I went to Spain in 2000 and spent two and a half years there in Sitges,
a lovely Mediterannean town outside of Barcelona. I returned to the US in July 2003
I had a WONDERFUL time in Spain! ... the Spanish people really know how to enjoy themselves!
Alicante, Torra Viejo / Spain
Integral Yoga Center / St Pere de Ribes / Spain
Can Cabanyes, Villanova / Spain
Canary Islands / Spain
Festival of Mystic Music at Mercat de les Flors
(one of Barcelonas most esteemed Performance Halls)
Review - Concert at Mercat De Les Flors
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a concert of the artist Constance Demby in Barcelona. I learned many things there, but most important, it was the pleasing surprise to reaffirm what before already I thought: Electra-acoustical music is a universal music; a music that does not perish with time; the music of us all.
When entering the enclosure of the Mercat of the Floras, the intoxicating aroma of the art exposed there shocked me. The building, is as a chapel, yes, a modern one, and it said a premonition to us: that what was going to carry us away that night would be the expression from an art totally of explicit form.
Before the opening of the concert hall, of 98 armchairs (that were going to be all occupied), I was hoping with impatience to discover a great artist. We saw this one indeed, Mrs. Constance, as she left I do not know where, she went to the small bar of the side of the room, and dedicated to all those present (that was not going to be almost no public of their concert) a great kiss and pretty words in English. With this I try to fathom her paradoxically elegant modesty. A mature, good natured, amiable person, and over everything, modest.
Packed in the room, I myself in front of everything, having the small scene of not more than 2.5 X 2.5 meters, where the artist would do her performance. I paid attention to instruments: 2 samplers (like no, digitals) Kurzueil identical, a keyboard to master with offset keys, Dulcimer and a Hindu instrument, and of her design: there was the Space Bass.
Gentlemen and ladies, an acoustic instrument equipped with a steel plate of more than 2 square meters of curved surface, where iron rods subjected of different sizes. Really, she could not fit anything else in the scene.
Impatient, I saw as the woman (Rosa Zaragrosa) approached, surely an artist and organizer, and very briefly she explained the style to us of Constance. Later, Constance approached, and briefly presented to us her instruments in a concise form. Bass, her rare Dulcimer, displayed her imposing Space, and how no, her "orchestra digital cradled the samples," as she defined. That yes, made clear that she did not want applause, and requested to us that we enjoy the music and nothing else. And I ask myself, is possible to be doing something more when enjoying music? Although, I calculated that 2 or 3 more musicians were needed, which doubled my surprise when seeing that, Constance Demby took off her shoes, raised the scene and the lights were extinguished. She was going to be the only person upon the stage!
And thus, the concert began, of an hour and a half, with uninterrupted electronic and contemporary music, carried out by she herself. It is possible to say, within my ignorance, that I suppose that she connected her subjects, but if the one were only a subject yesterday. Pieces "of her music disadvantaged only by their separation" of needing to change site: first in front of the powerful synthesizer, later ahead (or in the middle) of her Space Bass, or in front of her special Dulcimer. It is possible to emphasize the following thing:
1) The Space Bass. With different toning rods, with ends of plastic, others with rubber ends, others of iron, and some more . . . pricked iron twigs, obtaining a sound of tubular bells, almost synthesized, could fade out low, penetrating and imposing (thanks to the resonance offered by the great steel plate lamination). With each rod, she obtained a different sound slightly, and depending on what iron twig got attention, she did not change the frequency of the sound so much as the number of overtones of the sound. She was splendid. Indefinable. Next, with the same toning rods, she scratched the curved lamination literally, obtaining therefore a sound sharp and metallic, similar to the pink noise of which Jean Michel Jarre makes finery in his interlude of Rendez Vous II - a deep sound, sometimes chirriante, worthy of a sound track of a film of Sam Raimi. It is only possible to say, that George Lucas is interested in her sound, and I imagine that he understood that he could use it for some effects for Star Wars.
2) The Dulcimer. Gentlemen, it was spectacular. The woman perfectly dominated the chromatic percussion of her acoustic dulcimer, thus working, simultaneously, the rate, the notes in allegro and her melody sung with her precious voice (that yes, reverberated). For me, the best parts of the subject, were the interpreted ones with the Dulcimer at issue. She was splendid, indescribable. It worked paradoxically again, worthy sequences of the Digi-sequencer de Jarre with her hands. She was superbly brilliant, brilliant.
