LOUISA JOHN-KROL

“Filled with mysterious, mesmerizing powers” (D-Side magazine, France)
“Lash yourselves to the mast!” (FluxEuropa, England)

Australian ethereal-pop singer Louisa John-Krol has released 4 albums:
“Argo”, “Alexandria”, “Ariel”, “Alabaster”

She is on the French fairy label Prikosnovenie: www.prikosnovenie.com

American distributors selling her music online:
www.middlepillar.com   www.cdbaby.com/louisa   www.projekt.com

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Your inspirations?

Ancient myths, poetry, faerielore, sufism, wicca, music and life itself inspire me.

Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Yes, when my father died. But I would not limit music to this purpose. I am attracted to the ideas of Ficino, a Renaissance alchemist and musicologist. He believed music is an energy enabling a soul to travail states of consciousness: emotion, intellect, senses and imagination. He cautioned against remaining in any of them too long.

Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person –

Anthropologist Joseph Campbell distinguished between Kinetic and Static art. Kinetic is didactic and seeks to change you, whereas Static exists for itself in timeless being: this is the kind I prefer. I never assume the role of social preacher. I simply express the magic within or in other people, books, nature, Dreaming. If my music opens doors in a soul (as some claim), then that is a fortunate by-product.
 

The music industry?

As Pepper Mcgowan (on your site) wrote: “The industry really does want you to be this nymphette/priestess/sage thing”. Yes, I’m fed up with that stereotype. Pepper, do write that song about peeing black light!!!! Then there is the issue of finance. My first label (in Germany) ripped me off. My current one (in France) pays royalties – for several pressings of each title - but after studio costs, postage and airfares, I make no profit. It’s tough for labels and distributors too. Listeners should take more responsibility. It’s ok to burn compilations of various artists on recommendation, but copying entire albums is unethical. Most musicians, even with a following, label representation and critical acclaim, do other jobs to pay our bills. If you want something don’t steal it, buy it. I also suggest we all release less CDs. Glutting the market degrades our craft. Perhaps there is wisdom in restraint?

Any meaningful albums / artists?

Mentors include Kate Bush, Dead-Can-Dance, Led Zep, Bjork, my collaborators Stoa, Gor and others, also bands I’ve met on tour such as Ataraxia and Arcana. Especially for this interview I recommend Keltia, a Belgian singer/harpist embarking on her musical voyage: www.keltia.info   keltia3@hotmail.com

Warm wishes, Louisa John-Krol
 
http://www.louisajohnkrol.com/
 

CINNAMONIA

How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations?

I think I am influenced by a vast range of different musics, at least I listen to different musics a lot, ranging from classical composers such as Mahler or Stockhausen to French and Italian Chanson as well as 'pop' and 'wave' music. A formative influence for me clearly was "Music for 18 Musicians" by Steve Reich. The steady repetitions and the very basic harmonies that were nevertheless always changing immediately transported me into a kind of mild trance when I first heard it. I think that the influence of Steve Reich and minimalism in general is still quite audible in some Cinnamonia pieces today, although of course what we are doing is 'pop' music. Really important for me, too, was "Music for Airports" by Brian Eno, one of the very first ambient records. Very beautiful and unobtrusive, I still prefer Eno when I want to relax and simply 'come down'. I wouldn't say that we're consciously trying to do something similar in our own music, but at least these were important experiences, still inspiring me to retain an open ear today.

But much more obvious influences on Cinnamonia are from 'wave' and 'progressive' music, and also from folk and 'world' music. I like the clarity of the modal scales employed in it, and folk music often thematises very basic and deep human experiences as well. I think I try to retain a certain 'sincerity' with my own music, and in a rather oblique way this is inspired by the approach of some of the great folk singers I admire, such as Martin Carthy or June Tabor.

Has music helped you through a difficult period in your life?

