Music Reviews

Anaya: Creating Music To Produce Love and Manifest Healing

By Irene Ross

Anyone who’s ever taken a yoga class is no stranger to spiritual music, but one conversation with Anaya is all it takes to really understand just how much music can elevate the human spirit.

That’s something few of us recognize. We contribute to the world by creating, and we find that palette by tapping into that gap between mind and heart. Our thoughts become actions. Life becomes the canvas.

Anaya is an award-winning Brazilian composer, keyboardist and vocalist who refers to her music as “Cosmic New Age.”

When she reflects on her music, she explains that It takes the listener through a spiritual and healing journey that is meant to put a smile on the soul. “My music fulfills a collective yearning shared by humanity for harmony, unity and balance,” she says, adding that, since childhood, she’s always had access to other dimensions. “ The difficult thing was to adapt and live here, so music has an instinctive role for me.”

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Her latest album, Aonki: Gateway To Love, helped her get to that other dimension and connect with Carlos, her late husband. It is a collection of passionately stirring songs, both futuristic and traditional, with members of the Czech Philharmonic playing, in virtual model, in the background.

Like all of her music, Aonki: Gateway To Love is both comforting and energizing while combining orchestral new age, electronic and melodic trance influences and textures. When she writes, she first draws upon her spiritual side and enters into another world, that of musical vibration. She later incorporates her tech background, as a Digital Information Specialist, where she can align the most effective sounds with her spiritual concepts.

A multi-talented professional with a Post Doctorate degree in leadership and a PhD in Information Technologies, Anaya joins her expertise in computer science with a deep understanding of universal spirituality to create a union between technology and the senses.“Telepresence is already a reality in Quantum Physics and the virtual technology platforms. And music has a primordial role for me in this sense.”

“My music can make people go to their hearts and from there the love starts coming. It provides a deep contact with themselves while listening wherever they are.

She continued: “When my husband passed away I first felt as though I had vanished. I went to listen my own music and then started creating a song completely dedicated to him. I was creating and crying at same time,” she said.

Carlos, her beloved deceased husband

Music has one of the highest vibrations and here’s why: When you play an instrument, say, strumming a guitar, it makes objects vibrate. You have notes and they vary in frequency. The note itself doesn’t change, but the sound (pitch) will be different, based on the type of instrument used; for instance, the same note will sound one way on a violin, but another way on a flute.

To put it in perspective, 8Hz is considered to be the natural “beat” of the universe, with our brains operating anywhere from 14 Hz to 40Hz. Even though the notes are always the same, say, a C will always be a C, the sound (pitch) of that note will be different on various instruments. All the other objects in the room (including window shades) will also vibrate, so music’s vibration can reach as high as 440 Hz.

As a result, you vibrate, feel happy and heal. The power of music has always been recognized by the science community, starting with Einstein who often talked about the often close relationship between math, science and music. He said he sees his life in terms of music, and when a scientist says that, maybe we need to pay a little more attention. These days, more and more surgeons are using music to reduce anxiety and fear among their patients, and Anaya’s music is used by The American Health System hospitals.

How do you select music that raises your vibration and tone? Have you ever had a song give you a racing heart or a feeling of excitement and energy? That’s your vibration at work! Look for pitch, speed and words. Then start your own process of healing.

About the author:

Irene Ross is professional writer, editor and blogger. A former magazine editor and newspaper reporter, she is also a health coach and functional practitioner.

Irene often writes about wellness-related topics. As someone who is deeply spiritually rooted and, with her functional approach to health coaching, Irene focuses much of her wellness on the mind-body-connection and the relationship between emotions and physicality. “There are many kinds of wellness–community, financial, spiritual, etc–and if just one is out of balance, it will negatively impact your overall well being.”

She has two websites: and

Photos: Marcio Dias Alves


Different Drummer: One Man’s Music and Its Impact on ADD, Anxiety and Autism

The brave memoir of a passion for an ancient technique that grows into contemporary tech

The Strong Institute has announced the release of Jeff Strong’s new book, Different Drummer: One Man’s Music and its Impact on ADD, Anxiety and Autism.

“Different Drummer is a brave and open memoir of someone who has followed his passion and intuition and combined those with careful research to create something truly groundbreaking.”

