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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Zen Voyage
By Lea Longo
Label: Sweet Life Music
Zen Voyage tracks
1. Namaste  
2. Aham Prema-Mantra to find Divine Love  
3. Heart Sutra Mantra-To Open Your Heart  
4. Ganesha Mantra-To Remove Obstructions  
5. Bliss Mantra-To Help You Find Happines & Joy  
6. Healing Tara Mantra-To Heal Emotional & Spiritual Health  
7. Om Nama Shivaya-Mantra of the Spirit  
8. Mantra of Abundance-To Help Gain Abundance in All Areas of Your LIfe  
9. Om Arkaya Namaha-The Sun Mantra  
10. Mantra of Awakening-To Lead Us from Darkness to Light  
I Bow To You
Heartfelt, calming and exciting all at the same time? That scarcely describes the new album by Lea Longo called Zen Voyage. The music is a medium of ancient Sanskrit mantras sung sweetly and delivered with exceptional melody. Although my Western ears still have difficulty with the repetitiveness of Eastern music, I was never bored throughout this remarkable album.

Canadian Lea Longo is not only a talented singer-songwriter, but also a dedicated yoga instructor and Mantra Meditation facilitator. Her unique music appears on television and film and she is the recipient of many international music prizes. Lea's voice is soft and gentle, a bit reminiscent of R&B artist Sade. The music, Eastern flavored with a medium tempo, is muted at times allowing the fervor of the human voice to dominate, but in this case, it is not a bad thing. Lea shares the metaphysical spotlight with co-writer "Radical" Rad Crasto, guitarist and producer.

Namaste, from the Hindi phrase, "I bow to you" is a well-known international greeting. Lea uses the salutation as a mental and musical introduction as in a first encounter of two kindred souls. It is the beginning of the future, an invitation so to speak.

Heart Sutra Mantra derived from Buddhist teachings is a prayer asking to make the heart lighter and to alleviate suffering. Lea sings this one with a passionate, breathless tone evoking the ancient teachings of a Chinese monk. The mantra calls for Perfect Wisdom. Dramatic percussion, mellow guitar and medium tempo allow the listener to get lost inside their private realm.

Strong sitar begins the tune Healing Tara Mantra. Not only is the music haunting, but Lea's voice adds significantly to the mysterious sounds. The repeated line is something like, "OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA." It is the prayer that implores to be close to Tara, the Female Buddha. This was actually one of my favorites on the album.

Om Nava Shiyava with a pronounced beat is oddly memorable, but without the option of fear. It is the mantra of self-realization and one of the most widely used and potent mantra. Lea's voice is layered and the music is a subtle background to the Five (not counting Om) Sacred Symbols representing earth, water, fire, air, and space.

Mantra of Awakening, the final cut is the mantra of realization and attainment of the highest joy. It is the discovery of alertness and mindfulness. As in a Zen Voyage mantras it is a journey and not perhaps the final destination.

Although not a student of any Eastern philosophy, after listening to this album I can understand why it brings peace to the spirit. All I did was listen and open my mind. The peace seemed to just flow right in. Longo's compositions are very soothing and the music has many uses other than yoga and meditation. You will perhaps find your own use. And a final note to Lea, "Votre musique touche mon âme pour toujours."

Rating: Good +   Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/21/2009
 
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