The Story behind the Album
(Greece 2013 – Greece 2016 and a whole world in between)
In 2013, almost 10 years later, after travelling to countless places holding that fruit inside it became clear to me that something was about to be born. An Indiegogo campaign has been created to financially support this project. Even though the campaign has collected only a small part of the funds, which were required for the production, I am deeply grateful to all the contributors.
In summer of 2013 a number of musicians who were present at the Gara Vasara Festival in Latvia, gathered in Riga in a spacious studio, the Sound Division Studios, for a 9-days recording session.
I want to express my endless gratitude to the great man of knowledge and various talents: Ainars Majors who along with Eino Kollist had created space and recorded the “Internal Flight” album in Riga in the year 2012.
This time Ainars helped with the booking of the Sound Division Studios and kept an eye on us for all of the nine recording days. My gratitude for his support as well as to a great sound engineer, Ivars Ozols who has been behind the mixer for all the days and nights in Riga. It has been very challenging for him to capture all the possible ideas. My sincere thanks for his patience.
I had an intuitive feeling that a few more musicians must join us. Some of them did come for a few days: Liat Zion, an outstanding singer, for whom each song is a prayer, had flown from Israel and Peter Moore, a master-poet, arrived from England.
Together with dear friends, two percussionists from Moscow, Alex Ostapenko and Ilya Bobrovsky, a “space traveller”, Shacham Zacharin on the electric guitar, Neptune Chapotin, a juice harp player and great performer from India, we began to play in a so-called “meditative state.”
This very jam transformed into what ultimately became the song “Emitting Light”. It was the introduction turning then into the piece “Mother of Souls”.
Of course, for many it’s understandable: musicians gather for a jam session and record it. It was something bigger though than that. On the first day of the recording session we created a Mandala, where each of us placed some precious objects symbolically emphasizing the communion of essences and an allowance to the Mystery to express itself.
The song “Mother of Souls” blossomed as a beautiful flower on a spring day. Words materialized from space through Liat and all of us were quite excited and surprised that such a “present” appeared as a complete “one take” recording. Especially because nothing was planned or constructed that day and literally: music as lyrics appeared “in the moment”.
During these days, we recorded about 40 tracks, yet most of the “prepared” material just didn’t unfold. That which unfolded was a combination of the “planned” and the “spontaneous”. After years of experiments I see that both qualities, structure & improvisation, are equally important.
Ever since we met with Liat Zion, it has always been this way: we meet, we play, we fly and we are deeply grateful for what “comes out”. I have been exploring such a musical sharing with various artists throughout the years and each time I’m amazed by that trust, companionship and love we share.
Before diving into this project, I had very little studio experience. I usually record LIVE: I enter the studio, I play as I feel at the very moment and go. During this journey it has been a very different approach. We could have done it much faster and perhaps more organized, yet life is a long walk and there are plenty of possibilities to go deeper again and again.
Many stories and experiences have taken place during those recording days. Especially powerful was the “Tribal day” when we were recording all day long, sitting in different rooms while being connected via headphones, yet seeing each other through the glass windows. Some of these recordings are present on the album, some had to be placed on hold for other times to come.
The highlight of that day was the delivery of a timeless poem by Peter Moore: “Make Space” (State of Grace).
One of the tracks, which had to be put into the archives, was ”The Dragonfly Story” followed by the “Song of a Dragonfly”. Both pieces appeared as a collective storytelling and an improvised co-creation by all of us together with Luana Lima from Brazil. We are hopeful though that one day this “piece of fun” will be shared with the world along with other recorded tracks.
The following year 2014, I had to take a time out from this creation due to a very busy touring schedule as well as to some bodily issues which arose after a car accident in 2013, just a few months after the Riga sessions. However, “all that comes” is happening at the right moment and that particular situation has been clearly guiding me to “slow down”.
As the tour progressed, I arrived for a short visit to Israel where another outstanding meeting took place: Eftar Darky, a dear friend, introduced me to a sound engineer, an absolute genius of sound production and postproduction, Leon Galperin from the SoundPro Studios. We have “clicked” right away, yet it took another six months before I could return and properly work on the recorded material.
When we got into the editing studios, we discovered lots of imperfections within the recorded material and we therefore had to make some choices: what should be selected for the album and what should be put into the archive?
As the majority of my old musical companions and friends were staying in Israel at that time, we continued recording that which was necessary to support this sound journey.
From the beginning of January 2015 till the very end of February, we spent two months with Leon, editing, recording and polishing this painting for about 16 hours every day, taking one day or two off since I caught a cold.
While working in the studio during the postproduction time, we were witnessing many nights of thunderstorms and heavy rainfalls, which have been recorded and included within this album, equally the sounds of the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.
“The Winds Will Bring You Home” was the only track we had to entirely re-record with Leon at the SoundPro studios, keeping only the vocals of Liat and some other instruments captured in Riga, re-recording the guitar from scratch. A drum set, played by Roy Brosh for this track, is beautifully fitting into the created picture.
The final piece of the recording for this project became a narration of Zola Dubnikova, opening and closing this circle of creation. As a wonderful dancer and facilitator of countless worldwide women healing circles, Zola has been fully dedicated to the path of transformation. The quote that she delivers:
“To see without eyes, to walk without feet and to fly without wings”
is hard to identify because so many spiritual teachers and poets throughout the times have quoted it. Yet, some traces lead to the transmissions of Osho as well as to the Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Kabir and all the way back to Rumi and his mentor and friend Shams-I-Tabrizi.
