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Reviews 01-30-2005 


Reiki Shaman

by Ashron

Visit Ashron's website

This German import features the work of Ronald Hoth also known as Ashron.  Published by BSC music Germany, this is the third CD by this artist, previous works being "Inner Peace" and "Reiki Mantras".  He also has two CD’s with his group “Aschera”.   

The artist is a Reiki Master whose works focus on building an atmosphere for working Reiki.  This work also focuses on working on a Shamanic level.   The addition of more forceful drumming than your usual Reiki CD’s appears to be his addition of the Shaman flavor to the Reiki music.  This CD also has a very definite Japanese flavor in all the tracks.


To quote his website: “The new Ashron album "Reiki Shaman" is once more based on an underlying topic: suggesting the listener to focus his inner powers and his will and to use both for the creation of a positive "Here and Now".” ( )


There are eleven tracks on this disk, ranging from a little over four and a half minutes to almost six and a half minutes.

The first and second tracks "World of Harmony" and "Sundance of Love" feature Japanese style drumming, flute and female vocals overlaid on an electronic background.  The pieces are very prominent, energetic and are not your usual soft and mellow type of Reiki background music.  A soft chant of “Sundance of Love” is repeated throughout the second piece.


The piece "Crystal Mountain" again features electronics with vocals and again, the strong drumming. This piece is a bit softer that the previous pieces. "Shamanic Drive" is a more powerful piece, with a lot more intense drumming, male vocals, and more percussion with light electronic fill in.  "Father’s Son" is a spoken prayer put to music, featuring guitar and electronic background with female vocals.  The prayer is in English, so you can understand and meditate on the piece. The sixth track "Golden Eye" is a more electronic piece, with more drumming but softer than some of the other drumming tracks and again features flute and vocals. "Saya" returns to the power drumming and lots of chanting.  Electronic flute accents the piece, again with electronic backfill.


The track "Ngorongor" brings us jungle animals and drumming.  Probably the most off piece of this CD, the elephant trumpeting and monkey calls mixed with the chanting did not sit well with me.  It just seemed out of place here.  While it had a Shamanic feel, it did not say Reiki to me. We return to something more subtle with "So Many Souls", a prayer again set to music and drumming.  "Courtship Flight" is again very Shamanic, chanting, drumming and bird sounds filling in the background over the electronic fill. The closing track "Heavenly Fire" starts with a struck match and a crackling fire over an electronic fill that turns into a prayer about the Reiki Shaman.  Drumming is slower than previous pieces and chanting fills in over the music.  The piece closes as it began, with the crackling of the fire.


While most of us are accustomed to a softer, non-intrusive style of Reiki music, this CD tends to be a bit more overpowering than many will prefer.  This is, as I said, because the artist appears to be working a Shamanic angle to the Reiki practice and the use of more forceful drumming and chanting in Shamanic practices is common.  While this CD may be good for personal Reiki practice if you like this sort of thing, I found it too pronounced to use as a backdrop for working Reiki on clients.  There were also a couple of tracks I thought would not work well for Shamanic practices either.  But I believe this would be a personal preference.


However, do not let this deter you from listening to this CD.  It is a very different look at music for Reiki, and if you also have a Shamanic lean in your practice this may be a CD to look at for your own use.  Ashron presents us with a different look at Reiki from the aspect of a Shaman in this CD.  This is a stronger than usual Reiki CD and should be explored for it’s uniqueness of style and the quality of the compositions

Reviewed by Margaret Foster


Mystical America

by Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan's website

“Mystical America” is pianist Laura Sullivan’s most uniquely beautiful work to date. Inspired by the wonder and mystery of various sacred and magical sites around the country, the music is peaceful and soothing, but provides plenty of substance to think about, enjoy, and dream. All of the tracks feature Sullivan’s elegant and graceful piano, and others include guitar, keyboards, strings, and flute. Chris Camozzi, Scott Fuller, Mary Pitchford, and Diane Grubbe contributed their considerable instrumental talents to the project, and Camozzi also produced and arranged the CD. The twelve tracks are grouped into four sets of three pieces: Magical Creations, Sacred Symbols, Mysterious Messages, and Nature’s Splendor, and the liner notes take us on a fascinating tour with a knowledgeable guide. All of the pieces are original compositions with the exception of “Mt. Shasta,” which is a gorgeous arrangement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (Sullivan has included a favorite classical piece on each of her albums). The CD also includes a packet of hand-dipped desert sage incense to intensify the experience.

