Beautifully meditative compositions that are much more affecting than what gets classified as trance or ambient music these days; Land of the Buddhas is required listening for those wanting a multicultural, musical thesis that engages both mind and body. Take a step onto the Indian subcontinent and into the land of the Buddhas!
“New Earth has collected my most treasured pieces for Land of the Buddhas. From the upbeat and groovy (Chance Finding and Bhairavi), to the moody and meditative (Full Moon); the touching and heartfelt (Gir Forest) to the soaring and inspiring (Natrani); and from the Western (Right Samadhi) to the Hindustani classical (Shivranjani), these tracks will take you through a range of instruments and will allow you to travel through my cherished memories of India. If you’re one of the many people I met who have one or two of my albums and don’t know which to buy next, THIS is the answer! If you enjoy listening to this collection even half as much as I enjoyed making it – you are blessed indeed. Land of the Buddhas is all inspired by my love for India.” ~Chinmaya Dunster
“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.” ~Guatama Buddha
Track 1: Rag Shivranjani 6:14
Sivranjani is a romantic five-note minor scale (omitting the 4th and 7th). The fixed melody that repeats is my composition, while the rest of the track is spontaneous improvisation. I performed this short Hindustani classical raga live on the sarod (a nineteen-stringed North Indian banjo-like instrument). This piece is accompanied by Manish Vyas on the two-piece Indian percussion the tabla.
Track 2: Right Samadhi 5:08
In this piece, I played the santoor (its 100 strings are struck with wooden sticks) for the first and only time in my life. Shastro plays flutes. The Tibetan horn and cymbal opening was recorded in a refugee settlement in Dharamsala, North India.
Track 3: Gir Forest 6:33
I consider the melody I play on the sarod in this piece to be the sweetest I have ever written. Sangit Om supports with arpeggios on hard and Bikram Singh adds his wonderful Manipuri should on bamboo flute.
Track 4: Bhairavi 7:22
Niladri Kumar is one of India’s greatest sitarists, and his delicate touch makes an exquisite contrast to the groove and the bluesy organ and guitar I added afterwards Bhairavi raga, with four flat notes, is a scale widely used in India and the Middle East.
Track 5: Natrani 10:23
Bikram Singh from Manipur in Northeast India performs his free improvisation on the bamboo flute for the melody of a popular Indian devotional bhajan that is mixed with drum grooves and special effects. Israel-based Gerhard Fankauser, who collected the melody on one of his extensive trips around Indian temples and devotional gatherings, plays the Spanish lute.
Track 6: Full Moon 13:47
Karunesh provided the simple beat in a rare performance on a clay pot, Amano Manish (Indian slide guitar) and Bikram Singh (bamboo flute) fixed a simple melody beforehand and then improvised the rest. Afterwards I added guitar (all played as harmonics), and an autoharp I designed myself, based on the Indian swarmandel but using sitar bridges. The raga used here is Bhairagi, a mysterious-sounding five-note scale (omitting the 3rd and 6th).
Track 7: Chance Finding 6:12
This track version is from a live performance in Pune by the Celtic Ragas Band and I, featuring Tanmayo on violin and Bikram Singh on bamboo flute. Prabodh plays fretless bass, Ramadhan drums, Adarsha guitar and Manish Vyas tabla.