The first collaboration CD from acoustic guitarist Michael Mandrell and multi-instrumentalist Benjy Wertheimer is a mythic instrumental journey. As a 'Yoga Meditations' soundtrack, the album transports the listener into both the faraway lands of ancient India- through the soulful sounds of the esraj, tamboura and tabla- and the mystical Celtic landscape with lyrical splashes of acoustic guitar. From this timeless inner landscape, listeners are invited to travel into the spontaneous journey of the heart that is accessed through yoga and meditation. As Public Radio International's 'Echoes' host John Diliberto put it in a recent interview, 'Michael Mandrell is the acoustic guitar player infusing his original melodies with Indian scales and a Celtic lilt.' Michael honed his open-tuning guitar chops in the early 80's on the Texas folk circuit, performing with and opening for many prominent and upcoming artists such as Nancy Griffith, Lyle Lovett and John Gorka to name just a few. Moving to Taos, NM in 1991, Michael performed with the world fusion group 'Taos' co-producing their CD, 'The Deepening Edge,' released nationally on Blix Street Records. His latest self produced CD, 'The Great Spiral Dance' continues in the world fusion tradition with all original guitar compositions, adding flutes, East Indian percussion, Uillean pipes and other ethnic instruments. Michael tours regionally and nationally, playing solo as well as with many of the acoustic warrior road tribe, including Jenny Bird and Benjy Wertheimer. As 'Echoes' executive producer Kimberly Hass observes, 'Michael's hybrid guitar style reveals a guitarist of eclectic sensibilities and delicate technique. His music circles the globe in imagistic compositions.' He currently makes his home in Portland, Oregon. Benjy Wertheimer is an award-winning songwriter, vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist (playing tabla, congas, percussion, esraj, guitar, and keyboards). Benjy tours with Krishna Das and virtuoso guitarist Michael Mandrell, and he has opened for such artists as Carlos Santana, Paul Winter, and Narada Michael Walden. A founding member of the internationally acclaimed Ancient Future world fusion music ensemble, Benjy has toured the US, Canada, and Japan with renowned bamboo flute master GS Sachdev. Benjy's CD Circle of Fire was featured on Echoes, heard on over 150 public radio stations around North America. He has been a contributing composer and member of the Zakir Hussain Rhythm Experience (along with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead). For over five years, Benjy scored music for the internationally syndicated NBC series Santa Barbara. He has recorded with numerous A&M, Windham Hill, Narada, Nippon Phonogram, and Rounder recording artists. Beginning his musical studies at age 5 (starting with piano and later studying violin and flamenco guitar), Benjy received his training in Keyboard Improvisation at the University of Colorado and Composition and Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. He has studied Indian classical music for over 20 years with some of the greatest masters of that tradition (including Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Ali Akbar Khan and Z. M. Dagar).
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