“Wake from reality. Wake from your dream.
Wake from the fear, that is tearing at the seams of the world.”
– (From the song, “Wake.”)
The Essence of Lakshmi:
On Friday, November 11th, 2016, I will be releasing my most recent album entitled, “Lakshmi.” It is twelve original musical pieces I composed and arranged. The album features fifteen different genres including Funk, Latin, Ragtime, Country Swing, Reggae, Progressive Jazz, Classical Tone Poem, Jazz Instrumental, Native American Folk Anthem, Spiritual Mantra, Motown Soul, Traditional Bluegrass and Folk Ballad. There are seventeen different instruments, fifteen of which I performed for this recording including Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Grand Piano, Drum Kit, Congas, Bongos, Shakers, Cajon (box drum), Lakota Drum, Timbale, Clave, Maracas, Washboard, Hand Jive, Vibra-Slap and Whistle. The Saxophone was performed by Michael Teager. The Pedal Steel Guitar was performed by David Feeny.
Music in 444 Hertz:
The “Lakshmi” album was recorded in 444-hertz frequency. The tuning for most contemporary music is 440-hertz. In the 20th century, the standard tuning was altered from 432 to 440-hertz during the World War Era. This alteration manipulated the sound quality to a frequency that incites chaos, dis-ease, fear and mania. 444-hertz is less than a half-a-step sharper than 440-hertz in tonality. It has a naturally bright, etheric, multi-tonal, organic and resonant sound quality. In my experience, there are more under and overtones of the existing notes present using the 444-hertz tuning. It is a frequency that is very easy to listen to and inspires creativity, empowerment and imagination.
All the songs on the “Lakshmi” album where inspired by and created through the practice of Mantra Meditation. Mantra is a style of meditation in the Jain tradition using an ancient word or words that are associated with one of the seven chakras. This practice allowed me to be present to the infinite possibilities of creativity during the composition, development, arrangement, performance, recording and production of the “Lakshmi” album. In some of my experiences during meditation I intuitively heard parts and/or all the songs and their unique arrangements like I was listening to an internal radio. Meditation also helped me to hear the many diverse instruments, their melodies and harmonies and how they were meant to be recorded and mixed. Meditation helped me learn to play most of the instruments in a matter of weeks!
During the renaissance era, it was customary for composers to be funded by nobility and royalty for the sustenance of their creative expression. Many composers dedicated their pieces to those who sponsored their creative endeavors. The “Lakshmi” album was funded by my wife Laura and I. In honor of Laura’s commitment, support and the fact that she was the inspiration for many of the songs, the album is named “Lakshmi.” “Lakshmi” is the Spiritual Name given to her by Gurudev Shree Chitrubanuji. “Lakshmi” is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, love, fortune, prosperity (both material and spiritual) and the embodiment of beauty.
“Wake” is a progressive Funk Latin piece. It’s lyrical subject matter is about awakening to what is going on in our world. It is about seeing it for what it is and not for how we would like it to be. “Wake” is about claiming our personal power and making a difference. It is the realization that we are the creators of our reality. We are all divine.
Break the Spell:
“Break the Spell” is a Ragtime Delta Stomp. It is about freeing ourselves from the spell of reality that we have been conditioned to accept. “Break the Spell” poses important questions as to where we are and where we are going. The heart of its message is releasing all that we have grown accustomed to in our life and embracing all that truly empowers and inspires us.
The Heart of Town:
“The Heart of Town” is a Country Swing Memorial. It was inspired by and written in honor of my Grandfather, Howard Saums. The lyrics of the piece were taken from an interview he did with our family prior to his passing. It is a family snapshot that immortalizes his life in one of his favorite musical genres. “The Heart of Town” is a grandson’s testimony of his grandfather’s authenticity, charity, integrity and love.
“Truth” is a Reggae song with Urban undertones. “Truth” powerfully expresses an acknowledgement of the inequalities and injustices in the world. It shines the spotlight on those who would choose to commit them as a warning that the “Truth” will find them in their time. The chorus pleads for our trust in “Truth” and each other.
Lakshmi Part I: The Rhythm of Light:
“Lakshmi Part I: The Rhythm of Light” is a Progressive Vocal Jazz piece. It is very eclectic in nature with contrary melodies and rhythms and tribal percussion. It is the opening movement of the “Lakshmi Suite.” The lyrical story line is the first encounter between the man and the woman. It is the man’s courtship of his soul mate through his creative expression.
Lakshmi Part II: The Breath of Life:
“Lakshmi Part II: The Breath of Life” is a Classical Vocal arrangement. The lone percussion is the unified heartbeat of the man and the woman and its melodies and harmonies swell as the ebb and flow of a tide. It is the second movement of the “Lakshmi Suite.” The lyrical story line is their intimate stroll in the moonlight and their declaration of love for each other.
Lakshmi Part III: Mandala:
“Lakshmi Part III: Mandala” is a Progressive Jazz Instrumental. It begins soft and subtle on the heels of the preceding movement, “The Breath of Life,” and gradually develops into an upbeat and exuberant dance of union between the man and woman. It is the final movement of the “Lakshmi Suite” and it symbolizes their shared journey through life experience.
“Medicine Wheel” is a Native American inspired Folk Anthem. The drums and rattles signify the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The lyrical subject matter is honoring and respecting the Earth which provides all of what we as human beings need to thrive. It is a call to action that inspires us to stand together to preserve and protect the planet we all call home.
All That I Am:
“All That I Am” is a Spiritual Vocal Mantra. The smooth vocal arrangement and complimentary percussion gives it an authentic and endearing quality. It is an autobiographical account of the strengths and weaknesses each one of us express in our lives. The progressive vocal weaves a delicate tapestry of harmony that builds until the final voice captures the importance of the present moment.
Fly On Me:
“Fly On Me” is a Motown Soul song. It is the tender plea of a man attempting to encourage a woman to stay. The music expresses his emotional desire and clarifies the dynamics of his love for her. The Saxophone is the embodiment of the possibility of his loneliness without her. Yet, the lyrics symbolize a desperate confidence she will stay.
“Nature’s Way” is a Traditional Bluegrass song fresh from the Appalachian Mountains and the green hills of Ireland. With a driving, acoustic guitar rhythm and acoustic bass paired with foot stomp, hand jive and washboard, it is one person’s journey to the mountaintop of their spiritual experience. It is an important and stirring lyrical expose on the state of our society.
“Afterglow” is a Folk Groove Ballad about the completion of relationships. It’s signature drum beat and pendulum style guitar and piano symbolizes the ebbs and flows of our life experiences. The song is a moving and revealing testimony of heartbreak and possibility in the wake of separation. It inspires us to prove the love we are to each other.