Remembering Constance Demby


Constance Demby, pioneering composer and musician, died peacefully on March 20 at the age of 81. Blending classical, New Age and electronic music, Demby’s compositions have influenced many generations of composers.

Source: Constance Demby’s Facebook page.

“Constance Demby performed at events with the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Todd Rundgren, often in dramatic settings, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and Stonehenge.

Demby performed on instruments of her own creation. Stemming from her early training as a sculptor, Demby’s most prominent innovation was the Sonic Steel Space Bass, made of sheet metal with tuned steel rods, played with mallets and a bow. The Space Bass emits a wide variety of sounds that resemble wind chimes, thunder, whale cries, and human voices.
Constance Demby was also proficient on the hammered dulcimer, tamboura, and keyboards. Her travels to India, Spain, and Portugal, experiences with sound healing, and a love of Gregorian chants influenced her unique musical style.”

Novus Magnificat – Through The Stargate

Constance Demby’s most famous work is “Novus Magnificat – Through The Stargate”. Listening to it for the first time is quite an experience; You feel lucky that this inspired piece of music found its way through the stargate and into your music player. “Novus Magnificat” is a must for any New Age music fan!

“Novus Magnificat” has a lot in common with Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” (1973). It is not as unique but it contains the same unrestricted musical force. As a two-track album, it flows like classical music and tells about an artist who is pushing the boundaries of creativity (and like “Tubular Bells” there is an alternative version available where the different parts are divided into separate songs, released as a digital copy in 2008). But there is one major difference. The young Mike Oldfield was experimenting and trying out new things, while Constance Demby knew exactly what she was doing. She was an established artist at the time of the album’s release. Here I must add that the album contains sonic textures by composer Michael Stearns.

The album has a Sci-Fi theme, and it is perfect for reading or relaxation. The fascinating cover artwork sets the mood. This is all about venturing into the unknown and leaving everything behind in the quest for new horizons. It makes a Mars expedition looks like a walk in the park.

“Novus Magnificat” just keeps getting better while listening. I think the best part is the 10-15 first minutes of part 2. Notice the extraordinary way the music flows; there are so many details here, so many intertwining melodies to appreciate. “Novus Magnificat – Through The Stargate” is a true work of art!

But Constance Demby is more than “Novus Magnificat – Through The Stargate”. If you want a more modern sound, I recommend “Sanctum Sanctuorum” (2001) or her last album “Ambrosial Waves – Tidal Pools“. “Set Free” (1989) is another fan favorite.

Thank you, Constance, for everything.

Bon voyage through the stargate…