Land of the Buddhas


Product Description

Beautifully meditative compositions highlight this collection of Chinmaya Dunster’s best tracks. Take a step onto the Indian subcontinent and into the Land of the Buddhas!

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Chinmaya Dunster

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  1. :

    “We find Dunster and the label taking a breather so the uninitiated can catch up with this multi-culti India infused cat. Going way beyond the world beat/chill pale, Dunster takes it back to the Paul Horn vibe and adds contemporary touches as filtered through his prism. Great for college kids or the college kid buried in your suburban patina, all you have to do is put this on and let the belly dancing and pot smoking begin. There’s no noodling here to beware of, just a rolling good time mostly from the sub-continent.”

  2. :

    “The odyssey that would lead British musician Stephen Dunster to his spiritual name of Chinmaya began during a post-college jaunt through Afghanistan and India, where he studied local music, eventually becoming enamored of the sarod (a kind of cross between sitar and guitar) at a performance by Amjad Ali Khan. Dunster spent the next 13 years studying the instrument, achieving mastery and earning his new spiritual name before returning to his native lands to share what he had learned. Paul McCartney heard him play and was so entranced he invited him to play at his 2002 wedding to Heather Mills.
    A collection of Dunster’s favorite tracks from his 13 albums for the New Earth label, Land of the Buddhas is a clear indicator of what McCartney was so enamored by; it’s haunting in intimacy and quietly sweeping in its breadth and scope. Ranging comfortably over an array of spiritual styles, Land of the Buddhas opens with the straightforward, spiritually rooted “Rag Shivranjani,” which blazes warmly along with the spine-tingling slide sound of the tamboura and the tablas of Manish Vyas. Dunster’s lyrical sarod later accompanies wooden flute tranquility (“Gir Forest”), classical acoustic guitar (“Chance Finding”) and ghostly Asiatic drones in the mysterious “Full Moon,” which seethes forward on nerve-tingling Indian slide guitar and clay pot percussion as Dunster’s sarod slithers and slides around the shadows, etching in barely tangible forms of divine, transitory figures in the flames.
    Whatever the accompanying instruments or style variant, Dunster’s sarod is always at the emotional center – at once rooting, homey and forever alien in its mysterious yet comforting sound. We can feel eternity stepping in and out of the river of time like a nervous bather via Dunster’s knowingly succinct instrumentation. Land of the Buddhas works both as a meditation/healing arts disc and a great introduction to the sounds of the Indian continent for anyone interested in Eastern spiritual music but not sure just where along the river to dive in. As the artist himself puts it: “If you‚ve ever wondered which Chinmaya Dunster CD to buy, this is it!” With his unerring ear for mixing eastern and western musical ideas, Dunster makes Land of the Buddhas inviting enough for even the most wayward and unwitting lost traveler.”

  3. :

    “Chinmaya Dunster was born in England in the 1950s and it was through his world travels into Afghanistan and India as a guitarist that led him to eventually discover the abundant density of the sacred stringed instrument known a the sarod. The sarod is a 19-stringed North Indian creation that could be compared in the West to a guitar or banjo, but with Shakti. Land of the Buddhas is Chinmaya’s latest release and it is an excellent piece of work that invokes the inner beauty of more than simply the instrument, as well as embracing the sacred nature of the ragas he performs with perfection.
    With every note, Chinmaya reveals a profound respect for the devotional alchemy of the music he has composed based on ancient scales. “Rag Shivranjani” is a romantic five-note minor scale that is an original composition based on improvisation and intuitive choices. “Gir Forest” delivers a synergy between sarod and a Manipuri influenced bamboo flute performed brilliantly by Bikram Singh.
    The pieces on this release are performed with what Chinmaya calls the Celtic Ragas Band which consists of tablas, flutes and additional stringed instruments. The results are gorgeous. I have not been able to stop listening to the beautiful phrases and well-arranged instrumentals found on this collectionof songs that are saturated with compassion, kindness and spirit.
    The enduring balance of the musical texture of each of the instruments and the melodic depth of the ragas will invoke sublime harmony and the integration of the inner and material nature of the world. I highly recommend this album to any fan of sacred instrumental music that moves effortlessly through the body. This is the sort of album that can be used for anything from personal enjoyment, meditation, healing environments or yoga classes.”

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