Previews of New Books and Music for Body, Mind & Soul
A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, by Sophia Ruan Gushee (The S File Publishing) 456 pages — Health-conscious mother of three, Sophia Ruan Gushée thought she knew how to be healthy. Only after she became a mother did she become aware of an overlooked influence on health: toxic exposures. These pervade not just our outdoor environments but also our homes, bodies, and diet. Their impact on health can be most influential during periods of rapid biological development, which makes protecting children a top priority. Inspired to become a truly conscious parent and to provide her young family with a healthy foundation, Sophia spent more than five years identifying practical approaches for reducing her family’s unnecessary exposures. In A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, Sophia shares what she learned. Created to be the only reference book that a head of household needs, it includes hundreds of tips, as well as ten ideas to implement today–Sophia’s D-Tox Strategy. These tips help increase the odds for more resilient health not just for individuals, but for our planet as well. This is an empowering resource that will lay the groundwork for leading a healthy life.
The Book of Secret Wisdom: The Prophetic Record of Human Destiny and Evolution, by Zinovia Dushkova (Dushkova Publishing) 270 pages — Hidden away for long millennia and accessible only to a few chosen ones, the oldest text of Tibetan origin now uncovers what awaits humanity in The Book of Secret Wisdom. The Book of Secret Wisdom includes a newly released excerpt from the million-year-old manuscript widely known as the Book of Dzyan. The book was originally written in Senzar, a Sanskrit-like language, and was translated by Dr. Zinovia Dushkova in 1995. Far back in the 19th century, the Great Masters of Wisdom permitted Madame Blavatsky, the world-renowned founder of the Theosophical Society, to study the most ancient manuscripts secretly stored in Tibet. Her highly influential works based on those sacred texts have received praise from numerous prominent individuals including Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and even Elvis Presley. In 1889 Helena Blavatsky stated: “During the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those ‘Masters,’ of whom I have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of humanity in a marked and definite way.” Blavatsky, who has made accurate predictions in advance of many scientific discoveries, was correct once again. A century later in 1995, the Masters of Wisdom allowed Dr. Zinovia Dushkova to translate twelve new stanzas from the mysterious Book of Dzyan. However, unlike the nineteen stanzas of Dzyan published in Blavatsky’s masterwork, The Secret Doctrine, the new excerpt is translated in simple and understandable language accessible to those who are unfamiliar with theosophy. The twelve stanzas included in The Book of Secret Wisdom embrace not only the past, but also the present and future of both humanity and Earth. Furthermore, this new material shines light on the development of the Solar System and the Universe as a whole.
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa (Atria Books) 304 pages — A groundbreaking book showing the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and adult illnesses such as heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer — Childhood Disrupted also explains how to cope with these emotional traumas and even heal from them. Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, it also affects our physical health, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents’ chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or hazed, and growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical “fingerprints” on our brains. When we as children encounter sudden or chronic adversity, excessive stress hormones cause powerful changes in the body, altering our body chemistry. The developing immune system and brain react to this chemical barrage by permanently resetting our stress response to “high,” which in turn can have a devastating impact on our mental and physical health. Donna Jackson Nakazawa shares stories from people who have recognized and overcome their adverse experiences, shows why some children are more immune to stress than others, and explains why women are at particular risk. Groundbreaking in its research, inspiring in its clarity, Childhood Disrupted explains how you can reset your biology–and help your loved ones find ways to heal.
Color Me Crazy: Insanely Detailed Creations to Challenge Your Skills and Blow Your Mind, by Peter Deligdisch (Penguin Publishing) 96 pages — Color Me Crazy isn’t your average coloring book. Filled with intricately detailed line art, Color Me Crazy features 50 hand-drawn creations awaiting colored pencils or markers. From the mind and expert hand of popular illustrator Peter Deligdisch, this stunning book will appeal to anyone who likes to doodle, draw, relax, get in the zone, or get the creative juices flowing. Not just for kids anymore, coloring at this level delivers a deeply satisfying experience that will delight creative souls of all ages. This isn’t about perfectionism; with pages this detailed, wherever you color is between the lines. Peter Deligdisch’s intricate illustrations have found a large and loyal following, thanks to their stunning detail and imaginative style — and their ability to draw you into another world. A YouTube sensation with videos totaling over six million views, Deligdisch has inspired thousands to overcome artist’s block by doodling. In fact, it was at the persistent request of his fans that he decided to create Color Me Crazy, featuring 50 beautiful illustrations that require focused attention from those committed to serious coloring. Designed to allow artistic minds to explore a page that’s anything but empty, Color Me Crazy gives creative souls space to zone out and play.
Convoluted Universe Book V, by Dolores Cannon (Ozark Mt. Publishing) 240 pages — The fifth volume in the wildly successful Convoluted Universe series is, in the words of the late author, “like a big box of mind candy.” It is meant to be tasted, enjoyed, and pondered over. Here are new concepts and theories about the true meaning of virtually everything of universal significance. Like Dolores Cannon’s previous books, this volume covers a startling range of topics: explorations of alternate universes, time travel, pyramids, extraterrestrial assistance, Big Foot, mermaids, gold, reincarnation, and much more. From the Foreword: “For those who are just now joining us, welcome to the adventure and the journey. For those who have been part of the entire journey, welcome back and I hope you find more interesting concepts as we continue the adventure. So read with an open mind and be prepared to have your minds bent and twisted like a pretzel. After all, pretzels are an interesting shape. They really resemble the symbol of infinity, don’t they?”
The Dawn Book: Information from the Master Guides – A Spiritual Guide Book, by Annie Stillwater Gray (Ozark Mt. Publishing) 328 pages — Here is a spiritual workbook containing messages from the Master Guides who have taken great care to present the information in a simple, straightforward, easy-to-understand manner. The Dawn Book is a gift to humanity more precious than any jewel. The ramifications of this information may affect future generations for hundreds upon hundreds of years. We have been handed here an opportunity to become what we can become, to fulfill ourselves in the eyes of the universe. Every individual who reads this book is blessed. Every individual who takes this information to heart and allows it to begin to change his or her life is blessed and protected. There are no gifts more sacred in this time of great change on Earth than the guidance, the knowledge and the love that are offered to us by our spirit helpers. We must rejoice and be glad of heart, for although we humans face tremendous challenges as we face a new millennium, we are given all the information, all the knowledge, all the guidance we need to make a great evolutionary leap.
The Hero in Heroin: A Mother and Son’s Journey on Both Sides of the Veil, by Mindy Miralia (Balboa Press) 286 pages — This is the story of a hero’s journey–of dark and light, addiction and recovery, life and death and the afterlife. It is a story of sorrow and redemption, the bond between a mother and son, and the legacy of addiction that they heal together after her son crosses to the “other side.” The Hero in Heroin is Mindy Miralia’s honest telling of her life as an international businesswoman who constantly strove to be the best parent possible despite her family’s constant uprooting from one part of the globe to another–moves that were demanded by work. And although his childhood was filled with love, by the time her son was fifteen, Micah was hooked on drugs. He eventually succumbed to the lure of deadly heroin. When Micah committed suicide at age 31, his soul was aware that it had not finished its work. Returning to his mother in spirit form, he brought home the hero’s “treasure,” working to help her heal and to help society reconnect with the spiritual aspects of the human condition. At a time when our country faces a heroin epidemic, this book will inspire anyone battling with addiction and anyone who has lost a child, no matter what age or cause.