It helped me a lot in my adolescence, when it at first served as a means of identification, and later – when I started doing music myself- as an outlet for all sorts of pent-up emotions (mostly anger, at first). I was a rather insecure youth then, but pretty much annoyed with the people in my environment (school peers especially), and music was helpful in finding a different group of people apart from what I considered to be the 'mainstream squares'. Me and my friends listened a lot to 'gloomy', 'new wave' sort of things then, but this surely helped me to confront and integrate the 'darker' aspects of myself.

Any meaningful CDs or songs?

Apart from the ones mentioned above, I'd like to name:

David Sylvian – "Secrets of the Beehive". Wonderfully subtle music, at the same time very melancholic and very uplifting, and such an incredible voice. Sandra and myself are huge Sylvian fans.

Eyeless In Gaza – "Drumming the Beating Heart", and everything else by the band and their singer Martyn Bates, who has got one of the most emotionally compelling and beautiful voices I ever heard.

Anything from Belgian composer Wim Mertens and from Dead Can Dance.

Discuss the creative or songwriting process:

A pre-condition for writing music is a certain inner balance that makes 'inspiration' possible. It is not always easy to achieve that balance, there are always the demands of having to earn one's living (as we cannot live from our music) and various other distractions. I also seem to need some positive response from other people in order to keep me going on(either from Sandra, or from people outside Cinnamonia). So, often writing music for me is a slow and not always easy process. But once it happens, it's very rewarding, and somehow I know very quickly if something I have just composed is good and worth developing.

Normally I start writing a piece with a certain sound or phrase, and then slowly build the whole piece around it in a rough form. Then I play it to Sandra who then develops the lyrics and the vocal lines, which we then record. And now comes a long period of refining the song, adding or taking away tracks etc. Normally what you hear on a Cinnamonia record is the result of a lengthy process of (hopefully) perfecting more and more what we have done.

Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person:

I think music can have very powerful and even cathartic effects. It can help you to focus inner difficulties, acting as a kind of catalyst for you. This is why even seemingly dark or aggressive music (industrial, heavy metal, you name it) has its place in many instances. But in general, music is helpful to center myself, to uplift me, and for me this is most often done by rather quiet and 'beautiful' music.

A few years ago, I was involved in a therapeutic/ scientific project based on the idea that every person has an 'individual tone' (like, say, F#), and that listening for awhile to that tone can have a positive therapeutic effect. The project failed commercially and personally for a number of reasons, but I still think there is something to that theory. Sound waves probably interact directly with your body, causing it to resonate in a certain way, and that can be a helpful means to coming back to yourself or getting you out of an illness. But normally I quite intuitively pick the music that will be helpful and enjoyable to me in a certain situation.
Thomas Koehler

CINNAMONIA is the musical project of Sandra Werner (vocals) and Thomas Koehler (instrumentation). Working together since the summer of 1999, they have created a pulsating, lively music that combines floating melodies with moods of melancholic beauty.

SANDRA WERNER joined several bands before becoming the singer of MADRIGAL in 1993. She stayed with the band until their demise in early 1999. MADRIGAL originally were heavily influenced by Progressive Rock Bands, before developing a more 'pop'-oriented style, gaining recognition by their acclaimed live performances.

THOMAS KÖHLER has worked in the field of electronic music since he founded the band OPERATING STRATEGIES in 1985. In their twelve years of existence, Operating Strategies released three critically acclaimed albums and contributed to several compilation CDs. Thomas has also composed music for theatre and film.
 
www.cinnamonia.de
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cinnamonia

SANDY FRAZIER

* How has music inspired you? / Your musical inspirations --

Music is truly the universal language. It moves me, it makes me cry, it makes me dance and sing. Music can transform me. It is everything to me.

* Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Music has mostly been the central focus of difficult or traumatic times in my life. As much as I've got the passion for writing, singing and listening to music, it's been very painful. It's very difficult, if not impossible, for me to listen to certain songs now.

* Any meaningful CDs or songs?

Elvis in Memphis

Plastic Ono Band The White Album - Beatles

The Dreaming - Kate Bush

Ray of Light - Madonna

So - Peter Gabriel

Dreamboat Annie - Heart

Phantom of the Paradise (soundtrack)

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

"I really believe artists are channels for a higher and much purer force which we have no choice but to bring out of ourselves. It took me experiencing a lot of disappointments before I could begin to live truer to myself. I write music to survive and I've actually LIVED each and every word of my songs."