The first of the “Magical Creations” is “America’s Stonehenge,” which comes from Mystery Hill in Salem, Massachusetts. A duet for piano and violin, the piece is both mysterious and lighthearted - an odd combination that works beautifully. “Chaco Canyon” comes from a complex in northwestern New Mexico that was the main ceremonial center for an ancient people. Acoustic guitar and piano with some keyboard washes paint a tranquil scene. Part of the complex is a series of roads that go out from the structures in a series of straight lines that extend for miles into the desert. Thought to represent the out-of-body spirit travel of the shamans, the music has a floating quality that conveys peace and wide-open space. “The Serpent Mound” (Ohio) is subtitled “Celestial Harmony.” Ambient sounds enhance the gentle warmth of the piano, creating a delicate and serene soundscape. The “Mysterious Messages” pieces all have a light yet haunting quality. They are melodic, but somewhat less structured, and shimmer with gentle elegance - I especially like “The Heavener Runestone.” My favorite set is “Nature’s Splendor.” “Red Rock Country” (Arizona), subtitled “Scent of Desert Sage,” is a piano solo with a lovely rolling left hand and a sweet, simple melody. I had the pleasure of hearing Ms Sullivan play this piece on my piano at the Whisperings concert last summer, and it was hypnotic. My favorite track is “Hawaiian Islands: Born of Fire.” A bit different from the rest of the album with its upbeat tempo, I really like the energy on this one! The closing track is a gorgeous arrangement of “Moonlight Sonata,” a tribute to the majesty and beauty of Mount Shasta in California. Sullivan’s piano is faithful to Beethoven’s original, with subtle and poignant keyboard accompaniment added.

Laura Sullivan keeps growing and surpassing herself with each new release. “Mystical America” is a marvelous artistic achievement, and should be a treasure in anyone’s music collection. It is available from,, and Samples can be heard at  . Very strongly recommended!

Kathy Parsons
Solo Piano Publications


Reiki Essence

by Anuvida and Nik Tyndall

New Earth's website

Reiki Essence is the third corroboration between Anubida and Nik Tyndall.  The previous two were also Reiki
CD’s, "Reiki Healing Hands" and "Reiki Touch of Love". 

The medium for Nik Tyndall is electronica.  Anuvida’s style is electronic Indian music played on his own home built
kiboe”, an electronic harp-like instrument.  Together these two artists give a unique sound, blending Western electronica with a very Eastern sound. 


The music is peaceful, to say the least.  The artists were looking to provide relaxing music while stimulating the heart chakra.  They achieved this with this CD and as a Reiki practitioner, I found this music to be inspiring and my clients find it to be relaxing and quite enjoyable.


The seven tracks run from a little over 5 minutes to almost 10 minutes, giving a total run time of almost 51 minutes.  If you are working with a client who you have specific areas you want to focus on, you can time it out with these seven tracks for an hour if you remember the 4th track is the longest and would be good for a specific area you and the client have discussed.  


The track names: "Sacred Mountains""Wondrous Secrets""A Dream in the Sky""Healing Essence""Feel Your Body Float""Gentle Flow" and "Within A Rainbowed Sea" can bring visuals to mind if you use this CD for meditation, but to be honest, as you listen to the CD in the background, the tracks are non-descriptive and do not interfere or distract with channeling Reiki.  It is perfect background music for the work, with a slight touch of Eastern rifts.


This is another quiet, peaceful CD that will lend itself to relaxation, Reiki or just background music to your everyday workplace.  A fine collaboration between two very gifted artists.

Reviewed by Margaret Foster



by David Nevue

David Nevue's website

“Overcome” is David Nevue’s ninth solo piano CD, and comes from the emotional journey of losing his father in the fall of 2003. Nevue emphasizes in the liner notes that the focus of the album is not sadness or sorrow, but the process of passing through it. A deeply religious man, and the son of a street preacher/evangelist known as “Brother Hallelujah” to those he preached to in Africa, Nevue includes his arrangements of five hymns and praise songs as well as ten new pieces and a new arrangement of “The Vigil,” which was the title track of his 1999 CD and the piece he opens every performance with. Several of the pieces are very intense and convey the mix of emotions that comes with the death of a loved one. Some are quite dark, but the hymns bring light and a sense of healing. The last two tracks are much more upbeat and peaceful, having “overcome” the grieving process and making it through to the other side.

The title track is a very dark, powerful piece, full of deep emotion - one of Nevue’s best, I think. “Winter Walk” is another favorite. The crystalline opening notes in the upper register are chilly and clear. The rest of the piece is more introspective with the leisurely pace of a long walk to think things through and to just let yourself feel. The feeling is very sad, but not without hope. “Treasure Falls” is another beauty, although it is much lighter in feel. Alternately introspective and almost dancelike, it reflects a contrast of emotions. “Broken” is again very solemn and deeply emotional, as are “A Moment Lost” and “When the Hard Rains Come.” “Words Left Unsaid” is another favorite. Nevue calls it “a lament,” and the sense of regret is palpable. “Walking In Shadow” is based on a verse from the 23rd Psalm, and is very dark, indeed, but a feeling of hope breaks through in passages, again contrasting some very different emotions. “The Old Country Church” was composed for Nevue’s father, who loved good-time gospel music. It isn’t exactly joyful, but as the song develops, it is going in that direction. Nevue’s arrangements include a lovely version of “As the Deer” as well as his personal interpretations of “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Take My Life and Let It Be,” “There Is a Redeemer,” and “Psalm 5.”

