Marti Walker (Rasa Lila)
Marti Walker is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist. A student of piano from the age of 5, she was a flute and jazz studies major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Berklee College of Music. The next decade took to her to the Canary Islands, Spain, where she discovered the rich world of Latin music, and also became fluent in Spanish. “When I moved to the Canary Islands and started playing with musicians from Cuba, South America and Spain, all of my musical envelopes were pushed by the new rhythms, melodies and musical perspectives I learned through the incredible musicians – many of them ‘street-taught’ - who shared their knowledge and expertise with me.” After returning to the U.S., she expanded her toolbox and began composing, playing percussion and singing. She was specifically drawn to singing sacred music, brought about by her love of yoga and her discovery of the power of music to heal and transform on a spiritual level. She was the long-time percussionist and support vocalist for the sacred-pop/rock fusion band Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe, and has supported and collaborated with such chant and world music artists as Girsh, Shantala, Geoffrey Gordon, Ganga Giri, Yeshe, Tina Malia and others. She sings in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Sanskrit, and is often adding new styles and influences to her repertoire. “Take My Hand,” the first cut on her English/Spanish Latin/jazz/pop CD (2004), is described as an “infectious, bilingual, Paul Simonesque tune with a message of universal peace,” by Music Connection Magazine, and received top ratings. This song was also the theme of and inspiration for the “Toma Mi Mano” peace and unity event in Conepción, Chile, in November 2009, which brought hundreds of Chileans together in a powerful stand for world peace.
In addition to sacred world music, Walker also enjoys going back to her jazz roots, appearing regularly at jazz clubs and venues. “One of my favorite things to do is to blend styles. If I’m singing a Brazilian/jazz tune, I like to bring in some Indian vocal techniques or I might do some Bjork-like stylings – whatever is in the moment for me. I LOVE to improvise and throw in unexpected elements.”
She has collaborated with musicians from around the globe on recording projects and performances across 3 continents, and is versed in an array of styles, including traditional music of the Canary Islands; salsa/music of Cuba and South America; Celtic music from Scotland, Ireland and Northern Spain; Indian chant and devotional music; traditional & contemporary jazz; Brazilian samba/bossa nova; pop/rock; soul; spoken word; and global beat/trance dance. She is working on material for two new projects: “The Gift,” sacred chant/music for yoga, and a global fusion/pop CD. Having been a student and practitioner of yoga for many years, Marti blends the philosophy of yoga, music and mantra in a seamless, subtle, yet powerful way. “Music is yoga. It’s the union – the yoking – of the self with the infinite. Nothing gives me more joy than to be a conduit for that supreme experience.”