PEOPLEText: Anthony Augendre

There’s a woman voice on the song “Praise” ion the last album. It seems to be a religious song, is it the case?

Yes. It is sung in Sanskrit. It is a song of praise to the three aspect of the divine mother. The singer is an Indian holy woman by the name of Shree Maa. Should I say something about her?

Yes of course!

She was born in India into a family of renom but in a early age she just walk away from all that to walk into the forest of India and turn her back on materialistic life and devoted herself to God. She lived in the Himalaya for a period of time. She became Shree Maa, this holy woman through devotion. She came to America in 1994 she had a very reclusive life, very humble existence, it still does. In 1997 she undertook a first trip across America. She came to stay into our house with 40 people and transform our house into an hasram. It was a place of worship. At the end of each morning she would sing the song. Her voice resonated through our house it was magnificent. It was so deeply moving. I have a studio in house and she very gracefully allowed us to record her. We captured something that was a very important document for us. It became part of our practice we would listen to that piece over and over again on daily basis. And ultimately it felt right to include this part of the album as Shree Maa seems to be the example of the goal. She can sing with such clarity of devotion just purity. She’s the vocal point of the album, the pinnacle if you like.

Did you think you did a gift for us by recording her?

She’s the Gift. She’s giving offer herself to everybody. It’s her grace.

What did you discover from this Oriental mysticism?

The point for me was to find a discipline with which to work in life on a daily basis. I was and still am very interested in Buddhism particularly Zen Buddhism. And that is informed my practice. Working alone because I ‘ve never had a teacher, the practice became very dry and ultimately didn’t informed my life enough. When I met Ingrid (ED : Ingrid Chavez David’s wife) we kind of made a pact that we were going to explore that aspect in our life together. It was a common goal between us. We start to see different teachers. It gives us a focus and gives us a discipline and somebody to constantly inspire the practice. And in part of the practice includes the notions of surrender which I talk about in the album. To surrender not being an once on life time act. You surrender and it’s over is not that simple. Surrendering is something that needs to be confirm and reconfirm with every breath. So it became an act of meditation, an act of will, an act of consciousness. It’s a means of maintain consciousness. That is very much the kind of path I have chosen to take. It also embrace aspects of hindouism. Either I wouldn’t call myself a buddhist or an hinduist. But my practice embraces aspects of both.

Tell us a bit more about the cover design of your last album. We know that you pay a particular attention to the layout?

It’s an etching by a Japanese artist Shinya Fujiwara. He did the photographs for the Rain Tree Crow album cover. He’s a well known photographer in Japan and essayist and critic but he is also a very good visual artist in terms of his graphics. So he’s done an original work for me for the cover. It’s a very beautiful cover. Russell Mills is designed it Yuko and I had directed it, there’s photograph by Anton Corbijn. It’s printed on gold.

It’s your team!

Yes it’s my team (laughs) All of about friends working together and produce something actually is extraordinary beautiful extraordinary beautiful. It’s a lovely cover I’m really happy with it.

Dead bees on a cake
Release date: 30th March, 1999
Released by Virgin

Text: Anthony Augendre

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