Liner Notes by Darlene Koldenhoven

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Pre-Sale August 1
Release October 14

 
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Travelers' Notes

Liner Notes

by Darlene Koldenhoven


1. Cheerful Mohana  4:11

Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Vocalese, Engineer
Ron Korb - Bansuri Flute & Improvised Flute Recorded at Humble Dragon Studio by Ron Korb, Toronto, Canada
Venugopala Raju - Improvised: Tablas, Dukki Tarang, Tabla Tarang, Khanjira, Bass Drum, Shakers, Tambourine,

                              Recorded by Shrinidhi Omkar at Omkar Studios, Bangalore, India

Mohana is the name for the morning raga (or scale) in Indian culture where it is known to have the power to calm down anxiety, stabilize mood and blood pressure, soothe the depressed state of mind and help in terminating migraine and headaches. Thus the title "Cheerful Mohana" and a great track to start your day. This is the first single released from the album "Traveling the Blissful Highway" on July 15, 2022.

I wrote "Cheerful Mohana" to bring an uplifting joy to the listener. I programmed and performed all my arrangement parts on keyboard synth into my computer using ProTools. I wanted to add some authentic sounds and players to the mix. So I asked GRAMMY® Nominee Ron Korb in Toronto, Canada and Venugopala Raju in Bangalore, India if they would be willing to play on my new album. I met both of these incredible talents when we worked together performing with two-time GRAMMY® Winner Ricky Kej at the Bangalore Palace (2016) and his Tedx Talk in Mumbai, India (2018). Ricky sent Ron a set of Indian bansari flutes and the first time Ron used one of them was on this cheerful melody I wrote! Ron also improvised a track of regular C flute. He recorded himself at his Humble Dragon Studio in Toronto. Meanwhile, Venu improvised and recorded several Indian percussion instruments with Shrinidhi Omkar at Omkar Studios in Bangalore, India such as Dukki Tarang, Tabla Tarang, Khanjira, Bass Drum, Shakers, and Tambourine. Both gentlemen sent me their tracks which I incorporated into my file. Then I added some vocalese toward the end of the piece for a little musical surprise. My mixing engineer, Steve Sheherd (Kenny G.) mixed the track in my TimeArt® Studio (Studio City, CA) and mastered it at his Extreme Mixing Studio (Lake Balboa, CA). I hope you'll enjoy their playing and all our artistic work on "Cheerful Mohana" and allow it to lead you into a joyful, positive mood.

2. Time Traveler 3:43
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Engineer

This piece alternates different uncommon time signatures or meter such as 5/4 and 7/4 to give the listener a feeling of floating in space and floating through time, literally and figuratively speaking. With its more ambient nature, this track provides a deeply relaxing atmosphere to drift off to sleep, to relax, do yoga, meditate, travel deep within and more. It also goes well while viewing the incredible images taken by the James Webb Super Telescope of our incredibly vast universe.

3. Jade Dreams 4:56

Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Engineer, Woodwind Co-Arranger with Ron Korb
Ron Korb - Shakuhachi, Improvised Bamboo Flute. Recorded at Humble Dragon Studio by Ron Korb, Toronto
Charlie Bisharat - Violin Solo
Darlene Koldenhoven, Olivia Dessy, Aleta Braxton - All Women’s Vocalese

Alvin Chea, Todd Honeycutt, Steve Lively - All Men’s Vocalese. Mr. Chea recorded at his Baselines Sound Studio, Riverside, CA

The calming ethnic influences on this track allows the listener to take lovely trip through a Japanese garden, such as the amazing one built in Huntington Gardens, Pasadena, CA.

When I first was inspired to write this piece, I thought with Ron Korb's heritage and immense talent on all sorts of various woodwinds, he was the perfect person to call upon to record the melody I wrote for the Japanese Shakuhachi and to improvise a second track on bamboo flute. GRAMMY® Winner Charlie Bisharat also played amazing violin on my previous "Color Me Home" album. The combination of his incredible playing, the sound of his instrument and the sheer joyful experience of recording him, simply required that I had to have him back to interpret the sensitive solo I wrote for him on this track. Be ready to be transported.

 

There's nothing like human voices to reach out and connect the listener to the human experience of the music. As for the gentle background vocalese (no lyrics) arrangement, I just had to hire real singers; so I called on a few of my dear studio singer friends to join me on the wordless vocals. Due to the remains of covid-19, I decided to record each singer individually at my studio. Mr. Chea recorded himself and sent me the parts. Steve Lively, high tenor, and I have sung together for many, many years. Aleta Braxton, mezzo soprano, and I have sung together on many film dates and I taught voice to her two young sons, who are now all grown up and performing with her in the LA Opera Chorus. Todd Honeycutt sang high tenor in Elton John's background singers group. When he came to Los Angeles from Atlanta, he took a few voice lessons with me and I immediately hired him to sing with me on Neil Young's "Living with War" album a couple days later. Since then, he as gone on to sing on many sessions and live shows. Alvin Chea was the bass in the amazing vocal group, Take Six who won eight GRAMMY® Awards and twenty GRAMMY® Nominations. What a sound he has! We've sung together on many film dates as well and I've called him for several other projects I worked on. Olivia Dessy, gifted with a beautiful soprano voice, has studied voice with me for several years and turned out to be the perfect fit for one of The 3 B's in feature film "Knights of Swing" for which I arranged all the vocals, contracted, recorded and produced the singers. I even appear as a school board member in the film! (KnightsofSwing.com). All together we created a beautiful choral sound as background for the haunting woodwinds.

