D-D-Praz . . . the band "not in a box"

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Download mp3’s for your #Christmasmusic

Download mp3’s for your #Christmasmusic collections !!

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Christmas Favs, the EP by DDPraz Studio

LOGO-Christmas favs

In November, 2010, D-D-Praz released their debut album, “D-D-Praz Christmas” – a 13 song compilation, modern arrangements of medleys of traditional and Classical Christmas music.  This year, they re-release 5 of the most popular tracks from that debut, remastered and available as mp3 downloads from most major eStores.

“Christmas music of the Future”

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1.    Medieval Carol in Baraque– c2009, D-D-Praz Christmas (2010), remastered for Christmas Favs (2013).

Our transcription for synth orchestra based on 3 “ancient” Christmas melodies.  The introduction is the Medieval melody “Ihr lieben Hirten” (their dear shepherd), a choral arrangement by Andreas Hammerschmidt (Bohemia, early 1600’s).  Next in the medly follows Bach’s organ prelude “In dulci jublio” (1600’s), a piece traditionally played at Christmas Mass.  From this Bach tune we get the contemporary hymn “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”  The final movement in this medly is a variation on the French carol, “Josep est bein marie” (late 1600’s) – our transcription from a score by M.R. de Lalande.

2.    El Nino del Tambor – c2008, D-D-Praz Christmas (2010), remastered for Christmas Favs (2013).

One of Michael’s favorite Christmas tunes, an original arrangement merging more of the “new and old.”  Originally produced in 2008.  The melody originates from a Czech carol, “Carol of the Drum,” but today can be recognized as “Little Drummer Boy;” made popular by a 1958 arrangement by Jack Halloran.  Today, in Mexico, this tune is commonly played for traditional, Latino Catholic Christmas processions.

3.    Club House Carol – c2008, D-D-Praz Christmas (2010), remastered for Christmas Favs (2013).

A non-traditional mix for the medley of two traditional carols: “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “Carol of the Bells.” This track has been described as the “Christmas carol of the future,” and “sure to be a favorite for years to come.” Moriah said, “Do it techno” – and we got carried away.  Despite our thrill with arranging this piece as EDM; it is tradition that has assured us these melodies are favored for years to come !!!

4.    Raskabino Divine – c2009, D-D-Praz Christmas (2010), remastered for Christmas Favs (2013).

Variations on “Il est n le divin enfant,” a traditional French Christmas carol.  This is one of Moriah’s favorite carols, thus the Euro-techno segments near the end.  This is perhaps the best known traditional French carol, and is believed to have medieval origins from the region of Provence.  The melody was first printed in 1554, in a collection of French carols, “La Grande Bible des Noels.”

5.    Morning Star in David’s City – D-D-Praz Christmas (c2010), remastered for Christmas Favs (2013).

This medley is another merger of different centuries, from different Christmas’s past.  “Once in David’s Royal City,” by HJ Gauntlett, is one of few Christmas carols totally British in origin.  This naturally merged with  “Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern,” JS Bach, Cantata (BWV 1) – a popular, Classical, Christmas music work to present.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

In the spirit of New Years, it has become customary for people to write out “New Year’s Resolutions,” or some personal goals that they would like to accomplish in the next year. More recently – as blogging has become trendy – bloggers all over the world are now blogging about resolutions. Rather than making this a personal goal; we challenge others to consider this very serious topic: the holistic condition of one’s heart and how it affects the quality of life.

Recently a friend described these disturbing actions and statements made by many of the people he has in his life. He detailed abhorrent emotional abuses in the manner of “power and control” manipulation, deception, chronic belittlement, and verbal degradation. The severity of these seemed so disturbing to me that I prayed and meditated over how to respond; and searched the Scriptures for any and all truths and encouragement I could find. Here is one verse from among many that I shared with this friend:

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” –Matthew 12:34-35

But after sharing these, my friend responded: “Come on, you don’t really believe all that. Like just because someone says evil and wicked things, that their heart is wicked?” This very challenge to my beliefs overwhelmed me, and prompted an intense research of the Scripture to discover what God has to say about the heart. What I discovered was amazing.


