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Memories of Empathy [EP] by Samir Bodhi
- posted by Robin James on 7/14/2023
Memories of Empathy
We can see that the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening and that people’s self-absorption is reducing human empathy to a distant recollection, according to Samir Bodhi. Memories of Empathy is easy flowing and comfortable music reconciling and unifying seemingly disparate elements of human nature and the perceived difference between the rich and poor of both Eastern and Western worlds. Memories of Empathy excels in reminding us to help people on their spiritual path and connecting with others, finding our internal emotions that match another person's emotions within a soothing East meets West sonic and rhythmic aesthetic.

This second album from Samir Bodhi explores the natural capacity to place oneself in another's position, resonating with the feelings or attitudes present in oneself and the ability to share the feelings of another. On his first album, Stairway to Nirvana, as well as on this newest release, Samir has the ability to stir, thrill, and inspire while reminding us that we should not rush any aspect, the sound is rich, polished, glossy, exceptionally professional, lush, atmospheric and on this album feels mostly Western influenced, while including many traditional elements expressing Indian sensibilities.

The instruments on Memories of Empathy include Ableton, Synth, Piano, Accordion, Saxophone, Guitars (6 & 12 String, Nylon), Bass, Fretless bass, Irish Bouzouki, Mandolin, Cello, 808 drums, Gondola sounds, Rhythm Programming, Sarangi samples, Santoor, Dumbek, Indian flute, Tabla and Electronic Piano. Of the six compositions, three tracks were co-produced by guitarist / bassist Sanjoy Das and fit perfectly with the three tracks by American multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli.

Madhumita Chatterjee has a vast range of expertise and repertoire. She presents Hindi Bollywood hits, ghazals, semi-classical, Rabindra Sangeet and Bengali modern songs with amazing dexterity. Her vocals on "Have and Have Nots" (5:53) are complemented by Supriyo Dutta's male vocals on this Indian raga, a heavenly framework beginning with a mystical churchy opening, then brings on the enchanting beats and the vocals.

The Indian instrument known as the Santoor is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer which has an exceptional sound. Here it is joined with nylon string guitar, flute and orchestra, for the track, "Heaven So High" (4:27). There is a continuing cinematic orchestral sound on "Affinity" (6:30), an Indian raga instrumental with ethereal vocalizations and guitar, naturally drawn together.

The Hindu word Karuṇa translates as something like sympathy for all who suffer. "Compassion-Karuna" (5:38) brings in the Western beat delicately accented at key moments by the natural sound of water (gondola) and features an Irish Bouzouki, which is distinguished from its Greek origin by a partially staved back and its use in open-string drones, two note intervals, bass lines, and melodic string accompaniment.

The track "Indifference" (4:43) features a shloka at the beginning; a shloka is "any verse or stanza; usually a proverb, or saying." The origin of this track is based on the Gayatri mantra. Gayatri, the five-faced Goddess, is said to have domain over the five senses or pranas, and protects these five life-forces of those who chant the Gayatri Mantra.

"World of Empathy" (6:48) seeks to open the ability to sense other people's emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what they might be feeling. This dynamic track is an essential melding of East-meets-West, featuring the keyboards by Louis Banks, who drives the universal message home in this final resplendent track. Banks is a legendary Indian film composer and Indosphere keyboardist, also known as the “Godfather of Indian jazz.” His father Pushkar Bahadur joined a European-styled band touring India and changed his name to George Banks, and later changed his son's first name in tribute to Louis Armstrong. Also notable in the family is his grandfather, Bakhat Bahadur Budapirti, who composed the Nepalese national anthem. The track begins with the sound of an opening door, releasing a nostalgic horn sound, with amazing glitchy antique warbles that compliment the skillful keyboard masterwork. The track, and the album, concludes with the sound of a closing door, and footsteps walking away.
Here’s hoping Samir and crew will be back with more music for empathy and meditation, both for the sake of music fans, and for the healing of humanity.

