Joss Jaffe’s Breezy, Uplifting Sacred Pop Music
Joss Jaffe has released his fifth album: Sun Mountain Sea. It invokes the bright, breezy light and resonance of his native Southern California. The 10 tracks overflow with warmth and humanity. They are a balm for these trying times. This latest project on Be Why Music is at once introspective and inspiring. Joss is well-known for his uplifting vocal skills, as an electronic and acoustic multi-instrumentalist, music production, and as a yoga conference and transformational festival luminary. His soothing hug of a voice, matched with stirring rhythmic undercurrents, and the aspirational wisdom of his lyrics, make Sun Mountain Sea his poppiest and most personal effort to date.
In contrast to his last album, Meditation Music, an aurally spacious and calming instrumental collection, words and story are key elements of Sun Mountain Sea. Themes of nature, love, yearning, and striving permeate the songs with an empowered sense of self-discovery. Joss’s outstanding electronic music chops create a foundation of continuity between the releases.
Featured Guests Dave Stringer and DJ Taz Rashid
While the album overall radiates Southern California, Joss wrote the affirming, almost prayerful lyrics of the opening cut, “Sun to Shine” in India in 2008. They remain deeply relevant, maybe more than ever. The track is about overcoming adversity and features Grammy-nominated artist Dave Stringer, who provides backup vocals on more than half the album and produced Joss’s vocal sessions for the project. Joss and Dave have worked together extensively over the last 20 years, and their voices blend here like bright watercolors.
Yoga festival superstar, DJ, and producer DJ Taz Rashid also guests on Sun Mountain Sea and is featured on “Inner Way,” lending a distinct lightness and joy to the track. Joss first worked with DJ Taz in 2018 when he appeared on his debut album, Dub Mantra, and continues to collaborate with him. “Inner Way” lovingly invites listeners to tune into their core compass, find the flow, and follow their unique inner way.
Checking In with Joss Jaffe
Lyrically, Sun Mountain Sea’s tunes effortlessly move from the boppy sci-fi, metaphysical love song “Energy Field” to the contemplative reflections of “Reverie,” and we welcomed an opportunity to hear from Joss about the overall concept.
“The tracks are all love songs, of one kind or another, and the fact that they’re sung in English makes this album very different for me. Three of my albums focus on my interpretations of mantras,” said Joss. “A number of the songs on Sun Mountain Sea have a retrospective aspect to them; one is even called “Reminisce.” It’s an album about looking back but also looking forward, taking the good with the bad. It’s very personal to me.
“The album takes elements from different parts and different times in my life and puts them together in a new way. I think that may be similar to what so many people are going through right now. We’ve all been stuck at home the last few years with a lot of time to think and ruminate on things — over time, the separate pieces blend together.
“There’s a sense of dark and light merged in many of the songs,” he said. “It’s not purely happy and sunny— it’s a mix, a journey through the yin and yang of life. There is a lot of optimism throughout though. I think those who look for it will recognize the sun in it, like a musical mood pill to brighten things up.”
Joss was born in Santa Barbara and grew up in Southern California. He started playing guitar, writing songs, and producing music while still in elementary school, which, set against the backdrop of his mother teaching yoga, established fertile groundwork for his career to grow. He wrote the lovely track “Between the Mountains and the Sea” during his high school years as an ode to the wonder of Santa Barbara’s natural setting.
Drawn to Indian music, particularly tabla, sarode, and raga vocal music, Joss studied for ten years with Indian musical masters Ali Akbar Khan, Swapan Chaudhuri, and Zakir Hussain. In addition to the new release, Joss has numerous upcoming concert dates and maintains a full schedule of teaching workshops, classes, and retreats. Learn more about Joss Jaffe. Purchase Sun Mountain Sea.
Marina Muhlfriedel is a native Angeleno and self-described creative omnivoire with extensive experience as a writer, film producer, and musician. She teaches Mindfulness Meditiation to at-risk populations, speaks pit bull, practices Tai Chi, and is a senior teacher at Club Kundalini, having begun her spiritual journey in high school as a student of Yogi Bhajan.