Heather Wertheimer, of Shantala, is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, yoga teacher, and therapist, whose beautiful vocals, unique perspectives and unusual depth reflect a wide array of human experiences. She is part of the musical duo Shantala with her husband Benjy Wertheimer, who is a singer/songwriter and world class multi-instrumentalist. Heather performs and tours with Benjy and virtuoso guitarist Michael Mandrell. She also combines her special love of both music and yoga to lead devotional chanting for workshops and spiritual gatherings. In the past, Heather was a featured vocalist in the musical "Return to Avalon" and has performed throughout the Northwest with the groups HeartStrings and Lonesome Taxi.
Benjy Wertheimer is an award-winning composer and vocalist who plays tabla, congas, percussion, esraj, guitar, and keyboards. A founding member of the internationally acclaimed Ancient Future world fusion music ensemble, he tours with Krishna Das and has opened for artists such as Carlos Santana, Paul Winter, and Narada Michael Walden.
Benjy has toured the US, Canada, and Japan with renowned bamboo flute master GS Sachdev.
Benjy's CD Circle of Fire was featured on Echoes, heard on over 150 public radio stations around North America. He has been a contributing composer and member of the Zakir Hussain Rhythm Experience (along with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead). For over five years, Benjy scored music for the internationally syndicated NBC series Santa Barbara. He has recorded with numerous A&M, Windham Hill, Narada, Nippon Phonogram, and Rounder recording artists.
Beginning his musical studies at age 5 (starting with piano and later studying violin and flamenco guitar), Benjy received his training in Keyboard Improvisation at the University of Colorado and Composition and Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. He has studied Indian classical music for over 20 years with some of the greatest masters of that tradition (including Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Ali Akbar Khan and Z. M. Dagar).
Church of Sky is a contemporary folk CD with musical influences from around the world. It is the debut CD for Shantala, the acoustic world folk duo of Heather and Benjy Wertheimer. Church of Sky creates a magical blend of contemporary folk music with the captivating sounds of instruments such as the esraj and tabla from India, the djembe from Africa, and the balalaika from Eastern Europe. Additional instruments such as the harp, zither, violin, viola, and cello engage the listener in a far-reaching musical journey of the spirit. Church of Sky features the extraordinary musical talents of world-class multi-instrumentalist Benjy Wertheimer, guitarists Michael Mandrell and Tim Ellis, world-renowned slide guitarist Bob Brozman, vocalists Tina Malia, Joe Jencks, and Jim Walker, violinists Julian Smedley and Wah!, and others.