Wonderville is Adam Bauer’s second solo kirtan album, following 2014’s critically-acclaimed release of Shyam Lila. Collaborating with award-winning producer Ben Leinbach, Adam co-produced this album of all-new chants (and one cover), recorded in India and the USA. The broad range on this devotional celebration moves from warm and tender to robust and rooted.
Bauer’s voice expresses his deeply intimate expression of devotion through sacred mantra chanting. The album presents Bauer’s vocals and harmonium in context of a rich collaboration of traditional Indian instrumentation (tabla, pakhawaj, bansuri, sarod) and the sounds of classic Americana (mandolin, pedal steel, guitars) and features piano, cello and other instruments played by masters of their craft. While there are similarities to Krishna Das’s familiar voice and phrasing, it’s no wonder that Adam spent 7 years playing and touring with the Kirtan icon. But Adam makes each of these chants and the expression therein totally his own, with a gentle insistence that penetrates the space, closing the gap between singer and listener. Very likely you’ll be inspired to sing along, or at least hum loudly. There are many points along the journey where it all lifts off, singers and players alike, fully in unison as one. With a lineup that includes Hans Christian, Steve Gorn, John McDowell, Chris Gartner, Visvambhar Sheth, Gawain Matthews, Robert Powell, Kendra Current, Lakshmi Devi, Sandy Griffith and co-producer Ben Leinbach, it’s no wonder that the high frequency musical flow is palpable and contagious in the best possible way. It’s a downright hoedown at times, and soars high to the sky of ecstasy in other passages.
Featuring chants to Krishna, Shiva and Ganesh, Wonderville presents Bauer for the first time integrating English lyrics into his songs, and showcases an interpretation of an all-English song which has melted hearts around the world since being included in his epic live performances. Basic tracks were recorded by Vipal Asthana in Varanasi, India, on the solar eclipse March of 2016, and masterfully mixed & recorded by Ben Leinbach in San Anselmo. Adam has brewed up a heady stew, whistling while he works it, stirring and seasoning in all the right places with reverence and authenticity. The lengthy tracks allow plenty of room for development and artistic freedom to be explored and, for the most part, perfectly landed. People get ready, there’s a chant train a’comin’ — y’all hop on board, y’hear? iamadambauer.com, mantralogy.com
by LLOYD BARDECommon Ground: Wonderville Review
I awoke this morning feeling a fullness of emotion around today’s release day of my new album, Wonderville. Obviously, it’s exciting to finally fully share my new baby with the world! And I’ve been deeply gratified by the warm response and extraordinarily kind words offered by folks who’ve been listeners so far. I am humbled and grateful, and happy.
The other side, the shadow, is also present. Maybe it’s the creative person’s own version of postpartum depression? It’s like “this one’s already yesterday’s work, what have I done lately to contribute to the world?” Toss in a twinge for every person I should have already sent an advance copy to, or all the thanks you and loose ends I shoulda coulda woulda been more on top of, if I was running my life like a well-oiled business, instead of, well, instead of like a messy, overwhelmed human life like the one I am living. Sigh.
But all is all, it’s a day of celebration. The autumnal equinox is now upon us Northerners, Muslims, Jews and many others are celebrating important seasonal passages and much of the collective mind turns towards the Sacred, towards the Eternal, ever-present even through the endless tides of shifting, growing and dying that Nature serves up on the natural.
I guess my wish and prayer is that, in its own humble way, Wonderville helps stoke the fires and recognition of miracle and wonder in each listener, that it helps evoke and hold a space for healing and deliverance, that the sonic tapestry it weaves and offers is a balm for the sweet, achey parts of the inner realm that sometimes need a kind word or a gentle touch to loosen the strings that bind us to old ways no longer helpful, no longer needed as we spiral back to Infinity.
I love you, Big World, and everyone in it. Thanks for being my friend and companion. Let this day be one of candor, love and kindness. The rest we’ll sort out along the way…
Oh, and ordering info: get it here or any other place you like downloading music: iTunes, Amazon, Tidal, Mantralogy and beyond. Enjoy!
Listen to wise words from Adam and others on Yoga Chat.