3) Her synthesizers. Sometimes Constance, sitting in front of her three keyboards and her microphone, defined her sweet voice between the atmosphere that she herself created with samplers. With a few pedals, and the constant adjustment of the keys of the Kurzueil, she was able to modify the sounds, to change of programs and to even control the interpretation parameters, with a touch. She was incredible and is worthy of the redundancies [repetitions of praise].
Finally, when finalizing her concert, we fervently applauded her for more than 5 minutes, while she waved. The pretty thing, and what denoted under great experience, was that while we were applauding, she stepped to the side, and with her hands indicated to her instruments, meaning that the applause also went directed to them. Her music is the music that it has in mind, and that it wants to express by means of those instruments. Without her Space Bass, without her precious Dulcimer, and her digital synthesizers - that universal music, those feelings that any person can have - they would not be possible to have been materialized. Thank you Constance.
Good music, a mixture (if we put ourselves " to classify ") between Vangelis and Celtic, or contemporary. A night made - one night last - which we will not forget. With a universal music, impressible, and with the attendance of the diverse public (they had, children, young people, pairs, musicians... I took leave of Constance smiling to her, and she smiled back at me. I will never forget it.
Aleix Riera Buil
This spanish reviewer was spellbound at the Mercat de les Flors concert, noticing every detail,
even when I removed my shoes, so as to oper
Los días 2, 3, 4 y 5 de julio, el Centro de Cultura Metropolitano Tecla Sala de l'Hospitalet de Llobregat se convertirá en el foro europeo de las Nuevas Músicas.
INSOLIT MUSIC FORUM (IMF) es un puente entre culturas a través de la música. La fusión de los sonido étnicos y de las actuales aplicaciones electrónicas
Las tardes estarán destinadas a demo-sessions de informática musical e instrumentos de última generación, conferencias especializadas sobre
Y por las noches, los conciertos de gran formato en el Aditorio Vangelis. Reconocidos compositores presentarán sus trabajos en absoluto directo.
MUSICA NEW AGE de Fama Mundial .... en Espagne
INMERSIÓN SONICO (CONCIERTO)
EL BAJO DEL ESPACIO (SPACE BASS)
Integral Yoga Center
C/ Milana, 29 bajos
San Pere de Ribes
Tel: 93 896 44 86
Precio del concierto: 10*
Domingo 9 Febrero 18:30-20:00h
El "Space Bass" es un instrumento creado por Constance Demby. Su sonido es profundo y penetrante, primordial y sanadora. Es como una maquina de OMS.. Escucharlo es una experiencia especial, una meditación, un viaje interior, una puerta a otras dimensiones. Sus sonidos fueron usado por George Lucas Skywalker Studios y tambien Discovery Channel.
El "Space Bass" consiste en una lámina horizontal de acero inoxidable de cuatro metros, con cinco octavos de varillas fijadas a una barra. Estas varillas se tocan o bien golpeándolas al estilo de un instrumento de percu´sión, o bien mediante un arco, como si se tratase de un violín o un violoncelo, o más bien un contrabajo.
Constance Demby ha sido en alguna ocasión
definida como la iniciadora de la música meditativa.
Es una innovadora artista de fama internacional.
Californiana de quinta generación, ahora Constance
continua creando nuevos mundos sonoros de carácter
orquestral contemporáneoen su estudio en Sitges.
Dancing with the Devil
August 24, 2001
Dancing with the Devil
This weekend I danced with the devil in Sitges at the "Festa Major," which translates as the "best festival." Indeed it was. The proceedings are overseen by St Barthelomeu, who fought with the devil, which I'm guessing must have been his own personal "dark night of the soul."
It began on Thursday night with the most spectacular, most artistic fireworks display I've witnessed. We watched from the fourth floor terraza, as breathtaking explosions of colors and sparkles of light showered the entire area. I heard later that the man responsible for these amazing displays is so respected for his art that he creates the fireworks for presidents, including the presidents of the US.
