Music for soul and leisure from: North America, Middle East & North Africa, Far East

According to Sattva Music ”Relaxing and exciting at once! A journey on the trail of the East – from Africa to India – evoking inexplicable yearning. Powerful feelings varied and tender. 40 musicians from twelve different countries: Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and America are traveling with you through the musical cultures of their own countries. A strong bridge between different cultures.”

This exciting journey across the world to many different cultures music is what makes this CD one of my favorite CD's.

– InfoNexus

This prolific German composer, whose real name is Oliver Serano-Alve has produced numerous fantastic albums. He also created his own record company Sattva Records which initially was to release his own music, but has gone on to publish many other artists and showcase the talents of many traditional performers. The albums by Shanti that will be of most interest to Enigmatic fans are his more recent ones, all of which are amazing journeys. His albums are actually to be found under the artist heading 'Oliver Shanti and Friends' which gives credit to all the many artists who perform on his albums. "Well Balanced", published in 1995 (and republished in 1998), is a superb Native American Cross-over album for you to enjoy. Beautifully ambient, upbeat and emotional the songs mix the organic vocals and Native American vocals with synthesisers and drumloops. The best song on this album is difficult to choose, but I'd end up going for the epic 6 minute "Fight Without Fear" with it's spoken vocals, traditional war drumming, plaintive flutes and an ever-increasing feeling of tension before the song explodes into a female-voiced choir. The only song not composed by Shanti on the album is You Can Hear Them Dancing which was written and performed by Joanne Shenandoah and arranged by Shanti -- it is a moving ballad with a very catchy chorus. "Water - Four Circles of Life" was the first single off the album and was made into a very impressive music video which is one of the best examples of Native American Cross-over music.

His follow-up album "Seven Times Seven" published in 1998, leaves behind the Native American style and embraces the music of the Middle East. This may be my favourite album of his to date, as it mixes traditional Indian and Middle Eastern singing with beautiful synths and instrumentation. More joyous than most of his other albums, Shanti has assembled for this album a group of distinctive voices. Songs like Onon Mweng featuring the velvety voice of Diana Isaac and an uplifting flute part. The title song is a rhythmic song with infectious melodies. The best song for me on this album though would have to be Al Atfaal with the gorgeous voice of Amal Morkus. The whole album is overall more electronic and features some truly beautiful themes. Yet Shanti's greatest power is his ability to multi-layer so many influences and chants into just one song, myriad of traditional and classical instruments, not to mention synthesisers and electronic basslines.

His latest Native American inspired album is the 14 tracks of "Medicine Power" which features more guitar but is just as moving and impressive as his other albums. The album has an impressive packaging, including a 40 page booklet describing Native American astrology. Favourite song on the album would be Shamboo Wokantonka with it's down-tempo ambience and sad flute. In December 2001, Shanti released his long-anticipated new album Alhambra. It sees him featuring the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the usual eclectic mixture of vocalists and traditional instrumentalists. Mixing Spanish, Middle Eastern and Oriental influences, it is another breathtaking album. For an even more relaxing and meditative work, take a listen to "Tai Chi" (published in 1992) and "Tai Chi Too" which is the more enjoyable one, published in 1996. Shanti also conceived and produced a trilogy of albums called "Buddha & Bonsai" which features many guest artists from the Orient and continues his exploration of these mystical lands. The first two albums are primarily reinterpretations of traditional songs with light synthesiser influences and a myriad of guest performers, however the third album displays the greatest involvement of Shanti and is the most enjoyable of the three. Oliver Shanti is an exceptionally creative individual, responsible also for all his album's art direction not to mention working as executive producer on various other albums that his company publishes.

– source: Earth - Rhythms

Label: Sattva Music