I was born in Algeria. I was aiming for California and a big wind came and I landed in Algeria. It was a French country before the war and my parent were living and doing business there. It was a very beautiful country in the 50’s like a huge garden full of flowers, fruits, vegetables and lots of animals; turtles, camels, donkeys, birds. I remember going to and island in Tunisia when I was 6 or 7 that was a sanctuary for migratory birds. Millions of birds were there. It was like the heart between the north and south. It was an incredible experience. We always had animals, especially turtles. I rode on them from the time I was 3 or 4. My mother had canaries. In the evening, the birds would sing after we went to bed. My father always had beautiful dogs. I always had a particular connection with cats. They have the capacity to bridge between the subtle world and the physical world. I believe cats can see the aura and the subtle body and ghosts. They can protect us from the influences of disincarnate beings.
When I was 10 my family was forced to leave Algeria.
Because of the war I saw a lot of dead people and soldiers in very bad condition and it had a great impression on me. Also I saw lots of dead animals alongside the road. It was almost like a civil war which is the worst. At one point in 1961 everybody was killing everybody because of the tension and frustration. So I was always asking my mother “what happens after death? Where do we go?” My mother being an existentialist was always saying “nothing happens, everything is finished.” Perhaps because of the influence of past lives in sanskrit we call it samskaras…reminiscence….I was convinced that my mother was wrong. I never said so, but in my mind and heart I knew there was something my parents did not understand. This idea was the starting of my spiritual quest.
In this way being born in Algeria was a gift. To see death is good. You can think about your own temporary existences. If you see so many animals and human beings leaving their bodies I began to think well, ok. It might happen to me sometime. I started to look for guidance, direction, some sense to it all. I am still searching. It is infinite. This meaning has no end and no beginning…it is like a river. At one point in the quest you realize there is one element that is crucial to the fabric of existence. And this element is love. Everybody is talking about “love,” especially religious people. But it is just a word.
In the true spiritual quest you just realize it is not just a word it is a state of being. You don’t have to do anything to get it, no effort no teaching. The prerequisite is sincerity.
With this realization there is a new beginning…the energy of love is self-sufficient. Suddenly you do not need anything. More and more you are happy, even in seemingly negative circumstances. It is not a question of finding god really…god is a word like love or instinct…it is a word..a label. Even if you don’t have much it becomes enough. It is a wonderful feeling.
I was attracted to music even as a child. One day my cousin came to visit. I was 11 years old. She had a guitar in her hands. I didn’t say anything, or touch the guitar, but I experienced a profound inner emotion, a great relief. I suddenly knew what I was going to do in this life; it was certitude. A year or two later my parents gave me a small amount of money with which to buy a guitar. My parent were very supportive, especially my mother who paid for me to have classical lessons. After two years I became disheartened with the classical approach. I felt I had made a mistake and I put the guitar in the closet.
In the mid-sixties I rediscovered music through my friends who were playing contemporary songs that had meaning to me and my guitar came out of the closet. I went to Amsterdam where there was a counter culture. At this time music was very important for the generation because it carried the political, ecological and spiritual message….everything was in the songs. During the seventies music was not only entertainment it was a means to carry an important messages. As time went along however, I began to see the futility of the psychadelicism and the progressive music began to seem a dead end. I could no longer see a good result from it. I realized it was just a mind game with a lot of ego and violence a lot of low vibrations. Every thing suddenly became “dirty.”
Today music has become again entertainment, excitement, and exploitation.
In the 80s I went to India to recuperate from the intensity of the 70s. For the second time I abandoned my guitar thinking I would give it up. The counter culture in Amsterdam was very much influenced by the East. We had incense, Indian music, and Indian Philosophy was popular. After reading many of the popular books on Indian philosophy such as the life of Ramakrishna I said to myself, I have to go there. I made a few trips to India I then became acquainted with the Vedic culture which is the source of Indian music. My interest in Indian music was secondary to my interst in the Vedic culture. I discovered the Sanscrit language, the mother of languages and the phenomenon of “mantra.” Mana tra…how to liberate the mind…..how, with music!
This was the blessing of my master SidaSwami. He asked me “what do you do?’ I said “I was a musician, now I am doing nothing.” Why are you not doing music? I’m looking for God. He said “You are a fool.” You don’t have to renounce anything.” If you do music in the spirit of exploitation you are going to suffer and bring suffering. But if you renounce music it is the same. Renunciation and exploitation is the same. You have to walk the middle path, which is dedication. And rather than renounce the guitar or exploit it for the ego, I took it back in the mood of dedication. In order to dedicate my musical to the awakening of my soul through the liberation of the mind. And mantra was the right tool for that. It is a practical means because listening and singing are simple and the guitar is practical because it is portable. So when I came back to Canada after meeting my master I did my first production doing the fusion between relaxation and spirituality which at the time was not obvious at the time….it was a new idea then. A fusion between relaxation and healing. Relaxation is the source of healing and meditation is the source of spirituality. I wanted to make a marriage between healing and spirituality. Without spirituality there is no healing…they go hand in hand….the first album was Atlantis Angeles and it has evolved to this day.
With our album Sacred Music for Sacred Friends there is the same fusion. We are merging the healing vibration of compassion into the heart of the animals through the heart vibrations and these healing vibrations come through universal spirituality. This is why we have chosen Vedic tradition Buddhist tradition, Christian – Gregorian tradition. Different words – same meaning. From the very beginning it was important for me to bring a sense of eternity/universality not to take the healing into only one provincial spirituality, but to heal from the religious conditioning….. I am this…I am that. This conditioning and identification with a particular tradition is a great source of conflict. So how can you have healing, relaxation peace and harmony if you have conflict? It is not possible. This is why there is a sense of unity…a big family. Not only between humans and animals but also between the different cultures. Love,
The title “Sacred Music for Sacred Friends”
Sacred means “something you can respect.: “Dignified enough that you can respect.” Animals have dignity and elegance… it is natural to them. They are in harmony so they are really sacred friends for so many reasons. Native peoples know this. I read recently about coyotes helping Indian people to find water in the desert. A man was lost in the desert with no water. He called the coyotes, to help him. They came on a regular basis to show him where the water was…..sacred friends. Many stories about dolphins and other animals saving people from drowning, If we want to save the world the first step is to respect the animals. To stop the slaughter houses and respect the animals. Many people say we must care for people first. It is true many people are in bad conditions. But why are they in bad conditions? Because they have bad reactions to the vibrations that result from the killing of animals. We must go to the source. And the source is the slaughterhouses and the disrespect of animals and tremendous exploitation. This is the root cause of all suffering. There is an action and there is a reaction. If you want to cure the effect you have to go to the cause. We kill millions and millions of animals and we don’t expect a reaction? We have to stop this nonsense. Not through preaching, but the means is through beauty and harmony, art….these are the gentle, simple very effective because you affect consciousness directly, bypassing the mind intellect, religious conditioning, social identification nationality identification. Especially with this kind of music because it is not in English or French or Spanish it is in an unknown language bypassing all the conditioning going directly where you have to go…the Heart. The message is not in the words it is in the intention. Not in the quantity of the words, but the quality of the intention….this is the esoteric meaning of mantra. The source of consciousness of love and the source of intelligence. If we have the support of allies the vibration will be broadcast and consciousness will change. Communicate a sense of sacredness and respect for our brothers and sisters the animals. We have the same Father….God. Christ, Krishna it is the same.
****Similarly for the animals it is not the words that are important it is the quality of the mood/intention injected in the sound vibrations of the words. This is direct, instantaneous communication. Everyone who listens and participates with us adds their own flavor and vibration making it a constant recreation…so you the listener are very important.