“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” –Proverbs 4:23

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” –Proverbs 27:19

Is the heart just a physical organ that transfers clean and unclean blood throughout the human body, and when it stops the person dies? Is the heart that organ, and just something symbolic about our feelings of love and hate? NO … Everything that defines us physically, mentally, and spiritually – the very essence of our being – is a condition of the heart. How we behave or act in any situation – who we “think” we are – is controlled first by our heart. Our thoughts and attitude come from the heart, and not our intellect.

“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” –Mark 7:21-22

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” –Luke 6:45

“He who plots evil with deceit in his heart— he always stirs up conflict.” -Proverbs 6:14

Sometimes we act out in ways that are not healthy for us or our relationships. Perhaps we unintentionally scream out hateful rhetoric or behave violently when we are provoked, and want this to change. Maybe we want to do more to help others, but remain selfish, indifferent, or feel uncharitable. What about us musicians that are somehow lacking inspiration, or other artists that cannot find motivation to start or finish a project. The question seems to be, then, have you considered the condition of your heart? It is critical we responsibly protect our hearts. We must “guard” our hearts holistically – meaning each physically, mentally, and spiritually. Other Biblical references state to do this “with all diligence,” and describe our hearts as the “well-spring of life.”

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12

There are over 700 references to the heart in the Bible. For both believers and non-believers – regardless what application the Scriptures have in your life – there are numerous parallels to what the Bible teaches about the heart, and what contemporary psychologists allude to in treatment. We know that our feelings – or something about our mental condition – have its source in our hearts. Many of them described in the Bible include: hate, love, lusts, fear, pain, pride, despair, terror, joy, hope, longings, desire, yearnings, sadness, thankfulness, sorrow, cravings, malice, trust, anguish, rebellion, enmity, greed, gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, worrying, sincerity, lying, encouragement, anxiety … and more. The Bible also boldly describes how our character and personalities are also a condition of the heart. Our stubbornness, knowledge (personal experience), morality, Faith, loyalty, commitment, integrity, wisdom, devotion, hard-work, understanding, beliefs, madness, evil, … all this is first determined in the heart, before the intellect. Our thoughts originate from what is within our hearts. Even our motivation, obedience, memories, discernment between right and wrong, the ability to seek GOD, our meditations, grievances, perversity, being drawn to evil, the rejection of truth, singing and making music — all this comes from the heart, first, and not our intelligence!

While ludicrous amounts of money are spent on mental health professionals each year, so much of our own maladies could be healed or corrected if we only took the time to discover something about our hearts, and preventatively “guard” them. We do not imply that mental health professionals are a wasted effort, and firmly believe the trained guidance of a professional is a necessary means for personal accountability and safety. Medications are useful in controlling errant behaviors; however like most, they only treat the symptoms and not the illness. Similarly what people spend on self-help literature and other remedies can be considered frivolous. The “power of positive thinking” and “envisioning our goals” just doesn’t work if one’s “heart is not in it” – and many people for many reasons are incapable of changing that about themselves. Even more tragic, we as humans cannot fully understand our own hearts — much less can any counselor or mentor genuinely understand yours.

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” – Proverbs 14:10

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart – 1 Samuel 16:17

Being Christian, means we should have absolute confidence that what we do not understand, God does. What we cannot control or change, God can. The Scriptures are not just some words of wisdom, or “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” (B-I-B-L-E); but that they are God-breathed, inspired and taught to us spiritually by an indwelling Holy Spirit. They are a reliable source for what God is saying to us about our situations and who we are, whenever we earnestly seek Him for understanding, control, or change. Per the complexities of our heart, Psalms 33:15 tells us God “formed the hearts of all” and “considers everything we do.” There are countless more Scriptures detailing that only God can probe the hearts of men, and understand them – after all, He intelligently designed us with them. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God “set eternity in the human heart,” creating us with a predisposition to knowing there is some “eternal” afterlife (with or without Him). Something shocking to learn is that God can – if He chooses – to control our own heart.