Percussionist and researcher Jeff Strong embarks on a three-decade journey into the power of musical rhythm. Different Drummer chronicles his path as he navigates ancient drumming practices, conducts clinical research, and develops the music that establishes him as a pioneer in the world of auditory brain stimulation.

Beginning with his own struggles with ADHD, Jeff abandons a successful music career and doggedly searches for ways to use musical rhythm to positively impact brain function and behavior. Jeff meticulously documents the development of his therapy and its supporting technology as he drums for people with a variety of challenges including autism, anxiety disorders and ADD.

“I was engaged in a tradition with a long history. In many places around the world drummers were employed to moderate behavior, to calm or excite, to soothe or provoke. They were the therapists, the psychologists, the psychiatrists. Drummers were the bridge to the unconscious and the unknown where the root of behavior resides.”

Jeff’s inquisitive mind and careful research reveal how fast, complex drumming can offer long-term benefits for children and adults with neurological disorders. Different Drummer offers a compelling look at the life-changing effects of musical rhythm, why the drum holds a prominent role in cultures around the world, and how rhythm can influence the brain and behavior.

As a Licenced Therapist, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in, or dealing with Spectrum issues…ADD, Autism, and Anxiety. Jeff Strong , a percussionist and researcher, invites the reader to learn, explore, and open their minds to a unique and highly effective therapeutic approach to working with brain functioning and behavior. I found this book to be an interesting balance of the writer’s personal journey and client case studies. It is a humanistic read….not dry at all. This book should be on the shelves of anyone working with, or living with, people dealing with sleep, anxiety, aggression, attention, self-regulation, processing, and/or connection issues. This work is changing lives.
Review on

Different Drummer: One Man’s Music and its Impact on ADD, Anxiety and Autism
Jeff Strong
ISBN: 978-0692372760
Paperback: 298 pages, $18.00
Wholesalers/Distributors: Baker & Taylor; Ingram
BISAC: Music / Individual Composer & Musician
Publisher: Strong Institute; 1st edition (January 21, 2015)
Visit: for more information.

About the Strong Institute
The Strong Institute, founded in 1994, is a pioneer in the field of custom auditory brain stimulation. Known primarily for their work with individuals on the autism spectrum, the Institute also has a major impact in ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and Sleep Disorders, among others. The Strong Institute’s mission is to utilize technology and data to research, develop, and deliver the best possible auditory brain stimulation programs for individuals with neurological disorders. And for those without. Brain Shift Radio is a current manifestation of this mission.


Cellist Yoed Nir releases new “Next Dream” album on Spektor

Cellist, composer, and accompanist, Yoed Nir, takes another step toward center stage with his sophomore solo release, The Next Dream, due out June 17th.

Nir has appeared on over 600 albums with the likes of Judy Collins, Interpol’s Paul Banks, Rufus Wainwright, Yael Naim, Kishi Bashi, and Of Montreal, and was most recently seen touring the world with Regina Spektor as part of her live band.The experience of working with a small army of elite artists over the years has produced a mature, nuanced musician and composer set to take the contemporary, classical, and indie music worlds by storm.

Since completing his classical music studies at the Jerusalem Music Academy, Yoed Nir has worked to develop a signature cello sound, distinct and identifiable in any musical context. On the path to discovering the voice of his music, Nir experimented with and explored a wide range of extended instrumental techniques which enables him to layer multiple sonorities to create new textures and sound fields for the cello as a solo and ensemble instrument. The Next Dream features Nir’s own music in which listeners can hear the full spectrum of his influences from Bela Bartok and Dmitri Shostakovich to Umm Kulthum, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Jimi Hendrix at the other end of the spectrum.

The intention of the nine-track album revealed itself after the completion of the record. Having written, arranged and performed the album, Nir realized that he had created a song cycle to accompany the dreams of the listener. In the footprint of his first release (Suspended Hours, 2013), the majority of what you hear on the record is Nir layering numerous cello tracks with minimal yet haunting vocals. The difference lies in the addition of an array of powerhouse collaborators,including violinist/vocalist Kishi Bashi and vocalist Sonya Kitchell.

