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Reviews - Spirit of Love

Spirit-Works.net - reviewed by Angela Hutchinson
Spirit of Love is the new age, pop music of the future. Maya and Sage have found something here with their debut CD. It is a mixture of all the things we love, a new age eclectic dance mix, perfect for chanting and meditation. Many of the vocals are in Sanskrit, an ancient, sacred language. One can feel the reverence of the music and the intention behind it.

Maya, a former teacher of music, life coach, and author, is a well traveled singer and musician. She wrote the lyrics and melodies to the songs included on Spirit of Love. She has a pure quality to her voice, a Karen Carpenter for the new age. Sage lends absolutely perfect vocal harmonies, as well as playing multiple instruments to give their sound its vibrant uniqueness.

Calling Sita Ram and Jai Sita Ram have an incredible rhythm with an Eastern style influence. Universality is their theme; unity of our masculine and feminine natures. It is an excellent example of a dance and chant connection. Spirit of Love offers an excellent harmonic lullaby. Heaven’s Rain showcases Maya’s incredible “new age” voice and Sage’s harmony with a fantastic harmonica contribution. The native flute of Ancestors’ Breath can take you to another time of tribal simplicity. The songs are substantial in length adding to its meditative quality and calming melodies.

Spirit of Love is an album of international influence and enjoyment. It is a wonderfully creative debut album for this up and coming couple.

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Spacejunkies.net - reviewed by Michele Palulis
A beautifully blended compilation of devotional chanting and spiritual songs, "Spirit of Love" is a deeply emotional CD. Mixing tribal-like drumming, acoustic guitar, flute and harp with Maya's beautiful vocals creates a calming inner experience, while the chanting and faster beats make you want to dance around and celebrate life.

This CD boasts something for everyone and is very well blended and a terrific fusion of styles and techniques. The music alone brings out an incredible energy. Add the vocals, whether it be the melodic songs or the chanting, and you have yourself an absolutely indulgent experience that begs the ears and body to listen.

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Spirit of Love: This CD expresses a passion for life and is filled with love songs, chants, and creative music. I knew the minute I held this CD in my hand I would love it! Well I was right! This CD spoke to my heart and I felt deeply moved. What a triumphant celebration of love and inspiration.

One song that shined brightly for me was “Heaven’s Rain.” This joy filled loving song really serenades the listener. It is filled with bells and harps which make sounds you might imagine stars would make in the heavens. Maya has an enchanting voice and Sage is absolute magic with his creative music. Other favorites were “Ancestors’ Breath,” “Wild Companions,” and “Spirit of Love.” Folksy is the best way to describe this new release for Maya and Sage. This very diverse music uses keyboards, harmonica, guitar, and harp with a hint of Indian chant that they make work well.

A light filled addition to add sparkle to your music collection! I highly recommend this CD - 5 gold stars!

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Improvijazzation Nation – reviewed by Rotcod Zzaj
Maya & Sage - SPIRIT OF LOVE: Pull aside the beads, step into the "Hookah room" & rearrange your skirts for an hour or so... this CD features some very pretty chant & spirit songs, & you'll want to be in the right frame of mind when you listen! You might be tempted to "lump this in" with the regular "world beat" albums, & only spin it once - but you'd be doing your ears, & your inner energy, a definite disservice.

These folks have plenty of style, & their compositions are strong enough to set them apart from the bands that have only grasped the concept of "beat"! There is no doubt that rhythmic tracks are a definite draw for (many) listeners today, but when the undercurrent energy is combined with talent like this, there's no stopping what they can do. The thing I like about Maya & Sage's songs is that they're not "syrupy" like so many of these (kinds of) bands tend to be... some VERY NICE lead guitars are interspersed throughout, & their flow is free, not suppressed in the background.

Excellent mix, great quality, this is a CD you'll want to keep, & play often. We're impressed enough that we rate it HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Great album, high-energy spirit, & jubilance at the forefront.

