Despite the stereotypes that surround musical categories like New Age and Contemporary, they encapsulate a very broad range of styles and motivations indeed. Phoenix Rising out of the Bay Area brings us a neo-classical, lyrical style that is both haunting and refreshing for its very defiance of stereotypes. Beautifully recorded, their latest release Ascension has as much to do with Lisa Gerrard and Penguin Cafe Orchestra as it does with Deuter and Enya.
So let’s toss the categorical record store baggage aside and listen to what Phoenix Rising is all about.
Phoenix Rising is Wendy Loomis (composer/pianist), Monica Williams (flute), and one revolving guest artist (guzheng, guitar, drums, percussion, violin, cello or viola).
PR: Each track on our CD is representational of one of the seven chakras. Many people have developed systems that associate colors and tones with each chakra. We decided not to be quite so literal in our interpretation, but rather incorporate the idea of energy rising from our most earthly, primal instincts up toward our higher, nobler, spiritual realm – the eternal quest to ascend toward the Higher Power. Thus, ASCENSION was born.
Seven is a lucky and inspiring number that is threaded through ASCENSION: there are seven tones in a scale, the compositions are in seven different key signatures, the music is played on seven primary instruments, Monica was born in ’77, and this is the seventh CD of Wendy’s music. We arranged arranged the flute and piano sounds in a weave with instruments from around the world played by a group of very talented women: Jennifer Lim on guzheng (China); Debra Podjed on tabla (India) and goat hooves (Bolivia); Jessica Styler on hang drum (Switzerland); Suellen Primost on cello (Italy); Irina Mikhailova on voice (born in Russia); and Karen Segal on guitar (Spain/the Middle East).
PR: We are living in a time of stress and struggle. There is still hunger, hatred, and sickness in a world that is also filled with such beauty, generosity, and harmony. We wanted to create a CD that had the power to help people relax, de-stress, and energize with positive vibrations of gratitude for this life.
MZ: Until When?
PR: We feel there will always be a need for powerful music, and therfore will continue producing CDs and performing. Our goal now is to perform in more concert and performing arts series around the world, incorporating more multimedia into our shows and also offering our talents to the world for film scoring. We both love the Ascension project and are so happy that our fans and new listeners are responding so positively to its hope and healing. We know when listeners put the record on, they’ll feel better and let the energy that’s there become a part of their spirits. Just as we named ourselves Phoenix Rising as an expression of rising above the personal challenges we have faced in our lives, Ascension is reflective of the new mood of America as we move into the next administration. Even if times are hard, we’re taking a creative stand and putting good things into the world.
PR: San Francisco. Originally we met as members of the larger spoken word and music ensemble Copus, which was co-founded by Wendy and Bay Area poet Royal Kent.
In November 2008, Phoenix Rising attended the Hollywood Music Awards as nominees in the new age/ambient music category. The HMA is the only red carpet style event of its kind in the world that celebrates music in new visual mediums and gives equal attention to signed and unsigned artists. Our music is currently contracted by ten TV and film licensing companies and can be heard in several films.
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