Friday night, the real heart of the festival took place. The streets were packed, as Sitges has a reputation in Spain as being one of the best locations to experience it. I was warned about the danger of these fireworks, as they occur right in the jampacked streets with thousands of spectators right nearby, so my excitement was high as I went down to my friends house on the Paseo, the boardwalk on the Mediterannean. It started with four giant puppet figures about 30 feet high dressed as Spanish and Moorish Kings and Queens. Underneath the skirts and robes is a very strong man, dancing and supporting the figure which must have weighed hundreds of pounds, the huge character veering and careening, circling round and round in the narrow streets. He gets replaced after a few rounds due to the weight and size of the puppet.
Next we heard the pounding of the drummers approaching, and we all ran across the street so we could duck into the doorway when the fireworks began. Following the drummers were several people representing the devil in hoods with red horns sticking out and big coats to protect them from the fireworks. They held a staff over their heads that held several loads of sizzlers in them, and when the sizzlers were lit, they whirred around in rapidly rotating arcs sending multitudes of sparks into the narrow streets, creating total madness and mayhem, with people screaming, running and laughing, some dancing right in the danger whirring all around them. God it was exciting!
Then the next bank of drummers rounded the corner, followed by a giant figure of something or other, one of them was a big eagle, and these emitted even bigger louder explosions of fire and crackles, booms and sizzles. Then came the fire breathing dragon, with another bank of drummers. More groups of hooded horned devils approached with the penetrating sounds of the traditional catalan gralla horns . Now the fireworks circling round were accompanied by loud, whirring, high pitched sounds that increased the excitment. I felt a few sparks hit my skin, and it wasn't all that bad. I saw all the young men jumping and dancing and screaming and hooting right in it and under it, and I just couldn't resist! I put my jacket over my head and arms, and ran into the street dancing and screaming and laughing right in the fire, surrounding by the most brilliant exploding showers of lights falling all around and over my head, with the danger and the drums and the horns and the smoke and sizzles and crackles.
And while my friends watched from the protection of the doorway, I danced with the devil! Whew-weeeeee!!!
It went on and on with more and more of everything, ending with stick dancers, maypole dancers, the statue of St Barthelomeu held by a bunch of old church guys, with the whole shebang making it's way up to the main square where the ancient church is. We got ourselves another cerveza and made our way up the stairs through the crowd, just as they were lighting the big giant figures -- right in front of us all, and again the crowd screamed and ran from the danger, everyone just hysterical and laughing as we all bumped into each other on the stairs. While the church bells rang, we followed the pounding drums into still another square where the King and the Queen danced for us again, careening and almost falling into the crowd while everyone roared and screamed. I'm telling you, these people know how to have a good time! Then the drummers took over and really pounded us and revved up the intensity, the sound reverberating thru the square and the stone structures. At one point the thousands of people in the square all crouched down for several beats, and then we all jumped up together with our fists in the air, shouting "Foc-a-la-Bestia!!" Fire to the Beast!! over and over, up and down. At the end, the crowd looked up to the balconies and rooftops where more people were watching. We were all burning up with the heat and the humidity, and they shouted out "Agua! Agua!" (water, water) till someone on a rooftop squirted bottles of champagne at us while we all screamed.
Afterwards we wandered back down to the beach where a band was playing and all the citizens were dancing, and this goes on till around 4 or 5 in the morning. The festival ends Sunday night, when they will attempt to break a Guinness World Book of Records by lighting "palm" fireworks across the sea all the way from the old church down to the TerraMar for the hoped-for longest string of fireworks ever lit anywhere.
The wonderful flavour about this fiesta is the mix of Catholic and Pagan. There's very few countries in the world that would allow this kind of event with this level of danger, much less in such narrow streets packed with so many people. One year a palm tree caught on fire, and every year people get burnt, but there are Red Cross trucks all over town, and everyone knows beforehand what they're getting into. But here, in this wild and wonderful country that loves to party and celebrate with one festival after another all year long, there simply are no restrictions, and no one would ever dream of suing anyone or putting any kind of a damper on it. C'mon, it's a Festival!! And we've come to the festival to purge and scream and beat the drums and be in the fire and the danger and have a real ritual and dance with the devil in the streets! I'll never forget it. It's the best thing that's ever happened here yet.
Reporting from Sitges, Spain,
El Clasicismo Hecho Música Visual
Por: Ariadna Martín.