As an artist, David Nevue keeps reaching new heights by setting his life experience and faith to music. His music is not complicated or flashy, but comes from deep within, letting us know him and his heart in a way that words would never do. “Overcome” is amazing in its candor and openness. Very highly recommended! It is currently available from and

Kathy Parsons
Solo Piano Publications


A Windham Hill Collection

by Various Artists

Windham Hill's website

Let me start out by saying that when I tried to play this CD on my computer (XP with Windows Media Player) it refused to play.  The disk did not start automatically.  I inserted it again and this time it read the disk.  The instructions said I had to agree to an end users agreement, which I did.  I received an error message “CD3 Launch Error 0002011F-00000002”. 

So, I opened the program through Internet Explorer “LaunchCD.exe”.  Again, the same error.  While Windows Media Player recognized the CD and listed the tracks, clicking on the track gave me a window that said a license was needed and would I like to download it.  I agreed with the licensing agreement and allowed the program to download the license. A window from “SunnComm Technologies Inc.” popped up saying I needed two digital keys to enjoy the CD.  I waited for the keys to be downloaded, reinserting the CD as instructed.  The process stopped and repeated itself from the beginning.  When I got to the “SunnComm” window again, I waited for the keys to be delivered.  Note the window said the keys were free of charge and no information was being collected from my computer.  After four minutes, the keys were still “downloading” according to Windows Media Player.  I reinserted the disk.  Again, the license acceptance window, I agreed, the error message.


This process took up about 20 minutes of my time, and some frustration on my part.  I then went and got my portable CD player.  I was not going to waste any more time.  Frustrated at this point, I closed Windows Media Player and popped the CD into my portable player and it worked just fine.  I have also played this CD on my home system, and again, it works fine.  It appears it only has issues with the computer.


Having run through this frustrating experience, I needed the calmness this CD was to invoke.  This CD is a compilation of works by various Windham artists that promotes calm, relaxation and is ambient at its best.


Ambient music should not interfere with your normal daily process, but it should not sound like “elevator music”.  Windham Hill, founded by William Ackerman in 1976, has given us some of the greatest Ambient artists and some of the best loved ambient music.  Even now, years after Will Ackerman has left the company, Windham Hill still produces the best in the business.   While many of the recent releases are compilations, which have always been their style, there is still new material being issued and new artists to add to the catalogue of distinguished artists.


This CD has 12 tracks, all by different artists, with a total time of 59:56, giving almost a full hour of calming, relaxing ambient music. The first track is a piano piece by Yanni called "Only a Memory", a beautiful flowing piano composition with orchestral accompaniment.  The second track is Will Ackerman’s solo guitar piece "Big Thing in the Sky", which is as haunting as it is beautiful. The third piece is a George Winston classic "Rainsong" highlighting Mr. Winston’s piano skills and composition.  This piece is light, melodic and atypical George Winston.


Tim Story checks in with "Green Glass", the title track from his album of the same name, and it presents us with a change in mood from classical piano/guitar to music with more of an electronic spacey feel.  Tim Story, who is known for his brooding and somber style of music, can also give us a lighter, more airy feel as this piece shows, and it fits well with the mood of the CD.


Schonherz and Scott have a delightful, bouncy electronica piece called "Bayangume" which again gives a lighthearted feel to the CD.  Yet this piece is not so bouncy that it disturbs the feel of the CD but rather adds to the relaxing mood this CD intended.


Philip Aaberg returns us to the solo piano in "No Wonder They Sing", giving us another quiet, airy piece to soften the background and give some contemplation to the CD. Lisa Lynne’s composition “Majestica” combines her harp talents back dropped with flute and orchestra to give us a soft piece reminiscent of Celtic or Renaissance style of music.  Again, not intrusive, but light, airy and calming. "Espana" by Patrick O’Hearn is an electronically orchestrated piece with Spanish undertones.  Impressions of tambourines, Spanish chords and a lazy rhythm that reminds you of a calm Spanish guitar blend nicely in this piece.


"Wind in the Trees" by David Arkenstone is the impression of a lazy summer afternoon with a gentle breeze blowing through the leaves and the tinkling of a bamboo wind chime.  Electronic Flute highlights this piece and keeps to the mood of the CD. And again we are treated to another of Windham Hill’s master piano players with "On the Edge" by Jim Brickman.  Again, another piano piece that lightly dances on the edge of our minds as we listen to the CD.