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Amazon.com - reviewed by Kieran Bahn
I'm gratefully enjoying and am delightfully soul-nourished by Maya and Sage's truly magnificent CD, "Spirit of Love." This inspired collection invites me to go beyond merely feeling good to actually accessing awe. From the evocative beginning - where I'm gently floated along, humming as the precious invocation winds its mysterious, ethereal way into the surprising grounding rhythm that inevitably invites me to move from head to toe; through the middle, where I'm singing and dancing - to the embracing, uplifting conclusion, I find this musical celebration of Love to be endlessly pleasurable - indeed, a peak experience.

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I’m pretty excited about this one. I have a feeling it’s going to make many repeat performances in the CD player. Maya and Sage are primarily a dual gender chant duo, into the kinds of spiritual sounds that supposedly heal and bring the listener or chanter to “higher” places. As a skeptic, I’m not too sure about that, but I do know that it is beautiful and energizing stuff to listen to!

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Midwest Record Recap
They could have let this be a chant record and let it go at that, but the duo knows this is a competitive world and it's easier to stand out when you've got that something extra on the ball. Starting with Maya's wonderful voice and genre splicing all the best of the alt.adult music forms into the mix, the duo delivers a stand-out date that is rich with energetic zest and zeal, making this the kind of set you turn your non-believing friends onto. More than a peaceful meditation set, it's equally at home for listening or introspection. Tasty throughout.

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Light Connection Magazine - reviewed by Chiwah
Spirit of Love sparks a joyous soul-fest with an eclectic blend of eleven tracks that ebbs and flows across the boundaries of chant, world, pop, new age, and dance with such ease your mind hardly notices. One minute you're trance-dancing with Sita and Ram in the jungle, and the next you find yourself seduced by a lush and layered up-tempo celebration of love in English and Sanskrit and lulled into an embracing softness. And then—your body starts moving to the joyful pop-rock romp of "Heaven's Rain." Ooh! Love that love tickle... The entire album intrigues, holds you and takes you from one experience of divine love to another—some gentle, some rollicking, all gorgeous.

Maya and Sage's original chants and spirit songs evoke a variety of deep feelings, whether for yourself, a lover, friends, ancestors, our planet, a Higher Presence, or simply life itself. With its artistic blend of exotic instrumentation, rich layers of sonic texture, spicy rhythms, and enlightening lyrics in English and Sanskrit, it’s hard to believe this is a debut album.

It is entirely appropriate that their first recording as a duo celebrates the spirit of love, because theirs is a love story. A few hours after meeting they were singing harmony on each other’s songs, and then the next night a Jai Uttal concert led to a deeper exploration of chanting together. Within months they were recording and performing concerts together, and a year later they were married.

Oh, I love it when real life imitates fairytale!

“Our dream is to create music that joyfully celebrates life and to share this heart-music with others.” Maya says. “This is radiant awakening music for remembering who we truly are. We want the music to be sonic inspiration to embrace life with passion and purpose, to be all we can be, and to live a kind and loving life connected to our higher wisdom.”

Lofty goals, well met.

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New Age Reporter.com – reviewed by R J Lannan
When I first put on the album I was expecting endless dronings of Om and other organic mantras, but they were not here. What was here was a blending of gentle Eastern chant and folksy yearnings. Thrown in is a feather-light touch of Native American flute and didgeridoo and a bit of soft rock vocals and it makes for a fascinating album called Spirit of Love. Maya & Sage create a plethora of prayers to lovers and other objects of love including life, the earth and the ancestors that made the present all happen.

Calling Sita Ram with jingling bells and whining sitar is a prayer to unite man and woman and is presented as an eastern chant. It is calming and quite beautiful with its echoing vocals. It segues into Jai Sita Ram that sounds more like Da-Doo-Run-Run with a dance beat. It may contain less than four chord changes and has a lot of energy. I love it when westerners combine their philosophies with Eastern music. I guess I know now why the Beatles used Eastern philosophy in their music.

