New Age Music

Creating Conscious Pop Music

Legion of Light is a new conscious pop song written with a healing intent and to align with the crown chakra. A few years back, while getting her certification as a sound healing facilitator, Leyla set the intention to understand what makes a song ‘healing’ and how to connect it with the traditional pop music format. “Pop music had always been my favorite genre, but I realized that there is a potential of crafting a song a little more consciously to help people release emotions and align with their truth. I’m calling this blend between spirituality and pop music ‘Yoga Pop’ or ‘Restorative Pop’.

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It’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t feel a strong connection to music. Even if we can’t carry a tune or play an instrument, we can probably make a list of songs that evoke happy memories and raise our spirits.The act of listening to music has been associated with a number of benefits, including on mood, cognition, and physical functioning in healthy people and in clinical samples, such as those who have suffered a stroke. Every atom in the universe and every cell in the body is vibrating and this can be directed and enhanced through the power of sound frequencies in the form of words and music.

In many ways, Legion Of Light is an extension of Leyla’s Kundalini Yoga practice, studies as a Reiki Master as well as Sound Healing Facilitator. Reiki is Japanese originated healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch and activate the natural healing process of the body and restore well-being.

For the recording session, Kathryn Hamer, a renowned Tibetan singing bowl practitioner, played thousand year old singing bowls, which in the Eastern Tradition emit and resonate specific frequencies that align with each of the seven chakras.

There are seven major energy centers in the body know as chakras in which energy flows through. They are circular vortexes of energy lying across seven different points on our spinal column and are connected to different glands and organs in the body. The chakras are responsible for distribution of life force energy through them. The word ‘chakra’ is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’. When there is a disruption in this life energy or a blockage in any one or more Chakras, the individual may suffer from health issues.

Legion was lyrically and musically written for the crown chakra which is located at the top of the head. This chakra is associated with the pituitary gland and nervous system. It is said to be the chakra of Divine purpose and personal destiny, the seat of the soul, connection to the Highest Self, enlightenment, unity and elevation. The Legion of Light song speaks about the struggles we all face and the patterns and fears we get caught up in but it’s also a call to action to remember our power. Sometimes we discover how strong we are when we have no choice but to be strong. “It’s time to be confident, being accepting and loving of ourselves and our true authentic self. I want to remind people to embrace their light and share their gift with the world. I hope to spread and empowering and uplifting message  – because we all need that right now and we are all in this together. We need to stand in our individual power and tougher in solidarity and raise each other up.”

Legion of Light video:

About the artist:

Leyla is a singer, songwriter and sound artist originally from Switzerland. After being accepted into a Musical Theatre program in voice, acting and dance, she moved to New York city a few years ago. Always striving to spread a positive message, Leyla’s music is about unity, equality, love, compassion and connecting to the power within ourselves, the truth of who we really are. It’s time to speak our truth, own our voice and embrace who we are. She is continuously learning more about the power of music and it has led her to extend her studies as a Reiki Master, Sound Healing Facilitator and Kundalini Yoga teacher.   Her website is: www.lightofleyla.com

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Spiritual Activism through Music

By Deepak Chopra, Will Ackerman, Paul Avgerinos

These are troubling times: hate is threatening to rip apart our national fabric. As our cultural conversation and political climate becomes saturated with xenophobia and divisive rhetoric, it’s not only incumbent on our civic leaders to stand up for what’s right. America’s creative community can also play a significant role by serving as activists.

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As our country enters an era of fear and anxiety, we believe that many can find solace in the “New Age” movement, of which we have been involved for decades. More specifically, we are resisting the recent political developments with what we call “spiritual activism.” Spiritual Activism means speaking up for what is right on a deeply fundamental level: supporting and encouraging tolerance, acceptance, kindness, compassion and empathy. What’s more, spiritual activism can involve focusing the New Age aesthetic sharply on the challenges of our time.

