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MP3 Bill Colangelo - Songs Within Water

Improvised, ambient music for meditation combining water sounds and other acoustic sounds with sax and clarinet melodies.

6 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, JAZZ: World Fusion

Songs Within Water Turns Ecological Concerns Into Music

In his new CD, Dr. Bill Colangelo has turned his deep ecological concerns into musical inspiration. Described as “improvised, ambient music for meditation,” musically altered sounds of water, bells, gongs and other acoustic sources combine with improvised saxophone and clarinet melodies. After devoting almost two years to environmental activism in a successful struggle to keep WalMart from building a big box store over land that contributes water to San Antonio’s aquifer, Colangelo began to look for ways to merge his music with his spiritual and political beliefs.

The opening track from Songs Within Water, Beginner’s Mind developed out of several performances, such as the Change Your Mind Day, a gathering of Buddhist groups in San Antonio, and concerts in San Antonio, Toronto and Beijing with Colangelo’s longtime collaborator, composer and Chinese violin master Tianji Xie. Another track, The Path, grew out of a dance performance at the opening of the Radius Art Center in San Antonio. The two tracks that use loops of water sounds, Songs Within Water and Water Music, grew out of a video project that combines images of the rushing waters of Texas’ Guadalupe River and the words of a water blessing from Thich Nhat Hanh. “I’ve experimented with using water sounds in my compositions since the early 90’s” said Colangelo. “With the current software tools that have grown out of the club music scene I’m now able to really respond musically to the water sounds, instead of just creating a sound collage of textures,” he added. The results have spanned musical borders, taking elements from jazz, ambient, world fusion and new music.

Dr. Colangelo began his work in experimental music as a teenager in the late 1960s using Moog synthesizers, tape loop studies of white noise, serial composition, Indian music and free jazz improvisation. He received favorable reviews in the New York Times for his performance at the Microtonal Music Festival in New York City. He also has performed solo works at the World Saxophone Congress in Valencia, Spain, and in Perugia and Gubbio, Italy. His dissertation on Giacinto Scelsi is one of the few published works in English on the trance-induced creations of the Italian mystical composer. Dr. Colangelo is an Associate Professor of Multimedia and American Popular Music at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas.

Jazz saxophonist and composer Colangelo, and, erhu (Chinese two-string violin) master and composer Xie, began their collaboration combining the sounds of Chinese traditional music with 1960s-style free jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms in New York City in 1989. The six-piece group Shanghai Blue went on to be named the Bandsearch 1990 Jazz Band of the Year, performing in concert series and jazz clubs in New York City, Holland and Germany. Their music was heard on National Public Radio’s American Jazz Radio Festival and was reported on in New York Newsday, the Tokyo Yomiuri, and the Taiwan World Journal. The group’s CD Shanghai Blue influenced many musical groups inside the People’s Republic of China to combine the erhu with American-style jazz and pop.

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