Hans Christian and Ravi Shankar interviews on Echoes podcast (April 9th, 2020)
Since my first “official” release of original music in 1989 I have recorded and released sixteen more CDs, including six CDs with Kim Waters under the name RASA.
The process of creating the music for these CDs was always a deep inner journey, and it always took me to a place of deep meditation and of deep transformation. At the completion of this process, when it was time to find a title, I often was asking the question “what is this music all about…?”. I needed to develop a perspective from the listener’s point of view, and I sometimes ended up asking friends for their ideas.
So it was with this CD. My friends at New Earth Records brought up the idea of calling the CD “Nanda Devi” and I immediately looked up pictures and information. As I was gazing at the images of this beautiful mountain in the Himalayas, and as the music was playing softly in the background I realized that the music was a soundtrack to my inner ascent of my inner sacred mountain. It expressed a deep desire of my soul for purification, serenity, and divinity. The music completely described that desire and the title “Nanda Devi” perfectly expressed the essence of this music. In this sense, the mountain has become a metaphor of an inner process of remembering our innocence and our divine essence. To climb our inner mountain is perhaps our daily meditation, our daily challenge, and our daily reward.
I am very happy to announce two new CD releases for 2015 and 2016. My newest CD will be titled "Nanda Devi" and is scheduled for release on New Earth Records this summer/fall. We are finalizing the packaging right now which will be stunning!
Nanda Devi is one of the tallest mountains in the world, located in Northern India, and spectacularly beautiful. The music on this CD is slow moving, serene, perhaps majestic at times, and fits the timelessness of the mountain. I am thrilled to have this new CD placed with my friends Bhikkhu and Waduda at New Earth Records. This label has established itself as the premier music label for yoga and wellness music, and their main artist is fellow German composer Deuter.
New Earth Records recently partnered with Sounds True to establish a strong distribution and fulfillment network. Sounds True has emerged as the pre-eminent distributor for music and spoken word projects in the yoga/consciousness/healing arts world, and I am so very happy to announce that they asked me to assemble a compilation of solo cello music for a 2016 release on their label. So, next year, Sounds True will release a CD called "Moments of Grace- the meditative cello music of Hans Christian".
I am grateful for the opportunity to share this music with the world.
The next announcement will be my upcoming live presentation of the Rumi Symphony with Andrew Harvey in Chartres, France this July. Stay tuned!!!
Every once in a while it is time to let go. Shift, change, new energy. And so it is time for me to sell my oldest instrument, my “gypsy” cello. Estimated to be over 200 years old, it has served me well on many recordings and is immortalized on quite a few CDs that I played cello on. I’m looking for the perfect next owner who wants to own and take care of an older cello and who appreciates the marks of time that are imbedded in this sweet instrument. If you are looking for something new and racy, this might not be it; but if you are intrigued by an instrument that is oozing history, that will tell you stories of countless musical moments (including countless sessions with Hans!), than this may be worth a look.
I found this sweetheart dusted over and forgotten in a storage room of a music store in Hannover, Germany in 2005, and as soon as I picked it up to play I was hooked! There was a mystery around this cello that fascinated me. I ended up bringing it back to the US and asked Gerald Field of Field violinworkshop in Highland Park IL to give it a complete makeover. His expert touch stabilized old cracks, reshaped some marks of time, and added a new finger board (the old one was made of cherry wood!). So, here it is: http://www.hanschristianmusic.com/old-german-cello.html
Next owner, please step forward!
Playing in your home town is especially sweet. My friends have been bugging me with "when is your next concert?" and "are you going on the road again?". Well, I am sticking around for a while and am celebrating with a concert this Saturday, Sept. 20, 7pm at St. Peter's Lutheran Church (108 W. Maple St, Sturgeon Bay). I'm so looking forward to taking the audience on a journey. Let's get deeply into music, shall we?
I am longing for winter. No, really. I know, now my friends will really start to worry about me. Hans finally lost his marbles, right? Well, before you write me off, hear me out: Winter is the season for me to go deeply into creative mode. The silence of the "dark season" opens up an internal space that calls for musical ideas to come forth. I am starting work on a "deep space" meditation CD for a wonderful record company named- well, we'll announce this later. Suffice to say that there will be a new Hans Christian CD in the not so far future, and I'm working on the first piece of that deep meditation CD now. But some stormy cold days would surely help the creative flow!