Arguably the most pressing issue of the day is immigration. We are concerned about the isolationist, anti-immigrant trend in our country, and we wanted to make a positive creative statement that reminds our fellow neighbors and citizens that diversity is one of the hallmarks of our country. Our statement has taken the form of Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, a book of poems and album of songs inspired by American immigrants. In essence, we channeled our frustrations into creating poems and songs, hoping that art can enlarge the empathy of our fellow citizens.

Here is how each of us thinks about spiritual activism and music:

Deepak Chopra
India has a very long history of sacred, deeply spiritual music spanning at least five thousand years. The ancient rishis learned the essential vibrational power of music, mantra and devotional singing and its ability to transform, heal, uplift and transcend human suffering and limitation. The true beginnings of today’s ‘New Age” music may be traced to this ambrosial well of pure consciousness. To help heal our fractured hearts and minds I can think of no better remedy than uplifting thoughtful words and music. This is the power of poetry and music. Art can be used as a tonic to heal our wounds.

Will Ackerman
I have a very personal reason for being a spiritual activist. When I was twelve, my mother committed suicide. I was sent in the summer into the mountains of Yosemite to build and maintain forest service trails there. It was the most healing experience of my life, and I have always sought strength in the power of nature. At the same time, I discovered that music was deeply healing as well. Hearing Eric Satie changed my life. His music moved me with its heart and intimacy. I founded Windham Hill Records to explore this powerful gift of music. By simply putting music into the world, it can bring peace, hope, and beauty to a troubled world. Our “Home” project is a natural continuation of this desire to comfort and heal a suffering world with a message tailor-made for the issues of our day.

Paul Avgerinos
I am rarely politically active but the dangerous developments of this past year compel me to exercise my civic responsibility as a patriotic American and engage in Spiritual Activism. Being the son of an immigrant taught me not to take our American freedom and prosperity for granted. My father helped to defeat the Nazis in World War II, and I will do my small part to defeat and transform the culture of hate in this current age. Like Will, I also discovered the deeply healing power of music to comfort and uplift at an early age. Music saved me from depression and existential dread, giving me a deep and abiding sense of comfort and true joy.

We hope that more can turn to music to find peace during these difficult times. May our humble offering help to awaken the spiritual activist in you.


Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome:
Poems & Songs Inspired by American Immigrants

About the authors:

Deepak Chopra is the co-founder of the Chopra Center. Paul Avgerinos is a Grammy Award winning New Age artist. Will Ackerman is also a Grammy Award winning New Age artist and legendary producer of New Age Music.  Chopra and Avrgerinos created Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, which is produced by Ackerman.

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The Cosmic Music of BELLA GAIA

By Kenji Williams – Director, Composer

This spring, a nine-year old dream came true. To direct a live musical collaboration with an orbiting astronaut on the International Space Station. This ‘StarJAM’ was an improvised musical performance between BELLA GAIA Director Kenji Williams and International Space Station Commander Koichi Wakata.

The idea was born in conjunction with the inception of BELLA GAIA (Beautiful Earth),  now a world-renown earth-from-space multimedia immersive theatrical experience that simulates space flight, with live music and dance, and stunning earth data imagery from NASA. BELLA GAIA was conceived by a conversation I had with NASA astronaut Mike Finke – who spoke to me of the life changing experience he had, the first time he saw the earth from space from the Space Station. Many astronauts refer to this transformation as the “Overview Effect”.

Since then, many astronauts have seen BELLA GAIA and they all say it is an accurate simulation of space flight, and successfully replicates this transformative effect. In the process, many astronauts have contributed their poetic words of their feelings of being in space, to be included in BELLA GAIA as voice samples guiding along the experience.

One of these astronauts who contributed to BELLA GAIA was Koichi Wakata – who at the time when I met him, was about to launch to space as Japan’s first Commander of the Space Station. It was a natural fit to do a live musical collaboration live, between earth and space.