The artists heard on Memories of Empathy are:
Samir Bodhi on Nylon Guitar, Ableton; Partha Paul on Synth, Saxophone, Rhythm Programming
Madhumita Chatterjee, Bollywood vocalist
Sanjoy Das on Guitar, Bass
David Vito Gregoli on Synth, Piano, 6 & 12 String guitars, Bass, Fretless bass, Irish Bouzouki, Mandolin, Dumbek, Accordion, Cello, Sarangi samples, 808 drums, Gondola sounds
Sandip Chatterjee on Santoor
Subir Ray on Indian flute
Joydeb Nandi on Tabla
Louis Banks on Electronic Piano

1 Have and Have Nots (5:53)
2 Heaven So High (4:27)
3 Affinity (6:30)
4 Compassion-Karuna (5:38)
5 Indifference (4:43)
6 World of Empathy (6:48)
Rating: Excellent
Through It All by Lisa Swerdlow
- posted by Dyan Garris on 7/12/2023
Trough It All by Lisa Swerdlow
Lisa Swerdlow is a talented pianist and composer of classical crossover, neo-classical, and New Age piano music. Being brought up in a house filled with music due to her father’s musical influences, Lisa began studying classical piano at the age of 6. By age 16, she was writing and performing songs on piano and guitar. She went on to study music theory and composition at Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods.

Lisa’s newest album release, “Through It All,” is inspired by her wife’s struggle to overcome a very rare and aggressive cancer. Their love story, which spans more than 27 years, can be heard and felt throughout the album. Unfortunately, Lisa’s wife passed away in March 2023.
Lisa says, “Whenever I’d hear my wife laugh, I could hear her life force in music. It’s the harmony of the cosmos that connects us all. We are a song.”

“Through It All” is 8 tracks of passionate, poignant solo piano music leading us through Lisa’s journey of growth and resilience, and a lifetime of love with her wife. The album opens with the emotionally evocative solo piano piece, “A Rhapsody Lives in You.” This was the first single released from the album. This is a lovely and scintillating opening with deep lower register tones and chords, then moving into different melodies in the upper register. Free flowing, yet structured, there are some wonderful chord progressions here as well.

Following is the truly heart-stirring, “Song For Lucie.” This composition serves as a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Touching upon themes of life, love, loss, and personal triumph, the piece resonates with listeners on a deeply profound level.

The title track has moments of both dark and light, just as our journey through life does. “Till We Meet Again,” is bittersweet, as one might imagine. We can literally feel the heart-to-heart connection. And we know, and can indeed feel it through the music, that even though they are gone from this particular place, we shall meet our loved ones again sometime.

“Goodbye” is mainly soft and flowing, becoming ardent toward the end. And like any goodbye, we surely don’t want it to come to an end.

Another single released from this album is, “Finding My Way.” Slower paced than what Lisa usually writes, the song opens with soft, plaintive piano effectively drawing us into the reflective mood of trying to find one’s way “through it all.” The song's powerful message of resilience and determination resonates with anyone who has ever felt lost or uncertain.

“November Moon” is the third single released from the album. Lisa wrote this dreamy and expressive song on a chilly morning in November when she was first processing her wife’s cancer diagnosis. That day, Lisa had awakened before dawn to feed their horses. The quarter moon was “floating like a smile” over the hills that morning, bringing her a sense of strangely unfathomable calm. “November Moon” perfectly captures these emotions as a lovely, simple soundscape, sensitively played, where we can almost feel ourselves out there with Lisa standing in the reflective moonlit quietude. Here, the music brings a certain tranquility to the heart that belies the circumstances.

The album closes out with “Spring Equinox-Persephone Returns.” There is good use of both upper and lower registers here and an ultimate sense of renewal and rejuvenation as we have come “through it all.” We are left with a profound sense of connection, contemplation, and eternal hope.

This is a great solo piano album which will resonate for many under any circumstance, but particularly for any and all who are grieving and/or going “through it.” It’s a love-filled tribute to a lifetime full of love.

Available on all major streaming platforms.
Official artist website:

Note: This album is dedicated to Lucie Tetrault, Lisa’s loving wife of 27 happy years. It was recorded at Piano Haven studios in Sedona, Arizona. Sound engineering and mastering by Joe Bongiorno. Cover art by

Broadcast and Media Promotion:
LAZZ Promotions
Ed and Stacey Bonk
Rating: Very Good +
Love Walks Through Rain by Ann Sweeten
- posted by Robin Jame on 6/9/2023
Love Walks Through Rain
Love Walks Through Rain
Ann Sweeten

Listening to Love Walks Through Rain is as easy as taking in a breeze, the instrumental piano magic just flows, eventually bringing a full spectrum of the quiet emotions. Every track is unique, and each note brings a history. What I hear is music that reaches beyond New Age, and leans toward a classical piano crossover and neo-classical, a sound that, somehow transcends spiritual levels and transports the listener to a higher plane. Ann helps us feel all emotions with this album. Much of this album is written in honor of her beloved dogs that have emotionally carried her through some serious challenges in her life. Feel the transformative power of the artist’s perseverance and the spiritual medicine of the dogs’ energies.