Constance Demby ha sido en alguna ocasión definida como la iniciadora de la música meditativa, una innovadora artista de fama internacional, y una original renovadora de los instrumentos musicales que refleja su innegable creatividad en este terreno. Californiana de quinta generación, Constance nació en Oakland, donde a la edad de ocho años inició sus estudios musicales con el piano. Posteriormente se trasladaría a la costa este, decidiendo entonces extender sus estudios al campo de la pintura y escultura. La genial compositora, toca, además del piano, una amplia gama de instrumentos tradicionales de otras culturas, como por ejemplo el cheng chino, el dulcimer de origen persa, el tambour indio, el gamelan balinés, el harpalek austríaco, y un sinfín de instrumentos étnicos de todo el mundo, de un modo nada tradicional que resulta altamente innovador.
Demby empezó practicar la meditación en los años sesenta, experiencia que utilizó en el desarrollo de nuevas formas espaciales de música contemporánea de corte clásico. De hecho, es así como ella misma define su peculiar estilo musical, un estilo al que literalmente califica de "música espacial sinfónica clásica contemporánea". Durante los años setenta, Constance Demby da diversos conciertos, participando asimismo en talleres y presentaciones multimedia a lo largo de la costa este norteamericana, junto a la banda Central Maine Power and Light Company. A finales de los setenta establece ya su propio sello discográfico, concretamente en el año 1978, al que llama Sound Currents, donde se publican sus primeros títulos de música meditativa espacial: Skies Above Skies en 1978, y Sunborne en 1980, año en que Demby inicia su experimentación electrónica. Con los teclados y samplers digitales, su estudio pasa a ser totalmente electrónico. Constance publica en su propio sello, además, Sacred Space Music en 1982, álbum en el que la compositora combina con inigualable maestría el piano, el dulcimer y el sintetizador creando así una de las primeras composiciones clásicas cuya brillantez, originalidad e inspirada fluidez la situarían entre las obras pioneras bajo la etiqueta genérica de la Nueva Era; en esta grabación Demby impulsa a los oyentes a explorar su yo espiritual volviendo la mirada hacia su interior: "Tienes que suprimir temporalmente el control del ego y dejar que la música te lleve a territorios tal vez nuevos e inexplorados", comenta la artista, refiriéndose a este álbum. A esta grabación seguirían Live At Alaron y el compilatorio Light of This World, álbum este último que incluye lo mejor de esta época compuesto por la artista.
Posteriormente Constance entraría en contacto con el sello Hearts of Space, del productor Stephen Hill, y sería en este sello donde esta genial creadora grabaría sus obras maestras. En 1986 Hearts of Space publica su inigualable Novus Magnificat, grabación que encabeza las listas de éxito de numerosas emisoras de radio, pieza clave para los aficionados a la música espacial, donde los sintetizadores, la percusión, los órganos, instrumentos diversos de cuerda, y un coro de voces etéreas se entrelazan con los especiales efectos electrónicos de Michael Stearns conjugándose en una sinfonía comparable al Requiem de Mozart, según algunos críticos, al estilo de la Nueva Era, y constituyendo una obra, en definitiva, que apela al potencial espiritual más elevado del ser humano, y cuyos efectos positivos sobre el oyente alcanzan al testimonio dado por médicos y enfermeras que han comentado su beneficioso efecto en clínicas y hospitales. La misma Constance Demby explica que esta obra es "un Magnificat y Exultate contemporáneos para orquesta digital y voces de coro", donde la artista crea una inspirada fusión de la música sacra tradicional occidental con influencias clásicas en una ambientación electrónica de caracter contemporáneo basada en los arquetipos inmutables de un viaje musical de carácter profundamente trascendental, transformador. Esta música, compuesta e interpretada por la artista utilizando un sintetizador Emulator II, en el que los instrumentos sinfónicos reales se digitalizan en samplers sobre discos magnéticos, siendo luego recombinados y orquestados por su autora, fue directamente creada en el mismo sintetizador, en una magistral combinación de las violas, violines, violoncellos, contrabajos, arpa, piano, órgano, cuerno francés, campanas, efectos electrónicos, tímpanos y coro. Todo ello combinado con la sonoridad propia de un Roland Juno 60, y un piano de cola de concierto Yamaha. Tanto el público en general como la crítica han aclamado esta magnífica creación, que supuso un éxito comercial notable.
