Kingdom of Mountains
Ethereal and evocative instrumental world music at its best…exotic flutes, strings and percussion from around the world dance together to create an ancient yet modern global groove.
"Mystic Journey takes you there. Close your eyes, trust, and you will go somewhere else. When you return, you'll be different... better. Your inner windshield wipers will have washed off what you don't need. What you need... is a Mystic Journey.” - John Densmore (The Doors)
Mystic Journey has an eagerly anticipated new release, “Kingdom of Mountains” full of mystical and evocative instrumental world music at its best, with rare and colorful flutes, strings and percussion from around the world that dance together to create an ancient yet modern global groove. Ten gorgeous tracks take the listener on a journey around the world and beyond, with a theme of peace and tranquility uniting the pieces into one mystical, musical journey.
Mystic Journey is Suzanne Teng (world flutes), Gilbert Levy (world strings and percussion), Dann Torres (guitar and oud), and Jon Ossman (bass and dilruba). This unique world music ensemble creates a new type of instrumental music that is ethereal and exotic, soulful and healing, and “Sensual and Serene,” as described by Billboard Magazine.
Mystic Journey has created music that is not only critically acclaimed, but has won them numerous awards such as the Independent Music Awards (twice), International Acoustic Music Awards, and the Los Angeles Music Awards. Their music has been licensed for hundreds of independent film and video projects and was featured on the show America’s Got Talent. Recognized not only for their musicianship and high production quality, their recordings have been described as sacred, relaxing and heart opening and their work has been used in numerous healing recordings, films and videos, including a special CD compilation of their pieces created by the pharmaceutical company Genentech that was distributed to over 50,000 patients to aid in their recovery.
“Mystic Journey…lifts the listener to a place where beauty, ecstasy and tranquility reside” (Whole Life Times) both in recordings and live performances, as demonstrated in venues where they have performed such as the Dalai Lama’s International World Festival of Sacred Music, where they were featured artists each year of the festival.
Husband and wife team Teng and Levy wrote all of the pieces on this new album Kingdom of Mountains whose 10 tracks feature numerous rare and beautiful instruments from around the world. Their earlier albums were released under Suzanne Teng (Mystic Journey and Enchanted Wind) as well as Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey (Miles Beyond), but over the years, as they performed around the country and internationally, the ensemble developed a magical synergy that is embraced in this exciting new release, and co-bandleaders Teng and Levy decided they wanted to move forward as simply Mystic Journey.
Gilbert Levy, born and raised in New Orleans, began playing drums at an early age and by his late teens was performing professionally in R&B bands in clubs on Bourbon Street and with jazz greats such as Wynton and Branford Marsalis. Levy moved to Los Angeles and played pop music in numerous bands and on several major label recording projects.
His years of experience in both pop/rock/jazz as well as world music give Gilbert the ability to create rhythms that are musical and music that is rhythmic. He is known for his expressive and exuberant performances both onstage and in recordings. He credits his years of North Indian classical music studies for creating his unique style. He also plays African and Middle Eastern hand percussion as well as a very unique personalized drum set and the evocative Swiss metal hand drum called the “hang” which is featured on much of their music.
Years ago, after a hand injury that led him to take a break from hand drums, he started to explore stringed instruments and the album features beautiful performances on the African bass harp (ngoni) on the track “Midnight in Bamako” and the bass dulcimer and Turkish saz on numerous tracks. He also used his extraordinary technical expertise to engineer and mix the album.
The Los Angeles Times has described Suzanne Teng as a “brilliant flutist” who “plays music for the soul.” Originally from Berkeley, California, she received her Master’s degree in music from Boston University’s School for the Arts and, after traveling across the globe, decided to further her passion for world music, pursuing her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UCLA where her focus was on music and healing.
Suzanne plays an extensive array of flutes from around the world, some of which are featured on Kingdom of Mountains. Many of the tracks feature her on the deep and soulful alto and bass flutes. She is a YAMAHA artist representing the low flutes (also called Harmony Flutes) on which she is well known and recognized worldwide for her unique style of playing. She plays the Chinese bamboo flute (dizi) on “Delicate Rainbow Flower,” the rare Chinese gourd wind instrument (hulusi) on “Yunnan,” bass Native American flute on “Kingdom of Mountains,” and bamboo flute on the entrancing piece “I Dream of a Castle.” Listening to Suzanne’s emotional flute lines , you can feel your heart opening, as one of her passions is to create music that is healing and transportive. Music Connection Magazine wrote that in “Teng’s delightful flute performances…joy emanates from her soul when she plays..”
Recognized in the industry for her skillful, creative and moving flute playing, she can be heard on hundreds of recordings and soundtracks, including commercials for Kleenex, Pepsi, Dodge, Johnny Walker, soundtracks for video games “Myst” and “Prince of Persia,” children’s shows Emmy-winning “Tumble Leaf “(PBS), “Miss Spider,” and “Babar and the Adventures of Badou,” and the film “300” and has performed live on several of the Survivor finale shows.
Fellow bandmates Dann and Jon are seasoned Los Angeles musicians who have performed and recorded extensively. Dann M. Torres is a multi-instrumentalist with an affection for acoustic experimentation and electronic manipulation. Well versed in a variety of musical styles and idioms, from world fusion to post-rock, experimental and ambient jazz, Torres’ divergent approach to sound design seeks to deconstruct genres and bring elements of them together into something that is new, compelling and unique. Torres has worked with Solace, Naked Rhythm, Shaman's Dream, Azam Ali and a variety of other diverse musicians both in the studio and in improvised performance. In Mystic Journey, Dann plays the oud, acoustic guitar and electric sitar.
Jon Ossman grew up in New Paltz, NY, lived in New York City for many years and then moved to Los Angeles. He calls himself “a lucky rebel who has seen most of this planet from a stage behind a bass.” Jon has recorded and toured with many of the greats such as Marc Cohn, Blood Sweat and Tears, Paula Cole and Chris Botti and also writes music for films, infomercials and videos. He also plays sitar and the hauntingly beautiful Indian fiddle called Dilruba with skill and delicacy, adorning the magical opening track “Subhadra” with a yearning that transports the listener to an ancient and holy time.