Markus and Angelika, the duo making up Mirabai Ceiba, are known for making some of the sweetest devotional yoga music available. They combine the writings of devotional poets throughout the ages, their own poetry, and Kundalini yoga mantras with guitar, harp, and numerous other instruments to create albums with wonderful depth and layering. Their new album Awakened Earth, produced by Jamshied Sharifi, is a work of art and a welcome addition to anyone’s yoga music collection. Recorded with a stellar cast of instrumentalists, Mirabai Ceiba has created an engaging and beautiful album.
One beautiful thing about Mirabai Ceiba is the way Markus and Angelika’s voices work together. His voice has a way of grounding the airy, ethereal voice of Angelika, making each track more substantial. Her openness and earnest tone lifts Markus’ voice up, keeping their music light. This interplay is especially strong in “Sat Guru Prasad” and “Guru Ramdas Rakho Sarnaee.” In “Sat Guru Prasad” Angelika sings so sweetly, and there is an incredible innocence and earnestness in her voice. When Markus joins in, cradling and supporting her voice with his, the track becomes rich and warm. In “Guru Ramdas,” the front half of the track is so light an ethereal that Angelika seems to almost float away on the music of her harp. When Markus comes in with the Guru Ram Das mantra, it brings the whole track back down to Earth, and makes it very accessible.
One standout track on Awakened Earth is “Har Mukanday.” The instrumental accompaniment from the string section and keyboards are incredibly beautiful, and give a quiet and peaceful tone to the whole track. The guitar gives a slightly percussive feel as Angelika sings “Har Har,” which is softened and tempered by the other instruments on “Mukanday.” The English interlude halfway through allows the song to become more intense, as Mirabai Ceiba sings “Take from me… Fill me…Liberate me…” and layers the vocal tracks on top of each other. They allow the song to build for a moment before quietly relaxing and fading away.
“Sat Siri Akal” has a very different feel from the rest of the tracks on Awakened Earth. It’s a very lighthearted and playful piece, with a pop-synth feel. The flute and guitar help create an infectiously joyful vibe to go along with Markus and Angelika’s voices. If there were a crossover market between yoga music and the pop world, “Sat Siri Akal” would be Mirabai Ceiba’s entry point into the mainstream market.
“Oh, My Soul” is a unique take on “Kabir’s Song,” a much loved song popularized by Snatam Kaur. As presented by Mirabai Ceiba, this adaptation of the words of the poet Kabir take on great weight and urgency. This is a track that commands full attention from the listener, so they might learn the path to fulfillment. There is a wonderful string accompaniment, which mellows out the intensity of the song and ensures that it is powerful without becoming overbearing.
Awakened Earth is a beautiful tapestry of sounds, supported by a host of wonderful musicians and instruments. This is not an album to play in the background, half-listened to and half-ignored. Awakened Earth is an album worth savoring, putting aside day-to-day concerns and celebrating the mastery of Mirabai Ceiba. Visit www.spiritvoyage.com to find out more about Mirabai Ceiba and their music.
More from Mirabai Ceiba: