Baird Hersey and Prana with Krishna Das
The age old sacred music of Tibetan Buddhist multiphonic chant and Tuvan throat singing are the roots from which PRANA’s sound has grown. The technique of these ancient vocalizations is to shape the mouth and throat into a sympathetic resonating chamber for the voice. This produces a second beautiful high whistling harmonic or overtone.
PRANA’s singer use their regular singing voice instead of the low gravely drone characteristic of the Tibetan’s and Tuvan’s sound. They apply the fundamental overtone techniques of these older traditions to the “natural voice” to sing two mellifluous pitches at once.
By using the natural singing voice the singers of PRANA can move between any pitches that they can sing with overtones above them. Now, in addition to a drone with harmonics they can sing parallel movement of pitch and harmonic, different pitches sharing one harmonic, or a fully developed melody with a harmonic harmony. Singing as a group in this unique style they create beautiful rising harmonies, shimmering vocal textures, and high arcing melodies.
Prana is a Sanskrit word meaning: breath, vital energy, life force. It is also an overtone singing choir comprised of professional singers. PRANA, was formed by Baird Hersey in 2000 to breathe life into the music from his "Waking the Cobra" CD.
Baird and PRANA have performed at a Benefit for The Dalai Lama Foundation, and Omega Institute's "Ecstatic Chant Retreat". They have opened for Philip Glass and performed as a part of the "Gatherings", "Tibet House", Menla", "One Voice", "Woodstock Cycle" concerts series, "The CSO Tsunami Relief Benefit" and many local benefits as well Yoga studios an colleges across the country.
Prana has had the honor of giving a personal performance for Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and four pieces from "Waking the Cobra" were used as part of "Live! Light on Life" a performance for BKS Iyengar at City Center in New York City.
In 2005 Prana's "The Eternal Embrace" was featured in its entirety for the whole hour of "Hearts of Space", which airs on more than 230 NPR stations.
Over the last three years Prana has performed regularly with Krishna Das. The evenings began with the group performing. Then KD joined them to sing several of his chants over Baird's a cappella arrangements for the voices of Prana. This collaboration was the starting point for their new CD "Gathering In The Light".
As individuals, the members of PRANA have recorded and performed with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, The Talking Heads, Dr. John, Todd Rundgren, John Sebastian, Krishna Das, Steve Smith (Journey), Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Graham Parker, Aine Minogue, Maria Muldaur, Barrie Maguire (the Wall flowers), Wah!, David Hykes, Every Mother's Son, Livingston Taylor, The Fugs, Orleans, Peter Yarrow, Tiny Tim, Rick Danko, Leon Russell, and Jorma Kaukonen,
The singers of PRANA are; Peter Buettner, Amy Fradon, Kirsti Gholson, Julie Last, Bruce Milner, Julian Lines, Leslie Ritter, Joe Veillette. They are all recognized performers in their own right who join together in PRANA to sing this remarkable music.
Baird Hersey is a National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow. His diverse career has encompassed; commissions from Harvard University, New Mexico Council for the Arts, The Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Sound and Light Spectacular, The HVP Symphony Orchestra, and performances throughout the US and Europe in such different setting as the Berlin Jazz Festival and MTV. Hersey has recorded 10 albums under his own name for Arista, Buddha, and Bent Records. He has also composed extensively for television. Baird has recorded or performed with Krishna Das, Wah!, Aine Minogue, Steve Smith (Journey), Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Graham Parker, and David Nichtern. He has been a student of yoga and overtone singing for 19 years. He has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore India and with The Gyuto Monks.
“ It's absolutely superb from the first breath to the last, overflowing with beauty, prana and the subtle kind of power...A sublime moment of contemplative sound...” -Stephen Hill/ Hearts of Space “...Celestial...transfixing...fantastic...incredible singers and otherworldly compositions...” -Pure Music.com
“This music must be experienced. It is unique, scintillating, gorgeous, astonishing....the divine channeled through music...a miraculous jolt to the senses...”--Chronogram
“...Beautiful singing...gorgeous natural overtone harmonies...”
-John Schaefer /WNYC/ New Sounds
“...serious deep music with strong infinity-straddling roots... It’s also the best chill-out record you’re likely to hear all year...” - The Daily Freeman
“... a holy and organic exploration of the Yoga Sutras through nothing other than the voice ... a lovely aural soundscape...a roadmap towards stillness...” - YOGAChicago
“... a shared search, fusing breath, listening, space and sound... a serious, almost ceremonial sonic environment... a layered and peaceful harmonizing, all voice, all sublime, exploring overtones, meditations, silence, all blending, becoming one...”
- Chuck van Zyl/ Star’s End
“ a most remarkable recording...one of the very few I can listen to for hours...... it will give the new standard of western overtone choral music...pure intonation, intensive sound experience, a sound meditation...” - khoomei.com
“...The combinations of the nine voices, each often producing several tones, was transporting, in a way I have rarely experienced...” -Jeff Towne WXPN
“...Extraordinary...a skilled vocalist...a musical gift...a master of this art...”
-The Woodstock Times
“... These overtones are created by many mouths and throats working as one, producing a clear reverberating sound... the effect is mesmerizing...” -The City Paper Philadelphia
“ ...A nice mystical atmosphere for those inner temple moments...” -Ambient Vision
“...A stunning debut... anyone who loves sacred chant and overtone singing will be extremely please with this excellent new effort...” - Visionary Sound Arts Interface
“...Calming, soothing, a rewarding listening experience...” - JazzWeekly .com
“... Prana uses only their voices to create a gentle evocative and singular listening experience...” -Hypnos
“mysterious and otherworldly... soothing sounds draw the listener into a deep state of reflection and absorption and guide one towards complete oneness in bliss.”
Link to Baird Hersey & Prana website