Queen City Sounds Podcast Ep. 9: Laraaji and the Communal Healing Power of Music

Laraaji at Rhinoceropolis in July 2019, photo by Tom Murphy

Circle of Celebration is the latest release from the NOUS ensemble. The latter is a collaboration between composer Christopher Bono, sound healing artist Arji OceAnanda and ambient music legend Laraaji. Bono had met OceAnanda and Laraaji at the Ananda Ashram near Monroe, NY in 2013 and wasn’t initially aware of their status as accomplished musicians. But the three made an immediate connection over the work of Thich Nhat Hahn, the influential Vietnamese Zen monk and over several years kept in contact and came to record this new album. Incorporating Bono’s classical composition and production background with Arji’s sound healing methods and both Laraaji’s approach to ambient music and his concept of laughter meditation the music goes beyond logical barriers and limitations to stimulate the parts of your brain that create an openness of spirit and relaxation from everyday anxieties. Certainly states of being and emotion we could all use now.

Laraaji became known to a larger world of music through the 1980 release of his landmark album Day of Radiance as the third part of the Brian Eno produced Ambient series. At that time and since his music has exerted an influence not just on ambient music but world music and the use of sound and practice as a meditation for personal and collective improvement and development and Circle of Celebration certainly incorporates all elements of Laraaji’s life in the arts up to this time.

We had a chance to speak with Laraaji about Circle of Celebration and its manifestation of the trio’s philosophical and artistic underpinnings, intersections and goals as musicians linked below through our podcast on Bandcamp. Circle of Celebration releases on Our Silent Canvas Records on November 12, 2021 and you can order the album at the label’s Bandcamp page.

Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.