“Shunia” by Shunia
The group, Shunia, is Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson. I feel like they’re soul sisters. Maybe they do too. Shunia (or shuniya) is a “zero point,” or the “state of awareness in which the mind isbrought to complete stillness, perfect harmony.” Together, here, along with Grammy® nominated producer Jamshied Sharifi, they have created this marvelous chant album, “Shunia.” It’s their 2nd chant album. The first is “Ascent.” And I hope we have more upcoming from them.
“Chant album?” you may ask. Yes, these are Sanskrit chants that have been chanted for thousands of years. Did I lose you? Why bother with chants at all? Boring? Misunderstood? Well, not so. There are multiple documented and substantial health benefits associated with chanting these types of chants. But wait, there’s more. . .
What makes this album special and very effective is the blending of Sanskrit chants and mantras into a richly layered, intricately woven musical tapestry. Every note feels perfect, and the vocal harmonies are gorgeous. The music is well-suited for yoga, meditation practice, or just passive listening. And I believe you’ll feel the healing energy that exudes from this album from the very first notes.
Suzanne and Lisa composed the music on “Shunia” and both perform on vocals. As I said, their vocal harmonies are amazing. There is a long list of other performances and esteemed contributors on this album and an interesting array and variety of instrumentation. Harp, oud, guitars, keyboards, sitar, oboe, and mbira, are a few of the instruments here, as well as drums, percussion, and more. Renowned Moroccan artist Hassan Hakmoun joins in on two of the tracks with featured vocals, sintir, and qarqaba. He also appears in the music video for one of the singles they released for this album, “Sa Re Sa Sa.”
The album is 8 tracks, about 48 minutes, and each track is its own special sonic, soulful delight. But these don’t feel like separate tracks. The album is a journey, a flow through oneness, and an effortless, harmonious return to the self.
The album opens with “Sa Re Sa Sa.” I’ve heard this done before, but this is a great version. Very uplifting, melodic, and rhythmic, the chant is believed to help one overcome adversity and negativity, also awakening one’s creative energy and removing obstacles to “enlightenment.” This chant also opens the chakras. So, it’s a perfect entry into the album. Open Sesame.
Following is “Breeze at Dawn.” I really love this. I think you will too. Based on a poem by Rumi, this has a great, soft underbeat, and the vocals are wonderful. “Don’t go back to sleep. . .” We won’t. And you will certainly want to watch the mesmerizing video as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXA98eyKBRI Truly magical.
“Alleluia” is essentially “praise for God.” This is a favorite on the album. It’s just beautiful, again, with soft and gentle percussion and very beautiful harmonious vocals. Completely non-sanctimonious, you can feel this opening the heart center, both front and back. Gorgeous.
Meaning “timeless, immortal,” and perhaps not of this world, “Akal” is ethereal and effectively otherworldly. This is another favorite. Calming, soothing, and tranquil, the vocal harmonies are outstanding. You can feel the deep peace seeping into your soul.
I believe “Har Hare Hari Wahe Guru” is a chant for breaking through blockages, aligning with universal flow, prosperity, and creativity. Joyful, rhythmic, repetitive chanting here combines with great percussion and vocals, and you can literally feel yourself being drawn into the flow and feel life force returning. It’s very cool.
A Kundalini mantra for oneness, “Ang Sang Wahe Guru,” opens with beautiful, languid, string phrasing which softly strikes a chord inside the whole body and draws us irresistibly in. Then, we have the pure and lovely vocals with truly exquisite harmonies between these two women. The song is like a tuning fork, really. I think it’s “vibrational attunement” at its finest. And we end up feeling “filled up,” as if any “aloneness,” loneliness, or separateness we may be feeling or experiencing, is just gone altogether. We are not alone. Nope. So beautiful.
I think “Ong Namo” is a reverent bow or salute to “all that is.” Maybe a little like “namaste” only more so. There is a very connective flow to this chant. It’s also almost trance inducing. Maybe that’s the point. In any event, it’s uplifting and very enjoyable. Gorgeous, truly. Life is better with this in it.
The album closes out with “Sa Ta Na Ma.” This is a very powerful mantra for the preparation of kundalini rising. This awakened energy can be used then for increased awareness, connection, and even in tantra. The piece is soft, gentle, sultry even, and high vibrational in an effortless way, just as we would like for kundalini to rise.
The music on “Shunia” is transportive and transformational. Calming and soothing, the album speaks to our ancient souls in the universal language of love.
So, to sum up, you really MUST get the whole album. No question about that. It’s a special, joyful experience that you will want to repeat, possibly on a daily basis. Onto the playlist and into the heart. Feel the re-connection.
Get “Shunia” here at the duo’s webiste: https://shuniasound.comor wherever music is streamed/downloaded online.
Music Sales: https://lnk.to/shunia
Shunia YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVvsZECVFyfF5OFCS5VWJCw
Shunia – Interview on making of the self-titled album, Shunia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRNTaRRbo5o
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