The first album by singer/songwriter Kimberly Haynes is a richly produced, genre-crossing collection of uplifting poetry put to song. I was pleasantly surprised to find she avoids the cliché of syrupy sweet “life-is-but-a-dream” lyrics I too often find in New Thought music. Her offerings reveal an authentic wisdom and depth earned from the highs and lows of spiritual seeking and finding. Kimberly’s powerful soprano vocals, which often remind me of Joni Mitchell, mesh into a harmoniously wonderful dance with the complex fusion of Western and Eastern instrumentation layered throughout every song.
Awaken Me weaves a tapestry of musical prayers that shine in large part due to the talented co-producer David Vito Gregoli, who also lent his arranging skills and multi-instrumental gifts to the project. In addition to Vito’s performances on strings, flutes and percussion, there is an impressive list of stellar artists who contributed to this album along with Kimberly Haynes. Standout contributions include vocalist Tina Malia, multi-Grammy nominated pianist Peter Kater, percussionists Christo Pellani and Byron Metcalf, Native American flautist Al Jewer, and the sensitive mastering job by Grammy-winning Ricky Kej.
Successfully traversing many styles, Awaken Me even contains a little mantra content for those seeking chants in their musical selections. The opening title track “Awaken Me” has a haunting “Om” chant woven throughout that feels perfect for savasana or relaxation. “The Jewel” lyrics are a reminder to go within to find what truly matters, and the song begins and ends with “Om Mani Padme Hum” (“Behold the Jewel Within the Lotus”). The sultry “You’re the One that I Want” (yeah, that little sugar shack Travolta/Newton-John track from Grease) has been re-imagined to include the Krishna chant “Govinda Jaya” mixed underneath the closing.
According to Kimberly, “Each of us has the daily opportunity to awaken to our personal destiny—to who we truly are and what we each have to give.” With that in mind, her music provides an avenue to reflect and find just that.
Awaken Me by Kimberly Haynes is a musical invitation to view life as a sacred journey filled with joy, discovery, healing, love and connection that delivers an inspirational and accessible listening experience.
For more information about Kimberly, her music, and her events visit her at her home online Music Medicine Woman.
Reviewed by Leanne Wood; Yoga Music Aficionada at Bliss Bubble Radio and Bliss-Chasing Blogger at www.BlissBubble.com. Prior to this, Leanne was the founding manager of the mantra rock band, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, the founder and director of the non-profit project The Shakti Tribe Foundation which offered empowering peace concert programs in jails, prison and halfway houses and was the co-founder of the ground-breaking “Yoga for your Ears” internet radio station Sacred Sounds Radio. She is currently working on her Eat, Pray, Love meets Almost Famous memoir, which chronicles her often surreal life on the road with a yoga band on the rise and the lessons learned in the bargain.