..Lese Dunton..

Sting and Russell Simmons on Spiritually-Focused CD

A new CD by Lokah Music called "The Ivy Ceiling" merges the ancient sounds of Kirtan with modern musical styles. Russell Simonns and Sting joyfully joined in with their talents.

Lokah Music is, at its core, two people - Sri Michael and Uma Nanda Saraswati. Their debut release was celebrated recently at a grand party hosted by Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club and PR firm KMR Communications in New York.

Producer and thoughtful gentleman Russell Simmons was at the celebration along with Sting, which was packed with a variety of celebrities, press and vibrantly creative people.

Russell opens the CD with a spoken introduction on track 1. A nice conversational tone blends with his poetic essay:

So all of us are learning how to see the miracles unfold.
How to be in the space where we can be in union.
How can we see the world in its proper perspective?
The idea that the world is in perfect order.
And the more we can see the goodness, or the thing that inspires us, gives us peace, obviously, the better off we are.
We're here to be happy. Now that's the only purpose in life, is to achieve that state of happiness. So, all the other things around us, illusion, noise, separate us from our space.
So, the practice of using the struggle to bring us closer, is the practice of yoga.
I tell people all the time: money doesn't make you happy. Things, toys, objects, things you can buy, things you can manipulate, power, these things, wordly things. They don't make you happy, but happy makes you worldly things.
Happy makes you money.
Music promotes presence.
Presence is the goal - to be awake.
Creative work.
Look inside. Inside is only good.
So that's why music is so good.
That's why the poets always tell you - wait a minute, putting these people in ovens, aint' no good,
enslaving these people, no good.
Bombing innocent people, no good.
Abusing the animals, no good.
Abusing the environment, no good.
Artists tell you that because they're faced with the opportunity, or given the opportunity,
their self has seen that it makes sense to look inside for the answers that we talk about that all the time.
You know, what makes us happy? Artists can see inside a little bit.
Then they can see the contradiction. What separates us from happiness.
What things aren't really good for our own spirit.
The investment, the real process, the real practice of giving.
That's what it is. That's what we're here for.
The intention, more than the action.
What else, Uma?

Copyright © 2008 Ma Bahkti Yoga LLC All rights reserved.

Sting who was there with his wife, Trudie Styler, performs the hauntingly beautiful "Ma Durga" on track 3.

(The night after the CD celebration, he gave his final concert with The Police at Madison Square Garden. Part of the profits went to New York's PBS stations, and for planting 1 million new trees around the city.)

The music on "The Ivy Ceiling" merges the ancient Indian art of Kirtan with modern musical styles of the 21st century, fusing east and west in a melodic tapestry.

Sanskrit Mantras and highly textured beats coalesce in a cross-cultural expanse of sound. Roderick and Anisa Romero of the Seattle based underground band, Sky Cries Mary, are featured on backing vocals.

Copyright © 2008 The New Sun. All rights reserved.

Photo of Trudie Styler and Sting courtesy of Chris London: Manhattansociety.com.