También bajo el sello Hearts Of Space, Constance Demby publica su álbum Set Free (1989), donde se perciben las influencias de otras músicas como son las de Bali y las del continente africano, evidenciando el carácter universal que impregna sus obras. De hecho, la autora no cesa de experimentar con diversos instrumentos acústicos étnicos de todo el mundo, adaptándolos al medio electrónico digital, en un afán por descubrir nuevas sonoridades que lleven a una universalidad musical clásico-contemporánea. Poco después inicia sus giras internacionales, visitando diversos países europeos, entre ellos España (Islas Canarias), además de Egipto, Sudamérica, Japón, Indonesia y otros.
A Constance Demby le desagrada la etiqueta New Age debido a las connotaciones negativas que ésta ha asumido a lo largo de los años. Al parecer, cualquiera que consigue publicar un álbum utilizando sinfonías electrónicas es etiquetado como un músico "de Nueva Era", sin importar su nivel ni su experiencia, ni si realmente contribuyen al estilo de música meditativa y de expansión de la consciencia. La utilización del término Nueva Era como un ecléctico cajón de sastre en el que todo tiene cabida, donde el oyente encuentra cosas más "mediocres" que "buenas", ha provocado una gradual reducción en las ventas durante los últimos años. Si unimos ese problema al carácter negativo que varias religiones atribuyen al término Nueva Era conectándolas al paganismo y otros cultos más o menos oscuros, el resultado es ciertamente desconcertante. Es por este motivo que a Constance y muchos otros músicos realmente profesionales cuya calidad está fuera de toda duda, y que se han visto "etiquetados" de esta forma, les encantaría ver tal terminología cambiada. Lo cual presenta un auténtico reto: ¿Cómo llamarles? El problema es, que a nivel comercial, hay un gran desconcierto a la hora de calificar este tipo de músicas: los encargados del marketing, de cara al público, se empeñan en otorgarles una categorización definida, y sin embargo no saben si llamarla clásica, contemporánea, nuevas músicas, New Age, Nueva Era, músicas alternativas...
En su afán por descubrir nuevas sonoridades y sonidos nunca oídos anteriormente, Constance Demby ha sabido ensamblar cada emoción con su resonancia tonal complementaria, provocando diversas experiencias impactantes en el oyente, y despertando una catarsis emotiva que afecta a los más profundos niveles de consciencia en la armonización de su mente, su cuerpo y su espíritu. Este particular aspecto de su arte la ha llevado a desarrollar, ya en los años setenta, lo más innovador en el campo del sonido, ya que fue entonces cuando esta artista concibió y construyó los primeros instrumentos de Acero Sónico: El "Space Bass" ("Bajo Espacial") y la "Whale Sail" (la "Vela de Ballena"). En ambos casos se trata básicamente de unas enormes láminas de acero inoxidable que se tocan con sendos arcos, y que generan profundos sonidos con una resonancia primordial jamás conseguida antes con los instrumentos convencionales. El "Space Bass" consiste en una lámina horizontal de acero inoxidable de diez pies, con cinco octavas de varillas fijadas a una barra. Estas varillas se tocan o bien golpeándolas al estilo de un instrumento de percusión, o bien mediante un arco, como si se tratase de un violín o un violoncelo, o más bien un contrabajo. Según se calcula, las ondas sonoras generadas por las notas más bajas se hallan en una longitud de onda de unos 30 pies. Por otra parte, la "Whale Sail" viene a ser una especie de versión cetácea hermana del "Space Bass", esta vez tratándose de una lámina vertical de 8 pies, entretejida con alambres que asimismo hay que tocar con un arco. La sonoridad que estos originales instrumentos son capaces de producir tienen un extraño toque ultraterreno con un potencial emotivo indescriptible.
En 1995, Constance Demby publica Aeterna, obra inspirada en los compositores clásicos de la escuela romántica, y más concretamente, en Rachmaninoff y Tchaikovsky. En esta obra, la autora lleva la música más allá de los confines terrenales. El aire melódico que impregna las obras de los maestros rusos viene a combinarse con el virtuosismo sublime propio de un Bach, en una armonía donde el piano es el instrumento rey por excelencia, consiguiendo una composición de carácter altamente espiritual, apasionado, profundo, cuya belleza supera toda descripción. Parece como si Demby se recreara en esculpir los sonidos, creando un paisaje sonoro llamado a convertirse un clásico cuyo poder transforma al oyente expandiendo su mente y abriendo su corazón a lo que ha de ser la música del siglo XXI en su carácter sinfónico más exquisito. Música de ensueño, espacial, deliciosamente apropiada para utilizarla en algún planetario, o tal vez como banda sonora de una película, esta música nos habla del universo, de la vida, nos lleva a una profunda experiencia emocional y espiritual, transformadora, sublime.