4. Gentle Soul 4:55
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Live Piano Keyboard Performance
Charlie Bisharat - Improvised Violin Solo
Gayle Levant - Improvised Harp (Recorded by Steve Shepherd in Levant Studio)

A sincerely heartfelt piece with a clear simplicity that reaches deep into one's soul. Profoundly relaxing and moving. This piece seemed to come from the angels. I wrote it for piano solo which I played live in one take. Then I was inspired to have Charlie and Gayle both perform improvised solos to my track which they did in one take! Perhaps we were all on the same heavenly wave length! Prepare to have your soul travel to an emotionally gentle place.
 

5. Birds in Paradise 3:24
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Engineer
Courtney Jacob - Flute Solo recorded by Jon Reeder at ReFrame Studio, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Gayle Levant - Improvised Harp (Recorded by Steve Shepherd at Levant Studio)
Charlie Bisharat - Violins

Mike Miller - Acoustic Guitar
M.B. Gordy - Cymbals

 

Let this piece take you to the grandeur of Paradise and enjoy the call and response of the birds between flute and synth on "Birds in Paradise."  The waltz feel provides the rhythmic impulse to get up and dance . . . the waltz, with your imaginary or real partner. Good for the heart and soul.

After I created the tracks and my dear friend Brad Cole did the music preparation for the session with the #1 Los Angeles session harpist, Gayle Levant, my engineer Steve Shepherd and I traveled to Gayle Levant's home and recorded her beautiful and amazing harp performance. Her part is in the meter of 2 notes per beat mixed on the right side while the guitarist, Mike Miller is simultaneously playing with 3 notes per beat mixed on the left side, creating a very hypnotic sensation musically. The 12/8 meter I chose allows for this fanciful rhythmic interplay. GRAMMY® Award Winner and GRAMMY® Award Nominated Charlie Bisharat added the violin parts I arranged enhancing this waltz feel. GRAMMY® Award Winner and two-time GRAMMY® Award Nominated M.B. Gordy added cymbal swells throughout the piece, transitioning from section to section. My dear niece, Courtney Jacob, played the sweet flute parts I arranged to sound like bird calls and birds soaring in paradise.

6. Dot Calm 4:05
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Spoken Word, Quartz Singing Bowl in Db, Australian Rainstick, Engineer

Joanne Lazzaro - Flute, Bass Flute

Slow down your heart rate and breathing with this slow moving instrumental, incorporating my Ab quartz crystal singing bowl playing a hypnotic drone; Joanne's soothing bass flute and my quiet, spoken word, guided meditation. Wind down, let go and go in deep, emerge relaxed and refreshed with this ambient piece.

Reviewer Keith "Muzik Man" Hannaleck says, "I liked the play on the words "Dot Calm," it is a great way to take something that can be stressful or frustrating when things are not working right and flip it to the positive. The internet or dot.com space is a wonderful tool for millions of people. It takes that word and changes everything you think about cyberspace. That is the point here, I believe."

7. Tropical Chill 4:34
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Instrumental & Vocal Arrangements, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Background Vocalese, Engineer
Harry Kim - Flugelhorn

This song takes you to a warm, breezy, sunny beach in the Caribbean. Imagine yourself there, just chillin'. In your mind's eye, include all the particulars you'd like such as colors, temperature, aroma, the feel of the warm sand and sounds of the hypnotic  lapping water on the shore. Make them as real as you can for these few minutes and come back to the room refreshed from your sonic mini-vacation.

 

Harry Kim really offered up a totally beautiful performance on the flugelhorn with his rich tone and relaxing style. He really enhanced the musical conversation I wrote between the horn and voices.
 

8. Sweet Peace 4:1
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Arrangement, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Engineer

Relax, travel deep within, and acquire some needed sweet peace with this calming ambient track.
 

9. Osmium Glow 4:31
Darlene Koldenhoven - Producer, Composition, Instrumental & Vocal Arrangements, Synth Programming, Keyboard Performances, Background Vocalese, Engineer
Mike Miller - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Cathy Del Russo - Oboe
Charlie Bisharat - Violins    
M.B. Gordy - Percussion - Improvised: djembe, rainstick, shaker, cymbals

We travel to Switzerland with Osmium Glow. The inspiration for this piece came when I was first introduced to the beauty and intriguing story of Osmium in March 2022 while speaking at the global KBA Forum in London. This piece is about transformation and Osmium is a beautiful example of that. The Osmium crystals are refined in Switzerland from the toxic and rarest of stable elements, Osmium, #76 on the periodic table. It is mined with platinum and transformed into gorgeous crystals, harder and brighter than diamond. Click here for more information and images of this beautifully glowing crystal.

 

As humans, we have the capacity to change and transform ourselves if we want to. Our brains change through neuro-plasticity, our bodies change with healthy eating and physical exercise. The 120 tempo of this song is great for walking exercise which aids in physical transformation, brightens the mind and helps us think clearly. How wonderful we can transform from a negative mood to positive glow by changing our thinking and action patterns in mind, body and spirit. The music of "Osmium Glow" may assist you or remind you of those transformational possibilities. This piece begins with simple melody played by guitar and piano and transforms into a fully orchestrated arrangement, changing key from A to B along the way. Hollywood Bowl principal oboist, Catherine Del Russo plays a moving solo and M.B. Gordy enhances the track with rhythmic pulses. Mike Miller plays acoustic and electric guitar. The simple melody introduced at the opening is transformed by the various instruments throughout the arrangement.