of Souls is a journey into the realms of the beings we are within and
beyond this human life, an expression both wordly and other-worldly,
each song an encounter along the path of mystery, magic, love and transcendence.
The inspiration of our souls meeting along this path, sharing in the
joy of musical creation, and bringing this album to life, has been a
gift to us that we are grateful to be able to share with you.
Eight of the ten songs on Mystery of Souls are original compositions,
with two instrumentals— Malshree from Nepal, and Sa’dâwî
from Medieval Spain—representing music by anonymous composers
that have remained in their respective cultural traditions for centuries,
and have inspired each of us over the years on our own musical paths.
The eight original pieces are collaborations of the creative spark that
we each bring to the music, each one touching into a new realm, telling
another story in this journey, while threading the journey as a whole.
Although we pull inspiration from various musical traditions, we do
so as the basis for our own expression to emerge.
With the exception of a brief English language spoken word section in
Neanna Sundra, all of the lyrics are written by Melanie in an intuitive
tongue. “Since I was a young girl, I have been drawn to unconventional
and magical realms, invisible but present life forms, and my mouth has
always formed interesting words, sounds, even accents, to attempt to
communicate a broader perception that touched parts of me that I don’t
understand or relate to with English. It’s like a whole different
aspect of myself, or many aspects. The first time I heard Lisa Gerrard,
of Dead Can Dance, speak of singing in something intuitive that came
naturally to her, I got chills all over and had an instant recognition
of why I was so deeply drawn to the style and consciousness of their
music. She has been very influential for me, as has the vocalist Azam
Ali. They have successfully paved the way for my own authentic musical
expression to emerge, and I continue to be inspired by their superb
Each song has meaning, tells a story, conveys imagery or a primal call
out to the Universe. They beckon us to another time, often an ancient
time, or perhaps just a timeless time. As the lyrics take form, Melanie
works with them in the context of the music, but often they come through
spontaneously and complete the first time. “Because it’s
not a mental process, the lyrics come in naturally, matching up with
a song or story vibrationally. I then work them into the melodies more
precisely, without analyzing too much, just letting it come through.”
Our musical collaboration was a journey in itself, often surprising
us with a new twist or turn that arose as if the music were expressing
itself. We always stayed open to these surprises while honing in on
the essence of a song. Collaborating with the creative spark and talent
of other musicians also brought newness and ultimately informed the
unique expression of each song. We are grateful for each one who participated
in this project, bringing their mastery to rendering what we were seeking,
and their improvisational inspiration to the moments that can only be
called their own… moments of magic when we just sat back and smiled,
laughed, held our hearts or just remained in silent reverie for their
brilliance in the moment. Thank you all!
About the Songs...
Out of the relentless rhythm of a windy, dry desert emerges a primal
prayer of letting go, feeling the presence of the earth, air and sky
speaking to us and powerfully coercing the surrender of the hardened
perceptions that hold us back from our own transcendence.
Leah a Hadi
Leah a Hadi tells the story of a woman who chooses to leave her “Avalon,”
a sanctuary of priestesses, to join the man who is her true love. Warned
by the head priestess of the pain that might come from this decision,
she chooses to leave her safe haven to unite with her beloved, the words
of the priestess echoing in her heart.
This song is inspired by the timeless and meditative experience of floating
quietly in the ocean, free from the effects of gravity and the weight
of our world. In the water we are liberated to open ourselves to our
full omnidirectional awareness, to touch into the depths of our being
in a world beyond our usual senses, yet so essential a part of it. To
feel the liquid presence of unity surrounding us, to hear the whales'
songs holographically permeating space and time, is one of the most
transcendent joys we can know. So many thanks to Manose for evoking
this feeling through the tones of Bansuri flute, and to David Darling's
deep benthic cello calling forth the ocean's sublime undercurrents.