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The Native American Flute As Therapy by Micki Free
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
A special album
There can be nothing better than originality, there can be nothing better than an album that comes from the heart and soul and is for the betterment of man and woman kind, this healing album by Micki Free is all of the above and much more.
This is a cathartic journey for me too and one that I am happy to walk the trail with an open heart and mind. The entire concept is original, but the inclusion of Waterboys keyboardist Paul Brown was a stroke of sheer genius.
The ten minute opus of magnificence starts the album and is called White Candle Light. The constant positive audio from Free during this recording is part of the magic that is contained within, it pulls us into a world of absolute healing, the piece it’s self is ambience in perfection, and seems to hover around us like the warm cloak of the ancestors on a cold winters day.
The entire planet and its billions of inhabitants could do with listening to this album; perhaps they would drop the fear and embrace the love. Healing Bath is perfection, the natural sounds of running water work with Free’s audio of the nature of water as a positive cleansing energy. As I sit and listen to this on headphones for the first time, one can feel the soothing power of a sensual and calming energy of the Healing Bath. The light percussion and acoustic guitar here worked well with the flute in an almost symbiotic manner.
One of my favourite herbs is Lavender, I used to live near a lavender field back in the UK, and over here in Cyprus it is also abundant. Micki Free describes a Lavender Kiss so beautiful, again using guitar that almost sounds a little like Prince and Purple Rain at times, which of course in a way would be quite apt. The flute is a great narrator and healer and the imagery of miles of beautiful lavender valleys is simply sublime in its artistry, listen also to Brown on Hammond organ, he brings a real sense of wonderment to the composition.
Two things the people of this world need right now are love and positivity and through Native American Flute As Therapy, I believe if embraced, this is possible. The healing journey for me is wrapped in this track, as my last wife died of cancer 4 years ago in 2012 and the first thing we did was to fly out to work with a Native American shaman to help bring about some healing and balance to this situation. The tale tells of a woman with cancer, like my late wife. She would meet the artist after being told by her friends, that Native flute can cure cancer, can it do so? No, I personally do not think so, but it can be a wonderful healing technique and one that can bring peace, balance and love to a sufferer of this most terrible of diseases and if you believe it can help, it will, and if you give up and let go of all that is holding you within fear, then perhaps anything can happen.
Micki Free has faced one of the toughest challenges here and met it head on, with love truth and respect and in doing so produced one of the finest examples of Native American flute music around today.
I can feel the healing I need coming from this release and if we bathe ourselves in Positive Energy, only good can come from this embrace. Free says, and is correct in doing so “Love is the antidote to fear” this starts with gratitude and all lessons that are learned. The beautiful ambience that floats here is like a gentle sonic shower of light and positivity, the spoken audio and harmonic backdrop of musical magic is simply majestic on the entire album, here we also have a sample of healing drumming as well, this sways with the musicians flute in a dance of joy.
As we slide over the half way marker we come across a piece called Feet & Toes, now I am lucky enough to be married to a beautiful woman who, among many things, is a Reflexologist. Free states, “Relax, let go” foot massage or therapy really requires you to do so, and once we are at peace in this calming, soft and soothing session, it will alleviate many physical problems and assist the body to recuperate. Once more the combination of Free and Brown works so well here, in bringing us, the very eager listener and seeker of inner peace, just what we need and when we need it.
One of the many things I liked about this album is the track lengths, we always have plenty of time to enjoy both the spoken word and music that is laid in front of us. This aromatic offering is well over six minutes and called Essential Oils. This has a really delightful melody that seems to draw us in close and personal and opens up our heart and allows our senses to literally smell the Essential Oil that is need by us at that time. Hammond and Flute are always in partnership, but on this track Free really shows his supreme skill and quality as a flautist.
Sometimes I feel like I am living in Eden, I open the windows on a summers evening and smell Neroli and Jasmine, this sensual essence floats into our room and we can enjoy its healing properties. Free employs the use of rain sticks and sounds of thunder to really empathise the point on Jasmine Rain, and the solo flute takes us, dear reader and listener, to a completely different plain of existence.
One of my favourite herbs is sage, working as a Shamanic healer I use sage all the while, working in my meditative practice, I use it to assist my mind to quieten, so that I may let go, and be at one with the moment. This piece of music may well fit the bill to use during these journeys and meditations, the beat of the drum is perfect and the flute works on several levels, as a narrator, but also as a Shaman of sound, a guide to the other realms, as such Sacred Sage the composition is musical bliss.
