It’s always hard to guess which album will win the Grammy for New Age music. For 2015 it is extra hard, because there are five excellent albums nominated – but none of them is a sure winner. Let’s take a look at these albums and do some educated guessing. On Sunday we will know the result!
New Age music is a genre that’s hard to define. Usually there will be one of the nominated albums that’s really not a New Age music album. David Darling and Silvia Nakkach’s In Love and Longing could just as well have been nominated in the jazz category. But that doesn’t mean that it is a bad album; it might very well be the best of the five. It contains excellent vocals by Silvia Nakkash, and David’s cello is great as always. The arrangement is also amazing. Notable tracks are Adoro Voar (Loving to Fly), Awakening and Slowly (the two last tracks do not have jazzy blue notes, and is closer to New Age music in style).
Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai are nominated with an album called Ritual. Kater’s piano and Nakai’s flute are as usual a perfect combination, with Paul Maccandless, Trisha Bowden and Jaques Morelenbaum as guest artists. It is a more laid-back album, with tracks for meditation and contemplation – such as the 12 minutes long Space Within and 11 minutes long Dream Dances. It would of course be nice to see these amazing artists finally receive a Grammy, but it might be a bit too meditative to win the price this year.
Kitaro is always a worthy winner, and this year is no different. For his music there’s one rule that always apply; a bigger stage equals better sound. His musical expression cannot be fully justified in a studio. It’s made for grand settings and major live performances. An example of this is Symphony Live In Istanbul. The classical Kitaro songs have never sounded better, and there’s new material as well that will inspire both new and old fans.
The album was recorded at the Halic Congress Center in Istanbul, Turkey over two evenings in March of 2014. This is Kitaro’s first-ever live recording with a 38-piece symphonic orchestra,
Bhakti is a highly inspired album by Paul Avgerinos. Bhakti is a Sanskrit word meaning love and devotion. It contains some of his best material to date, such as Shanti Om, Love and Devotion and Hare Jesu. If I were to pick one album based on the atmosphere alone, Bhakti would win. It combines Indian sitar, sarod, bansuri flute and violin with EWI, nylon guitar, groovy Bollywood beats and Christian Sanskrit mantras.
What do Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, an Indian composer of timeless melodies, a vivaciously virtuosic South African flutist, and over 120 spirited musicians from five continents all have in common? Winds of Samsara by Ricky Key and Wouter Kellerman is the answer. It speaks to themes of peace and positivity, spinning together forward-moving harmony, progressive composition, and technical prowess with a verve and passion. It is an extremely well-made album.
If I were to make a list of my favorites, it would look like this:
- Winds of Samsara by Ricky Key and Wouter Kellerman – 40 % chance to win
- Symphony Live In Istanbul by Kitaro – 30 % chance to win
- Bhakti by Paul Avgerinos – 20 % chance to win
- Ritual by Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai – 5 % chance to win
- In Love and Longing – David Darling and Silvia Nakkach – 5 % chance to win
I didn’t get it right last year, but I have guessed the right albums two of the last three years. Let’s see on Sunday! Best of luck to all.
Who are your favorites?