One group of songwriters, The Moody Blues, were in touch with not only universal consciousness ("understand the voice within") but also nature's rhythms ("listen to the tide slowly turning"). They were inspired by great forces, the source of which they could never understand. I heard Justin Hayward say (as the camera scanned the handwritten lyrics of Nights in White Satin - one of the greatest rock songs ever written):

"Songwriting, for me, is one of those things that is such a magic moment. The time when you write a song, when it comes to you; I tend not to analyze it too much because I just don't know where it comes from. But it's the most beautiful feeling and it's something from nothing... something that didn't exist a few minutes before... and it's a wonderful thing."

http://www.mystic-art.com/tma.htm

* Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person --

Music alone is not enough these days. Visuals are very important and can convey every mood and emotion of anyone any age any day at any moment. In American culture, we tend to place singers and performers on a pedestal, which is wrong... however, when someone sings, performs, interprets a song, wonderful things can happen. But also terrible things can happen. Music has the ability to change and transform a people in ways most of us are not aware of as we are being moved.

Sandy Frazier is an artist, writer and musician; she has published her own book, The Mystic Artist, which is available on the Internet, and another book co-written with her mother, Elizabeth Baron - The Art of Silence - as well as a series of meditation tapes, which have been sold on the market since 1989. She is also a painter who has exhibited in Soho, New York.
www.mystic-art.com   www.cdbaby.com/cd/sandyfrazier

BARRY GREEN

 Barry Green has offered an exerpt from his book- The Mastery of Music
 

                                                                                                                          
As I have been exploring these ten pathways to true artistry with many of my musical colleagues, I have been surprised to find our conversations turning again and again in a direction that I can easily recognize but cannot quite name. That "quality without a name" is the third part of this message, and I trust you will pick up on it as you read along. You will find it expressed within these pages through subtle inferences and indirect suggestions in every chapter. While conducting more than a hundred and twenty interviews with master musicians, I was surprised and delighted again and again at their willingness to open their hearts and souls to me -- but even more amazed to see how many of them attempted to put something into words that they had never before expressed.

In one of my last interviews, Bobby McFerrin told me this is what he lives for:

When I go to a concert, I don’t want to leave the hall the same way I entered. I want TRANCENDENCE. I want something to happen to me in there, so that when I leave the hall, I’ve been touched in a deep, deep way — by magic, by some holy accident. I’m singing this song, and all of a sudden I hear this voice in the balcony singing along with me. Something happens which makes people feel they have been asked to step outside themselves a little bit, to help create the musical space. That’s what I want, and I think that is what everybody wants.

I have found this striving for something special, something which we can never quite control, and never quite put into words, has woven its way like a hidden theme throughout the chapters of this book, and I believe it has a great deal to do with inspiration, and with the transformation which takes place as the separate qualities we are exploring begin to meld together into that elusive thing mastery. Perhaps we can't explain it, but this mysterious quality seems to be something many performing artists strive for, time and time again.

OUR JOURNEY

Our journey, then, is to take a new look at these ten pathways to excellence that resides in the human spirit, that I feel so passionately contribute to the mastery of music. This list begins with the ten pathways I have named, but it will continue with your own discovery of even more pathways to artistry. What is so remarkable is these pathways lead to new insights and a better understanding of what we might have thought was "the right way". I encourage you to read between the lines. I invite you to spend some time thinking about the significance of what many of these great artists will say.

A true exploration of the The Mastery of Music reveals that there is much more to learn that what appears on the surface. The process itself is endless, but within this journey lie all the marvels of discovery, spontaneity, guidance and wisdom. What is most important is taking up the challenge and growing and developing these qualities in our lives.

The late great master violinist Isaac Stern, in Life’s Virtuoso, the documentary about him in the American Masters Series, said:

Composers wrote the words and the notes. You have to make your own individual sound, but you have to understand-- and the understanding doesn’t come out of here [pointing to his head] but out of here [point to his heart]. If you really know music as a professional musician, then you spend your entire life learning that you can not learn everything. Then you learn a respect for learning for others with whom to exchange these ideas.