Douglas Spotted Eagle presents us with a piano and Native American flute piece called "Closer Still", a composition that exemplifies traditional Native American flute music given a modern day backdrop.  This is a very lovely piece that is hauntingly romantic. The final track is the classic Mark Isham composition "Tibet Part II" a spacey electronica piece featuring guitar.  Anyone familiar with the Windham Hill catalogue will recognize this piece.  A lovely ending to this compilation.


While trying to load this CD into my computer was frustrating to say the least, it was worth bypassing the computer to listen to the works.  This is a well thought out and blended collection.  The title says it all, but there is more here than just relaxing music.  This is a collection of some of the best and brightest Windham Hill has to offer.  If you never heard any material from Windham Hill, this would be a good starting point, and if you are a die hard fan as I am, you will appreciate this collection.

Reviewed by Margaret Foster



The Shaman's Heart

by Byron Metcalf
featuring Steve Roach

Byron Metcalf's website
Steve Roach's website

“The Shaman’s Heart” by Byron Metcalf is a 73 minute continuous journey that sets the stage for the listener to immerse themselves in a soundworld that will be very conducive to meditative and altered consciousness states of mind. Along for the ride is Steve Roach who with Bryon jointly composed most of the music that you will hear on this CD.  Steve also contributed a piece of his own on track 7 called “Unfolding Clarity”. This project was recorded, mixed and mastered by Byron out west at “The Lair” in Prescott, Arizona.  It is also a fine addition to Byron’s previous works and continues to build on his reputation as drummer extraordinaire.  

Track 1, “Preparation Pulse”, begins with the sounds of nature and the rattle opening the soundscape, and setting the rhythmic pace for what is to come.    The drum then joins the rattle creating a heartbeat rhythm.    Consider this the beginning of a guided meditation with music instead of words that moves you through the various stages of a shamanic journey.  

This CD is recorded as a single continuous piece of music.   It can be difficult to pinpoint when one track ends and the next begins but as you listen you can feel when there is a change of energy and if you are looking at your CD player’s track counter you will see that these energy changes mark the tracks pretty well.  The music is a very immersive experience.   Plenty of time is allowed for the listener to submerge themselves in the soundscapes that have been created on this CD. The drums vary in intensity and are with you for your entire trip.  They become your rhythmic companion that walks by your side as you move along a path of inner discovery. The nature sounds and the raven’s calls are blended seamlessly into the background of The Shaman’s Heart and are not at all intrusive which, if used improperly, could very well have been the case.   

When “Call for Total Surrender” begins the pace quickens as the drum and the rattle become a focal point for the journey inward.  They call insistently -- the traveler delves even deeper inward and explores the inner worlds of both spirit and mind. The sounds of nature, and of ravens in particular, were recorded by Byron  and are a constant companion on this journey,  even when the drums and rattles take the center stage during this track.  

This track is the centerpiece of the CD clocking in at just over 20 minutes. The piece starts with just the drums and rattles and slowly ratchets up the soundworld with multiple layers of sound and with the addition of the didgeridoo played, of course, by Steve Roach. This track mimics the ebb and flow of a Shamanic experience as the traveler moves from the high points where the music pulls the traveler along with its forcefulness and then backs off as the traveler slows the pace of the journey. 

The music can be very trance inducing at its apex during the “Call for Total Surrender” but for example can be very soothing and atmospheric on a track like “Unfolding Clarity” which closes out the CD. “The Shaman’s Heart” follows the path of most ritual work in that it slowly creates an altered state of mind during the first 3 tracks, with a steady beat allowing the listener to slowly leave behind the day to day concerns of life.  By the time you reach track 4 you are ready to raise the energy that you will need to explore the inner depths that most ritual work has at its core. Once the energy is raised and your goals have been accomplished,  you begin to release the energy and move slowly back down from the peak that the music has taken you.  This is is accomplished through tracks 5 and 6. By the time you reach the last track, “Unfolding Clarity” , you are bringing back with you into the everyday world the wisdom that was gained along your journey to the inner worlds of spirit and heart.  

Byron Metcalf and Steve Roach have created a rhythmic and introspective piece of music with the release of “The Shaman’s Heart”. Their musical sensibilities seem to share a single heartbeat as they work together to create a rich soundscape populated with tribal beats and nature sounds that take you on a sonic voyage to the center of the heart and back again. For fans of Byron Metcalf and Steve Roach, “The Shaman’s Heart” is another triumph and definitely does not disappoint the listener. Highly recommended as an addition to anyone’s musical library. 

Reviewed by Michael Foster


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