Sacred Chants of Buddha
Craig Pruess is one of the few session musicians, singers, conductors or composers active in the UK music scene who has mastered and synthesized three great musical traditions of the world: Western classical and contemporary, Indian classical, and African drumming. His credits are extensive and impressive: two UK number one film scores for "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Bride & Prejudice", plus art films, "The Mistress of Spices", "What's Cooking?" and "Bhaji on the Beach". He has scored some of the most successful independent TV drama series in UK history ("Peak Practice" for ITV), and arranged and conducted orchestras for Massive Attack, Def Leppard, Bond and Sir Cliff Richard. The latter garnered him gold and platinum records for production honors, with many chart hits, including composing the number one UK chart hit single at the Millennium, "Two Worlds" (the double A side to Sir Cliff Richard's "The "Millennium Prayer" - a million seller). As a session musician and Indian music consultant, Craig played sitar on the Manic Street Preacher's number one UK album "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours" (on the track "Tsunami"). Craig has created the Indian music colors (playing sitar, tambura, swaramandala - zither) for the Johnny Depp film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", the Harry Potter film "The Goblet of Fire", the Madonna film "The Next Best Thing", the Heather Graham film "The Guru", and most recently "Shoot on Sight" with Greta Scacchi. Other keyboard and sitar session work has included Elton John, Mike Oldfield, Katie Melua, Gareth Gates, Selena Jones, Joe Cocker and Japan. Craig is an accredited yoga/meditation teacher for the international Art of Living Foundation, and regularly stages music/meditation concerts/experiences internationally. He has performed for the Dalai Lama, at the WOMAD Festival in the UK, Glastonbury Festival, and also for Prince Charles (private concert at the Prince's home). His original ground-breaking albums "Sacred Chants of Shiva", "Sacred Chants of Buddha" and "The 108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine" are sold in over 80 countries around the globe, with "Sacred Chants of Shiva" selling many millions in the Indian subcontinent, with 'Sacred Chants of Buddha' selling over a million in Nepal alone. (most are bootlegs!). Born and raised in Westchester County, New York, Craig attended MIT, and later traveled and became a full time member of staff at the East African Conservatoire of Music in Nairobi, Kenya (1971-1973), before coming and settling in England in March 1973. For his full professional biography and early background, see his Heaven on Earth Music website. Besides being a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, record producer and seasoned arranger, Craig is also a sound designer and sound engineer with a great wealth of experience and technical expertise, which shows in his unique and crystal clear recordings. Indian music is a very old and powerful tradition, with intricate knowledge of the connection between sound/vibration and the human body and emotions. Craig has also studied Ayur-Veda (the science of perfect health), and his approach to music and recording is a totally life integrating and life affirming undertaking. 'Sacred Chants of Buddha' was originally commissioned by the Times of India record label in Mumbai, Times Music, as a heartfelt response to the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan at the time. The executives from TOI were very concerned (naturally), so they asked Craig to create an album for 'world peace', as a follow up to their biggest selling album at that time, 'Sacred Chants of Shiva' (by Craig and Singers of the Art of Living). The chants and spacial landscapes of sound were all created in Craig's studio in the UK, using his cutting edge recording equipment. Gongs, bamboo flutes, windchimes and bells create a relaxing ambiance. Resonant voices intone both Sanskrit and Pali Buddhist chants. The second track, 'Buddham Sharanam', has a more epic feel to it, introducing big temple drums, exotic percussion and a tapestry of evolving sound (including sitar, strings, tabla and sarangi). The emptiness of 'Om Mani Padme Hum' has made this a classic, used in many films and documentaries around the world. This album has been used by Reiki healers, body workers, reflexologists, yoga teachers and can be found in many meditation institutions around the world. Even Eckhart Tolle (the 'Power of Now' author) plays the 'Buddham Sharanam' track on stage whenever he starts a public lecture. A unique recording, with a lot of power and presence. Sacred Chants of Buddha: Amazon.com comments: (where is has a five star rating) 'I recently listened to this CD among several others while at a week long silent meditation retreat. Whenever Buddham Saranam played, I was taken to another state of consciousness, one of dancing colors and boundlessness. Buddham Saranam Gacchami translates as 'I take refuge in the Buddha.' This CD also features the Vajra Guru Mantra, Om Padme Mani Hum and Om Tara. Each of these chants is powerful and auspicious. Play this CD while meditating and while practicing yoga.' - Brad Van Auken and more from Amazon.co.UK: (also five star rating) 'I picked this CD up in Thailand, not having heard it or of it, and was delighted with my find once I got home. I meditate regulary and practise reiki and shamanic healing. This CD is perfect for all these activities, and for having on in the background. The first track 'Vajra Guru Mantra' is peaceful and atmospheric, concentating on the vibrations condusive to relaxing into a medatative state. The second track 'Buddham Sharanham', is more upbeat but equally as mesmorising. The third track, 'Om Mani Padme Hum', is a wonderful use of 'Om', which has enough going on to maintain concentration, but doesn't disrupt the stillness reached by this stage. The final track 'OM Tara' finishes off the CD and meditation with a really uplifting bit, commensurate with the final stages of healing or meitation. All in all, I'm delighted with my find. This CD is traditional and mystical but also contemporary enough to be engaging without being too funky and distracting.' - Susan E James (Please note: as far we know, none of the above people are our acquaintances, and their remarks were unsolicited, appearing on the Amazon site, where you can check them out.) =;-D.