The Mahabhuta November 17, 2015


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by

 
The faces of surprise and awe when uninformed bystanders realize what's happening during a Genesis Party sends tingles up my spine and sets my heart spinning with joy. It's such a foreign concept, when people get it, they're usually a little shocked and genuinely intrigued. …."you mean, everyone here is contributing to this music, right now in front of my eyes.… I can go up there and sing/play on your song…. and you're going to record it and make a studio quality record from it? ….Really? ….and you don't care what I do or say on it?" Yeah…. really.
     At the 2014 Mahabhuta Yoga festival, the GP was announced but not explained. It was raining on the last day, so all the vendors had to come inside to the large lobby of the community center. It was very much like a yogi market with all sorts of wears and products from fresh juices and home made granola to yoga mats, slack lines and even emergency, reflective head bands designed by a child looking for a way to stay outside later. The lobby was packed. A few people even had instruments at the ready—unknowingly. The stage was set and with a captive audience, we began.

 

 
 
Party Time
    To start, I went straight to the guys with their guitars and explained the process. They thought it was a great idea and followed me to the microphone. A tall gentleman with long brown dreads started to play his guitar. We worked together for a moment and when he played something we liked, and could set to a loop, we recorded it.
    The slack-line presenter, who was set up outside until the rain came, is a multi-talented instrumentalist. The first thing he recorded was a throaty beatbox baseline. It's pretty cool and can be clearly heard around (2:01). He also laid down some organ and piano.
    As the layers began to add up, the crowd of people in the lobby started to realize what was going on and that magical feeling of joy and excitement flooded the lobby. There's an unexplainable phenomenon that happens at every GenParty. It's akin to an altered state of mind; that, to achieve, usually entails breaking the law. No worries though, GenParties are completely legal.
     Once there was a sufficient foundation, the founder of the festival decided she wanted the mantra, "Ma", on the recording. She helped gather a load of guest musicians and many more to add their voice to the mantra. Later, when the last class of the festival was over, the instructor of that class, a presenter from Mississippi, sang a beautiful melody with a mantra (the Gayatri mantra) that later became the lead vocal (after some stylistic processing). The interplay between her vocal and the "Ma" mantra gives me the feeling of a guru and her followers. It's not meant to sound cult-y, but it kinda does in a cool way.

    Just outside the mostly glass entrance to the lobby, at the top of the stairs is a concrete breezeway that wraps around the building and overlooks the bay. It's a beautiful view over the water to Gulf Breeze. Even though it was raining, I wanted to capture the sound of the breezeway—I also knew I would want to record the rain, as well. During the GenParty, we recorded three amazing things out there: the flute, a djembe and the rain. The song comes to a point where the drum leads the flute to solitude—a place for reflection—naked in the rain with only truth to ponder. …and then, "Free" (a child saying his own name). The flute then ascends back into the music with a new perspective (the cool rhythmic gating effect that makes the flute not sound like a flute anymore). Watch out, Strauss, these tone poems are deep.

 
Spirit
The song takes me to a universal temple of truth. I don't know what she's saying, but it's like she's reading to me the depths of my soul—flaws and all—and telling me it's all okay. Every Genesis Party song has some magic to it. For me, the magic is when people are filled up and recharged from the experience. It doesn't happen to everyone every time, but it does happen to at least a few people every time—even people who are just watching and listening. And that fills me up.
    This year at the Mahabhuta festival, we will be there running sound for the whole festival. We will be making another Genesis Party song; though it is not actually scheduled. We hope to see you there.

 


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