Lessons from the Twelve Archangels: Divine Intervention in Daily Life, by Belinda J. Womack (Inner Traditions/Bear & Co.) 224 pages — Angels are loving forces in our lives. Each of us has the ability to communicate with them if we open our minds to their teachings. Belinda Womack was a believer in Angels until the age of 12, when she decided she wanted to become a scientist. Years later, working in a biology lab, she found herself in the presence of the Archangel Gabriel and realized her calling as a spiritual conduit for Angelic healing and support. In this book she shares lessons, practices, and daily guidance from the 12 Archangels to help us listen to and heal our wounded inner child, release our fears, and enact deep subconscious transformation. Each word, transmitted directly from the 12 Archangels, carries their love, so that when read, the love is absorbed into the reader’s mind and supports the release of our deepest wounds and fears. The tools and exercises shift your vibration so results are both felt and experienced immediately. Each message awakens your innate spiritual power to rebuild destroyed self-esteem, lifting you higher in vibration and allowing life to be filled with the power of your own divinity. The book includes Angelic guided visualizations on working with Angels to access the healing power of the chakras and to manifest with the creative imagination, as well as specific messages from the 12 Archangels designed for quick access to practical guidance when Angelic support is needed in daily life. As Belinda Womack shows, by opening ourselves to the support of the 12 Archangels, we can move out of the past and into Heaven’s abundance, heal our inner wounds, and shift our vibration to one of unconditional love for self, others, Mother Earth, and the Universe.
My Life After Death: A Memoir from Heaven, by Erik Medhus and Elisa Medhus M.D. (Atria Books/Beyond Words) 224 pages — In the follow-up to Elisa Medhus’s My Son and the Afterlife — “a heartfelt, deeply moving story” (Eben Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Proof of Heaven) — her son Erik tells his astounding story directly from the afterlife, describing in detail his death, transition, and spiritual renewal. My Life After Death begins on the tragic day when Erik Medhus took his own life. What follows is a moment-by-moment account of the spiritual life he discovers on the other side — told for the very first time in his own words as channeled by medium Jamie Butler and then transcribed by his mother Elisa. Overflowing with his signature honesty and candor, Erik describes more than just a visit to the afterlife. He personally walks us through the experience of dying, transitioning into spirit form, and reveals a detailed look at the life awaiting us on the other side. In this intimate and provocative memoir, crucial questions will finally be answered, including: What does it feel like to die? What is it like to become a spirit? Why and how do spirits communicate with the living? Is there a heaven? Ultimately, Erik’s story provides the answers that will help readers find solace and remove the fears surrounding death, showing that love has no boundaries and life does not truly end.
Not I, Not other than I: The Life And Teachings Of Russel Williams, by Russel Williams (John Hunt Publishing) 171 pages — Russel Williams is one of the most remarkable enlightened spiritual teachers of our time. After an early life of extreme hardship–leaving school at the age of 11, and becoming an orphan shortly afterwards–he underwent a spiritual awakening at the age of 29. Since the late 1950s, he has been a spiritual teacher, and is still actively teaching now, at the age of 94. Previously, Russel has avoided publicity and never published any writings or transcripts of his talks, preferring to work quietly with small groups. This is the first time any details of his teachings or of his life have appeared in print. This book is partly a record of his teachings, and partly also the story of his extraordinary life. Working with well-known spiritual author Steve Taylor — who has attended Russel’s meetings regularly since the 1990s — Russel has created a profound text which will surely become known as a classic of spiritual literature.
One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness, by Alberto Villoldo (Hay House) 240 pages — Today our minds, our emotions, our relationships, and our bodies are out of kilter. We know it, but we tend to ignore it until something brings us up short–a worrying diagnosis, a broken relationship, or simply an inability to function harmoniously in everyday life. When things are a little off, we read a self-help book. When they’re really bad, we bring in oncologists to address cancer, neurologists to repair the brain, psychologists to help us understand our family of origin. But this fragmented approach to health is merely a stopgap. To truly heal, we need to return to the original recipe for wellness discovered by shamans millennia ago: One Spirit Medicine. Through One Spirit Medicine, the shamans found that they could grow a new body that allowed them to live in extraordinary health. They learned how to switch off the “death clock” inside every cell, and turn on the “immortality” genes that reside in password-protected regions of our DNA. Cancer, dementia, and heart disease were rare. The shamans of old were truly masters of prevention. Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as a medical anthropologist — as well as his own journey back from the edge of death — acclaimed shamanic teacher Alberto Villoldo shows you how to detoxify the brain and gut with superfoods; techniques for working with our luminous energy fields to heal your body; and follow the ancient path of the medicine wheel to shed disempowering stories from the past and pave the way for rebirth. Using the principles and practices in this book, you can feel better in a few days, begin to clear your mind and heal your brain in a week, and in six weeks be on your way to a new body–one that heals rapidly, retains its youthful vitality, and keeps you connected to Spirit, to the earth, and to a renewed sense of purpose in your life.