Because Koichi was not a musician, I began designing/conceptualizing the project with the selection of an instrument that is uniquely Japanese, that does not require a lifetime of practice, and that could be transported in the small confines of a rocket module. The ‘Sho’ instrument was selected – a 2000 year-old Japanese wind instrument, and is traditionally performed for the purpose of tuning the cosmos.

The Sho was transported to the Space Station by a SpaceX Dragon rocket, and the fact that Koichi was playing this instrument, literally in space, was a profound act – and in my conversation live during the NASA TV broadcast with Koichi during the StarJAM, I dedicated this live collaboration for the healing of all beings – healing of the Earth, healing of our friends and family.

When Koichi started playing the Sho live from space, as I was at NASA JSC’s studio with my violin – I literally got chills, and I was deeply moved as I improvised and played along with this beautiful sound transmitted from 200miles above.

With the interweaving of my musical compositions, theatrical direction of live musicians, dancers, edited film imagery of not only Earth from space but scientific data visualizations created by NASA supercomputers – the experience of BELLA GAIA is a live multimedia journey through time and space – exploring the relationship between humans and nature. One view of the trailer can describe in an instant what words cannot. Please watch! https://vimeo.com/46343461

The “Overview Effect” transformation is no doubt – a process of the spirit, heart, and mind, experiencing our home planet as a profoundly beautiful blue bubble of life floating in the blackness of space – our spirit is awakened as if a switch were turned on, breaking through all constructs of religion, culture, ego, and truly engaging (and reminding) our role as human beings on planet earth.

When I compose music for BELLA GAIA, this is the inspiration and motivation I feel while writing – how can I evoke that spirit and emotion? I must evoke it within myself, and communicate it through tones, rhythms, and melodies. I feel most human when I create music, and to share it with the world feels like celebrating together, the beauty of the human spirit.

We have upcoming live shows; get your tickets now!

October 11th, 2014 – SF Bay Area (Marin Civic Center Auditorium)
http://tickets.marincenter.org/eventperformances.asp?evt=150

November 11th, 2014 – Bella Gaia CD Album release date

November 28th, 2014 – Washington DC Area (Strathmore, Bethesda)
http://www.strathmore.org/eventstickets/calendar/view.asp?id=11083

Home Page: http://www.bellagaia.com/

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World Yoga Music Review

World Yoga
Putumayo World Music
Total Time: 60:15
Released October, 2012

World Yoga is a CD that will find a home in almost every music library, whether yoga is a part of your daily routine or not. This excellent compilation of fifteen pieces of soothing and relaxing music carries the listener around the globe, providing spacious enjoyment.

Putumayo has crafted a beautiful mix of songs that can be used as a companion to yoga, morning stretches, or meditation. Or, let the songs create a backdrop of restful and calm energy, carrying you where they will.

Drawing on international musicians who understand the importance of music as being therapeutic, this CD offers listeners a global treat, while maintaining a flow between each piece.

Beginning with Sona Jobarteh’s ‘Reflections’, the listener is invited to relax, center, and be present to the next fourteen cuts, including a 2nd piece, ‘Saya’ by Jorbateh. Each succeeding song weaves beautifully from one to the next, drawing the listener deeper into the tapestry of this compilation and preparing a space to be fully present to your practice, whether it is yoga, meditation, journaling, or reflecting on the day.

World Yoga has become an enjoyable part of my morning routine. It is timeless music, crafted in an exquisite unfolding that draws the listener in and through each song on a sixty-minute journey that can be a breath of fresh air each day.

Putumayo World Music’s twenty years of introducing listeners to music of the world’s cultures is highly evident in this new CD. Their tag line ‘Guaranteed to make you feel good!’ is true through and through on World Yoga. This is an absolute two-thumbs up CD that is now on my gifting list, for year-round giving!

Review by Colleen Adair. Learn more about Colleen’s work at: http://www.holydoodle.net/

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