Bruce BecVar, an extraordinarily gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer has just released his most masterful work to date: River of Gold. On this, his 12th album, the master guitarist has reached a new pinnacle of artistic achievement in songwriting, musicianship and production values. Listeners will be swept away by the albums fluid guitar, melodic keyboards, and subtle percussive accents. The albums New Age Fusion sound and glimmer of exotic vocals makes it a natural for both New Age and smooth jazz fans. A seeker and healer as well as an artist, BecVar makes music for its effect on peoples lives. Listeners report feeling uplifted, soothed and joyful on hearing his music. Composing and recording is for me a very spiritual practice, says BecVar. It is an exacting process of listening to the creative impulses of Spirit and being diligent about translating what I hear into a finished recording that captures that original essence in its most undiluted form.
In the tradition of musical prodigies, BecVar records primarily in his own custom home studio, plays a variety of instruments, and produces and engineers all his own albums. Doing the engineering and production is important to me for a number of reasons, but most of all, so I can make certain the sound I have in my head is what eventually ends up on the CD. I like to put the same love and attention into production that I do into composing and playing.
BecVars relationship with music began at an early age. When he was 8, he picked up his fathers ukulele and promptly began producing chords and harmony on it. At 9, he picked up the guitar. I put my ear next to it and began playing, composing. I had an almost innate knowingness of the instrument, almost any instrument - violin, cello, percussion, recorder, flute and piano. I rejected formal music training and Im glad for it. My path was clearly geared toward the intuitive approach.
His affinity for woodworking, combined with his love of music, naturally led BecVar to the fine art of building instruments. At the age of 11, he crafted a dulcimer from materials and plans given to him by his father, and by 12 had built his first acoustic guitar. He subsequently became apprentice to the town guitar repairman, working on everything from guitars to kazoos.
BecVars art and skill in the making and embellishing of instruments, along with growing recognition for his guitar compositions, brought him to Northern California in the early 70s. He set up shop in Sonoma where he became well-known as a Luthier, making one-of-a-kind electric guitars for such world-class rock n roll bands as The Who, The Peter Frampton Band, Led Zeppelin, The Jackson Five, Earth, Wind & Fire and Carlos Santana. One of his guitars, ornate with exotic inlay and carving, now resides in the permanent collection of New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Meanwhile, he continued playing and composing. Aided by the after-hours use of a recording studio in the music shop where he worked, BecVar began production of his first album. In 1986, he released Take It To Heart on his own label, Shining Star Productions, and began working as a musician full time. The album met with outstanding critical acclaim as well as commercial success, validating Bruces uncommon approach to music. Windham Hill founder, Will Ackerman discovered Take It To Heart, invited BecVar to perform with him in the Windham Hill Summer Concert Series in 1987, and included an original cut of BecVars on the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler.
When he was preparing to record his second album, The Nature of Things (1989), BecVar couldnt find an instrument that produced the kind of sound he was seeking. Not surprising then that the former professional luthier decided to design one himself. I was looking for a new, versatile instrument that produced an ethereal but still resonant tone. So I designed the Shakti harp. A custom 28 - string acoustic/electric instrument, the Shakti harp combines the sounds of guitar, harp, koto and zither, giving BecVars music an even more unique sound.
BecVars third release, Forever Blue Sky (1990) was his breakout album, residing on Billboards New Age chart for over a year. Then his career took a turn to the East. Early influences of Ravi Shankar, explorations of Eastern religions, and divine synchronicity led BecVar to vocalist-yoga instructor-healer Nada Shakti. Their synergy gave birth to Samadhi, an intriguing collection of Hindu Vedic hymns and chants, accompanied by original instrumentation. BecVar and Shakti also combined forces with a group of Tibetan Lamas for the production of one of the most popular of the Tibetan overtone chant recordings, Tibetan Sacred Temple Music (1990), and later, Shakti and BecVar released Jiva Mukti (1994).
In 1992, BecVar released the more contemporary-sounding Rhythms of Life (1992), co-produced by Don Camardello (Ottmar Liebert) in his Santa Barbara studio. For the project, BecVar teamed with Paul McCandless (Windham Hill), Alex Acuna (Weather Report) and younger brother Brian BecVar (Kitaro band). The album, available through Higher Octave Music, is enjoyed by New Age and smooth jazz fans alike. Later that year, BecVars mood turned spicy and bold, inspiring him to record the nuevo flamenco-flavored Arriba (1992). The genre turned out to be perfect for guitar whiz BecVar, Arriba is fiery and romantic, with that silky BecVar touch. Indeed, it is so well loved that one cut, Istanbul, is included on the top-selling Narada Collection Gypsy Passion, alongside songs by such artists as Ottmar Liebert and Strunz & Farah.
BecVars most recent musical project before River of Gold was his immensely popular three-album series, The Magic of Healing Music, created for Deepak Chopra. The series, based on ancient Ayurvedic principles popularized by Dr. Chopra, consists of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, each intended to balance the particular dosha for which it was named. BecVar worked closely with Dr. Chopra and with Dr. David Simon, director of The Chopra Center, on the project. The series was later released as one double album, which continues to be a top seller.
River of Gold (1998) Arriba (1992)
The Magic of Healing (1997/95) Samadhi (1990)
Time Dreams (1994) Forever Blue Sky (1990)
Jiva Mukti (1994) The Nature of Things (1989)
Rhythms of Life (1992) Take it to Heart (1986)
Band members: Nada Shakti: vocals
Bruce BecVar: acoustic guitar, Shakti Harp, keyboards, recorder flutes & percussion
Jiva Mukti (1994) Tracklist
1. Praise to Tara
3. Guru Brahma
5. Heart Sutra
6. Jiva Mukti
9. Isha Vasyam
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