Peace of the Heart: Releasing Emotional Blocks and Living a Life You Love, by Renee Li (Kindle edition) 49 pages — Life can offer up trauma and tragedy. It’s how we deal with that pain that makes all the difference between living a life you love and a life forever marked with pain. In Peace of the Heart, Renee Li shares her experiences around two very sudden deaths of loved ones and the emotional imprints left behind by the shock from their passing. You can read about how her subconscious kept these emotional imprints hidden from her for thirty years (including beliefs around abandonment), how it controlled her life creating toxic relationships, and how she soldiered through her own resistance to face the pain in an effort to resolve it once and for all through self-love. The vibration of love is a high frequency that resonates with the God in us. When you apply love to any emotional pain, it lifts the lower vibration of pain to match the higher vibration of love. Nothing can resist the power of real love, not even fear or anger. It’s a bit of alchemy and you are the alchemist. Learn how to transform your life by resolving old pain and turning it into love. You can follow Renee’s road-map to healing breakthroughs and clear your emotional imprints; making room for the fulfillment of all your heart’s desires. It does not matter what you are trying to heal from, whether it is the emotional trauma from a car accident, abandonment by your birth parents, fear of rejection, heartache from a breakup, distrust from a betrayal, or grief from a passing. The healing practices in Peace of the Heart will illustrate a powerful and efficient way to heal your past wounds so that you can start to receive the peace, freedom and joy that you desire and deserve.
The Presence of the Infinite: The Spiritual Experience of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, by Steve McIntosh (Quest Books) 280 pages — The Presence of the Infinite sheds new light on the important subject of spiritual experience. Using the emerging insights of evolutionary spirituality, integral philosopher Steve McIntosh enlarges readers’ capacity to have spiritual experience more abundantly and use it more effectively to improve their lives and the world around them. The Presence of the Infinite starts by providing a timely cultural analysis and critique of the various forms of spirituality that are vying for influence in contemporary American society. Building on this context, McIntosh shows how evolutionary spirituality overcomes the limitations of religious, secular, and New Age spirituality by better harmonizing science and spirit. Evolutionary spirituality’s transcendent potential is found in its deepening realization of the essentially spiritual qualities of beauty, truth, and goodness. McIntosh then uses evolutionary spirituality’s enlarged understanding of what spiritual experience is and how it works to consider the question of ultimate reality. This leads to an examination of conflicting ideas that regard spirit as either formless and nondual, or as loving and creative. By working to harmonize and integrate these alternative conceptions of ultimate reality, McIntosh shows how evolutionary spirituality can achieve a synthesis of nondual and theistic teachings of truth that can produce a spiritual renaissance in America and beyond. The Presence of the Infinite is destined to become a definitive text in the exciting new field of evolutionary spirituality.
The Shakti Coloring Book: Goddesses, Mandalas, and the Power of Sacred Geometry, by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik (Sounds True) 125 pages — Shakti is the pure feminine principle personified by the goddesses of the yoga tradition. The Shakti Coloring Book was created to help anyone begin to activate the transformational currents of this sacred energy in their own lives. Ekabhumi brings readers a serious yet thoroughly enjoyable spiritual practice in ink-and-paper form, including: Twenty beautiful images of Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese goddesses with written descriptions and mantras of greeting; twenty yantras and mandalas (mystical diagrams based on sacred geometry), one for each goddess and intended to expand and liberate consciousness; and dozens of pictures illustrating key principles to deepen your practice. Boundless compassion. Unconditional love. Unshakable courage. These are just some of the empowering attributes you are invited to make manifest in your own life with The Shakti Coloring Book. “The information in this book,” the author says, “is intended to help beginners get started on the spiritual path, to enrich the practice of those who have already begun their journey toward self-realization, and to help anyone enjoy these goddesses and the wisdom they hold.