In some way these words that represent timelessness belong to all. It doesn’t matter who has been the first to “download” them from the vast infinite ocean of ideas and possibilities. They belong to the whole of humanity and we give thanks to it.
The middle section of the album has another quote by Rumi:
“A heart filled with Love is like a Phoenix that no cage can imprison”. Though Zola’s delivery had a slightly different wording, in essence it doesn’t change the meaning: “A heart full of Love is like a beautiful bird that no cage can contain.” It perfectly fits into “The Winds Will Bring You Home” song.
A Dragonfly representing the transformation was chosen for this Soundtrack of Life. Inessa Ineany has captured the main image for the album cover while travelling round the world. Giedrius Dagys and Žilvinas Vasiliauskas have captured all other photos representing the timelessness of Nature during their travelling. I’m giving great thanks to their mastery to capture the beauty of our Planet.
Another option for the main album cover was a collection of a few paintings by a dear friend, Polina Ogiy. While listening to the draft of the album, she brought a few great images on the canvas. Giving thanks to the beauty of her expression! However, a decision to keep it simple was made and we had to let the Dragonfly guide our way.
Gratitude to all the contributors…
…heard and unheard, visible and invisible…
This creation could only come into being through merging together the essences of all the contributors – beautiful souls that bring a variety of elements through songs and sounds, poems, performances, art, care and love.
Infinite gratitude to all the great artists mentioned above and also deepest thanks to:
Uruguayan multi-instrumentalist Joseph Pepe Danza who has added an incredible flavor to this project with his flutes, percussions, voices and the Sacred Eagle Feather, which he is masterfully playing also during the “Ocean of Sound’ ceremonies.
Dimitri Artemenko, a versatile violin virtuoso and a timeless musical partner, born in Estonia, is currently living in France. He has laid down his violin parts at his home and sent us the recorded tracks. Although he somehow bypassed only one track which was “Make Space”, we only later understood why. Thus, a new space was created for another dear friend, a violin virtuoso Michael Shulman who brought his essence into this collaboration. It was back in 2002 with Michael in New York when I started playing guitar again sharing deep musical exchanges in hundreds of performances throughout the years. On the “Make Space” track, both violins have met and created a beautiful string expression.
Peter Moore. We have shared many journeys with Peter, performing countless times in India and England, reconnecting again for this project. The musical “Colours of White” that has been written by Peter Moore in Goa/India, was performed and facilitated by 18 international artists. The “Make Space” poem, originally called “State of Grace”, along with “Who am I” from the “Bohemian Skies” album and a soundtrack to a short film called “Elemental”, were the foundation of the musical.
Victoria Grebezs (Storia), a wonderful poetess, a singer and a hang drum player has been a great part of lots of the co-creations, yet as she couldn’t join us on this recording we had to keep it open for another possibility.
Another wonderful poetess from Russia Rada Devi shared a few poems for this album, yet only a part of her creation could fit into this recording and could be heard at the end of the journey.
Yonatan Bar Rashi, a true maestro of percussions with whom we shared countless street performances as well as some festivals and stages, joined us for several tracks.
Great musicians from Israel added so many wonderful flavours to this creation and this album would have never been the same without their masterful presence: great thanks to Arthur Krasnobaev (trumpet), Elyasaf Bashari (electric bass), Liron Meyuhas (percussions), Roy Brosh (drum set).
A few more dear friends have sent their recorded parts via the internet:
Reka Fodor, a transylvanian singer, sent us some vocals and tap dancing sounds recorded by Attila Szakál for the tracks: “Train to Avalon”, “Place of the Gods” and “Make Space.”
Martin Etcheverry and Ezequiel Etcheverry, the great Argentinean guitar duo “Seis Cuerdas”, sent their parts from Los Angeles for the track “Train to Avalon” as well as another dear friend, Joe Sha Shaty send us his long played note on a soprano saxophone for “The Winds Will Bring you Home”.
A few more incredible musicians, Dana Indane (vocals on the track “Place of the Gods”) and Andris Grunte (contrabass on multiple tracks), added their essence and are truly appreciated for their input.
The creation of this album would not have been possible without all the amazing beings facilitating spaces, feeding us, driving us and logistically supporting each step.
Great thanks to Julia Krakova for being the “cooking mama” during both journeys: in Riga as well as during two months of postproduction in Israel.
Great thanks are also going to Ilona Daukste and Ainars Alvis Dauksts for all the logistics that were connected with our stay, driving around and making it so much easier for us all to stay in Latvia. Also thanks to Rudolfs Janovs and Guna Spidane for the great company and pictures which partially documented the Riga sessions.
The great thanks are also going to Fiona Unterasinger, Indre Kuliesiute, Nailya Magzhanova, Elena & Felix Tonne, Elfriede & Gerhard, Inna, Nailya, Tilo, Alex, Misha and all those visible and invisible supporting the birth of this album.
And last but not the least, great thanks to the GaraVasara family for bringing us all together, so we can share, exchange and extend a never-ending summer of bliss within our hearts.
We meet, we part and we meet again…
With thanks to the Being, and thanks to Life that is itself an infinite ongoing journey!
Mother of Souls” album started as an impulse to let this music become a collective creation of sounds, it took us more than 3 years to bring the necessary elements together.
Featuring more than 20 artists from Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Uruguay, France, USA, India, Latvia, Romania, England, Argentina, Lithuania, it’s only another step to bring various cultures and backgrounds together, where a mixture of vibrations unites in ONE BREATH…