002 from their Christmas Dreams album. On the YouTube page for 2002 you can view a song video from their new Believe album Dreams of Peace. Visit 2002music.com and 2002′s Amazon page.
Merry Christmas from New Age Music World!
The new Winter Poem album by Secret Garden was released with much fanfare in November of 2011. It was during my interview with Fionnuala Sherry about her solo release Songs From Before, when Secret Garden fans heard news about Rolf and Fionnuala’s new Winter Poem release.
Secret Garden’s new Winter Poem album has all original arrangements from Rolf Lovland, along with the award-winning Expo Suite that he composed for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai China. If you haven’t purchased their newest album yet and you want to sample, you can listen to Secret Garden’s newest release at Valley Entertainment or Amazon using the links below.
On Winter Poem, Rolf and Fionnuala remain close to their signature sound that has made them an international success, but they have also taken on a fresh approach on their newest composition which guarantees their fans something special. Once again the outstanding Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry is happily the centerpiece artist on Winter Poem, plus Secret Garden has enlisted several exceptional Norwegian and Irish musicians for their vibrant new release.
One guest is dynamic vocalist Moya Brennan from Celtic group Clannad, who sings on The Dream, which is one of many new songs you can listen to right now. Another guest vocalist is Fionnuala Gill who sings on song Mary’s Lament. Tracey Campbell and Espen Grjotheim perform on song Powered By Nature.
Secret Garden’s Winter Poem was scored, arranged and produced by Rolf Lovland, and in addition to fine instrumentals by Secret Garden, the special guest vocalists, their new album features the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
A Secret Garden concert tour in Norway recently gave fans a chance to hear songs from Winter Poem, and songs covering 16 years as an acclaimed music duo with millions of fans worldwide. Secret Garden fans and new visitors have a chance to win an autographed 8 CD collection of Secret Garden albums including the new Winter Poem album. Simply visit Secret Garden’s site, click on the top banner and enter your email address for current news and information on Secret Garden.
Sample and purchase Winter Poem at secretgarden.no and Songs From Before at fionnualasherry.com. Sample or purchase Winter Poem at the Hearts of Space Records Label at valley-entertainment.com. Find more information and read an interview with Fionnuala Sherry on my Secret Garden page. Photos are courtesy secretgarden.no.