The penultimate piece is called Heart-Release (Peregrine Lane). The use of the organ here is awe inspiring at creating such a vista of inner thought and musings, these labyrinths of mystery can be traversed by what is a truly a spiritual track beyond many that I have heard before. The flute of Free is outstanding in technique and performance, but if you be still and open up that heart and mind, it will take you on a journey to unconditional love also.
Our very last offering is called, Down By The River. For me, there is nothing more healing than spending time in nature and if one can find a full flowing river, then even better. This is a charming way to finish what in my opinion is a land mark album; also if there are any Neil Young fans out there, this will most certainly appeal to you.
Micki Free has been in the music business for a while now and his musical journey is a tale to be told on its own, and one you can hear all about on his One World Music Radio interview. He has manifested into the world an album of pure beauty and unconditional love, he has brought Brother Paul Brown (Must be the best Hammond performer around) into the fold, and his beloved wife April, who is a cancer suffer, but also a magical and loving flute player, and together, in love, they have created one of the most meaningful healing albums of all time.
I whole heartedly recommend this album to the entire populous of the planet, while that may be slightly over ambitious, the ability of us all to embrace peace, tranquillity and love through music, IS entirely possible. It has helped me heal on my personal journey and with an open heart and mind I hope it helps you too. Native American Flute as Therapy is one of those special albums that I really urge you to make part of your musical collection, and even your healing practise. Releases of this amazingly high quality are very rare, so embrace it, buy it and enjoy it.
Rating: Excellent
Immortelle by Deuter
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
Highly recommended
This album has a beauty all of its own, but carries on a long, lengthy and splendid career for the artist. Deuter is a household name around the world with regard to healing and, relaxation and meditative music and he is back, with yet another album that oozes class and tranquillity.
Immortelle has eight tracks that all pay reference and respect to healing plants that have aided humanity’s recuperation over millennia and we can start right at the beginning with the piece Monarda. A rich tapestry of sound can be found here, a depth of colour and healing too, the lush strings, give a really aged feel to the composition and one can see why, through the music that the Ojibwa people among others, would wish to use this plant for its healing powers.
Sonnenbraut is up next and here is a track with a purposeful rhythm built into the composition. The gentle percussion gives you images of this beautiful Yellow perennial plant and its petals dance with the soft and flowing flute from the master musician. It’s always blissful listening to a Deuter album and the artist always gives you so much time to bathe in the music, this track being over 10 minutes long is a fine example of long form, done brilliantly.
On our journey through the realm of Deuter’s earthly delights we come across the plant and track called Traubensilberkerze, a plant with a long list of healing properties, it has aided over time many disorders, depression and muscle pain just being a couple. Here Deuter provides us with an arrangement that sparkles and moves with the wind and under a perfectly blue sky the percussion and keyboards weave a really magical spell over us, the ever eager listener.
At the half way point, we come across one of the most ambient tracks off the album called Lilly of the Valley. The flute and keyboards here really remind me of Deuter’s work on Reiki Hands of Light. The graceful but delicate rhythm is splendid and filled once more with both colour and a peace filled sense of tranquillity, although highly poisonous, this plant has been used by herbalists across the globe and even given at weddings too. Deuter has created a real light energy within this track, which seems to dance around the woodland with us.
I’m currently drinking a herbal tea from the mountain ranges of Cyprus, but you may have also come across this next piece called Vervain in the same capacity, as it is used as a tea drink. Deuter’s flute is stunning here and seems to wend its way around the forest with ease; the very classy light string section gives a real essence of blissful calm and serenity as the master musician manifests one of my personal favourites piece from the album, in a slice of ambient genius.
Binsuga is almost angelic in its style and composition, the combination of flutes and keyboards brings us a really ethereal track of great ambience and age. Here is a healing plant that can be documented as far back as the 12th century. This is also the shortest piece off the release at just over 5 minutes long, but its structure and composition, still allow us plenty of time as listeners, to really get into the overall arrangement of the track and its mystical beauty.