Shamanic Transformations: True Stories of the Moment of Awakening, by Itzhak Beery (Inner Traditions/Bear & Co.) 320 pages — How does one receive the “call” to enter onto the shamanic path? What causes some people to change their safe, uneventful, and ordinary lives and start on a spiritual search? For many it is a singular instant, a flash when the mystical reveals itself and the person is drawn into the world of shamanic power. For a few, it is a more gradual awakening, filled with numinous events that build upon one another until the calling of the shamanic path can no longer be ignored. In this book of remarkable stories, we learn firsthand about the many different forms of the “aha” moment of shamanic awakening, whether they arise from ceremony, near-death experiences, dream messages, or entheogenic substances. We travel alongside Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman, John Perkins, Alberto Villoldo, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Tom Cowan, Lynn Andrews, Linda Star Wolf, and other well-known shamanic practitioners as they begin their transformations into the prominent shamans we know them as. We experience the real-life shamanic epiphanies of those with unique shamanic paths–teachers, mothers, social workers, academics, healers, and even rappers who have all experienced a moment in time in which they were awakened and the shamanic path showed itself to them. As each of these unique and beautiful stories of unexpected realization, insight, and inspiration unfolds, we see how these single moments — usually entirely unexpected — are able to transform the individual’s life, clearing their vision and allowing a new consciousness to emerge. As a whole, this collection paints a breathtaking portrait of the intricacies of the shamanic path and the paradigm shift of which we all are part.
Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicity in Everyday Life, by Robert Moss (New World Library) 272 pages — Become a Kairomancer Synchronicity is when the universe gets personal. Through this book of games and enchanting stories, you’ll learn how to monitor the play of coincidence and the symbolic resonance of incidents in daily life in order to tap into the deeper logic of events, receive extraordinary counsel, and have wonderful fun. You will be invited to become a kairomancer: someone who is poised to catch the messages in special moments when synchronicity is in play — and to take action to seize the opportunities those moments present. To be a kairomancer, you need to trust your feelings as you walk the roads of this world, to develop your personal science of shivers, and to recognize in your gut and your skin that you know far more than you hold on the surface of consciousness. This is a way of real magic, which is the art of bringing gifts from a deeper world into t
The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker, by Obadiah Harris (Penguin Publishing) 192 pages — This elegant, concise guide by the founder of the University of Philosophical Research distills a lifetime of spiritual seeking into one beautiful, unforgettable blueprint for inner growth. For more than a half-century, Obadiah Harris has studied the spiritual path, holding ministerial pulpits in traditions ranging from Pentecostalism to New Thought, and directing programs in continuing education, community-outreach, and distance-learning at major universities. He has worked with the ideas and legacies of spiritual icons ranging from Manly P. Hall, author of the landmark The Secret Teachings of All Ages, to Ernest Holmes, founder of the Science of Mind movement, America’s most successful and intellectually rigorous New Thought congregation. When he was growing up in rural Oklahoma, Harris’s family provided the first pulpit to internationally known televangelist Oral Roberts. As a scholar and seeker, Harris has traversed and helped shape broad swaths of our modern spiritual landscape. Now, he distills the insights he has found — all of them potent, powerful, and, above all, useful — in The Simple Road. The Simple Road is more than a book. This concise statement is a spiritual GPS that guides the earnest seeker past dead-ends and switchbacks to locate the path that most intimately and directly connect us with the Source of all life. The methods and ideas in this book can help rescue you from a crisis and provide a daily source of practice. This brave work addresses head-on topics that are often shunned or ignored in works of “proper” theology, including the question of physical healing by spiritual means — a topic treated with deepest seriousness — and with the existence of hostile forces that test us on the spiritual path. The Simple Road is balm for parched souls. Whatever tradition you belong to, or if you belong to no one tradition, The Simple Road helps you locate the thread of universality that runs through all faiths, and leads you to practices, prayers, methods, and parables that lift your daily journey to a higher, better place. This brief, powerful book can bring you literally life-saving solace when facing life’s entanglements.
