She Vanishes Review

Review: “She Vanishes” by Vicki Richards

released Jan 31, 2011 by Temple Street Music, Inc.

Vicki Richards very generously credits her co-musicians, Mitch Kopp and Jeff Dean, as co-composers of the music on “She Vanishes;” but make no mistake, this is almost entirely her effort. She is best known in the music world as an Indian violinist who has fused her Indian skills with her knowledge of Western music to produce a unique fusion. Misters Kopp and Dean are fine composers in their own right; but anyone who Know Ms Richards’ work will recognize this offering as primarily hers.

Her four earlier CDs were unfortunately buried in the pigeonhole of “new age music,” as this one is probably doomed to be as well. It isn’t that there aren’t some other fine composers who are also mistakenly put in this category, since they too don’t easily fit into any other. It’s just that there are so many other CDs which are labeled “new age” that are nothing more than someone who knows virtually nothing at all about music, who noodles about on his electric organ playing with the special effects buttons, and then gives his meandering nonsense quasi-mystical titles that are supposed to aid the listener in their meditation practice, or provide appropriate background music for a massage. I can’t imagine such works of so-called “music” helping me do much of anything except maybe get rid of some unwanted food.

The point is, Ms Richards’ new release is a unique masterpiece. It does not easily fall into any category, but if I were to place it in one, it would be jazz. It is cool, relaxing jazz to be sure; but it is also sensual, sultry and subtly stimulating—even healing. The harmonic structures are often modal, like Indian music, and some of the melodies are also derived from Indian melodies; but most are not readily recognizable as Indian. They are truly original.

From the point of view of Western classical music, it is romantic, in that it is mostly programmatic, and attempts to describe either the beauty of nature (e.g. “Trail Head (Berkshires”)), or to describe an inner state, or even inner journey (e.g. “Driving Till Dawn”), much like a Chopin Ballade. From the point of view of Indian music, on the other hand, these are Ragas, in that they all intend to color the emotions, and succeed magnificently in doing so.

It is a shame that releases like this don’t receive adequate airplay in virtually any market anywhere. The fact that they don’t fit neatly into one of the recording industry’s prescribed pigeonholes, means that the radio stations that specialize in those pigeonholes rarely get to even hear such recordings, much less give them any air time. If there are any program directors out there reading this, perhaps at a university radio station, or jazz station, I would strongly encourage you to give this CD a listen. It fits in that most rare and wonderful of all pigeonholes: beautiful.


Happy Holidays

Holy Days. Holy Smoke, Holy guacamole….time to be grateful for what we have, not whining about the losses nor past afflictions. To define ourselves by being present in each moment and learning whatever lessons are hitting us in the forehead.
My lessons include seeing what stresses me out, trying to take effective action to maintain equanimity. There’s a mouthful. the verb “trying” indicates possible forward motion on this front. Hard to tell sometimes but it helps me to get on with the day. The ebb and flow of the hours and events, people and places.
Dec 27 2009

Cleansing Waters CD available on Projekt Label

The new recording Cleansing Waters Pura Vida is now available on the Projekt website. So are my other 2 or 3
click or cut and paste in this address for downloads & CD…

Amazon doesn’t post a photo and I’m having trouble accessing. At some point in the future my website will link to Om Store.

Re Vitamin D & Breast Cancer

Hi Friends,

I get Life Extension research and by now probably everyone knows the latest on Vitamin D. If not…let me share a link:

Be Well!

PS I lived in FL for decades and tested as being very deficient in Vit D… I guess the sunblock worked!

My new CD is out! Guided Imagery and Music during Chemo and after

After about a year in progress the new CD is complete and packaged. The first 10 (now 7) requests for this for a friend or family member in treatment …free.

I just want this to get into the ears to sooth along the jagged trail we  walk during the cancer battle.

This guided visualization focuses on rinsing away unwanted cells. It’s peaceful but directs the mind, focusing on specific areas of the body.  Waterfalls, ambient sounds, and 3 tracks of ambient instrumental music follow. Drawn from my resources as I went  through the process: Mindfulness Meditation, Vipassana, Chinese Healing Chi Kung, shiv Asana -yoga. read by Elizabeth Russell.

Should be on iTunes and Amazon and my website soon. Give it to a friend!

Dating and When Love Comes Knockin’ & Departing

Not going into lengthy details. Post trauma dating and relationships:

Just when you think you’ve assigned recent romantic relationships to the “history” section, a word or thought sneaks in thru the side door. I need a better lock.

I know that I could use the john Kabat Zinn Mindfulness recording for meditation. Learn to let the thoughts come and go…..I used that recording to help during the chemo/cancer/divorce period of my life. Also Sharon Salzberg lectures, Pema Chodron’s writings. Clinging to what was or what might be is useless and yet, so very normal for many of us.

The good fight becomes the dance of acceptance & release. Working on it :)

Be in the Now! And the now changes  Until then,  I’m thinking of Dark chocolate. Now!

As L Redmond says..Stop focusing on that man. Just go play your violin! It is the best medicine.

She’s so focused. What an inspiration.

***My new recording , guided imagery and music During Chemo and after should be shipping to me today! It’ll be up on iTunes shortly. And on my site.

Rehearsal with new musicians yesterday…’s too much fun! Best medicine for me and those listening.

good news, another 3 months

I got an “All Clear” today at the oncologist. every 3 months the thought of cancer comes up at the office. I see the chemo suite  there and never want to return. watching the tubes fill with my now healthy blood.

Maybe all that Kombucha tea Layne got me drinking and the dark chocolate are working : ) Oh, organic foods at the Co op & Kripalu, walking…yoga….reading Carolyn Myss, reviewing notes. Talking with friends on the phone or email….and playing music all helps me stay on track fro health preservation.

In the Berkshires, the MD takes time to speak “with” me, not at me. How refreshing!

Music is Healing, for the Musicians as Well as the Listeners

So many notes in the universe. Each resonates. Have you noticed how, at a loud concert, your bones vibrate? Okay, at a rock concert or if you’re  in front of the percussion section of an orchestra, or listening to your teenager’s garage band rehearse.

As much as those vibrations are detectable, the subtle ones from a quiet recording or nature’s orchestra: the wind, trees, water may have a subconscious effect. For me a walk in the autumn breeze has the effect of energizing as well as calming. You can’t push against the wind as resistance is futile. You can stand sideways and not be blown off course or you can turn and let it guide you forward. You are moving in any event.

In the struggle, acceptance or muddle of whatever trauma or heartbreak you are experiencing at this moment, what would it be like if you “turned sideways”, or let the flow/blow be deflected by merely allowing to be moved in the same direction. Like swimming in a rip current. Use the flow, go a little out of the way, then home.

I started this writing intending to speak as a musician about tones and ended up in nature….not a bad transition…I’m going out for a walk.

Radio Interview WLRN Miami

Had fun with Michael Stock on Sunday 10/4/09. Check out the interview and music!