As we arrive at the penultimate composition we find ourselves listening to the title track and of course called Immortelle. The soothing tones of the keyboard and piano lead us gently towards this flower that I have seen used as essential oil to aid the recovery of inflammation and sensitive wounds among other uses. Deuter’s performance on the keys here is sublime; it creates both mood and a healing intention and is a delight to listen to.
The very last plant on our journey through the musical woodlands created by Deuter is called Cumaru. Deuter is really back on the territory that I first found him on and has produced a wonderful composition that reminds me of the title track from his Buddha Nature album. This is simply beyond blissful and I could listen to this track for hours on repeat. Cumaru is a wonderful herb that can aid digestion and assist with reducing fevers, among other attributes. Deuter has certainly saved his best for last with this track and I rate this as one of the best compositions I have heard from him for a long while.
Immortelle is exactly what you would expect from Deuter, one of the founding fathers of New Age music, however over the years his standards and performances have never slipped, in fact his releases continue to grow and flourish, much like the plants, he has included songs for within this album.
If you’re a Deuter fan, you will have to purchase this release as it continues a musical legacy that is totally outstanding and of supreme high quality. If you’re new to this artist, then you’re in for a blissful meditative treat. Immortelle is one of the most peace filled musical moments of the year, and one that has been constructed with a real care and attention to detail, a thoroughly recommended album indeed.
Rating: Excellent
Eternity by Anaya
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
An absolute must for your collection
Sometimes it’s really nice to be taken away to a far off land of beauty peace and tranquillity, and through this wonderful album by Anaya we can do just that. This is one of those stunning albums that are as rare as rain in Cyprus!
We start with a complete flourish on the opening piece called Dharma, using the talents and skills of the Prague Symphony Orchestra we are gifted a composition that in parts reminded me in style, of the great composer Ralph Vaughn Williams and The Lark Ascending. The string section really emphasised that mood for me, but the piece overall was so beautiful, it made the perfect start to the release.
Natural sounds of water start the next piece called New Skies and the tremulous sounds of the strings create a real vista of wonderment for us. Anaya as a keyboardist is outstanding, but combing her skills with the orchestra has brought us something truly magnificent. This trembling opus of a fresh new sky is vast, and gives us the listener plenty of room to explore the music in.
Eternity is a real fresh and picturesque album of great quality, just listen to Cosmos, and I am sure you will agree, this is one very striking arrangement, there is a slight quality of mournfulness, but that aged sound, manifests an expansive backdrop of musical genius for us to wander in. The percussion also adds a little flavour here as well.
For Love is up next, and a deep sense of true passion can be felt here. Love, one of the hardest of all emotions to deal with, is explored in a sublime and charming manner by Anaya, through the tones of this track, one can really feel the tenderness that went into creating this composition, the strings here really come into their own, and with the artists flowing talents, manifests for us something unconditionally beautiful.
The shortest piece off the album, at just less than three minutes long, is the keyboard based track Loves River. This for me is one of the cleverest compositions on the release, the strings, bass and keyboards almost place us on a boat trip of love down a river, in its movement and structure, I have a feeling that this maybe one of those tracks that you will not be able to resist playing again and again and again dear reader.
The longest offering on Anaya’s new album Eternity, at well over six and a half minutes, is our dear mother Gaia. I found this, our penultimate composition, very deeply moving and emotional, the floating keyboards and heart rendering string sections were so very moving. Anaya has also built in a little space feel to the track, as well as combining it with the sounds of birds, which gives us the eager listener, the overall feel of our planet in its entirety, our dear Gaia, our mother. Here is a track that just about delivers all aspects of mother earth to us, in a melodious opus of supreme quality. The orchestra and Anaya’s ability to create a musical symbiosis here is simply divine.
So we finish with the lavish and sweeping mood of the final piece called, Once in Time, when I first heard this I was reminded of the sound track work that composer Michael Hoppe creates. Anaya has left her best to last, and this is a composition that fashions magic, constructs a whole new musical dimension, and has been crafted with such a level of care and attention to detail, whilst retaining and cultivating that little childlike enchantment within us all.
Eternity is one of those albums that I would class as simply beautiful, the emotional intensity is there, all of the compositions have all been lovingly manifested for us to enjoy, and the added structure of the Symphony Orchestra of Prague, was a stroke of pure genius that has finally brought into our lives, one of the most professional and captivating releases I have heard for a long time, this is an absolute must for your collection.
Rating: Excellent
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