The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection, by Michael A. Singer (Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony) 272 pages — From the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Untethered Soul comes the astonishing true-life story about what happens when you just let go. A thriving spiritual community on over six hundred acres of pristine forest and meadows in Florida, a cutting-edge software package that transformed the medical practice management industry, a billion-dollar public company whose achievements are archived in the Smithsonian Institution, a book that became a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah favorite, and a massive raid by the FBI that would lead to unfounded accusations by the U.S. government — how could all of this spring from a man who had decided to live alone in the middle of the woods, let go of himself, and embrace a life of solitude? But this man had made a radical decision–one that would unwittingly lead him to both the pinnacle of success and the brink of disaster. Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, tells the extraordinary story of what happened when, after a deep spiritual awakening, he decided to let go of his personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. As Singer takes you on this great experiment and journey into life’s perfection, the events that transpire will both challenge your deepest assumptions about life and inspire you to look at your own life in a radically different way.
Turn Your Dreams Into Reality: Simple Tools & Techniques to Get Everything You Want, by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. (Llewellyn Worldwide) 264 pages — Empower yourself to get what you want, feel more satisfaction at work and in your personal life, and prosper in all that you do. Filled with easy-to-learn yet powerful strategies and techniques, Turn Your Dreams Into Reality helps unleash your creativity, improve your relationships, be more persuasive, and increase your energy. Using visualization, the law of attraction, intuition, meditation, and more, this book provides the tools you need to gain everything you want in life, love, and career. Discover how to visualize your goal, take the needed steps toward it, and overcome any obstacles in your way. Access the inner powers of your mind and use them to make better decisions and find true self-empowerment. Through practical exercises and comprehensive instruction, you’ll turn problems into possibilities, and then transform those possibilities into success.
Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times, by Piero Ferrucci (Penguin Publishing) 288 pages — The bestselling psychotherapist and author of The Power of Kindness provides concrete, meaningful lessons in developing internal willpower during times of personal crisis. We all experience periods of gloom, fear, and uncertainty. But we each possess deep reserves of inner strength and wisdom for dealing with such setbacks. Indeed, it is the very arrival of darkened circumstances that can summon our untapped energies. In Your Inner Will, therapist and philosopher Piero Ferrucci explores how to play on the iron chords of our interior selves. In this stirring and deeply practical work, Ferrucci provides a full program for the cultivation of the will by employing insights from classical mythology and wisdom teachings, neuroscience research, case studies, and psychological exercises. Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of will and is followed by exercises that guide the reader in its development. Chapters include: Mastery, Autonomy, Freedom, Courage, Integrity, and Resilience. Ferrucci describes the pitfalls we face when our inner strength is lacking, and shows us what we can expect when it is healthfully developed. An effective will can guide us in our search for inner freedom; it helps us to take risks and to renew ourselves; it makes us feel strong and confident. Your Inner Will is an immensely practical study that helps readers navigate crises and pursue more purposeful lives.
Your Right to Be Rich: Napoleon Hill’s Proven Program for Prosperity and Happiness, by Napoleon Hill (Penguin Publishing) 432 pages — Dr. Napoleon Hill’s landmark book Think and Grow Rich does not restrict the concept of riches to such narrow parameters as fortune and fame. You have the right to be rich, and you deserve to be rich in every way–personally and spiritually–as well as financially. This seemingly simple idea spawned a philosophy about wealth and success that has permeated every generation since its inception. Your Right to Be Rich gathers transcripts from the most vital and important speeches given by Napoleon Hill. Available in the past only as audio editions and sound-bite snippets, transcripts from these speeches will be presented in print for the first time here. Working from the notion that our thoughts create our lives, Hill urges readers to embrace and pursue abundant life — which is so much more than just material wealth. As he asserts in his passionate speeches, all people deserve to live fully and with purpose.