Heaven's Rain is like the strangely popular "I Want to Teach the World to Sing" of the early seventies. It has a very catchy melody and the words are easy to remember, so after you’ve heard it once or twice you tend to sing along.

Presented as a tender love ballad, Spirit of Love is the longest track on the album (10:07). It is a splendid accolade to the concept of love. It is the kind of organic love that is present in all good things and inside all of us when we shine with positive energies. Instrumentally it favors a moderate beat with guitar and bongos, but has a gentle flow that lingers on the mind and comforts the spirit.

Of all the songs on the album Ancestors' Breath was my favorite. It is very relaxing and thought provoking. Native American flute, the sound of soaring hawks, an owl or two and Maya’s warm, inviting voice pay tribute to the sacrifice and honor of the ancient ones. The honorarium quietly slips into the vocal My Breath in which Maya & Sage thank the ones who have deeply affected their existence.

“You are my breath, family and friends
Angels and scribes,
Ancestors, visionaries, teachers, guides
You are my breath.”

Lakshmi Ma has a surprisingly mellow piano score and a gentle flow. The pleasing, soft chant to Vishnu’s wife and Earth Mother is flavored with a ballad-like tempo and compassionate vocals. Very different, but very likable.

Like the two majestic ancient figures, Radha and Krishna that grace the resplendent cover art, the married duo of Maya & Sage is complimentary in all things music. They call themselves “Spirit Singers” and rightly so. Let your spirit be affected by their positive music and their positive attitude.

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NEXUS Magazine – reviewed by Richard Giles
Nexus has covered a number of the new performers of traditional chant music from several cultures. Maya and Sage have released their first album of thousand-year-old Sanskrit mantras, creating their own style by adding popular world-beat sounds with a different flow, thus making these chants accessible to today's audiences. They use Celtic harp, didgeridoo, Native American flute and keyboards with percussion. This is joyful music with sounds you can relate to for awakening the hardened heart of the West. A life-affirming album!

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The Muse's Muse - reviewed by Steve Allat
After a very relaxing introductory invocation, a dance party broke out . . . and I couldn't have been more pleased! Quickly, Maya and Sage break free of traditional boundaries, where typical devotional and/or meditational music would have you listening to repetitious tracks with little variation.

They do this by being unafraid to take their original compositions and infecting them with their wide array of playing skills - adding backbeat, electric guitar, harmonica, world percussion and more as the songs dictate. Repetition being the strength of mantra, they use this simple universal tool effectively throughout to let the music get inside you in a way that if one part of you forgets, another will remember, and their work is accomplished. It's very refreshing to hear them explore new horizons by transcending traditional meditational new age musical boundaries.

Sage has a warm, soft voice and uses it well in accompanying on backing vocals while Maya's strong voice cuts nicely without being overpowering. She leads the way with confidence. Above all else, you can tell that these two enjoy all aspects of expressing the creations that flow through them.

Even though the pair are very influenced by eastern philosophies, Hinduism in particular, the songs stand on their own as mini-philosophies without many blatant references to any particular following - something which could have these songs heard outside the new age genre. Even if they're not, I'm sure they'll be quite successful with those who seek their music out.

Pleasantly surprised overall, especially at the diversity. Caught my attention a few times, something I wasn't expecting at all.

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AZNetNEWS - Editor's Chioce!
This album of worldbeat, folk-pop songs and modern-day original chants is guaranteed to make you feel better. You might even find yourself chanting Jai Sita Ram in your head on the way to your next appointment, even if you have never before uttered a chant in your life. This is music that will rock your heart and soul with enchanting melodies, spirited rhythms, and mystical lyrics of loving joy. Vocal harmonies bask in rich layers of sonic texture, spiced with exotic flavors of Celtic harp, didgeridoo, Native American flute, and world percussion. You will dance, sing along to the beat and let the spirit of love transform you!

