So as promised in my previous article, here are a few words about how certain music came to be in my life and why I incorporate some of it to support my work with clients in the therapy room.
Before I launch into the relaxation, meditation specific recordings in my collection, it may be worth mentioning that I have a broad taste in music and I listen to a variety of styles for the fun and sheer enjoyment of it. Naturally, my choice mostly depends on where I am and what I happen to be doing.
I have been known to pass the time hula hooping to the sounds of Lighthouse Family or Madonna, perhaps sewing to Frankie Valli or Rossini’s petite messe solennelle, perhaps cleaning to Bizet’s Carmen or Michael Jackson, or perhaps washing up to Cecilia Bartolli or Luther Vandross. These are just a few examples, however for the purposes of this article I shall devote my attention to my array of sacred, spiritual and meditation music.
The piece of music (a) which inspired my previous article, first came into my awareness at a Friday morning meditation group which I attended regularly for a couple of years in London’s vibrant and exciting Covent Garden. One track was specifically used for the visualisation section of the session and I grew to love it. The lovely lady who was the group organiser, kindly shared the name of the track and the artist with me and I treated myself to the album, only to find that every track is just as glorious.
So, as I said before, it was my conversation about that music with one of my clients, which led me to think about why I love it so much. All of which found me pondering my collection. It is indeed a collection which has taken me years to gather. Much of it reminds me of special moments in my life and periods of personal growth, which have led me to the place on my path where I find myself now.
My life used to be hectic, troublesome and overwhelming just like so many of my friends and acquaintances at the time.
One way and another, I started to learn that life could be different.
I wanted to believe that life could be different.
I started to ask questions.
I began to look for answers.
This led me to places where people were asking the same questions as me and fortunately, there were people available to provide answers.
What kind of places? I hear you ask. Well, I attended meditation, self-improvement, ‘find yourself’ seminars, workshops, regular meetings, residential retreats for the weekend and some for a week. I attended them in abundance. I enjoyed them, not just a little but a lot. I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about people, I learned a lot about life. Along with these learning experiences, came a wealth of divine and magnificent music. So if you have a moment to spare allow me share some with you.
At one of my Sunday afternoon meditation inspired, spiritual awareness workshops, (also in Central London’s wonderful Covent Garden,) I heard a piece of music (b) that felt particularly soothing and calming. I asked the workshop leader about it and he introduced me to the artist who happened to be present. It was magical to meet her and I was more than happy to buy an album there and then. I am delighted to add that she wrote a beautiful message in the sleeve notes for me. I love this music with its collection of harmonium, flute, drones and vocals. I play it often in my daily meditation for its truly transporting effects. Nikki, the creator of this CD, has regular sound, chanting and meditation workshops in London.
So my next discovery was many years ago, during a visit to the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London, I found myself wandering around the stalls when I heard singing. It was beautiful, simply beautiful, words are not really enough to describe just how fabulous it sounded to me at the time. The singer had the voice of an angel and I was entranced.
I turned a corner and found myself standing in front of a woman dressed all in white and the music (c) seemed to be coming from her stall. I asked whether it was her singing on the track which was playing. Now, try to imagine my delight when she said that it was her. We talked and laughed and had a wonderfully uplifting conversation. Her husband returned and I learned that he was responsible for the musical background of bamboo flute, tin whistle, wooden flute, acoustic guitar and additional vocals.
Our conversation continued. I bought an album. I was happy. Then totally to my surprise, she gave me another of their albums as a gift just because she felt like it. Well how sweet is that? She signed the cover with the most beautiful of messages. As I departed we shared a hug, a long hug, a warm and fuzzy hug as if we had known each other forever. It was an interaction that has stayed with me as one of the most moving of my life.
Then the magic continued. A few days after meeting them at the Mind Body Spirit Festival, I discovered, by the power of the internet, that Prem and Joshua were performing in a Buddhist temple in Watford before returning to their home in Australia. Without a second thought I was there and it would be an understatement to say that the concert was magical. The drive to the venue seemed to take forever but the journey home was timeless and felt like my car was floating on a cloud. Enough said.
Those experiences took place some ten years ago and I now own six of their albums and I play something from at least one of them every day, I kid you not when I reiterate that every day something gorgeous by them plays a key musical role in my spiritual practice.
On the subject of voices of angels I am led nicely to my music (d) featuring the magnificence of Snatam Kaur. I first discovered her glorious singing at one of my many residential meditation weekends. Always gorgeous and always delightful I have a few albums and they too feature regularly in my daily practice. If you are already a UK based fan then you may have seen her in London on her 2018 tour this March, otherwise she tours regularly in the US and Canada.
I was introduced to the beautiful voice of Deva Premal at another of my meditation themed events and among my collection of her extraordinary musical, interpretations I have an album of her accompanied by The Gyuto Monks of Tibet. It features a divine series of mantras, invocations, incantations, dedications, bells and exquisite sacred sounds.
When I saw the CD in the rack of ‘Mysteries’, a fabulous shop in Covent Garden, I asked to hear a little and I was hooked from the first few seconds of hearing the monks’ throat singing at the beginning. I have built up my listening stamina over several years and I can confidently say that this is not an album I would have been able to enjoy at the beginning of my journey. One of my favourite recordings by the amazing Deva, is an album (e) devoted to the Moola Mantra, yes just the same *mantra for the entirety. Sometimes when I want to be transported, that is where I go.
UK based Deva fans will probably already know that she has two concerts planned in North London in September this year as part of her European tour. I anticipate it will be fabulous.
*Perhaps there are readers who are already familiar with Sanskrit mantras or some of you may want more information, either way this is not the time to go into more detail, so perhaps you feel inspired to do some exploring and discover some for yourself.
Another firm favourite which guarantees to transport the mind and lift the emotions is a phenomenal piece of music (f) which I heard many, many, many times at a variety of meditation events. It would often be played quietly in the background hardly noticeable but over time I began to recognise it. Interestingly, I did not discover the magnificence of it until I bought a copy for myself and heard it undisturbed, undistracted in its completion from start to finish. It is seven words repeated for nearly an hour. Recorded in sacred underground chambers in Malta, the acoustics are extraordinary and listening with head phones is always a treat.
Lastly, well for the purposes of this sharing at least, I shall mention an album (g) which I bought in a shop in Fulham. It was an impulse buy because I was unfamiliar with the performer. Yet, the idea of a collection of chants to music played on crystal bowls with each track assigned to a chakra sounded like something I thought I might enjoy. Well, well, well, it proved to be a fabulous purchase. With nearly seventy four minutes of intense harmonies, it is truly exquisite. In case anyone is wondering, yes I do sometimes listen to it from start to finish or choose tracks as inspired, either way the effects are more than mere words can describe.
I have more but that is enough for now. If anyone reading this feels inspired to try one of two of the artists or albums that I have mentioned, there are some listed below. I wish you fun making new musical discoveries, whatever you are doing and whatever you listen to.
- Nigel Shaw – The Lone Tree – www.seventhwavemusic.com
- Nikki Slade – Soundscape – www.nikkislade.com
- Sacred Earth – Divine Devotion – www.sacredearthmusic.com
- Snatam Kaur – Anand – www.snatamkaur.com
- Deva Premal – Deva Premal sings the Moola Mantra – www.devapremalmiten.com
- Jennifer Berezan – ReTURNING (yes that is how it is written, with a lower case ‘e’ in the title word) – www.edgeofwonder.com
- Jonathan Goldman – Crystal Bowls Chakra Chants – www.healingsounds.com
Other articles by Carole Chandler