LA YOGA reviewed by Michael Mollura
Here's a release from one of Topanga Canyon's sweetest artists. With MILES BEYOND, flutist Suzanne Teng and percussionist Gilbert Levy string together a series of musical gems that feel as hones and as pure as any instrumental music heard today. The music blends Hindu and Asian influences with hints of African rhythms to complete the feel.
Of all of Teng's releases, this album seems appropriately titled since it feels like it goes miles beyond anywhere she has gone before as a composer. MILES BEYOND exemplifies Teng and Levy's growth as artists and as human beings with beautiful melodies that just soar through the ears with grace and ease. Levy uses Indian tablas, khol, karals and an assortment of shakers to produce a rich steady rhythm for which Teng performs her magic on the flute. All the tunes here were written, arranged and produced by Teng and Levy with some help from Fritz Heede.
Echoes January CD of the Month
Suzanne Teng's Miles Beyond
After several year's wait, flute player Suzanne Teng returns with a follow up to her imposing solo debut, Mystic Journey. Miles Beyond picks up on the global rhythms and world flutes that made her debut so compelling. The core of the album is Teng and percussionist Gilbert Levy, playing flutes and hand drums from India, Africa, Eygpt, and Persia. Their melodies and rhythms
spiral off each other in desert arabesques. Miles Beyond is a meticulously composed and arranged work with oud, string bass, keyboards and guitar fleshing out the sound in a music that uses traditional sounds for a new, pan-global music. Whether playing ocarina, Turkish ney, Indian bamboo flutes or the Balinese suling, she's a master pulling melodies out of the air and bending them in sensual, calligraphic designs. Miles Beyond is an auspicious first CD of the Month for 2004.
By Tom Orr
This is a mystic journey indeed, and a highly enjoyable one. Suzanne Teng plays flutes from all corners of the globe, sideman Gilbert Levy does likewise with percussion, and additional participants provide instrumentation ranging from the familiar (guitar, bass, keyboard) to the exotic (sitar, oud, didgeridoo). Musically, there's a lot of ground covered in these instrumental pieces. Breezing through narious points in Africa, Latin and Native America, India, Indonesia, the Far East and on and on, the tracks are nonetheless remarkably cohesive, well arranged and musically and rhythmically engaging. Listen to how "Babylonians" unfurls majestically before dancing off into the sun, the dark continent cool of "Motherland" or the airy melancholy of "Sierra" and the title track. If you're not completely blissed out after the first sampling, don't blame Teng and her highly skilled crew. They know how to make "world" music in the best sense -- unpretentious, attuned and with an obvious love for the cultures they tap into. An absolutely wonderful album.
Gentle, healing, expansive and ambient new age soundscaped pieces with gorgeous wooden flute harmonies, tribal percussion, soft synth strings and an overall feeling of the mysterious.
YOGI TIMES reviewed by Bette Timm
A diverse, cross-continental mix of sounds and musical influences grace this new release. Suzanne Teng, an award-winning artist with PhD studies in Ethnomusicology as well as music and healing, has created memorable and uplifting compositions that merge cultures and melt boundaries.
Teng's rich and harmonious soundscapes often begin with melodies played on Turkish, Chinese and Indonesian flutes. These are layered with the voices of a variety of instruments including flamenco guitar, sitar and didgeridoo as well as hand drums from Iran, India, Africa and Egypt. All are skillfully played by Teng, her husband Gilbert Levy and other accomplished musicians.
The songs reflect their instrumental diversity, taking you on an imaginative world tour. The first piece is reminiscent of a Native American ceremony of the American Southwest. From there, we travel on to Babylonia where the rhythms take on a Middle Eastern feel. Balinese and Guatemalan melodies are also represented in Teng's unique and refreshing way.
Sensual and serene, this recording also reflects the love between Teng and Levy. On "Chicoy," we enter a magical cave in Guatemala where a shaman priest performs a spontaneous wedding ceremony for Teng and Levy.