Lotus Dreams

Lotus Dreams - Christel Veraart
Release Date: 2019-05-03
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In Lotus Dreams  Christel Veraart explores the sounds and rhythms of Asia – from high windswept plains in Tibet to the lush jungle forests of Bali. Eastern and western instruments combine with soaring vocals to pay tribute to the lotus as a universal symbol of tranquility and renewal. Is it real or imagined – or a mix of both?

Genre: Ambient, Meditative, Asian

Album Review

Lotus Dreams is musician Christel Veraart’s most recent album, and it does not disappoint. It retains the meditative quality of her previous albums, exploring similar themes inspired by nature. Veraart often uses a mix of Eastern and Western instruments, but here the feel is distinctly Asian.

Is this East-West fusion or something else?
“For me, its all about dreams, says Veraart. Today many people are embracing Eastern philosophy in yoga and meditation. It’s the same with music – east is embracing west and west is embracing east, there are no strict boundaries. Recently I went to an exhibit by artist Lee Mingwei – very contemporary art with short live performances of Schubert’s songs, Mingwei calls them Sonic Blossoms. The whole experience was incredibly moving – even though the music and the art were centuries apart, from very different cultural perspectives. Some tracks on this album were inspired by pure imagination, others by my experiences traveling in Asia. In the end it is about how you feel.”

The title piece, "Lotus Dreams" is an example - it echoes the soaring harmonies of her imagination. The erhu — a bowed, two-stringed Chinese fiddle sings its soulful song throughout. Alternating between tender, sonorous, and stirring, this composition takes us to a place of calm and tranquility — a place where we might dream of lotus flowers.

"Wolf Totem" is at the other end of the scale. Inspired by Jiang Rong’s novel about the dying culture of the Mongols and the parallel extinction of the sacred Mongolian wolf. Veraart’s music evokes shaman drums and chanting, perhaps voicing a plea for guidance from the animal spirit of the wolf.

In "Bamboo Mist", Veraart explores a fusion of influences, a mix of instruments from around the globe reflect her state of mind. Chinese erhu, dizi and zither are introduced to the Armenian duduk, Spanish guitar, castanets, and Western strings. 

A meditative journey to the here and now, "Liquid Zen" ebbs and flows. A spacious melody in bamboo flute builds slowly then gives way to a web of soothing, velvety tones. The ultimate in space music, this track moves you into a different dimension.

Nepalese prayer flags flutter in "Windhorses", sending their devotions to the sky. Their whipping in the wind reminded Veraart of sailing ships, of traveling. The track features her own otherworldly voice, accompanied by an ancient double-reed woodwind instrument.

"Silk Road" is a composition partly inspired by Yo-Yo Ma, and the richness that comes from exchange of ideas and cultures. “In today’s world I find comfort in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road ensemble. My own Silk Road recalls the ancient network of trade routes, a centuries-old model for cultural exchange between the East and West. A unique musical language was born of difference.“

"Elegy for a Cherry Tree" is a very special composition to Veraart, composed and performed at the time of a friend’s death. Her own very beautiful voice carries us through grief to the beauty of new life.

Two tracks have strong South-East Asian influences. "Jalak Bali" evokes one of the rarest birds in the world, the Bali starling. Again a mix of east and west instruments is used: piccolos sing their voices, and the tune of bamboo flutes call out their plight. 

In "Rimba Kuna" (old jungle), Veraart uses Indonesian gamelan to give voice to the Sumatran rainforest which is home to some of the world’s rarest animals and plants. The gamelan is an instrument with a sound and rhythm all of its own.

Veraart's music expresses the beauty of places both real and imagined. And because it is, quite simply, exquisitely and emotionally evocative, we are uplifted.
- Another Wanderer