“From the Mouths of Enlightened Musicians”

The musical world according to a young visionary.

When I set out to put together my weekly radio show with three female musicians I had no idea how it would fly. Well, it flew just fine thank you. The final segment was pKiaya2lanned to be an interview/review of a double-release by the band, Silver and Moonlight. However, and as a great surprise to me, the interview segment blossomed into an exhaustive analysis of music making, improvisation, the inner workings of band live and composition, and a look into the mind of a gifted and artistic young lady…I would dare say a modern, artistic renaissance woman.

 

A little background:

Kiaya Abernathy is a vocalist, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, spectacular visual artist, and a very creative photographer. If that isn’t enough, she’s strong-willed, perceptive, and enlightened. That would all be understandable if she were in her forties, but if you take off a decade aKiayand a have you are closer to the truth.
Kiaya is dedicated to bringing to the masses art in all of its expression. In this interview, she speaks for all of us who struggle to bring forth creative and meaningful music into a world where sameness and commercial gain eclipse meaning and foresight.

 

 

As you listen to Kiaya speak about her band, her father, her ideas, and her hopes for the future, think of the way things could be. The way music would change if her worldview were a reality. If music were set free from the chains of what has to be.

Listen here:

The Interview

 

Check out the 31 song double album release by Silver and Moonlight:

Stars Shining Bright and Loon Call are here:

The Bands Website

silverandmoonlight.jpg

 

My radio show, The Studio Rocks with Mark Campayno, can be heard every weekend here:

JBRNewSlideThe Studio Rocks w/Mark Campayno

 

 

 

 

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The Journey by Anurag Mishra: Reviewed by Mark Jeffery Campayno

Music is music yes? Well, no. As the days pass it becomes clear that music style and music blending are now becoming as one. Sub-genres, new genres, and blended forms are shaking the foundation of what once was a fairly stable set of norms for each culture.

Music is in this state of flux because of the massive increase in the ability of humans to communicate. Instant access to practically to anywhere in the world has enabled a sharing of art and culture unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Music is now being composed that may contain elements from two or more cultures. This is now the norm and the movement is picking up even more momentum as each day passes. anurag

Take Anurag Mishra, a native of Mumbai, India. He creates music that is eclectic and mixed with culture and pure intuition. A man after my own heart he writes, “I can type and type but words have no meaning really. Just listen, that will be enough.” His musical vignettes are snapshots, or better to say, short stories of his life experience mixed with elements of his native and western musical experiences and intuition.

His mix of nature and urban background sounds are as real and alive as his music. How does one conceive of such creativity? Anurag himself is a man who can be passionate and incredibly humorous. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can be at once, or in part, highly emotional and extremely patient and kind. But, that is what makes his music so varied and engaging.

Using his instrumental musings as musical poetry is part and partial of what Anurag is about. His three-song collection The Journey is a prime example. When Anurag says, “I recorded these songs on an old broken mandolin, the tuning alone took hours, but man the tone of old wood. :)” you understand immediately that he is an old soul. He is clearly a composer free and uninhibited ready to create that which is delivered by the process of “creative composing“. He is a self-taught savant ready always for the music to call.

His compositions come to us as not just sounds, but pieces of our lives. For him, bringing music to the earth is almost a religious experience. He takes it seriously and fights hard to get every once of feeling into his works.  He is a master of arpeggiated emotionalism in this case taking cello and mandolin and creating what can only be described as a miracle of moving symbolism in musical dialogue. “Wings” is by far his greatest work thus far. Moving me to a state of paralysis until it ends, its notes fall as pedals of sound pulling at every fibre of my being.

“Breathing” sounds like a classical etude until the entrance of the cello. It’s then that you realize he’s done it again. He’s opened your heart. Out it comes, good memories, bad memories; people flash before your eyes. You see that. which you wished to let go of. Then, instantly the music brightens a little and life becomes once again bearable and recoverable. The song ends abruptly with no warning, but not too soon. For Anurag, you see, will write as long as he needs to. No more, no less. Be assured however, that the message will be there for you. But, only you.

In the last composition, “The Red Earth”, you are struck by the beauty of the world. All the earth, not just your small part of it. He describes the piece as “changes from light to dark, or dark to light”. Don’t dare ask for more of an explanation than that. He won’t give it and in this change I speak of, your interpretation pulls more weight. Creators of world instrumental music are happy to listen to your descriptions as it gives them a window into a world they wish to discover.

At the end of this short but powerful collection, you realize that in music at least the universe and it’s inhabitants can live as one. We can understand each other. We can overcome and embrace who we are. We can create freely. Anurag Mishra’s 8:13 seconds of breathtaking soundscapes prove that the world is changing quickly around us.

Mark Jeffery Campayno

Anatomy of Improvised Guitar “Inner Life”

How does one begin to explain the emotions contained within such a piece of music? It’s not possible with mere words. If it were there would be no music. To this day, this song weighs heavy on my heart. Basically, the music was birthed on a Sunday afternoon with my son. Looking back, that day was telling. In a way, the power of God was present that day and it now seems that a message was being sent to me. After dropping my son off (the most painful moments of my life) I drove the usual three hours back home. I had no intention of recording anything as it was late and I was tired. Looking around the room I saw my old Aria acoustic guitar. I picked it up and the music began to flow. It was as if a force outside of myself compelled me to do so. I played a few minutes and then decided to record a little of it. The result will always be one of my most memorable acoustic pieces. The pain, regret, longing, and yes, remorse are evident in the music. Do I hear any ray of hope in it? Well, I’m looking still…

The Teaching of Improvisation (Introduction)

Another blog post on the teaching of improvisation? Yes. When you consider that we all come from differing backgrounds, training, instruction, and preferences. Mix all of this together and you begin to see how complex it can get. Instructors come to the teaching of improvisation with a set of skills that have been honed through gigging, practice, and study. The study of scales, modes, and chords end up in our mental and physical tool kit and we call upon them when we improvise and when we teach students to do it themselves.

Without question, there have been, and still are, great improvisers in all genres who have had little or no formal training in music in any way but can improvise freely and masterfully. Remember that these musicians have the gift of “hearing” and can play what they hear on their instruments with ease.

For most the best wagply to learn or improve on improvisational skills is to do it every day. There is no substitute for good old-fashioned woodshedding. The amount of material available today is staggering. So, we should see a great resurgence in improvising and a rise in its popularity right?

Getting students to practice improvising is not easy as it throws them into the “unknown”. This is the land that few dare to travel to especially in the early stages of awkwardness on the guitar. Once self-assuredness and confidence build up, prsflameskill development in improvisation can blossom.

We will look at the unlimited amount of help that is available with the explosion of music software that is at everyone’s fingertips. Most importantly,  approaches must be taken to get students to actively “practice” improvisation on their own. Music, and the guitar need to be an active part of the student’s life at home and with his or her circle of friends and family.
In the upcoming posts I will call upon my teaching and playing experience to dissect a methodology that works as a global template of sorts. This template must, and should, be fluid and adaptable meeting the varied (sometimes severly) learning styles of each student you instruct.