The track listing includes:
1.       Awaken Love feat. Sonya Kitchell
2.       Devil’s Dance
3.       Time is Up
4.       No Chance Survival
5.       To The Unknown feat. Kishi Bashi
6.       My Last Breath
7.       It’s a New Beginning
8.       Burned With Desire feat. Keiko Ishibashi
9.       Traveling Through The Dark

For more information on The Next Dream and Yoed Nir, please visit: | |


Israeli born cellist Yoed Nir has worked with Grammy-winning artists, toured with pop legends, and performed at an Emmy-nominated live concert for PBS. Having studied in the finest of music conservatories and performed on over 600 albums with renowned performers such as Yael Naim, Kishibashi, and Regina Spektor, Nir’s unique musical background has granted him the ability to explore a mixture of genres from pop and jazz to rock. As a solo musician and composer, Nir released his debut album, Suspended Hours, in 2013, and is poised to release his second solo album, The Next Dream, in June.


Music for Meditation and Relaxation: Dr. Hummingbird to the Rescue

‘Photographing’ sonic mysteries

By April White

Have you ever experienced a magical moment during which you felt suspended outside of time and space, and then you immediately wondered whether you had just imagined it?

Maybe the cynical part of you convinced yourself you had made it up or created it in your mind. But another part of you knew it was real—maybe more real than any other moment—and this part of you knew better than take credit for it or dismiss it.

This was my journey and struggle with Dr. Hummingbird, my new album of ambient, instrumental soundscapes that was inspired by moments such as these.

Each song seemed to blow into my consciousness like a soothing breeze and briefly land on my ear just long enough for me to take a sonic picture of it before it floated off again like a butterfly. And each time I almost couldn’t believe what I had heard. But there it was, recorded into a song that I could revisit whenever I wanted to hear that it was, indeed, real.

To this day, every time I listen to the album, a part of me stands back in astonishment, knowing better than to take credit for the songs, but merely for having heard and captured them in notes and sounds.

Some of the songs came to me through the creatures in my care, my cherished parakeets and bunnies: Cornelia, Buckminster, Evangeline, Cletus, and June. I wrote
“Evangeline, My Queen” to comfort my baby bunny when she was facing near-and-almost-certain death. She loved the song and listened to it with upturned ear each day, as if she knew it was written for her. And, miracle of all miracles, she survived!

I like to say that “Love Birds” was actually written by my two very musical parakeets, Cornelia and Buckminster, because they guided the melody with their cheering chirps of approval as I played the piano next to them. And “Buckminster Blue” was written the day after he suddenly passed; as I struggled to find joy above sorrow for the time he spent with us.

I consider many of the songs to be soundtracks that accompanied the creatures outside our house in Los Angeles. “Dr. Hummingbird” was inspired by the ruby-throated hummingbirds outside our window that always prescribe joy and wonderment. “Sunning Lizard” was written while watching the little lizard outside our window sunbathe fearlessly on the retaining wall. And “Elemental Cavalry” is a song about asking for reinforcement, expecting an army of angels to be sent, and instead being rescued by tiny but mighty dragonflies and butterflies that simply shifted my perspective away from myself and back onto the universe at large.

Some of the songs were written as illustrations of concepts or images I was pondering or processing. “Erasing Angles” is about the hope of erasing harsh, misguided or broken lines that violate sacred geometry through love. “Fixing Dolly” was written to sonically illustrate an image of a crestfallen little girl bringing her broken dolly to mommy and handing it over reluctantly when she realizes she can’t fix it herself. Finally, “Veer-Zaara Love” was inspired by the incredible love depicted in the Indian romantic drama “Veer-Zaara,” which is best summed up in a line of the film’s dialogue: “Are they human pretending to be God, or are they God disguised as humans?”

While I like to say that Dr. Hummingbird takes listeners on a “tinkly” journey through a lush, internal landscape that reminds us there’s magic in the world, all I really know is that it takes me on one. I can only hope that others will hear a glimpse of the same comfort and joy it brought me to capture these songs in this series of sonic photographs.

Feel free to email me at if you would like me to share music with you in the future.
About the Author – April White ( is a Los Angeles-based composer, producer and singer. Her musical journey began at age 4, when she learned to play the piano through the Suzuki Method. She is also a member of the indie electropop trio Tiny Machines, (