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.
What is your musical nourishment? What is the first sound that you listen to in the morning? For me, this morning it was Mozart's Don Giovanni, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, directed by Maestro Herbert von Karajan, and recorded (digitally!) in Berlin at the Philharmonie concert hall in 1985. A three LP set on Deutsche Grammophon- pure sublimely teutonic culture.
I'm not really a Mozart fan- his music is too cute for me. Brilliantly cute. Like Michael Jackson, who also struck me as brilliant and as (too) cute. But the opening to this epic opera, Don Giovanni, is stunning. The first two minutes are beyond brilliant, they are divine. Mozart starts with a thunderous fortissimo chord that instantly sets the scale between the listener and the work that is to come. Just a simple 1-5-1 chord progression that grabs your attention, guaranteed. The first two minutes of this opera are some of the most fascinating two minutes in "classical" music. Gripping, brilliant, astonishing. Check it out for yourself, next time you can get around to it...