Actualmente, Constance Demby continúa creando nuevos mundos sonoros de carácter orquestal contemporáneo en su estudio. Para ello se basa en lo último en tecnología electrónica, incluyendo sintetizadores y samplers digitales. La compositora trabaja sin descanso en conseguir el dominio instrumental controlado por ordenador, un mundo que, no obstante, encuentra ciertamente árido y a la vez desafiante. Para ella es frustrante encontrarse con que no consigue tocar su música por olvidar pulsar una tecla. Por ello persevera en conseguir un dominio absoluto de estas tecnologías. Asimismo, la artista no descarta embarcarse en nuevas giras mundiales como ya hiciera antes. Constance es una gran defensora del poder transformador de la música y su capacidad para elevar la consciencia del ser humano. Ella misma sostiene que "la música es la más elevada de las artes, ayuda a conectar con el espíritu a través del sonido, conduciéndonos a nuestras facultades más elevadas, ascendiendo a través de la música hasta una mayor perspectiva del universo que nos rodea, de nuestro "yo" interior, nuestra esencia espiritual". Su música puede ser ciertamente terapéutica, relajante, fluida, con un frescor expresivo irresistible que moldea figuras sonoras con este aire clásico que en sus manos se convierten en esculturas auditivas, en definitiva regalándonos con un clasicismo que, si cerramos los ojos, se convierte en música visual.
Constance Demby in Spain:
A New Authentico
by Carol Wright
Drawing inspiration from Spain: Demby enjoying the view
of the Mediterranean from the terraza of her home studio.
In the fall of 2000, Constance Demby, the queen of symphonic space music, pulled up her American
roots and moved her studio and cat, bags and body permanently to Spain. Those who know her were not surprised at her choice of country, for the romantic, artistic, and emotional scope of that land seemed to fit the depths of her passionate spirit.
For most New Age music fans, Demby will always be remembered for her groundbreaking Novus Magnificat with its benediction of cascading starlight and its sacred avalanche of massed choir and orchestra. Many albums feature her two custom bowed steel instruments, the space bass and the whale sail, which pull the emotions to body-centered archetypal depths. On the stellar level, Demby plays the bright flurried tones of the hammered dulcimer, and since the mid-1980s, she has used keyboards with its unlimited range of samples. She'll often layer in her voice, which can dip into primordial territory.
Whatever her choice of instrument-and in a live concert, she can use them all-Demby is a determined composer. Her music is meant to move you, to transform, to be emotionally cathartic and spiritually uplifting. The gypsies would have a word for her type of music-"duende."
This May, Carol Wright spoke by phone with Ms. Demby who was finally settled in her terrazo home near Barcelona.
NAV: What's new?
Constance Demby: Well, what is new for Constance Demby is that she has moved from her home country to a foreign land, Spain, where she is very happy. So there is a new country, there is a new album, and there is a new record company-Scott Hartley's First Light Music. And there is touring coming up.
NAV: Wow, what direction to go first? Well, why Spain? Was it a retreat from the U.S. music scene? A pull to a romantic land or. . . ?
Demby: I had been in Los Angeles for a few years, and though it was great for the industry contacts, but I never felt completely at home there. Somehow I couldn't fully relax, sink in and call it home. Just something in the air that wasn't right for me, personally. Loud rap music poured from every doorway in the malls and from the windows of passing cars. People are numb to this sonic assault, and they don't seem to notice that their sonic atmosphere is polluted.
And although I am not in the pop music genre, pop's extremes, the performers' artifice, fake emotions, and over-production did seem to define the overall American culture. Is that what music's supposed to be about? Music is being written for "non-musical" reasons, to sell something or to jump aboard the latest youth-pop groove or style. You can't count on your talent, sincerity, and authenticity being recognized and rewarded. It's no news that the music industry can be, well, brutal in this regard.
I feel also like we are all coming out of the other side of a decade of general tumultuous change in the world. Those who had sensitive nervous systems could feel the chaos in the air. It was the decade of processing society's shadow, and it's been like a rocky boat. Hopefully, the ship will have some smooth sailing, and I will dive off the side of the ship and submerge myself into deep waters and bring out lots of new albums.
