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  • Jonathan Widran


Capping an extraordinary year for her epic 2016 work Eternity with a ZMR nomination for Best Neo-Classical Album, world renowned Brazilian composer/producer Anaya reflected on her inspiration and creative process. She said, “I make music to fulfill a collective yearning shared by humanity for harmony, unity and balance. The magic of music and the profound feelings of love are a divine instrument of perfection to give re-birth to our soul. Music is the sound of Light. Our best instrument is the universal harmony of being.” Over the course of her career, which includes the EPs Devotion (2014) and Aligned in the Universe (2013), her music has captured the soothing, energizing and transcendent essence of the music of her native country while forging a dynamic synthesis of new age, electronic and melodic trance influences and textures.

Anaya’s latest collection, the mysteriously titled Aonki: Gateway of Love, is a powerful, sweeping work that marks her second virtual collaboration and real time recording in cyberspace between the artist’s label AnayaMusic in Brazil at Studio 1234, a live symphony orchestra in Prague (featuring members of the Czech Philharmonic) and Orchestranet in Los Angeles. When she’s composing, she retires from this world and enters a realm of music vibration. When production begins, she draws on her dual background as a Digital Information specialist and becomes analytical in choosing the most effective sounds to best convey those spiritual concepts.

Reflective of its title, Aonki is the name of the Gateway of Love and it came to Anaya in meditation as the driving force and guiding light for the journey of the recording. As a whole, it reflects her belief that 2018 is a gateway year for overcoming differences and going to the Divine aspect of life individually and collectively. With its wild melody and fresh rhythmic twists and turns, the opening track reflects her optimism, tempered with the reality of step by step progress that such ambitious goals demand. “Laman Song” opens with a fast paced film score like energy, then gives way to a gentle flute reflection before several competing musical paths emerge and dial down to a soulful keyboard induced hypnosis with subtle orchestral harmonies.

“Breath,” which features musicians from OrchestraNet, weaves its profound magic like a gentle classical piece, with the stark melody of a lone violin crying out amidst the ambience, as if for justice. The violin departs and the spacey ambience dominates leads into a meditative state, with the solo voices of several other instruments (including a horn) pick up the mission. This leads us to the “Gate,” which begins with a sweeping orchestra and booming percussion before easing into more mystical, less linear realms. There is a moment of shift towards the end where the orchestra rises up more tunefully and, with a burst of sunlit percussion, shares hope for a brighter day. But first, of course, there are some dramatic steps to be taken, as per the dark chords beneath the soaring intentions at the start of the brief interlude “Over the Clouds.”

We enter the heart of Aonki on “Because of You,” a dream-like reflection that taps into romance and hope with the orchestra caressing a lone violin, then opens up towards an exciting showcase for Bernardo Bittencourt’s plucky lute. It plays a tense duet with the violin before emerging with a stark but resolute solo. Light and courage have won over the troubling obstacles. The dark chamber music clouds come back briefly, but the line is cast towards a brighter day. Like an homage to classical movements, the title centerpiece of the album comes in a two part suite, “Aonki Mov 1” and “Aonki Mov II.” The first track is pure symphonic light, an intensely beautiful movement towards peace and harmony, with brief moments of individual horn cries. The second features high toned violins atop darker, atonal edges. There is more drama, less harmony, more rhythmic shift and dynamics in search of the elusive but attainable beauty. This piece features the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and featured solos by violinists Ivan Quintana and Fabianne Gotelipe, viola player Daniel Marques and cellist Priscilla Jota.

The last third of Aonki launches with “Extase II,” infused with a wash of spacey synthesizers and trippy percussion textures that help connect us with higher mystical sources. The ecstacy of this outreach includes an immersion into deeper “waters,” with hopeful chimes and flute notes rising above the deep atmospheres. “Just For You” is a purely orchestral piece, full of highs and lows, stops and starts – but underscored with a rich sense of melody and harmony which indicate that the end of the journey will bring light and love. This gives way to the final piece, another all-orchestral mood piece that bathes the listener in a rich ambience full of love and the brightness of eternity.

As her liner notes say, “Anaya’s musical invitation to experience the Gateway of Love stirs the soul with passionate melodies of timeless inspiration to awaken our heart’s song.” AONKI marks yet another powerful milestone on Anaya’s journey of creating innovative, life-changing, heart transforming and consciousness shifting cosmic new age music. Her remarkable artistry is always full of a type of musical and harmonic magic that can be appreciated on a purely visceral, emotional level and in spiritual ways that no words can adequately capture.

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