Healing, Community, Power

We are each a part of an infinite Oneness, the space within each of us is the blacktop of the universe where the stars in the galaxies are folding out.

The role of Laraaji's music is to bring each person to a state where they feel prepared to be merged with this unified field, in which they take part in what they are always already a part of. The idea of sound that is transcendent is without a doubt that launching off point of "New Age" music, a genre which Laraaji challenges and seeks to expand.

Laraaji, born Edward Larry Gordon, is a prolific musician who specializes in live performance of music for piano, zither, and mbira. Born in Philadelphia and growing up in part in New Jersey, Laraaji studied composition and piano at Howard University, an HBCU in Washington D.C. then moved to New York City, where he began to play zither as a busker. During his time playing at Washington Square Park in the 70s, Laraaji was becoming deeply interested in the spiritual traditions of South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas and at the same time developing an improvisatory and meditative technique for performing. After his recognition in part through Brian Eno, Laraaji began to release his music and performance on cassettes for meditation and redoubled his spiritual practice with the help of teachers such as Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati.

The color orange, color of fire, of sunrise and sunset, sexual energy and spiritual self evolution, becomes important to Laraaji around the same time, now his signifying marker. It speaks in part to Laraaji's investment in a visual component of his work, which he describes as sometimes being tangent to or freely associated with imagined scenes. Water blazing in the light of a sunset, blood flowing through veins. The visual aspect is important to his recent performance series, hosted on zoom, which focus on the musicians hands and instrument (often zither) suggesting a meditative rhythm for the viewer, meant to act as a catalyst for realization of the One Consciousness. The zither is tuned to be harmonious so that the music is created by pattern and flow, an organic composition of sound. Additionally, by removing the artist's face and body from the frame too, Laraaji invites the listener to consider the ways in which they are not separate, but in fact identical to the performer, all united in our infinite and full aloneness.
Statement by Omar El-Sabrout

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