Sa Re Sa Sa Sa Re Sa SaSa Re Sa Sa Sa RungHar Re Har HarHar Re Har HarHar Re Har Har Har Rung Translation: That Infinite Totality is here, everywhere, and so begins a most rich and energetic collection of divine mantras offered by Shunia, aka Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson.
Their love of chant and the power of the vibration to encourage relaxation drew them together in their more than twenty years with the Washington National Opera. They choose the Sanskrit word Shunia for its meaning: stillness and receptivity as their collective name and as the title of their second album.
Hassan Hakmoun’s rich voice ushers in the first mantra Sa re Sa Sa underpinned with a melodic base beat before joining with Reagan and Jackson to create melody that lifts the spirit and the soul, before segueing gently into the wonderful poem from Persian poet Rumi, The Breeze At Dawn whose words, written so many years ago are as prophetic and profound today as they were when first written.
Using their voices as finely tuned instruments, the protective mantra Akal wraps around to protect, to offer comfort and solace during difficult times. A range of eastern instruments threads throughout the melody giving an almost monotone chant a freshness which has great appeal, especially to those who are seeking to enjoy ‘chant’ music for the first time.
Lest one become too comfortable, the upbeat melody to accompany Har Hare Han Wahe Guru is snappy, featuring the voice of Hassan Hakmoun adding a rich vibrancy to the once again well known and loved mantra. Used as a cleansing to move on from unpleasant situations, the vibration is powerful as one would expect.
In a mix of Persian melodies and chants the all-enveloping Alleluia is based on the poetry of David, who was later to become King David. Shunia has created a glorious transition from canticle to chant with the incredible mix and range of harmonies which form as one voice, before dividing into two, soaring and flowing individually before returning to one voice, creating an immensely beautiful, modern sound for the beloved hymn Psalm 23.
No matter how you enjoy this music, track by track or one endless loop of divine chanting , as meditation or simply to usher in change, the immense feeling of calm, of tranquillity and well-being, a ‘garden of wellbeing’ , is forged. These words used by Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson to describe their work, fit the music perfectly.
Sa Ta Na Ma is also based on elegant words from Ecclesiastes, symbolic of the circle of life, of beginnings and endings: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (chapt 3v1). These very elements have been captured in a delicate, carefully constructed and immensely devotional series of harmonies, enriched with gentle instrumentation perfect for refreshing, healing meditation offering the absolutely perfect conclusion to a divine journey.
Alive, vibrant and yet containing the very elements of a deeper, healing power, Shunia awakens the very soul to encourage an understanding of the interconnections of all things in life.