Universal Love CD (2003)
Despite a strong cultural identity, the compositions on UNIVERSAL LOVE do not necessarily reflect Nawang Khechog's Tibetan heritage. Instead, this composer/performer embraces music from many cultures and continents including Africa, Australia, and North America.
This, however, is not to say that Khechog's Asian roots are absent or obscured on UNIVERSAL LOVE. Indeed, his flute playing often recalls the ancient folk melodies of his homeland; the stark "Quiet Minds" and the effervescent "Cutting Through the Ocean of Ego" both center on Asian pentatonic modalities. The title track and, especially, "Last Stand of the Wild Things" were inspired by Australian aboriginal music. On these selections, a low-pitched, almost moaning didgeridoo becomes the focus. This is supported by a variety of ethnic instruments, which span the globe. Whether it's the entrancing percussion and keyboard effects of "Universal Dance of Kindness" or the ecstatic tribal horns of "Four Immeasurable Kindnesses," all of the music on this release resonates deeply. Moreover, Khechog's theme of unconditional love makes each of these nine tracks beam with positive, healing energy.
Liner Note Author: Nawang Khechog.
Recording information: Sounds True Studio; Tibet Universal Studio.
Photographers: Nawang Khechog; James McCrea.
Arranger: Nawang Khechog.
Personnel: Nawang Khechog (vocals, chant, percussion); Nawang Khechog (various instruments); Fara Tolno (percussion); Deborah Schmit-Lobis (keyboards).
Audio Mixer: James Tuttle .
Celtic Meditation Music CD (2004)
Aine Minogue's ballads, while somewhat pop-oriented, bring to life the rich tradition of old Eire. All 11 tracks are delicate, picturesque, and quite reflective. Minogue's folk-harp is the focus of much of this music. Her gentle plucking is not only soothing to the ear, it is also spiritually healing. Other instrumentalists contribute wonderfully to Minogue's musical tableau too. For example, tin whistler Joanie Madden is featured prominently on "Limerick's Lamentation." On this piece, Madden's unadorned melody is dreamy and wistful, but also dark and foreboding. "Gentle Maiden" is another tune that sweeps the listener away to a verdant, mystical place. Here, Minogue's lush, arpeggiated chords are enhanced by the soaring melody of clarinetist Tom Hill. Although solemn at times, this music is ultimately life-affirming and soul-cleansing.
New World. 2004.
Recording information: Adelmark Studios, Lincoln, MA; The Regent ...