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Awareness Magazine
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Music & Media Reviews

By Michael Diamond


The Universal Tone


The Universal Tone by superstar guitar virtuoso and spiritual warrior Carlos Santana is a 500-page autobiography and a photo gallery that charts his rise from obscurity in Mexico to international adulation. I recently had the honor to attend a private reception for Carlos followed by a talk that he gave about the book at Dominican University in the SF Bay area. Subtitled: “Bringing My Story To Light,” it documents much about his childhood, the late 60’s scene, and musical influences like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, and Bill Graham, among others. Although for many readers, it is the depth and detail of Carlos’ quest for higher consciousness that will engender the most interest. From acid-inspired awakenings to being a follower of guru Sri Chinmoy, as well as his current focus on A Course in Miracles, and much more — his music and his mysticism are inseparable. The Universal Tone is an inspirational read that will appeal to hard-core fans like myself, as well as anyone seeking life-affirming lessons about overcoming adversity and realizing their dreams.

Artist profile


Classically-trained flutist Sherry Finzer has performed and recorded in a wide diversity of musical contexts. However, it is the new-age genre that resonates with her growing awareness of holistic health and healing. Sherry’s 11th release, Sanctuary III: Beyond the Dream consists of original tunes and renditions of well-known songs such as “Amazing Grace,” “Hallelujah,” and “Wayfaring Stranger.” In addition to flute, the album’s accompaniment includes atmospheric synthesizers, electronic effects, and nature sounds, as well as acoustic guitar on one track. The music is flowing and peaceful, providing a fitting soundtrack for relaxation, massage, yoga, etc. In addition to her recording, Sherry’s heart and soul shine through in all she does including performing, teaching, being the head of a non-profit music organization, and host of the Heart Dance radio program. In her words: “This is my purpose… to use the gifts that were given to me to share with others.”


A professional bassist since the 1970’s, Erik has serious credentials in the rock music arena, having toured with Alice Cooper and other high-profile artists. However, Spirits, is light years away from the kind of music of his past, and shares more in common with new-age artists like bassists Michael Manring and Patrick O’Hearn. Of interest is the way Erik brings the bass out front as a lead and melodic instrument, and his use of ambient electronic effects. As well as Erik playing fretless and fret-ted bass, baritone guitar, drums and percussion programming, and keyboards, there are many guest musicians covering pedal steel guitar, violin, mandolin, flute, percussion, and more. A highlight is Erik’s stunning rendition of The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Some songs even feature a bit of Celtic influence. Erik’s album has far exceeded my wildest expectations and introduced me to a most imaginative artist who has reinvented himself to explore uncharted musical territory.



Internationally-known French electronic music composer and ambient recording artist Thierry David has released numerous recordings over the years, including four on the San Francisco Bay area-based label, Real Music. His latest for this highly-regarded company is entitled Hypnosis and is described as: “soft rhythmic patterns, recurrent loops, and subliminal echoed notes that capture the listener with the essence of sound.” I must say that, true to this description, from the first track I was absolutely entranced by this mesmerizing music, as atmospheric synthesizer textures float ethereally over subtle percussive grooves, bells, shakers, and more. I particularly appreciated the balance of ambience and animation so the beats did not overpower the track, as is often the case. Thierry, who performs on synths, samplers, percussion, piano, and programming, has an exquisite feel for this kind of soft space music that should appeal to fans of Jonn Serrie. This album is high on my list of new favorites!



Known as a “transformational troubadaor,” guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bob Sima has crafted a powerful album of songs with positive life-affirming messages. His unique blend of folk, pop, rock, Americana, and new age have gained him notoriety. He has shared the stage with leaders in the consciousness movement such as Marianne Williamson, Jack Kornfield, Gay Hendricks, and others. He has even been referred to as “Eckhart Tolle with a guitar,” which is a pretty fair description. Bob’s music is incredibly soulful, although he prefers to call it “soul-full.” His voice has just the right blend of smoothness and grit to bring his lyrics to life. Backed by a full band, Bob’s songs tell beautifully-written stories in a style that brought to mind artists like Jackson Browne and John Mellencamp, but with more spiritually-focused content. Bob’s goal of creating music that is uplifting and empowering is beautifully realized in this transformational album.

Michael Diamond is a music producer, recording artist, and music journalist in the San Francisco Bay area with over 30 years of experience writing for nationally-published magazines and more recently worldwide on the internet. He currently has five CD’s including two with new-age music pioneer Steven Halpern. For additional reviews of CD’s, DVD’s, and more, please visit: http://www.michaeldiamondmusic.com