Music has been a source of inner inspiration for me since hearing Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze" at age 14 (something about those harmonies). For some years my expression of that was mainly vocal, except playing around with odd instruments here and there. In '86, I entered the Peace Corps, serving 2 years in Sri Lanka. Upon returning I began teaching myself acoustic guitar, then hand drums, Native American Flute, and so on. In '94, my wife Kris and I volunteered for 6 months in Bosnia and Croatia. Most of our work, in the war zone of Mostar, Bosnia, was sharing ethnic music and dance with children. From '95 through '05, we led Dances of Universal Peace, formerly known as Sufi Dancing, which use sacred phrases from various religious/spiritual traditions set to music and movement. Having lived in Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim cultures, and seeing some of the best and worst humanity has to offer, I began to increasingly embrace 'experience of the Divine', rather than specifics of belief, as central to spiritual growth. I also gained a profound respect for that root in each of these traditions. As chanting became a part of my spiritual practice, I began working more and more with my own chant melodies of multicultural themes. In 2002, we purchased our first computer, and the world of digital recording was opened up for me. Four years later I had enough material for a CD. At the insistence of a dear musician friend in Vermont, I designed the cover, put together a final mix on our iMac, and took it to a local duplicating company. The melodies on this recording are all original, with the exception of 'Bismillah', which is my own variation of a traditional melody. The sources for the words range from traditional sacred phrases to original lyrics to obscure quotes, and the instrumentation from guitar to harmonium, Native American flute, tabla, darbuka, sitar and a basket of dry onions as percussion on 'Helen's Sun'. Joe Culley does his superb Tabla work on 'Lanka Om' and 'Two Guys' Jam'. The rest is me, and the result is 'As Is'. Those that have loved this recording have used words like 'relaxing', 'enchanting', 'transporting', and 'my kid won't let me stop playing it' to describe it. If you find benefit from it on any level, then it has served it's purpose. Enjoy, Jeff Kiko-Cozy.
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