Beyond Borders, by Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann (UMP Records) — Randy Armstrong has been creating a fusion of jazz, western classical and folk music with musical traditions and instruments from around the world for four decades. He co-founded the pioneering Do’a World Music Ensemble, which welcomed classical and jazz bassist Volker Nahrmann from Hamburg, Germany on its fifth album, World Dance. This launched an enduring musical collaboration for Volker and Randy and the subsequent release of their Hand In Hand CD on the Global Pacific label as Unu Mondo in 1994. Inspired by their love of music and cultures, they tour and travel extensively, drawing inspiration from the world’s diversity on Beyond Borders. Their compositions take you on a global voyage, from the streets of Havana and Rio de Janeiro, the evocative traditions of India and the Middle East, to the romantic café and cinema music of France and Italy, the haunting sounds of the Native American pow wow, and the worldbeat rhythms of West Africa and the Caribbean, all blended with contemporary jazz, Western classical, and folk music influences.
Encantado, by Jim Stubblefield (Natural Elements Records) — Guitarist and composer Jim Stubblefield ventures into a varied world of sonic adventure with Encantado. Fluid guitar solos, soaring non-lyric vocals, majestic strings and infectious percussion abound on this recording. From the expansive “Beyond the Horizon” (featuring the stellar voice of Moksha Sommer) to the blistering “Odyssey of Fire” to the meditative “Terra e Sole,” Jim takes the listener on a global journey. The album title, Encantado, is a term that means charm, enchantment and even intimacy. It appears in Brazilian folklore as the general designation for a legend that begins in an underwater realm called “Encante” and encompasses mythical creatures, including spirit beings, shape-shifting snakes and the “boto encantado” pink dolphin that lives in the Amazon River and its tributaries. “It’s a legend believed by many people who live deep in the Brazilian rain forests,” Stubblefield says. “I love that type of folklore.” The new CD subtly stretches beyond simply offering Latin music. Some of the tunes offer hints and flavors of Arabic, Celtic, Middle Eastern, progressive rock and neo-classical.
Mystical Morning, by Uwe Gronau (Confido) — Uwe Gronau is a German musician, a master of many styles with numerous eclectic recordings. His musical enthusiasm and boundless creativity can not be contained. “There is something special about mornings, the start of a new day,” Gronau says. “In the morning the world is fresh and the possibilities stretch before us. Often it is peaceful before all of the day’s activities start. Mornings can be a mystical time, good for contemplation, meditation and preparation. So I created a new album that I call Mystical Morning, and it is full of positive, celebratory music that is like sunshine pouring onto a new day.” Gronau said on this album that he wanted to offer a variety of musical styles, some rocking and some gentle, some featuring acoustic piano and others using electrical sounds. Many pieces include bass and drumming to make an ensemble sound, and he enjoyed playing the organ on some tunes.
Songs for the Sangha, by Deva Premal & Miten with Manose (Prabhu Music/White Swan Records) — Songs for the Sangha is an exploration of fresh musical terrain for these beloved devotional musicians – a collection of ancient Indian texts, sung with effortless artistry by Deva Premal, coupled with Miten’s sensual reggae grooves that pulse and weave beneath spiritually inspired anthems. Add classical Indian bamboo flute, courtesy of renowned Nepalese bansuri maestro and vocalist Manose, the rock-solid foundation of producer Joby Baker’s bass and drums, and UK keyboard wizard Spencer Cozens’ jazz-inflected piano contributions, and this very rich, evocative new album. Surrounding themselves with three such fine and diverse musicians, Deva Premal & Miten have transformed their music into a musical magic carpet ride, played exquisitely by an elegant five-piece band. Translated from Sanskrit, sangha means spiritual family. The golden thread that runs through this record is a sense of harmony, adventure and devotion. Qualities you’d definitely be grateful in any family or community, spiritual or otherwise.