GRAYHAWK, Voice of the Ancestors
Rarely has new age music fused as powerfully with true shamanism as powerfully and epically as it has with veteran composer, orchestrator, conductor and synthesis Grayhawk’s fascinating, multi-faceted Shamanic Trilogy.
For those needing a spiritual foundation to understand his incredible journey, shamanism is an ancient practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with what they believe to be a spirit world and channel these transcendent energies into this world, often for healing purposes.
Some practices and healing just take time and are truly worth the wait. For Grayhawk, these are more than just music projects – they are reflections of a deeply lived lifetime, a passage through his youth, those proverbial dark nights of the soul and reconciliation.
He began the trilogy during one of new age music’s previous heydays (the early 90’s) with Shaman Journey, a now best-selling classic that featured the flutes of the late legendary Paul Horn and cello of David Darling, along with a majestic 80-piece orchestra. The album featured an array of voices from nature as the artist and his ensemble sailed through the shamanic underworlds of Hawaii, Lemuri and Native America.
Released three years later in 1995, the second album of the trilogy, Blissful Magic: Spiral of The Celtic Mysteries, shifted locales, themes and aesthetic to Europe, for an Earth Rite that integrated Renaissance, Neoclassical, Baroque and Romantic orchestral styles with chantlike vocals performed in English and Gaelic by the Bardic Mystery Choir.
After a nearly quarter century wait, Grayhawk’s fans can experience the latest step of the transcendent musical healing process with Voice of the Ancestors, the sweeping, socially conscious and deeply mystical final collection in the trilogy. Equally epic in scope as the others, the set begins with three intimate and exotic Asian tinged trios featuring Wouter Kellerman (flute), Amy Shulman (concert harp), and dan bau master Hai Phuong. This mini set begins with the sacred and mysterious “Transcendent Soul,” then invites us to gingerly and reverently enter “The Banteay Srei Temple” in Cambodia, and feel the spirit-filled vibrational tones paying homage to the “Guardians of Goddess Thien Hau,” the Vietnamese name for Chinese sea goddess Mazu.
The deeply mystical, ambient and tribal title track is an expansive introduction (complete with indigenous ancestral voices calling us to the past) to the true heart of Grayhawk’s new musical experience, the peace prayers. The gorgeous, haunting heavenly chorale helping our souls float away on “Peace Prayer (A Capella)” has been recognized as a finalist for the Peace Song Awards 2018, to be awarded in April 2019.
The epic multi-cultural meditation “Peace Prayer” is a booming piece of exotic musical literature, strung along by steady tribal rhythms and Asian instruments, telling the enduring stories of the planet with an astounding 160 tracks of invocation in English, Hebrew, Farsi and Arabic.
The phrase “it takes a village” comes to mind with these stirring vocalizations and textures, which were created by renowned musical sages Darlene Koldenhoven, Randy Crenshaw, Ofir Engel (aka Queen Ofir) and Bahman Mojalial. Peace on Earth may yet prove elusive, but highly intentional pieces like this are bound to stir, change and open hearts everywhere, and that’s an inspiring start. Bookending the collection is a beautiful “Ambient Meditation” that takes us back to the heart of Asia for a dreamy and sensual sonic swirl that creates the ultimate soundtrack to a long awaited body and soul massage.