NAV: Why did you go to L.A. in the first place? It's not known to be kind.
Demby: I originally moved to Los Angeles from Marin County because I felt the call to meet those in the film and music industry. I did meet a lot of wonderful people there, such as Scott, Suzanne Doucet of Only New Age Music, my film representative Maxie Cohen, my screenplay writer Rosie Schuster, who used to write for Saturday Night Live. We are putting together some deals for a film I've written, a sci-fi interdimensional adventure, that's also a musical (or is it a musical interdimensional sci-fi adventure flick?). I also had some wonderful conversations with Steven Simon, producer of What Dreams May Come. It's a fascinating environment in which to meet folks in the industry.
After about a year-and-a-half of L.A., some friends visited from Spain and mentioned how this reviewer there, when he writes about New Age music, says that Constance Demby was the finest of the genre. When they said that, something in my heart just lept. I said, "I'm coming to Spain. I'm going!" It was a spontaneous gesture from my heart, and within a couple of weeks, I realized that this comment was not just an impulse, but that I would indeed move to Spain. Not just to tour or visit, but to take the leap of faith and live there.
So, I wanted a new adventure. We get so set in our ways and our habits and companions and business. And we never think, ya know, I'm going pick up, crate up the studio, fly the cat over, and just do it.
So at the end of 2000, after a grand garage sale, I was off to Barcelona with but a few contacts and no real place to land. There were many memorable days of conducting my business from phone booths on the sidewalk. I've moved locations a number of times, and I had some difficulties getting my studio to operate on Spanish current, but I'm all settled now in a four-story home.
NAV: Where do you live?
Demby: I live in a little pueblo called Sitges about a half hour train ride from Barcelona. Envision narrow lanes and old whitewashed buildings. People walk in the streets, and there's a beautiful boardwalk on the Mediterranean with charming restaurants and shops. Ancient castles and old churches. Art museums and Gaudi's intriguing buildings in Barcelona. Ceramic tiles line the streets, tiles designed by Salvador Dali!
I have a wonderful four-story house on a hill covered with terrazas, porches. On the top floor is my studio. After hours of recording, I walk out on the terraza, and see the whole town, the cars and the trains going by. And the Mediterranean is all blue and sparkly. I drink in this sight and think, God, I'm glad I'm here! Then I go back and dive into the recording studio.
At the Palau de Maricel in Sitges
NAV: What album are you working on?
Demby: The album I'm just completing is a "new" Faces of the Christ, to be released by First Light Music by the middle of summer. This new version is based upon the original score for the video of the same name from Avalon Productions. I didn't think twice about the music after the video was completed, however, Scott just loved the music and wanted to release it. We were all set to manufacture, but then he called me from America saying there was a problem with the master and he asked me to remix.
So I got the old files back up, and as soon as I did, I started to enhance some of the tracks, and the next thing I knew, a great big opening came allowing me to discover the true meaning of the themes. As a result, I was able to go much deeper into the piece and discover what was actually there. I'm very glad there was a problem with the master because I am exploring the themes in much more depth. It is a much bigger offering than the original score.
[note: after this article was printed in NAV, the "new" Faces of the Christ was retitled, Sanctum Sanctuorum]
NAV: What was the visual inspiration for your Faces of the Christ soundtrack?
Demby: The video images showed faces of the Christ through history. It was very serene, and the video had a peaceful rhythm to it with slow fades. As I watched it, I created music with the same ambient, sublime quality. The new Faces of the Christ is also in that feeling. I've added a Gregorian chant flavor and some "Novus" blasts, but the word sublime keeps coming up. It's a transportive realm one can enter. When you listen frontally, with full absorption, you always get the full emotional impact. Or you can listen to it as an ambient background.
NAV: Some people don't even know what you're talking about. What do you mean by "listen frontally"?
Demby: Ambient is the kind of music you can listen to for atmosphere in the room. Frontal listening is full absorption, complete immersion, like a meditation. Turn off the lights, turn off the phone, get comfortable, turn up the sound system, and travel with the music. It's a journey. On my website, I've posted a number of letters from fans who have had pretty amazing experiences with Novus and Aeterna with healings and deep emotional work and releasing. You get those results with frontal listening.
