Listen. To the Quiet . . .
If you’ve taken a Yoga class. Or Tai Chi. Or QiQong. If you’ve been massaged. Or rolfed. Or acupunctured. If you’ve been to a spa. Or a holistic healer. Or a meditation retreat. Then you probably have heard the music of P.C.Davidoff.
For the past 18 years, Philip Davidoff has been providing a soundtrack for the New Age. During that time, he has produced 12 CD’s, each with its own flavor and viewpoint. The instrumentation varies and is often blended with sounds from nature. But always – without fail – the sound is subtle, soothing, healing, and non-intrusive.
“It takes about a year or two to fully realize a new album,” says Davidoff, “the secret is living with the music. Doing practices with it. Does it help create a positive atmosphere without drawing attention away from your inner focus?”
When he’s not making music, Philip helps to manage the Garland of Letters Bookstore on South Street. He’s a long-time Yoga student of Dr. Vijayendra Pratap and his spiritual travels have taken him to India, Israel, Southeast Asia, and South America.
“In the best of all worlds, we would spend quality time on mountain tops or deep in primeval forests or at the edge of a quiet lake or on the shores of an ocean. But reality often brings us to a city like Philadelphia where there is a constant cacophony of unnatural noise. Traffic. Airplanes. Sirens. Boom boxes. Car alarms. It is so constant and pervasive that we reflexively tune it out. But it affects every aspect of our lives. My music is created to be an antidote to this noise.”
Over the years, Philip has spent much of his creative time producing at his own sound studio at Skyland, an organic farm and Yoga retreat in Unityville, Pennsylvania.
“There is a universal harmony in the natural sounds of the countryside. It’s a seasonal symphony. The frogs in the spring. The summer crickets. The autumnal birds. And the deep, deep silence of a winter snowfall. I try to bring all of that back in my music to the city. People often come into Garland and can’t believe how different it feels from the street outside. How different they feel. The sound is a big part of that difference. It helps you to breathe easier. Deeper. Slower.”
In the early dynasties of China, there was an official who traveled from village to village and listened to the local musicians. When he returned to the emperor’s court, he would report where there was harmony and where there was discordance. In this way, problems were detected early and serious trouble was often avoided. How would he have reacted to Philadelphia, I wonder?
“Every culture has its own sound and its own indigenous instruments. Native American flutes. Asian Indian sitars. Aboriginal didjereedoos. Chinese kotos. American acoustic guitars. I try to be sensitive to the quiet in each instrument. The breath in the wind instruments. The vibrations in the strings. The harmonics in the chimes and bells and gongs. These often find a match in nature’s music – a running stream, an evening breeze, a gentle rain, a neighing horse, a cooing owl, a waterfall, an insistent surf. When the combination is exactly right, the sound becomes part of you and you are part of the sound. There is no separation. You are not listening to the music; the music and you are one. When that happens and when it can be sustained for an hour or more without interruption – then I know the album is ready for release.”
You can find all of P.C. Davidoff’s music at Garland of Letters and many other new age bookstores and centers. Sample it online at cdbaby.com, amazon.com, itunes.com, or at his own website, sacredtreejewelry.com.
Or, maybe the next time you find yourself floating away in your Yoga class, check out the background music. Chances are you’ve already experienced the quiet and calm that is P.C. Davidoff’s soundscape.