"Buddha Lounge" Blends Middle Eastern And Western Sounds, Tops Billboard Charts
Bringing Music Sounds From The Middle East, Blending With Electronica, Tawanghar Finds New Age Success
Art Tawanghar Tops Music Charts With Blend Of Music And Lands
SAN DIEGO – With his own take on the sounds of his homeland, Art Tawanghar is bringing the music of the Middle East to America and blending it with traditional and classical instrumentation in a soothing yet solid way.
Tawanghar’s new album “Buddha Lounge” is completing its 13th week on the Billboard New Age charts, beginning with the week of Aug. 12 at No. 2 and the subsequent 12 weeks at No. 1.
Tawanghar’s music is relatable for those in the New Age music world as well as those in other genres.
“Art has really brought in some of his best work with ‘Buddha Lounge,’ ” says David Longoria, recording artist and producer with Del Oro Music in Studio City.
“Creativity and a beautiful tonal soundscape have made this a compelling and strong album. There are many New Age artists every year from our creative community but none more lush and great to connect with the listener than Art's this time,” Longoria adds.
Although a relative newcomer to the Hollywood music industry, this isn’t Tawanghar’s first time on the Billboard charts. His album, “Soul of the Earth,” peaked at No. 39 on the charts one year ago, Sept. 3, 2016.
So, where does the 44-year-old musician and self-proclaimed healer get his inspiration?
“I’ve always had a passion for music and with ‘Buddha Lounge’ I’ve combined western knowledge and Middle Eastern music for a true fusion environment,” he says.
Tawanghar has studied most musical genres, including jazz, blues, classical, and more, and brought positive elements of each to his recordings.
“Music has to be uplifting to your soul,” he says, adding that his music is created to bring inspiration and peace to his listeners.
“I want my music to bring healing; every track has a frequency to help one focus mentally and spiritually; there is a visible boost in energy,” he says.
His previous album, he says, though spiritual and uplifting wasn’t focused; it was more entertaining.
“My first album was more technically showing what I can do, this album is focused on healing,” he says. “I don’t want to just entertain, I want to heal.”
Many of the instruments on the album are performed by Tawanghar, who plays 23 instruments professionally, from percussion to woodwind and strings, many of which are featured on “Buddha Lounge.” His favorite is the ney – a Persian bamboo flute, which, according to Tawanghar, is one of the most difficult instruments to master.
“It takes a year to get just one sound; there has to be movement of your lips and tongue, not just blowing into it – it’s a mystical instrument,” he explains.
“Buddha Lounge,” though infused with electronic sounds and instrumentation created by Tawanghar, involves his own instrumental performances and collaboration with other instrumentalists – in somewhat of a team effort.
“This is a project I was part of, not just the owner,” Tawanghar says.
He talks of Ruth Weber, whom he calls “an amazing artist,” who co-wrote his song, “Distorted Time.” Weber is a composer, musician and director of the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir.
One of the more well-known talents to perform on “Buddha Lounge,” is the legendary composer of Kurdish and Iranian music, Kayhan Kalhor, who plays the kamancheh, an Iranian bowed, sting instrument, as well as the Iranian violin and is featured on the song, “Quantum Separation.”
In the album, Tawanghar also utilized the talents of oboist, Emilia Lopez-Yanez and harpist, Peter Sterling. Lopez-Yanez is featured in the song, “Distorted,” a song that’s already impressed the panel at HMMA (Hollywood Music In Media Awards) who have given Tawanghar and his team a nomination for HMMA's Best NEW AGE/ Ambient music in this year’s show Nov. 16 in Hollywood.
Tawanghar was born in Iran and immigrated with his parents and two of his three younger brothers to Denmark when he was 9 years old. The fourth brother was born in Denmark.
He encountered racism as a child, “for not having blonde hair,” and was glad to leave Denmark for the United States as a young man.
“I came to California in 1996 and never left,” he says, of the land he now loves and calls home.
“I love it here, I’ve toured globally with many different artists, but always am happy to return home,” he says.
Before coming to America, Tawanghar studied in Denmark and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computers and electronics.
He has since studied a range of music, including returning to his native land to study various instruments, including the ney, with masters of Iranian music.
Although he is, in fact, a musician and producer on the album, Tawanghar sees himself in a different role: “I see myself as a printer – the music flows through me and I release it to the world.”
by Ruth Kingsland for The Music Buzz