Editor’s note: From “Darkness to Light” arrived on my doorstep about a month ago, courtesy of a former classmate at Gary Kraftsow’s Viniyoga teacher training program in 2008, Trish Elting. Early for Christmas but perfect time in the roll-up to Telluride Yoga Festival, this weekend, Thursday (for intensives), July 12 – Sunday, July 15. I have come to depend on the hypnotic sounds of the cd to help transform every practice into a moving meditation. Mellow yellow begins here. Highly recommended.
In their first release, From Darkness to Light, Chants to Retreat – cellist Mike Harte and vocalist Trish Elting – combine their love of music and improvisation to create a restorative experience for yoga practitioners and mediators alike.
Mike has been playing cello for over 20 years, performing in groups as well as doing solo gigs throughout the Midwest. He enjoys teaching students of all ages and is a studio musician for Element Recording in Kansas City.
Trish is a seasoned singer who has fronted for rock bands and classical groups. She is a certified Viniyoga therapist and student of Vedic chant.
The duo met one day last May after Trish walked into a music store asking for recommendations for a cello teacher. She had never played, and had just rented a cello. After months of lessons, Trish asked Mike if he would be willing to help her create sound track for a yoga video she was creating for her students. Happily for all of us he said “yes.” What began with cello lessons and a video project became a musical collaboration which continues to blossom.
When they stepped into the studio to record that first day, neither Mike nor Trish knew what to expect. However, all the elements fell into place under the direction of producer Joel Nanos of Element Recording. First came the layers of cello. Each song consists of three to seven cello tracks that had to be built progressively. Mike spontaneously crafted them. Trish reflects:
“It was amazing. It was as if he was playing cello for someone who was practicing yoga right there in the studio.”
When it came time to add vocal layers, Trish followed the template Mike had created, introducing chant and improvised harmonies.
“I remember how perfectly the chants fell into place, though none of the timing was preplanned.”
What was planned was how each song should feel and function. The music is intentionally designed to accompany a yoga practice from start to savasana by providing a meditative base for practice. The tune heard echoing throughout the album is based on an ancient Vedic chant: the Asatoma prayer reminds us that we can be free from suffering.
The album is available for purchase in digital or hard copy directly from the artist at www.chantstoretreat.com Purchases from the site support Chants to Retreat in their ability to create new music. You can also find the album on CDbaby and Amazon.
Chants to Retreat continues to combine cello and chant as they work on new projects. If their first project is any indication, it will be well worth the wait.