Lotus Dreams

Lotus Dreams - Christel Veraart
Release Date: 2019-05-03
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Lotus Dreams is the latest album from award-winning musician Christel Veraart. The lotus is a universal symbol of tranquility and renewal, its exquisite flower opening, petal by perfect petal, as it rises out of the muddy waters of its origins. In this album, Christel Veraart explores that theme through both eastern and western musical influences. Genre: Ambient, Meditative, Asian

Genre: Ambient, Meditative, Asian

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→ The Jakarta Post – Sounds of Indonesia in Christel Veraart’s “Lotus Dreams”


Album Review

Having lived in places such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States, Dutch musician Christel Veraart now calls Jakarta home.

Inspired by the wealth of her travels around the world, Dutch musician Christel Veraart has created many albums of tranquility and meditative moments.

Her latest album, Lotus Dreams, finds her a long way from home — again.

Having lived in places such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States, she now calls Jakarta home.

Though the new album is still influenced by sounds of other places, her environment has given her yet another new source of inspiration.

A recipient of multiple composing grants and film industry awards, Veraart’s music has always blended the sounds of her Western musical background with whatever surroundings she is in.

“World music influences were added as a logical result of my wanderings and handed me the tools to capture my adopted lands in sound,” she says.

“Western and world influences, together with the natural landscapes, they form the inspiration for all of my compositions and have been captured in the albums I released over the years.”

Of her move, Veraart says that while the contrast “may seem stark”, she has always “strive for a universal musical language that unites people across boundaries”.

Lotus Dreams was written and recorded in Jakarta, far from where her previous record was made, which was finished in Alaska.

Having left her classical music training (for piano and voice) many years ago for constant new elements, Veraart has discovered how the richness of Indonesia seeps into some of her new sounds.

She points to two out of nine tracks on Lotus Dreams — “Rimba Kuna” (Old Forest) and “Jalak Bali” (Bali Starling) — with obvious Indonesian influences.

“As a musician, living here has allowed me to explore new areas, particularly in terms of instruments. There is an incredible variety of wind, string and percussive instruments that are new to me and I am looking forward to learning more about them while I am here.”

In her first three months in the country, Veraart lived in Sumatra, which inspired the title track “Rimba Kuna”.

“Like many composers before me, I am fascinated by the Indonesian gamelan [traditional orchestra],” Veraart explains, adding that the song finds her giving a “voice to the Sumatran rainforest, which is home to some of the world’s rarest animals and plants”.

Meanwhile, “’Jalak Bali” evokes images one of the rarest birds in the world, the Bali starling.

“Again, I used a mix of east and west instruments: piccolos sing their voices, and the tune of bamboo flutes call out their plight,” she says.

Indeed, Veraart’s use of instruments not often found in popular Western music is one of her music’s most prevalent strengths.

The album finds her utilizing everything from bamboo flutes, Chinese violins, to Indonesian gamelan, alongside western wind and string instruments.

The combination is something that energizes and inspires her creativity.

“For me, it’s 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.”

Into music: Musician Christel Veraart (right) is a recipient of multiple composing grants and film industry awards.

She adds that a few tracks on this album were inspired by pure imagination.

“In the end, it is about how you feel.”

With “Liquid Zen”, the last composition Veraart wrote for the album, she says she reached a “new sense of tranquility and peace that resulted in a meditative journey to the here and now”.

The creation of the song moved her “into a different dimension I want to further explore in the future”.

Exploration is constant for Veraart. “Wolf Totem” was “inspired by Jiang Rong’s novel about the dying culture of the Mongols and the parallel extinction of the sacred Mongolian wolf”, she says, while the music is meant to evoke shaman drums and chanting.

Meanwhile, Nepalese prayer flags flutter in “Wind Horses”, a song that features Veraart’s voice accompanied by an ancient double-reed woodwind instrument.

“Their whipping in the wind reminded me of sailing ships, of traveling,” she says.

Next up, she says the music she wrote for the theater production The Child Behind the Eyes, and played in Amsterdam and the Hague last fall will soon be touring in the US and Israel.

“At the moment, I am gathering material for my next album and no live performances are planned for the near future,” she says.

Being Dutch, Indonesia has historical values to Veraart.

“Because I am Dutch I find it interesting to see the traces of Dutch history in Jakarta. This city, like Indonesia in general, is a fascinating mix of cultures and influences. I also find the Indonesian people to be exceptionally friendly compared to some other places I have lived.”

- The Jakarta Post - Marcel Thee