NAV: What follows Faces of the Christ?
Demby: Well, first we're putting together new enhanced covers and mastering for all the Sound Currents older catalogue. Then, we will release a compilation album (not titled yet) and my first film score entitled I Am. So, the album I've been waiting to do is three albums away. I've also been filmed playing my sonic steel instruments in Antoni Gaudi's famous Parc Guell structure; the footage will be included in a Discovery Channel feature entitled The Power of Music.
NAV: So, you have another big new creation coming?
Demby: She, the big mother album, is very elusive. I wish I could start her next week. She has been with me for years, but she has her own timing. But once I start composing this, the energy of the music will just overtake me.
NAV: Do you disappear in to your music?
Demby: Oh, yeah. Today, I didn't go to sleep until 6 a.m., got up at 10 a.m., got my coffee and went upstairs. And when I came down to eat breakfast, it was 8 o'clock at night. I had been drinking sounds and eating notes. When I compose, the sound and music is so nourishing and regenerative. The needs of the body are not even considered because I am so focused and completely enveloped. One note leads you to another, and you can't wait to go upstairs and turn on the equipment and see what you did yesterday. As soon as you open up those computer files, you're gone! Gone, gone, inside the music and the music is all around you. I think I could stay in my pajamas for weeks!
NAV: You have been with Hearts of Space for so long. Why the move?
Demby: I met Scott while in Los Angeles and right before I left for Spain, we put together a deal. I was released from Hearts of Space, and now I'm in a new cycle with a new record company. Artists go through cycles with their record companies, just like husbands and wives with their marriages. Some of my albums-Novus Magnificat, Aeterna, and Sacred Space Music-remain on their original Hearts of Space label. Set Free will be a Sound Currents recording as soon as we work up a new cover design. Attunement is a recent Sound Currents album I recorded at a salon in December of 1999. I think people will be amazed that this solo concert was recorded live, with no studio overdubbing.
Since I left the United States, my career has really opened up. It's always said that if you want work, just leave town. There is no place more unappreciative than your own hometown. I guess now I'm an exotic foreigner, and I have a lineup of visitors and industry people, foreigners, who are all coming long distances to see me here in Barcelona. That just didn't happen in the states.
NAV: What about live concerts?
Demby: The audiences in Spain are very appreciative of my concerts. The first one was in Esplugues de Llobregat in December. I mentioned to a friend that I'd really like to play for the people of Spain for the Christmas season. Within two days, a wonderful man who has been a fan of mine for years called and said he would like to produce a concert for me. Wow, that was fast! The next one was at the Mercat de les Flores in a packed room. Both before and after, I looked into the audience, and everybody was smiling. There just seems to be love in the air. It was a really exquisite concert and I got a very nice review in Spanish. (click on review to read in English or Spanish.)
In July, I'll play at the Tarragona Music Festival in July. Michel Huygen and I will play a double bill in a castle in the Pyrenees in the late summer. And we're looking at various locations around Europe.
NAV: Have you been able to absorb the Spanish music and language?
Demby: I've been so busy getting settled, I haven't had time to take the Spanish classes I want, nor to attend many live concerts, nor to travel much. However, the culture is in the architecture, the fountains, and even in the rounded street corners.
The Spanish are a loving people, a warm people, not as pressured or stressed out as in America. Here in Spain, time and money and production, the hurry-up-and-work, the hurry-up-and-produce pressures are not the same. I knew I was going to find something like that here, a lifestyle that is closer to the earth, not so production-crazed and stressed and pressured, where everybody is so distracted.
Even though I don't speak much Spanish, I've picked up a lot, have conversations and understand a fair amount. Simply by listening and copying what you hear you can get along pretty well. So I'm at home here. It has to do with the vibration and frequency and the feeling in the air. Something that I'm sensitive to. It's somewhat maddening to try to maintain the convenience and efficiency of the American business environment, but that is balanced by other things. Spain is closer to the earth, another wonderful quality. Even the vegetables taste better here. It's "authentico, authentico."
NAV: How's your American pussygato adjusting?
Demby: Miss Muffet is enjoying the attention of several new Spanish suitors. They all line up regularly outside my door for their "kitty krinkles" because they know the American woman is a big-hearted sucker who will always feed them.
From right to left:
Kwan Yin - Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Swami Connie Mommie Nanda, Miss Muffett.