How God “controls” the hearts of men is described in Scripture in various ways. When Moses was urging the Egyptian Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave, God told Moses repeatedly that He would harden the hearts of the Egyptians, the Pharaoh, and his advisors! When dealing with the obstinate idolatries of the Israelis, the Bible describes God’s judgment and how He makes the “heart of this people calloused; their ears dull and closes their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”-Isaiah 6:10. Other references describe God placing a “veil over their hearts.” Hosea goes further to describe God declaring they were oppressed by a “spirit of prostitution.” God also moves men’s hearts to action, including Cyrus the king of Persia, who allowed the exiled Israelis to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. For us as individuals, we discover our Creator controlling (and recapturing) us to seek Him, understand Him, gain strength or wisdom or joy, believe and experience LOVE – all specifically by His care over our hearts and its design. Whew.

It is humanly impossible to judge the heart, although in many ways we can make reasonable assessments by outward behavior – whether the “not so empirical” science of psychology is accurate. Our life’s experiences greatly define how our heart is conditioned. We learn to filter some of what influences our heart. We can “accept” love and give human definitions to how we feel it. Likewise we experience hatred or anger, and choose whether or not to “take them to heart.” Heartaches, grief, fear, anxiety, worrying, and many other such indications can be treated by counseling and/or medication. However, treatment does not “cure the heart,” and has minimal impact on changing the individual.

That being said, the Bible clearly describes how “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” God even expresses regret from having created man because of “how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6-8). Jeremiah further states “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” SAY WHAT? This is what Christians commonly refer to as a spiritual condition, or depravity, called the “sinful nature” that is inherent in all of humanity. We are a creation physically separated from God, and predisposed to acting out or own “free will.”

So is the metaphysical heart really beyond cure? None can truly understand everything about it. Sure, we completely understand the physical function of the heart. Through imperfect human psychology, we can generalize much about the emotional and mental health of our “heart condition.” Yet what do we understand about the heart, spiritually; without some guidance of He who made it? Scriptures show us that while the human heart is incurable, it can spiritually be made “new.” Without connection to some spiritual entity, then, we are “on our own” with our struggles. Take caution “who we choose” when seeking spiritual healing for issues of the heart. It has become worldly cliché to trust that Love is the answer. 1 Peter 4:8 says “… love covers over a multitude of sins.” Yet I (Micheal) will boldly state from personal experience that Love in a humanly existence – to love and be loved – is only superficial unless one has experienced a new heart with the Love of God, the God who IS love.

What’s in your heart … and how far will that get you?

Hopefully you’ve gained insight into your own condition and have discovered some simple truths about the urgency with “guarding” our hearts – the most significant controller of who we are and what our life is like. Here are several other passages that we pray you will glean more insight, to find the help you might need for your heart. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:7

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me … a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” –Psalm 41

“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself … and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD” -2 Kings 22

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” –James 3:14

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, …” -Luke 21:34

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Matthew 6:20

“… for he purified their hearts by faith.” -Acts 15:9

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD.” –Jeremiah 24:7

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” –Ezekiel 11:19

“… God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, …” -Galatians 4:6

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” -2 Chronicles 16:9

D-D-Praz Christmas . . . our adventures with promoting a concept album

After three years researching, compiling obscure scores, and arranging unique medleys and fusing genres; D-D-Praz releases its debut album, November 2010.  The concept being the historical origins of many popular Christmas tunes.  The motivation was simply a request by Moriah (daughter) if D-D-Praz could “do Christmas music, too.”  Michael took his daughter’s request quite seriously.  With a calculated approach, combining the interpretations of his research with Moriah’s choice of sounds and beats, they produced a full-length album.  (More about the historical aspect of what goes into this album, track-by-track, can be found in their article Christmas CD (Notes).  By Christmas 2011, a year later, this album had received phenomenal accolades across numerous websites, and we (D-D-Praz) want to share our experiences with promoting this music.

The very first musician’s website that we joined and submitted our music was SoundCloud.  While bonding with many artists at SoundCloud, the encouraging comments and support we received were largely responsible for our decision to market a Christmas album.  As independent artists, however, we had to aggressively promote and market it.  The typical sharing posts across the gamut of social networking sites – like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter – was combined with joining numerous other sites to “spread the music.”  Upon joining IndieCharts, two tracks from our debut CD were submitted (with one other) for this site’s “panel review” – “Club House Carol” and “Medieval Carol in Baraque.”  Much to our surprise, this “panel review” launched D-D-Praz to #6 for Electronica artists on the IndieCharts site.  Our review scored #21 over all genres.  Since our introduction to this site, there have been no peer (“member”) reviews to sustain that standing; or give a realistic perspective, per IndieCharts’ criteria, just how credible are their reviews.  Nonetheless, such a high review was very exciting for both of us.

