In January I received an e-mail from a woman in Portugal by the name of Peruquois. She stated that she was looking for a producer who had experience working with Native American music. Since I had worked with dozens of Native American artists on 17 different records, I was able to answer emphatically in the affirmative. I checked her online profile and saw that she was quite famous in both Eastern and Western Europe as a world music artist.
In all of my 40 years working as a musician/producer/composer I've learned to leave the door wide open to any potential opportunity, but also to never count on anything until it's waiting at your doorstep. Needless to say Peruquois had a long journey to make before she would be standing at my door. However, she continued to further the conversation with many emails, a face to face meeting via skype, and in early February she arrived at the Denver Airport on a frigid evening; -6 degrees F.
We proceeded to work in the studio for 17 straight days. Never had I worked with a vocalist quite like Peruquois. Not only did she have a huge vocal range, from deep in the earth all the way up to the stratosphere, but compelling sounds came out of her that seemed to be not of this world. Sometimes Peruquois would arrive in the morning with percussion tracks she had commissioned from musicians in Europe the night before (sent via internet transfer) that we would integrate into the recorded pieces that day. The work that resulted is entitled "The Original Essence". More info related to Peruquois and this recording can be found at:
In the spring I worked with my dear friend and veteran folk artist Bonnie Carol on an ongoing vocal recording to be finished some day in the future.
The month of June brought Visudha de los Santos. Visudha presented a recording challenge such as I have never faced with her ensemble of gongs, resonant bowls and tuning forks. The result is a mesmerizing recording entitled "Sedna's Prayer". More info can be found here:
Then in July I began the single largest project I have ever embarked upon with Scott and Shanti Medina; "SoMAntra". This recording is over 150 minutes of music and content combining Hindu kirtan chanting, trance African drumming, and modern rock rhythms.
In a study of the history of the worlds religions one finds that in the temperate zones of the planet the focus is on leaving the body behind through meditation and contemplation to journey into other realms of consciousness. In contrast, religious practice in equatorial zones focuses on using music and dance to bring the participants into a state of trance so that spirits from the realms beyond are brought into this world through bodily possession of the dancers. In the West African version of this latter form of religious ritual are found the underpinnings of our modern blues, rock, and R & B music.
Before we began I went to see the group at one of Scott & Shanti's kirtan events and realized the challenge before me. Their music combined these two approaches of religious practice bringing the participants from a slow meditative state and progressing into a true Dionysian trance-like frenzy.
It became apparent that we needed to find a way to capture this in the studio. After over four months of work I'm quite pleased with the result. More info is available here:
In September I also managed to fit in the finishing touches on a recording with Alan Zacharias, a prominent Boulder neurologist and folk/blues/punk rock artist. When I first met Alan he seemed like a somewhat shy and intellectual physician. Little did I know there was a rock and roll juggernaut hidden beneath the surface. The record is entitled "For You" and more info is available here: