This music has a story and meaning for me personally. Melanie Armstrong, who provides some beautiful vocals on this recording, is the future wife of someone that crossed my path on life’s journey at my workplace, John Willey. John quickly became one of those friends that you think you always knew. The couple met at Kripalu Center (Lenox, MA) nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. As fate had it, they both touched my life in a very special way, John with his spiritual guidance and knowledge, and Melanie with this marvelous gift of music.
"Shakti Fusion" was founded by Todd Norian in 1993. The group has gone through various incarnations over the years and they became the Kripalu Center’s house band. How about that? Places that people go to heal and become spiritually centered don’t normally have a house band! Now that’s as New Age as it gets. This is actually very forward thinking and ahead of its time in many ways.
This music is so relaxing and healing. The ancient language of Sanskrit and English are used to combine the old and the new while the words are backed by some great musicians that play an eclectic brand of New Age music. I heard rock, jazz, world, folk, and Latin. Just about every genre under the sun is given its due on this collection of spiritual renewal. There are some great guitar breaks by Mike McAvoy, and the saxophone playing by Charlie Tokarz is surely a gift from the God’s. And what can I say about Melanie’s voice? It’s angelic and lucid; the message that she delivers comes through loud and clear. Todd Norian is a fine leader and exceptional vocalist himself, as well as an excellent keyboard tickler. Thomas Amelio is the main vocalist and one of the producers on the project, and his efforts are crucial in the development of the entire musical picture. Melanie and Thomas have a wonderful energy going on and they compliment each other nicely. And lest I forget the importance of syncopated percussion of Mitch Hinard and John DeKadt, who do a fine job of keeping the band in a nice groove along with bass player Matt McKeever.
If you’re in the mood to meditate or just feel like floating around the house doing every day things, this is a great tool to help make everything in your day easier and a little lighter.