SoundClick, similar in some ways to SoundCloud, is another vast site for musicians and listeners.  Several of our tracks climbed their charts by genre, most notably “Nouveau Livre de Noels,” “Club House Carol,” “El Nino del Tambor,” and “Bambino Gesu on a Holy Night” all made it above the “top 50” (per genre/subgenre).  “Nouveau Livre de Noels,” even reached the #2 position on the Classical, Chamber music charts and was placed on the overall top 50 charts, among over 4 million submissions.  Wow – WOW !!  Something unique to SoundClick vs. SoundCloud, however, is that artists can sell their tracks directly from this website, rather than link to others.

Broadjam is a site where we submitted our tracks, and received “peer reviews” that were more criteria-based.  Criteria included marketability, quality of production, originality, and etc.  Being peer reviews, the professionalism of reviewers varies greatly; however, the reviews were above average scores, overall.  Our Christmas tracks receiving notable scores were “Kyrie de Noel” (99/105, combined) and “El Nino del Tambor” (29/30).  WOW.

At Broadjam, musicians/bands can submit to numerous opportunities for licensing (placement) for radio, TV, film, and other multi-media usage.  While Broadjam represents a large volume of these opportunities, we found that manageability and user-friendliness of their website was pathetic.  Numerous server crashes, out-dated notifications, misrepresentation of opportunity provider’s criteria, and excessive bragging caused Broadjam to appear “too big for it’s britches.”  We did submit to many opportunities there; and while not all selections have been finalized, none of the tracks from D-D-Praz Christmas were selected.

A site that DID make song placement for tracks from our CD was MusicXray.  Similar to Broadjam, this website is purposed to aid independent artists make song placements, but MusicXray has no realistic peer reviews.  Tracks from our CD that did receive placement through MusicXray were “Kyrie de Noel” (filmscore, undetermined) and “Club House Carol” (radio).

If an Independent Artist really wanted a “professional review” by an experienced music industry professional, both MusicXray and Broadjam offer those services; but at exuberant – if not absurd – costs to the artist.  We would recommend for any Independent artist seeking “professional review,” to shop around for cost and experience.  It would be a waste for an emerging Rap or Hip-Hop artist to pay for a Country musician’s “professional” review!!  In fact what we have experienced per “peer review,” the overwhelming representations of peers as independent artists are either “wannabe” DJ’s or “Rapstars.”  Our productions are fusion, trans-genres, and represent a diversity of styles from Classical to Techno, so receiving unbiased reviews for our Christmas CD as a whole, has been challenging – frustrating and comical.  Other sites like ReverbNation, concentrate more on the musician/band’s following rather than quality – but this is understandable.  Many opportunities that such follower-based websites represent are ALSO trying to make a name for themselves by promoting the next “Blind Melon” or “Billy Joel.”

Probably our greatest challenge, however, was attempting to promote sales of the physical CD to the local public.  We designed CD jewel case inserts – with cover art, track lists, and liner notes.  We used LightScribe burners to etch the CD’s we manufactured from our studio.  We printed business cards, tracks, posters, and “hit the streets.”  Three local merchants agreed to stock the CD’s, while Moriah and I distributed these tracks to schools, churches, convenience stores, music stores, novelty shops, … anywhere that graciously allowed us to leave information that directed folks to where they could purchase our CD’s.  We made three public appearances in a bookstore or on a street corner and played our Christmas music to passers-by.  BUT . . . all the exhaustion, stress, and costs of these efforts to promote ourselves locally will not likely be recovered soon enough !!

Despite repeatedly soliciting our local radio station – even attempting to PAY for advertising — they never returned our calls or responded to written requests.   They were no help.  One weekend while braving the cold, we blew out our speakers, trying to overcome the loud diesel trucks passing by our street corner.  (To this day I still chuckle, who would imagine you could blow out speakers with Classical music?)  At the cafes, there was hardly any business; so turning heads and engaging interest just didn’t happen!!  OMgosh.

