Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hari Om Namo Narayana

Hi, this is the final post in the blog I have been writing about about the songs on The Walking Eagle Album.

I know there are several pieces that don't have their own posts, so I will cover them quickly here, as there is really not much story behind any of those pieces:

St. Paul's This is a portion of a long, tenor sax solo. I was thinking about St. Paul's Cathedral in London and how cool it would be to be in that building playing the sax. Not much else to that>

Photon Belt This was another I wrote just a few days before recording. A mellow pattern and a soprano sax improv.

When Simple Times Were More Complex This is another piece written in the hotel in Omaha, played on the penny whistle. End of story.

Astral - A redundant three note pattern and a Peruvian Antara. Simple.

The last song is Hari Om Namo Narayana. Here is the link to listen:

This is an old Sanskrit chant. I don't know if anyone knows how old. It has a beautiful melody, however. The way we played it, I dropped a bar, so that one of the patterns is seven bars long instead of eight, giving it a little imbalance, that I tend to like in music. I think sometimes this gives music a nice, unpredictable aspect that keeps it more interesting.

It starts with the bansuri.

I don't have a very great voice, but I sing it anyway, because I like it. It is almost in tune.

I, at this point would like to challenge my Christian friends not to freak out: Even though this is a Sanskrit chant to Vishnu, I would like to explain a little about Yoga/Hindu beliefs:

Hindus, at least many of them, are not polytheistic. They believe in a single God or source that has many personalities. This is similar to the Christian model of one God, who manifests in many saints, angels, people, animals and so forth.

There are many trinities in Yoga/Hinduism, as there are in Christianity. One is the concept of Creator (Brahma), Sustainer (Vishnu) and Destroyer (Shiva.) The Vishnu personality is the personality that provides stability and predictability to the universe. Krishna is one of the manifestations of Vishnu.

But mostly, I just really like the song. It was a good way to wrap up an album that happened during a time of heightened yoga in my life. This is the eighteenth song on the album. Eighteen is significant: The number 1 represents the singularity of everything. As Buddhists say, "not two" - there are no two things in the universe, only one. The 8, when laid on it's side, signifies the infinite. 18's as well as 108's and 1008's (the zero signifying nothingness) occur all over Yoga and Hinduism. The Bhagavad Gita, the textbook of Yoga, has 18 chapters. Interestingly, The Tao Te Ching, from China, has 81 chapters.

In some ways this song, and this album, marked a coming full-circle for myself and the band. We started as a trio, and this last album was a trio. This album was largely improvised, and captures the old energy of the three of us.

As we embark upon a new project, we are relying more on traditional rhythms and techniques, and are adding a fourth member, as bass player, to our group. The new album is much more scripted, and is a new approach to music for us, after 20 years of playing 'the old way.'

Thanks for your attention!

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