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Some Of My Favorite Music For Healing

It occurred to me when I was talking about music for healing - criteria for music, and how to really feel what works for and what doesn't - that some examples might be useful. I paused for a moment, because I don't often track what I use very closely; I just go for the right feel.

Having raided my music collection, I found many artists. Each artist has their beauty, but no one is perfect for every case. I present them here in no particular order, with some explanation and examples.

There's a lot on this page, so here's a quick navigation guide:

First, we have...

Dagda

I heard and enjoyed Dagda long before I knew who they were. Some of their music appeared in a meditation mix I was using, simply called "Celtic Trance". An apt description, as it was the title. (Return to top)




Kitaro

I've listened to Kitaro for almost all of my life. A great composer and multifaceted artist. Not all of his works are great for meditation, as the mind can get too wrapped up, but as music for healing goes, a little Kitaro rarely goes wrong in my book. This video is of one of my personal favorites: Cosmic Love. (Return to top)

Kitaro has been an inspiration to me my entire life. The intricacy and beauty of the melodies, derived from Nature and calling to the soul, have been a part of everything I've done to one degree or another. Just recently, I got ahold of his most recent album, The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, volume 4. Inspired by a legendary pilgrimmage made over a thousand years ago by a Buddhist monk name Ku-Kai, the music is subtle and sweeping. Although the music is gentle, as befits a series of albums devoted to peace, there is an undeniable strength that comes through that has nothing to do with aggression or domination.

The first track leads you in, gently washing over you like pleasantly cool water. Once you have entered the space, the second track piques your interest like following a path of stone steps, wondering where they will lead you. The third track seems to bring you into a void without much activity, but then surprises you with a delightful yet almost stately dance of music that seems to arise from nowhere, yet was with you from the very beginning. As the dance reaches its culmination, you find yourself on a plateau. Once there, the music guided me to imagery of revelry under a starry sky. The name of this particular track was "reflection of Water", and I can see that. The combination of string and percussion does give the sense of the rippling of water, and this became more pronounced as the track went on. But my initial imagery works as well. I could see the torches, and people looking up at the sky, perhaps watching a meteor shower or other celestial event. This is one of the top tracks that I would use as music for healing; it seems to be the most interactive.

Eventually, the revelry comes to a percussive and orderly end, followed by a sunrise. What starts out as a simple string melody rapidly evolves. I get the imagery of a journey through a well-lit forest along a path with lots of sky visible so there's plenty of light. The sun isn't overhead yet, as it's still morning. Each turn in the forest path reveals a new scene of beauty, but each one being part of the larger forest. Eventually, we pull away, and the song fades out. This next track, Circle Pray, would be another choice to use as music for healing. The vocals evoke a sense of a sacred space, and the combination of strings and percussion make for a melody with life and intricacy without being overbearing. I get the image of a group ritual in the courtyard of a temple. Go figure, the track is called "Circle Pray". My visuals inclue a slow ritual dance, though.

As the ritual in the temple ends, we hear the temple bell as we go into the new track. In comes a funeral procession. The percussion adds emphasis here and there as the melody goes into the journey of life, simultaneously happy with a touch of mournful, playful but solemn. After the funeral procession passes by, the mood lightens a dance-feeling track begins. This one is much more upbeat, calling up a sense of wonder and even awe, as if to remind us that the world is an amazing place. My visuals include tumblers and other such performances but not done as a tawdry cheap act, but as a demonstration of the wonder of the world and the universe. I do like this one almost as much as the ones I picked for music for healing, but I wish this one had been just a little longer. The track is great, but I wanted more. Perhaps I just didn't want it to end.

For more info on the artist, visit Kitaro's page, and while you're there, check out the site of the label he works with, Domo.(If you like the music of the Arkenstones below, here's a hint: Domo carries their music as well!)

Enigma

Enigma is more main-stream than most "new age" type music, but that also means that they're pretty accessible. They're very good for getting attention, and setting the stage, but sometimes I like something a little more intricate. (Return to top)




David and/or Diane Arkenstone/Ah Nee Mah

Almost unfair to combine this way. Each is a talented musician independently, and they work great together as well. Great ambience, and is very descriptive with the melodies and instruments they use. On occasion, I want something a little more challenging though. (Return to top)




Adiemus

Adiemus I just found out about in the last few years. I first heard them during my Reiki training, used by my teacher. They use soaring and powerful vocals without (in most cases) being recognizable lyrics. This is good; it doesn't trip you up when you're trying to avoid words clogging up your thinking. (Return to top)




Kodo

The big name in Taiko drumming. In comparison to some other artists, I've actually found them a little too challenging on occasion. I don't use them much for meditation, but when you need to work with primal emotion, drumming is known to bring it out, and they're among the best. (Return to top)




Krishna Das

I confess I'm cheating a little here; I don't use the music in the first video. I refrain only because there's some English lyrics in there. Doesn't stop it from being one of my favorites!

The chants used here feel really great to me; sometimes I'll just pick one and follow along, letting everything else fall away. (Return to top)




Llewellyn

Excellent at ambience, yet attention-getting at times. Gets kinda spacey for me on occasion so I don't use much of them at present. Still, they're certainly worthy of inclusion; they may be just the music for healing for you. (Return to top)



R. Carlos Nakai

I first heard about Nakai as being similar in spirit, if not style, to Kitaro. A very apt description. Carlos Nakai's flute-work is wonderful for spending some peaceful and regenerative alone-time. (Return to top)




Richard Maddux

Again, more ambient than challenging, but in some cases that's no bad thing at all. Even more so in this case. (Return to top)



A Few Honorable Mentions

Alas, there weren't any good videos for these that I could find. Still, as music for healing goes, it's worth a look.
  • Rasa
    • I'm really favoring this group recently. A wide range of emotion. Smoky and mysterious, peaceful and serene, vibrant and energetic. Highly recommended.
  • Bodhi
    • Great flute work. More ponderous and playful, where Nakai is more descriptive and visual.
  • Delerium
    • Similar in style to Enigma, the problem (for English speakers, anyway) is that the great majority of their work uses lyrics, which can throw everything off.
  • Bruce Hathaway
    • Here's another artist that's great at setting the stage and keeping you in that zone. Can be a little heavy on the drums for some (though nowhere near Kodo or other Taiko drumming groups!).

What you use for your music for healing is up to you. Remember to pick something beautiful, and something that feels right.O


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