Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 26 of 35

December/January 2018 27 art & soul MUSIC MUSIC T racks on this digital album transport the listener on an aural journey. SRI MA: Chants of the Divine Mother groove and feature irresistible musical and vocal gifts for this, and any season. Thoughtfully and progressively arranged, dubs on the 21 cuts invoke comfort and sacred bliss. Chants and powerful mantras to the goddesses Durga and Kali, Lakshmi, Tara, Radha, and Saraswati enliven your love of the feminine. Invoking the presence of the goddesses, the work is a devotion to Mother Earth, air, and the oceans. These are ideal soundtracks for yoga and meditation. Amritakripa with 3rd Ear Experience's "Ma" – (Ma Mantra) is a favorite track. It puts you in a clear and calm state of mind. Dreamy bells, sitar, sliding and strumming guitar, drum rhythms, and mellow vocals conjure up a musical waterfall. This is meditation music, if you need creative subliminal accompaniment to your practice. This is also a perfect playlist for any yogi. One can listen to experience healing waves as from present-day hugging saint Amma (Mother). Listening to this musical wedding of energy and awareness taps into a devotional and spiritual connection with her, or your higher power. Talents recorded on this digital release include Govinda Das and Radha, Shantala, Girish, Brenda McMorrow, Wah!, Suzin Green, Bhakti Explosion, and other well-known kirtan artists. United and joyful, this accessible and abundant recording will have you burning a nice stick of incense and feeling good. (White Swan Records) —Gordon Durich I t's been less than two years since soul/R&B/Americana legend Mavis Staples released her last album, but her return couldn't possibly be more welcome. Staples's 2017 release, If All I Was Was Black, refl ects how much the world — and the 78-year-old Grammy-winning artist — has changed in the ensuing year and a half since the Feb. 2016 release of Livin' on a High Note. Written and produced by her collaborator, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, If All I Was Was Black kicks off on a resistant, jubilant, funky note with "Little Bit" and the toe- tapping title track. Listeners might assume "If All I Was Was Black" would be the album's most overtly political song, but it's on later cuts where Tweedy and Staples really express their frustration, determination, and even resignation at the current political climate. "Oh, they lie," Staples sings on "Who Told You That?" "And they show no shame... Stop acting up. You know it won't change a thing. That's how it is and how it's always been." Then on "No Time for Crying," Staples belts, "No time for tears. We've got work to do." Staples avoids specifi cs, but her allegiances are clear in "We Go High," which references Michelle Obama's famous speech about countering slander and hate with compassion. "We go high when they go low... I know they're still human and need my love." Aside from the wonderfully diverse mix of emotions and the political calls to action — something nurtured by Staples during her time with the beloved gospel group Staple Singers in the turbulent 1960s — the instrumentation and lyric delivery are pristine. The guitars, percussion, and Staples's deep, sensual voice on If All I Was Was Black make the album's messages go down easy and instill a sense of much-needed hope amid the current darkness. (ANTI- Records) —Neal Broverman Mavis Staples If All I Was Was Black SRI MA: Chants of the Divine Mother Various Artists curated by DubGoddess Selena

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