The Pure Heart Ensemble / Bliss of Being was nominated for a Zone Music Reporter award of Best New Artist in 2014!
The Pure Heart Ensemble / Bliss of Being has been nominated for a Zone Music Reporter award of Best New Artist in 2014!
"A divinely-inspired and spiritually transformational piece of music." - Jenny Smiechowski - NEW AGE JOURNAL
"A beautiful blend of piano, cello, flute, crystal bowls and vocal sounds... has a depth and presence that is usually missing from other offerings. The arrangements seamlessly blend the instruments into a cushion of loving sound." - Evelyn Rysdyk - Spirit Passages E-dispatch
"A top shelf example of healing music that sounds like it really comes from the heart" - Midwest Record
The Story Behind The Making Of The Album — by Richard
In the Spring of 2012 I was feeling the need for some personal healing in my life and also wondering what my next CD was going to be. I listened to Robert Coxon’s CD “Silent Path” one night and allowed myself to cogitate about what I’d like to create as I went to sleep that night.
The next day I sat down to compose, asking for music for healing and began the piece “The Bliss of Healing.” As I played it back I found myself breathing deeper and being transported by the beauty of it.
Concurrently a musical friend from my days in NYC contacted me saying she had just returned to the US after 25 yearsin Germany. Cellist Adriana Contino and I arranged for her to come to Asheville to play again and to record.
I finished composing “The Bliss of Healing,” arranging it for piano, flute, voice and cello thinking of Kate Steinbeck who plays unique modern wooden flutes and Dielle Ciesco a vocalist who specializes in healing and wellbeing through toning.
Adriana and I got together for an intense weekend at my house recording improvisations for healing as well as tracks for “The Bliss of Healing.” Following this I contacted crystal bowl player Bob Hinkle for a session and then recorded overdub sessions with Dielle and Kate.
All of us had our own challenges and tremendous gifts as we each chose a path of serving the music and purpose for the album. Here are excerpts from conversations about the experiences and gifts gained.
Richard (to Adriana): The music that came through was deeply beautiful. I acknowledge that the conditions of the recordingwere far from easy for you but your choice to commit yourself to the creative process opened us both to some amazing music!I am used to the process in my music of letting go of whatever comes up and returning to the music. Sometimes what comes up doesn’t seem to be very lovable.
A: Self-love means that when you find the part of yourself that you don’t like, you love that part the most.
Bob: Much of the time I’m not at all certain whether I’m playing the bowls or they’re playing me. The sonic union,at times during the recording, was such that I would actually lose track for a moment of who and when we were.
R: Do you perceive the “moments of losing track of who and when we were” as a gift of opening, or was that a challenge?Was that a gift of being surrendered into allowing the music to “play you?”
B: I do set out to play specific notes and groups of notes but at some point I tend to find that all my calculation and ego guidance melts into what I can only call a “duet with the deep” and in some ways I become just another listener. I don’t know if, at least in my case, I’d use the word surrender exactly. It’s more like “getting out of the way.” It feels more like a letting go.
Dielle: I was having frustrating vocal challenges the day we recorded, and throughout the composed piece (The Bliss of Healing), the “I’m not good enough” voices that like to play around in my head were very loud.
RS: How did you deal with this?
Dielle: I kept singing over those voices. The sound of “mmm” was very soothing to me and helped me reach a deep compassion for myself and my situation. Hopefully, the energy of that compassion comes through the recording.
After feeling so distressed on the composed piece, the improvised pieces were a joy to sing. As an improvisational vocalist, I don’t consider myself the one who plays the music. Rather, I let the music play me. Life is the musician. I’m simply the instrument. There is no greater feeling than allowing music to sing through me! It’s a communion.
Kate: Beauty — it’s right now. In the recording session I had to trust my heart and instinct to arrive with everyone — going beyond the safety zone into trust. I try not to be linear (playing music). Spherical keeps us in the heart. There were no visual cues in the recording session, so it couldn’t be linear. All One is Spherical, opening us to a Larger Energy Force.
When we let go of fear we are available to the larger energy to play through us. We are serving
this greater force. Letting go of fear is the doorway.
"The perfect late-night, candles, incense, red-wine, meditational album" - Elizabeth B. - 8notes.com
To purchase Bliss of Being click HERE!
1. The Bliss of Healing - 11:22
2. Beginning the Journey - 4:09
3. Remembering the Goal - 1:06
4. Transition to a New Way - 4:28
5. Heading Home - 9:20
6. The Journey Deepens - 4:03
7. Remembering the Bliss - 2:15
8. New Openings - 2:51
9. Divine Connection - 11:02
10. Resting in God - 1:36
11. Loving All - 4:19
12. When We Go Home We Go Together - 2:19
Total Time: 58:53
Richard Shulman/piano & synthesizer
Bob Hinkle/crystal bowls