We learn this from other master musicians, we learn from experts who have championed those qualities that have made them truly unique and special, we learn from great music, we learn from life and nature, we learn above all because we know this is one of the great reasons we are alive.

There's a popular saying that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" -- and that's the way these pathways of true artistry work together to build mastery in music. May your journey enrich your life with music, and may it never end.


BARRY GREEN: DOUBLE BASSIST. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Green is active teaching double bassist's for the San Francisco Symphony Education Department, University of California, Santa Cruz. He also tours the world as a concert bassist and Inner Game of Music Clinician.
www.innergameofmusic.com
www.themasteryofmusic.com

TAMMY RAYBOULD

How has music inspired you?  Your musical inspirations

My musical inspirations include people, animals, nature, and plain old
feelings about anything and everything. I tend to bottle feelings and
emotions inside and then before I know it, I end up writing a song about
exactly what I’ve been stifling. Sometimes it’s a defense mechanism for
real life, I’m not sure if that’s good or not, but I choose to look at the
positive side.

Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Oh my goodness, you wouldn’t believe! Music has been my be-all-and-end-all
throughout so many difficult times in my life. I started writing when my
father left when I was 13. I’d written a couple of little diddles when I
was younger, but didn’t really understand the depth of writing until I
started understanding what was going on in my real life. I never really
spoke about my feelings to anyone, so music became my therapist and best
friend. (I can see how that would sound really f***** up if you’re not a
writer. Ha!)

Any meaningful CD’s or songs?

Oh wow, once again, pretty much every song for me has meaning. Even if I’m
not thinking about it as I’m writing it, it always ends up that my
subconscious takes over and purges a lot of what I’ve been feeling and
thinking in the back of my mind. I never actually wrote a song about my
father until I was about 21 and one day, it just came out in the form of
“This Is Why”, one of my favorite songs on my latest CD, “Maybe”. There was
another song that I wrote called “You”. Everyone thinks it’s a pretty love
song and it kind of is, but it’s not about a person, the way everyone
thinks. It’s about music and what music means to me. (The boyfriend that I
had at the time that I wrote the song was not pleased, he had to go!)
You know what though?! Not all of my music is all that deep. Sometimes I
like to write happy-go-lucky songs. People like to be happy! I love being
happy!

Discuss the creative or songwriting process

Well, everybody is different, therefore many people have a different process
of writing. Personally, I like to write the music (chord progressions and
melody) and the lyrics at the same time. If I write it all separately, it
feels like I’m trying too hard on separate things and I’ve never liked the
sound of that. I like it to all flow and sound like it’s what I was
thinking and feeling at the time of the writing of the song.

Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music
can have on a person

Being a piano and voice teacher, I see the way music changed people all the
time! It’s incredible and too good to even be able to put into words. I
get some adults that come to lessons and say that it’s the one half hour of
the week that they really feel they relax. Some young students begin
writing in my classes and you can see their eyes light up and I can just see
what they’re thinking ~”wow, I really just did that, I wrote that!”.
Whenever I played the piano or guitar and sang, my rabbit would always come
and cuddle up as close as he could to me. He loved music! Even my dog, I
taught her to sing “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window”, she sings the
barking part in the middle of each line. I also taught her how to yell “GO
SENS GO!” (I’m on Ottawa Senators hockey fan!) Usually, babies fall asleep
as soon as they hear music. Betcha any money, I can put a baby to sleep by
singing some Tom Waits.

Music is and always will be universal!

With one spin of her first track "Loving You," you know there's something special about Tammy Raybould. With her infectious personality combined with her powerful singing voice and enticing melodies, Raybould is taking the music community by storm. Armed with an exciting album titled "Maybe" distributed by Sony Music and even more recent 3-song demo, Tammy Raybould promises to become a great singing and songwriting sensation.
www.tammyraybould.com www.cdbaby.com/cd/raybould

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