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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Gratitude by Joe Heinemann, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2016
  abendromen by Tom Eaton, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 5/29/2016
  Keepsakes In The Attic by Jeff Bjorck, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 5/28/2016
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
White Sun II
By White Sun
Label: Be Why
Released 8/26/2016
White Sun II tracks
1. Gobinday Mukunday
2. Ajai Alai
3. Chattra Chakkra Varti
4. Simro Gobind
5. Suniai
6. Aap Sahaee Hoa Har Har Har
7. Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur
8. Akal Instrumental
9. Akal
10. Hummee Hum
11. Ik Ardas Wahe Guru
The Religion of Sound
We are searchers, every one of us. We look for many things in life. We look for peace, enlightenment, wealth, and companionship. There are thousands of subcategories to this list, but my main concern here is the search for wholeness, completeness if you will, of the spirit. A mandala is a cosmic dream, an interpretation in earthly colors that represents balance and unity. The stunning kaleidoscopic mandala on the cover art of White Sun II by Ganash Lama is a physical symbol of that pursuit. But then we have the music. The seraphic vocals of Gurujas combined with the animated music of two-time Emmy winner Adam Berry and Harijiwan, the band that is White Sun. The album, White Sun II, is eleven breathtaking mantras based on Kundalini Yoga and its teachings. The music is so calming, so soothing to the physical as well as the spiritual, that you need not know anything about their origins to appreciate its calming influences. However, whenever I hear music with this much power and this much beauty, I need to know more.

The album opens with the meditative Gobinday Mukunday. The mantra is used to overcome adversity or to get through a difficult time. It is spoken (sung) continuously to affect the negatives and get past the difficulties. The song has an upbeat tempo and a dynamic vocal. Gurujas' voice with its honeyed tone puts me in mind of Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer for the Cranberries.

There is a sumptuous guitar introduction for the song Chattra Chakkra Varti. It is the mantra that seeks victory. The song is a prayer of the heart and Gurujas sings just above whisper, infusing it with deep emotion. It is for me, literally a love song to God.

The prayer Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur is one to praise Guru Ram Das, the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. It is song sung in hope of a miracle. To some, a miracle can be as simple as the smile of a child, to others it might be the cure for an ailment. Whether we hope for health, comfort or just the peace, this is the mantra to sing.

Suniai is a bright tune, a mantra for transformation. The prayer basically opens the channels of the mind to hearing specifics. The translation of the first four lines might be translated thusly; "Listening, pain and sin are erased. Listening, truth, contentment, and spiritual wisdom. Listening, as if to take one's cleansing bath at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage." There is some melodic guitar in the tune that makes it cheerful, if not celebratory.

One of the more reflective tunes on White Sun II is a wordless melody called simply Akal Instrumental. Akal literally means "timeless". The song is polyphonic praise created by multiple instruments including the "kora" or gourd strung lute. The instrument is artistically handled by Grammy-winning Kora player Malian Mamadou Diabate. The basic melody is international, sometimes invoking Greek, Celtic and other Middle Eastern elements, but with specific modal phrasing, hence Universal music. Notice the capital ā€œUā€. The song is followed by another refrain called Akal that is a vocal. This one is in tribute of the "Timeless One", or the God that is independent of time itself.

I would not have expected a mixture of Yogi Mantras and American gospel on the recording, but that is just what the song Hummee Hum turned out to be. Gospel legends The Waters, (Julia Waters, Maxine Waters and Oren Waters) join hands and hearts in this extraordinary round that once heard, is mesmerizing.
The simple phrase, "I am Thine, in Mine Myself. Wahe Guru: Ecstacy of Inner Wisdom" repeats and I was drawn in by the sound (inner vibrations perhaps?) and the rhythm. Pure bliss!

White Sun has done as a group a remarkable job making mantras musically palatable for religious laypersons like myself. The music is like an invitation to learn, to join in, and to praise and you can insert your own deity's name anywhere you desire. I caution you that there might be something subliminal to this music. I found myself relaxed, warmed, and comforted as I listening. Like I said before Universal.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/3/2016
 
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