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All Music Guide - reviewed by William Rulhmann
…While Maya Knowles and her harmonizing husband Sage Knowles do sing repetitive phrases in Sanskrit at several points on the disc, notably the tracks "Jai Sita Ram" and "Lakshmi Ma," Spirit of Love is not really an album to meditate to. It's more an album to dance to, especially for fans of late-'60s pop music. With Maya's reedy voice and catchy tunes matched to Sage's folk-rock arrangements, imagine the Mamas & the Papas or Spanky & Our Gang singing in Sanskrit; there's some of that sunshine pop flavor here. Spirit of Love is likely to get its spiritual fans bopping around the ashram instead of sitting in the lotus position with their eyes closed….

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EagleEye/ONE Magazine
‘Sacred and loving’ being the operative words here in a literal sense.. ‘Spirit of Love’ is the debut album for Maya and Sage and consists of original chants and spirit songs celebrating universal love. The beat varies from slow to upbeat unlike traditional chant recordings - as is the way with Spirit. Devotions sung in both Sanskrit and English - using an array of instruments and sounds of nature. If this is your style of music you are going to love this.

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Seeds of Unfolding – reviewed by Patricia Colleran
The cover on this new CD calls this collection of music “Devotional Chanting & Spiritual Love Songs,” but this is chanting such as you have never heard before. These are original, modern chants with both English and old Sanskrit words combined with new melodies that resonate with today's audiences.

These chants and songs combine with diverse instrumentation (not often found on traditional chant recordings) such as harmonica, saxophone, wood flute, piano, Celtic harp and Australian didgeridoo to make this a truly original recording. One could call this spiritual feel-good music for a new era.

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www.the-borderland.co.uk – MUSICWATCH #9
This album is labelled as New Age on the back cover yet it manages to mix in world dance beats, Sanskrit chants, songs and funky grooves which all come together and make something more muscular than the usual twee new age blandness that fills the racks. Having said that, this album has its highs and lows, so while some tracks are suitable for dancing to, others are equally suitable for meditating or just chilling out after an exhausting day. The interweaving voices of Maya and Sage and their collaborators on this album certainly make for a mellifluous sound, which depending on your taste in music could be taken as too sugary or heavenly.

To some extent the effectiveness of this album and its heartfelt songs and chants will depend on how strong your belief is in spiritual matters and whether you accept that the power of love can change the world... or just a heart. I'm really too cynical a person to judge on this, but I can tell you that a lot of work and soul has gone into the production of what is Maya and Sage's debut album, and it is an album that will win you over.

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Bookwatch – The Library CD Music Shelf
Very highly recommended listening and an ideal addition to New Age CD music collections. Spirit Of Love is a diverse and impressive compilation of New Age music that blends chant with world, pop, and dance. Maya's mantras and lyrics, along with her guitar and piano keyboard work are wonderfully embellished with the unique harmonies of Sage's use of percussion, didgeridoo, Celtic harp, Native American flute, electric guitar, harmonica, and keyboards. Enhanced with special guest musicians Silvia Nakkach, Geoffrey Gordon, Craig Owens, and Gary Reginia, Spirit Of Love offers 64 minutes of music showcasing spiritually refreshing, mind healing, emotionally rewarding listening in eleven distinctive pieces that range from Heaven's Rain; Utopia; and Wild Companions; to Ancestor's Breath; Lakshmi Ma; and Celebration.

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Boston Post-Gazette – Facts on Wax by Bob Morello
New Age music fans who enjoy chanting and vocals can revel in the works of Maya & Sage's eleven-track album Spirit of Love. This joyous soul fest includes chants and spirit songs to celebrate universal love. ...Maya & Sage consider their music to be "awakening music for remembering who we truly are."

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Celestopea Times
The new release from Maya and Sage was a pleasant surprise. Their music style is an enjoyable blend of Sanskrit chanting, pop, world beat, and new age with a seamless flow and harmony. The 11 songs on the CD have a nice range of sound and beat from slow and soul-searching to enlivened and inspiring. Sometimes their music lulls you into a quiet place inside your heart and other times it expands your spirit in joy out beyond.
See the full review and graphics at: Celestopea.com

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