Which leads me to offer this: if you are an artist and want to record during "the dark season", consider a visit to my compound in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, with all the amenities one needs to be cozy and creative- yoga studio, sauna, guest quarters, and STUDIO 330. This is a dream-come-true place, and I'm blessed to be able to work with artists from around the country while being here. Nothing is better than doing music here. I'll keep going with it, and you are welcome to participate! Check out my studio website for details at www.recordingstudio330.com.
One of the best parts of playing concerts is meeting other interesting, inspired artists. On one such occasion, It was my honor to meet and play for the great painter and visionary Alex Grey. Traveling with the GuruGanesha Band along the East Coast in 2012, we were invited on very short notice to come to Alex and Allyson Grey's compound called CoSM, in upstate New York and play a concert.
Alex Grey and his wife Allyson are amazingly creative people. Both are painters, but more so, they are visionaries who hold an arc of light for humanity in their works. Intense, radiant, and transcendental, Alex' work especially will leave you almost gasping in wonderment with its detailed depictions- it is as if he paints energy bodies, radiating life force with maximum intensity. It is quite amazing what he does.
Their 40 acre compound outside of NYC, is based on the Chapel Of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a monumental plan to create a exhibition space for their artwork and for other artists to share their creativity. The property is a former convent or religious retreat, with mature woods, various outbuildings and outdoor sculptures that other artists installed. It is bustling with creativity and joy. What a role model for us artists here in Door County, Wisconsin!
So, when I was asked to play solo at this caliber setting I went deep. Closed my eyes, no stories, with complete focus on the music. I think I played two solo pieces- long enough to really affect the place with my music.
It seems like Alex and Allyson loved it. We had a deep conversation afterwards that brought us closer and shared deep insights.
GuruGanesha continues to attract amazing opportunities to connect and celebrate creativity. Our set as a band also was cherished by the local posse of artists and staff and our stay at the compound was an event that stayed with me ever since, and I hope to play there again one day....
To learn about Alex Grey's work, visit www.alexgrey.com
photos courtesy Chia Ortegon.
Do you ever hear a voice that's calling inside? Not a lunatic crazy obsessive voice in your head that is stuck in replay of some old story, some old grudge, some old hurt- no, a voice that calls from the heart. It's like that for me these days- I hear a tender, distant, but persistent voice calling through the catacombs of my heart. I almost feel like I'm back in the crypt at Chartres Cathedral when I hear that voice. Lots of echo, very faint, very tender. It calls me back to duty, "come back, come back to your purpose in life". It is a bitter sweet call because it reminds me to let go of distractions and to focus on the core of my spiritual nourishment- my music. This voice makes me be very quiet, very quiet, so that I can hear, see, touch, smell the New that wants to come forth. It is the most fragile state of creativity- the not knowing, the rebirthing of a new chapter. Like a feather in the wind...
Here is the truth about me: I have to love what I do. Otherwise, I wither and wilt like a cut flower that has been left to perish without water. Ok, this comparison might be a little dramatic but it gets the point across. When I love what I do I can work hard, I can stretch, challenge myself, and be of service to others. I can put up with harsh winters, with harsh tours, and with harsh people. But when I do what I love then most people don't even appear to be harsh, the winters are beautiful, and tours are great adventures.
So, my most passionate thing to do is to work in the studio. I LOVE it! To record, and mix, and tweak, and tweak, and tweak, and record more. To mix more, to change big things, and small, to get lost in the world of sound vibration, and to emerge with a great sounding recording- what could be better??
I also love improving my recording studio. Upgrading the rooms and the equipment give me great pleasure, and to share this awesome place with other creative people is just wonderful. I have improved our guest room, yoga studio, and am installing a super quiet, high efficiency AC system in the studio. Recent technical upgrades include another awesome 4 channel mic preamp box (a UA 4-710 for you geeks out there), amongst quite a few other things. Why don't you check out my "studio temple" at www.recordingstudio330.com? I am so proud of this place. Next project: Painting the building. Anybody willing to help in exchange for free studio time?
This weekend, July 11-13th, you will find me at Serendipity Fest in Cloverdale, IN (near Indianapolis). I will be playing with the GuruGanesha Band and with Girish. There are quite a few artists on the bill that I've never heard of, so it will be interesting to see this varied lineup of music.
I am more and more interested to play in the greater Midwest area and hope to continue to do so with solo concerts. As always, inquiries in that regard are welcome and I will personally contact anybody who wants to discuss a concert.
See you at Serendipity Fest!!!