Music Review: Back to the Garden by Annmarie Soul
Originally from Michigan, Annmarie Soul’s first class at Jivamukti Yoga in NYC sparked her commitment to yoga and devotional music. After traveling, training in yoga, and perfecting her songwriting, Annmarie rooted in LA, teaching throughout Los Angeles as well as at festivals including Bhakti Fest, BaliSpirit Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, and Moksha Festival.
The production on her latest release Back to the Garden has a sincere and pure sound that perfectly matches the sincerity and purity of her voice. At the heart of the songs, acoustic guitar and her voice dominate and maintain a soft intimacy with the listener—as if she’s performing just for you on her porch in the early morning hours.
The title track “Back to the Garden” features delicate, flute-like vocal harmonies that weave in and out of each other effortlessly on top of gentle brush drums. Soul puts just enough, shall we say, “soul” into her vocals to maintain interest and not let them float away into the background completely. “Ready” unexpectedly and pleasantly blends flute and guitar, topped again with Soul’s sweet and wholesome voice. “Be a Blessing” is a standout track that brings to mind Gordon Lightfoot. This entire album has a lovely simplicity that makes it accessible to people of all ages and musical aptitudes, with enough general appeal to reach well outside yoga and devotional circles.
Reviewed by McKenna Rowe, a DJ, yoga teacher, and founder of Chakra 5 Yoga which provides mobile yoga classes on location and by appointment to students throughout Los Angeles.
McKenna caught the “yoga bug” as a little girl, watching Lilias Folan on PBS. She leads an active life hiking, running, sometimes snowboarding, and once was a nationally-ranked equestrian. After years of working in the digital industry for clients in entertainment, publishing and fashion, she took a sabbatical to acquire her yoga teacher certification. A desire to help people heal soon followed. Also a successful musician and composer, McKenna shares cutting-edge music during yoga classes, recruiting musicians and DJs to perform with her. She owned and operated East Hollywood’s Chakra 5 Yoga studio throughout 2011, creating a vibrant community on and offline, but decided to shift to a mobile model. Now Chakra 5 brings yoga classes on site and by appointment to businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. McKenna was certified in Hatha/Kundalini at Karuna Yoga, and has additional teacher training in Restorative Yoga with Master Teacher Judith Lasater. She teaches yoga at Chakra 5 classes and international retreats.