A random trip to Ananda Village in the Sierra Nevada foothills has led one local musician on a life-changing journey through energy and sound to a power greater than oneself.
When Joaquin Fioresi, a blue-collar songwriter from South San Francisco, started to join in the chanting at the yoga and meditation retreat 10 miles north of Nevada City, something just felt right.
“I received a cosmic whack and saw the power of how music creates this invisible chain,” he says.
Years later, on his first album of chanting, “Mystic Threads,” Fioresi puts his heart and soul into a crossroads of 1990’s Southern California pop and sacred music.
“It’s not even really Kirtan to me, to be honest,” says the musician and yogi. “I found the ancient prayers in Sanskrit are simply the best hooks ever written. The quintessence of the mantras is the cadence. It’s the way the rest sinks into rhythm.”
The 46-minute LP kicks off with the rolling cymbal of “Gam Gam Vibration,” bright guitars and keyboards coming in over a vast, durable rhythm track of drum and bass. It’s Jack Johnson meets Krishna Das with Fioresi’s flowing lyrics leading the way through the infinite, tremulous light.
“It’s totally me,” he says of the album. “I put my whole self into it.”
“Unreal to the Real” tapes prayer to record with ethereal, swirling sitar, the singer going between English and Sanskrit as he unlooses truthful words into layer on layer of rippling intergalactic darkness.
“Saraswati” begins with some pretty strumming worthy of a George Harrison solo record as Fioresi croons in endearing innocence. It’s exactly this freedom of expression that makes “Mystic Threads” more than a Kirtan record.
“Robin is a genius,” says Fioresi. “He inspired the heck out of me and became like a family member.”
Then “Asatoma” channels sublime vibes before building to a peak led by Johnny Mojo’s Fender guitar.
“Dissolving” does didgeridoo over the drone of a detuned synthesizers until retreating into the soothing sound of falling water.
The descending fiddle of Jenni Charles from Dead Winter Carpenters sets up “Shavasana” alongside a pure clear light voice that fades into the alone yet not alone repetition of “O namah shivaya, oh namah shivaya … .” It’s a song about surrender, letting go, repurposing your old self into something beautiful and new.
In fact, Fioresi has made his music available for free to all yoga teachers and healing artists to use during their practice. Half the proceeds from the record go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“My inspiration and motivation is liberation,” he says. “We are meeting music and mind.”
“Lokah (Everybody In All The Worlds)” presents Sanskrit version of Phish’s “Dirt” before kicking into the chilled-out pop vibe Fioresi does so well.
“Everybody, everybody in all the worlds, may they become peaceful, happy and free,” chants Fioresi and his friends at the ashram.
The album concludes with “Twameva,” a prayer giving thanks over a steady hum and vibration of two simple chords meditating between the sound of reflected, yet interconnected, worlds.
“You are my mother, my father, my lover, my friend. You are riches. You are wisdom. You are my all, my all,” sings Fioresi to his family, to the universe, to God.
It’s an exquisite sentiment from a genuinely superb human, musician, father, brother, lover and friend who has created something special to share with the world. | joaquinfioresimusic.com