The dance between the higher piano melodies and the soft rhythmically slower tones of the other instruments helps the listener to experience feelings of relief, hope and calm. It embodies a respect for the good memories in life. Guest performers include Charlie Bisharat (Violin), Eugene Friesen (Cello), Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Premik Russell-Tubbs (Akai EWI Wind Synthesizer, Soprano Saxophone), Will Ackerman (Guitar), Tom Eaton (Bass).

The first track sets the mood that warmly stays through the whole album, a fresh, slightly melancholic but always delightfully uplifting combination of feelings. Love is clearly the focus of this music. “Valley Greene” (4:22) lays out the terrain, this solo piano version speaks of showing that you care, of making someone feel special, telling them they are loved, and doing things for them.

Love transcends the human species, and includes many of our warmest canine companions. How do dogs show their affection? “Glimmer” (5:21) might refer to eyes that shine with a warm wavering light, the piano is joined by strings. The key is to maintain natural eye contact while you’re playing or just rubbing a furry back or nosey noggin. Now looking to the heavens above, “Seirios” (4:08) is the Greek name for Canis Majoris, the ancient Dog Star, sometimes known as Sirius. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and has been romanticized for millenia. “The Winter’s Circle” (5:33), an homage to those six stars in the darkest sky, also known as the Winter Hexagon. Sometimes on a dark and clear moonless night, you can see part of the softly glowing river of stars that we call the Milky Way, meandering right through the center of the Winter Hexagon. I think I hear a violin and the English Horn.

Perhaps we do best and feel a sense of joy when we see our partner happy, and when they are sad or depressed, we feel their blue mood, too. “Love Walks Through Rain” (4:54) sharing laughter and tears, the course of love never runs always easily. Now for the hardest of the emotions. A requiem is performed for the dead, “Red–Requiem for an Old Friend” (5:58) completes the circle of emotions, not all forms of love are the same. This track was inspired by a Red Maple that stood in the yard of her and her husband’s home for 40 years before it had to be cut down. The massive tree lived for two centuries and its root ball weighed over 5000 lbs.

Stepping back now, take a moment to indulge an ancestral instinct, finding a familiar path through “The Hills of Riversong” (5:32). I think that the music endeavors to capture the original voices and remain true to the ancients. As with any modern heartbreak, “The Shadow of You” (4:38) remains, sometimes we follow familiar shadows around and do the things that they used to do. On the track “Through Jasmine’s Eyes” (5:12) I hear sparkling runs, strings and a horn. The melody and twinkle of these sweet uplifting piano notes show the happy, pure and innocent nature of Jasmine’s personality. I remember my first dog, a thunderstorm of fuzzy playfulness, and how I would tell her my deepest childhood secrets. Emerging “Out of the Fog” (4:42) the guest musicians blend their instrumental voices with the piano, like water, with Saxophone (Premik Russel-Tubbs), Bass (Tom Eaton), & Guitar (Will Ackerman). Like a sunset, the colors change and bring new feelings, I hear layers of quietly energetic positive intricate full-hearted and beautiful sensations.

The album closes, like bookends, with “Valley Greene Orchestral Reprise” (4:26). I hear the marvelous violin, echoing phrases, with the supporting cello and calming English Horn. Each time I listen, I find that Love Walks Through the Rain is a deeply soul-stirring experience that envelops me in a blanket of lush, melodic reverie bringing strong and positive emotional and mental states. The feeling grows steadily, with strength and courage, and emerges, out of the misty fog, and on into the light.

Ann was a successful ballet dancer earlier in her life, gracing the stage in Swan Lake, Les Symphides and Sleeping Beauty. One can feel that kind of exquisite, free-flowing coryphee movement in her music here, which sweeps across our souls, reminding us that life is a dance, and sometimes we must endure the searing pain of loss to experience the greater rewards these experiences offer in abundance.

Track Listing:
1 Valley Greene 4:22
2 Glimmer 5:21
3 Seirios 4:08
4 The Winter’s Circle 5:33
5 Love Walks Through Rain 4:54
6 Red–Requiem for an Old Friend 5:58
7 The Hills of Riversong 5:32
8 The Shadow of You 4:38
9 Through Jasmine’s Eyes 5:12
10 Out of the Fog 4:42
11 Valley Greene Orchestral Reprise 4:26
Rating: Excellent
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