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Music for Yoga and Other Joys - Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach - AudioBook CD

Music for Yoga and Other Joys - Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach - AudioBook CD

Music for Yoga and Other Joys

by Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach

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Music for Yoga and Other Joys - By Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach - Meditation Audio CD  

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About Music for Yoga and Other Joys

Grammy nominated world music pioneer Jai Uttal, and multi-talented producer/instrumentalist Ben Leinbach offer a moving mix of melody, rhythm, texture, and chant on Music for Yoga and Other Joys. Known for their eclectic blend of Eastern and Western sounds, Jai and Ben have produced their first CD specifically designed to accompany your yoga practice as it joyfully permeates every aspect of life. Featuring dotar, electric guitar, slide tamboura, banjo, bansuri, and Jai’s passionate singing, Music for Yoga and Other Joys will take you on a gentle journey into the mysterious ocean of Spirit.

About Jai Uttal

Love can take many forms—the physical, the emotional, the spiritual among them. Each can stand alone in a beautiful way, but when the myriad types of love entwine, truly revelatory things can occur—as they do throughout Thunder Love, the long-awaited new album by world music voyager Jai Uttal.

“I feel like this album is about opening up to love—finally,” he says. “That involved letting go of a huge part of me that said ‘I don’t deserve love,’ or on really bad days, ‘love doesn’t exist.’ For me, it’s taken big catharses to change those deep internal patterns. I’ve immersed myself in a great number of spiritual practices, but truly embracing human life…that’s what brought me through the times of terrible darkness and addiction.”

Thunder Love is, in many ways, a sonic approximation of darkness giving way to dawn. But in its depiction of the first rays of a new rising sun, there’s an acknowledgment of the shadows that came before, shadows that Uttal addresses with bold directness on songs like “Bolo Ram (Let the Spirits Sing),” a multi-layered, densely-percussive piece that ranks with his most personal outpourings.

That song finds Uttal “looking…for some evidence that there’s still a reason to be alive,” proof that’s ultimately revealed in the most positive way. A similar dichotomy works its way through “Hanuman’s Heart,” a bracing electric blues cleaved by Jai’s piercing electric guitar. On both songs—as well as several of the disc’s other offerings—he dovetails smoothly from narrative to chant, from English to Sanskrit, making for a fascinating sonic and emotive blend.

“The songs tend to have verses that describe the human condition and Sanskrit mantras as choruses. These prayers are so entwined with my inner condition, my daily life, that they have to go together with the English lyrics,” he explains. “The mantras are not necessarily representative of linear thoughts, but they connect us to a greater thought—at times, I’ve felt they were the only thing keeping me alive.”

Those ancient Sanskrit words have unmistakable power, but Uttal’s own lyrics are every bit as striking. He hadn’t worked extensively in English-language lyrics since the Grammy-nominated 2002 album Mondo Rama—which, in many ways, was his darkest effort—but on Thunder Love, the words flow vibrantly, from the poignantly picturesque imagery of “Down on My Knees” to the straightforward bliss of the epic “Never Felt This Love.”

“I felt a subconscious need to pull back and not be as emotionally expansive,” he says of his more recent forays into meditative territory, a space he explored with wondrous results on Kirtan!, a double-disc collection of traditional sacred chant. “The process was more internal, more introspective, because I was rediscovering myself, reassessing my life.”

That reassessment was sped along by his marriage to Brazilian-born Nubia Teixeira and the subsequent birth of son Ezra Gopal, Jai’s first child—events that pulled him from what he refers to as “the most troubled time in my life.” He credits his spouse not only with fostering an emotional renaissance, but a musical one as well, thanks to her impelling him further into the gentle rhythms of her homeland.

“I’m constantly moved by the (Brazilian) culture,” Jai says. “I fell in love with the sounds many years ago, but it wasn’t until I met Nubia that I really became immersed in it. It’s a huge country with so much regional diversity that you’re always discovering something new.”

Uttal has cut a serpentine swath through the musical world over the course of a recording career that’s spanned more than two decades, with treks into multi-cultural world music, avant-garde jazz, electronic rock and traditional Indian kirtan—or sacred chants—that have become staples in the yoga-practicing community.

While he began his journey as a child, studying classical piano, Jai’s first love was the traditional music of Appalachia—a sound that’s found its way into his recordings on a regular basis ever since. His exploratory nature soon took him even further afield, resulting in a move to California, where he immersed himself in studies with the legendary Ali Akbar Khan—with whom he maintains a musical connection to the present day.

Jai then began regular pilgrimages to India, living among the Bauls, the wandering street musicians of Bengal, and singing with the kirtan wallahs in the temples of his guru, the highly revered saint, Neem Karoli Baba. Upon returning to the states, he began weaving those variegated threads together in earnest, earning widespread critical acclaim with the first recording issued under his own name—1991’s Footprints, on which he teamed with jazz icon Don Cherry.

Soon thereafter, Uttal formed the Pagan Love Orchestra, a loosely-knit aggregation that recorded several acclaimed albums, notably Shiva Station, on which he worked closely with producer Bill Laswell—a contributor on Thunder Love as well. With those musicians—many of whom, like keyboardist Peter Apfelbaum, remain in his camp—he’s created a sonic landscape that’s constantly shifting, but eminently relatable at every turn.

“Music has always been the way for me to feel whole and to feel free,” he explains. “On another level, it’s been the way for me to feel pain and channel it. When I am doing music, it’s as if all my insides are calling out. People have said they find great joy in what comes forth when that happens, and if that’s the case, I feel I’ve done what I am here to do.”

About Ben Leinbach

Ben Leinbach is an award-winning producer, composer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist. His favorite thing besides hanging out with his family is striving to design cool recordings. Accentuating an artist's essence through a well-conceived supporting track; chiseling away at a musical production in search of the perfect alchemy of elements to bring a track to life; programming bumpin' grooves; creating sonic sanctuaries of beauty and tranquility, or evocative cinematic zones - these objectives keep Ben working hard at his craft.

Ben maintains an eclectic mix of music on his production/composition plate. He produces everything from hip hop to meditation music.

In the world music realm, Ben has worked extensively with world music pioneer Jai Uttal. Together they have created several popular records, including the evocative ambient soundscapes on the award-winning Spirit of Yoga, the hypnotic world grooves on Music for Yoga and Other Joys, the wild ride on Jai’s Grammy-nominated Mondo Rama, the ecstatic chanting on Jai Uttal’s Kirtan (which was nominated for a California Music Award) and Loveland: Music for Dreaming and Awakening.

Ben has collaborated with many other Kirtan and devotional world music artists. Deva Premal, Miten, and Ben co-created a world music and chanting extravaganza called The Moola Mantra. Ben has also produced recordings with Kirtan artists David Newman, Diana Rogers, Brenda McMorrow, Yofiyah, and many others.

Ben has also composed music for several Yoga instructional CDs and DVDs with Shiva Rea , Rainbow Mars, Nubia Teixeira, Erin Fleming, and Jill Johnson.

Ben also produces, records and mixes tracks for singer/songwriters, r+b singers, and rappers. A partial list of artists includes Sarah Davis, Amie Penwell, Greg Lamboy, Jo D’Anna, Mary Kelly, Mary Redente, The Unknowns, Asha Charles, Deane Nelson, Smoky Rosier, and Carolyn Dicharry. Please check out the discography section to see the full range of projects that Ben on which Ben has worked.

Ben operates his own recording studio in San Anselmo, California.

As a freelance sound engineer Ben has recorded projects that span the musical spectrum from world music to rap, rock and roll to Latin-jazz. He has engineered recordings with rappers E-40 and Spice-1, percussion greats Pops and Peto Escovedo, saxophonist Joshua Redman, film composers Lawrence Rosenthal and Gary Malkin, soul diva Ledisi, former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, Tim Alexander of Primus fame, Dawn Robinson from En Vogue, world music pioneer Jai Uttal, The Turtle Island String Quartet, monster bassist Michael Manring, former Santana percussionist Orestes Vilato, drumming freak-of-nature Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, and steel pan maestro Andy Narell.

As a drummer Ben has performed with sax great Chico Freeman, bassist Michael Manring, jazz singer Kurt Elling, and has jammed with Joshua Redman. A few of his former bands shared bills with Green Day, Primus, The Ohio Players, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Flipper, Charlie Hunter, and John Scofield. His jazz quartet once backed up a Jay Leno stand-up comedy routine. He has also performed with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Clint Eastwood's son Kyle Eastwood, and Mingus Amungus.

Music for Yoga and Other Joys - By Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach - Meditation Audio CD  

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