Musicians Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, also known as Shantala, partners in life, love, and music, recently released their latest album Living Waters. Finished in the wake of their maiden voyage to India, it’s a mantra-infused, meditative plunge for the spirit.
The instrumentation and vocals are masterfully performed, captured, and mixed to create a sonic sound bed that simultaneously makes palpable their reverence, devotion, and purity of heart. At the album’s core are Benjy—whose gorgeous multi-instrumentalism (esraj, tabla, guitar, keyboards, and percussion) routinely brings me to tears; Heather, a divinely gifted vocalist and guitarist, and Sean Frenette, co-collaborator and fellow musical genius. Sublime contributions come from Alam Khan on sarode, Steve Gorn on bansuri flute, Jami Sieber on cello, Ben Leinbach on percussion, and guest vocalists Tina Malia, Lindsey Stormo, and Luna Marcus.
Picking “a favorite” is difficult, as every song is a gem. “Kothbiro/Jaya Radhe” is achingly beautiful. It is an African rain song originally written and performed by Ayub Ogada; Sean and Benjy flawlessly added Sanskrit mantra into the second half of their version. “Wahe Guru,” a Kundalini chant to bring the heart light, and soul freedom, resonates with me, due in part to my own Kundalini practice. On “Aham Ityeva,” lyrics and melody are courtesy of one of their teachers, Douglas Brooks, and it opens a divine channel to the interconnectedness of all.
Living Waters is blissful soul diving. Each track flows gently into the next and generates a sweet, sacred sound current perfect for life’s daily activities.
By Shantala, Benjy and Heather Wertheimer
Wolf Club Music
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.