These meditations of music and verse were Inspired by the small swift-running streams that flow through the deep woods of the Glen Manor Ravine. One early autumn morning, I sat beside a little waterfall and listened to the sweet sounds of the stream, and I began to hear a complexity of sounds that blended into a single voice that I called the River Spirit, and went on to compose a series of pieces that might capture a little bit of its magic. The songs of River Spirit Meditations contain ever-evolving musical themes and poetry that emulate the endless variations of the voices of the River as they move through the eternal cycle of the life-giving waters that are essential to life.

Over the past 20 years I have written and performed many versions of the River Spirit, with many artists and instruments, and each performance has added a new voice that helps to re-direct the flow of energy as it makes its way to the great sea of the cosmic void, waiting in peaceful silence until it’s called back to join the River Spirit on its never-ending journey through time and space.

Just like a flowing river, the music has taken many forms, from hushed and serene as hidden ponds and pools that call us to sleep, to the breaking rapids and white-crested waterfalls that release sonic energy and cleanse the soul. Winter can freeze it nearly solid, but still it flows. Subtle melodies can hide in the shade and shadows beneath dark forests, moving slowly forward, offering peace and comfort to those who can hear its quiet voice. Like falling leaves that alight on the surface, our troubles can drift away in a madrigal of endless sounds that are the voice of the River Spirit.

Over the years there have been many changing voices and artists that have added their voices to the River Spirit. Among them are voice artist and narrator Pep Duhaime, whose deep rich voice has been sharing the secrets of the River in the readings of poetry and verse.

The enchanting spirit of Shakuhachi Master Debbie Danbrook has been a part of the River Spirit story for many years, and she represents the mystic goddess that hides along the River’s paths. Debbie is the director of Healing Music and is world renowned as a master of the Japanese bamboo shakuhachi flute. She is the first woman to hold the title of Shakuhachi Master in Japan, where it is revered as a sacred instrument.

Other artists that have added their voices to the River Spirit are award-winning film composer Mark Korven, Doctor of music and conductor Andrew Ascenzo, Toronto Symphony Orchestra cellist Ed Hayes, Toronto Opera Company principle cellist Naomi Baron, jazz pianist Dr. David Powell, among many others.

The newest voice to be added to the River Spirit is very talented cellist Kendra Grittani who will join me for my annual Winter Solstice Musical Meditation at Kingston Rd United Church on Dec 20, 2019.

Join us!

~ Mark Battenberg