What we learned was this is hard work promoting ourselves as Independent artists!!  Even still, we gained incredible encouragement from the hundreds of compliments and genuine praise for the Christmas music we were successful in sharing.  SO … we stepped it up another notch and bravely submitted the album to be considered for nomination for the Independent Music Awards “Concept album of the Year.”  So if THAT gets us good reviews, then maybe we can lay-off spamming all you guys and insisting that you share all these links to our music! LOL … but this announcement is pending the end of “winter.”  In the “worst case scenario,” I’ll keep my day job and Moriah stays in school.  But we won’t stop producing music and prodding you to share with all your friends that HERE (click link) you can download the MP3 album, D-D-Praz Christmas, or individual tracks.  Thanks ;-)

From our sincerest Compassion and Joy, we Hope that you share amazement how we celebrate the virgin birth of an infant God, who became a man and willingly gave up His earthly existence.  This forever changed our relationship to Him – from absolute depravity and separation from our Creator, to an indwelling relationship with Peace, Comfort, Power, Love, and Wisdom for all who choose to Love Him.  Yes we celebrate:  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with THE angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2:13-15

Selected as performer, and track added to Classical music database.

“The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library after publisher Ottaviano Petrucci, is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. Since its launch on February 16, 2006, over 124,000 scores and 3,400 recordings for over 44,000 works by over 6,400 composers have been uploaded.  . . . One of the main projects of IMSLP was the sorting and uploading of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach in the Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe (1851–99), a task that was completed on November 3, 2008. Besides J.S. Bach’s complete public domain works, all of Beethoven’s, Brahms’s, Canteloube’s, Chabrier’s, Chausson’s, Chopin’s, Corelli’s, Debussy’s, D’Indy’s, Dukas’s, Fauré’s, Ferroud’s, Handel’s, Huré’s, Magnard’s, Palestrina’s, Ravel’s, Roussel’s, Satie’s, Schmitt’s, Schubert’s, Schumann’s, Scriabin’s, Sibelius’s, a large percentage of Mozart’s, Liszt’s, and others are available as well.”  — excerpt from Wikipedia

In September 2011, D D Praz became the 103 performer profile added to this HUGE catalog – now one of the most prestigious projects for the preservation of Classical music scores.  One production track from our debut Christmas CD – “Nouveau Livre de Nöels” – was accepted and added to the Petrucci Music Library.  (follow link).  We consider this quite an accomplishment, since very few Electronic (non-acoustic) artists or productions are accepted.  Our selection comes from Suite 4, of an 18th Century method book titled “New Book of Noels for Organ and Harpsichord” (translated from French) by Michel Corrette (1707-1795).  This production is an adaptation of Corrette’s original work, for chamber instruments, instead of soley the Organ.  Our choice to utilize chamber instruments was intended to “mimic” the various stops and timbres of the 18th century cathedral organ and its diversity of sounds.

Michael’s formal music training was primarily in Classical piano, thus it’s no surprise he researches Classical music scores when developing many of his productions.  In fact, the majority of what was derived and published per their album D D Praz Christmas was the result of such research from the scores of various, and often obscure Classical composers.  Their tracks “Buona Notte Finale,” “Mo’s Lullaby,” and “Hail That Powerful Name” are a few other notable examples of D D Praz’s historical research, applied to their unique fusion – adaptations and arrangements for “synth orchestra.”  There will be more contributions by D D Praz into the International Music Score Library Project – both digitally restored scores and performance tracks.

Send us your ideas!!  Please follow our links and network with us @ MySpace, or Facebook, or ReverbNation, or SoundCloud

Our release “Kami yo Mimae ni” to raise funds for Shelterbox.org!!

We are proud to have contributed in this compilation of music by SoundCloud artists, a second album honoring the victims and survivors of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami this year.  Please refer to our previous posts about the need and desire to help in raising funds for Shelterbox.org, a worthy charity currently assisting around the world as first responders in areas of disaster.  All proceeds from Sounds for Shelter are coordinated with Shelterbox’s launching their fund-raiser “Big Box and Buy” Big Green Box Week, from 11th June until the 18th June.  Please take time to follow the links to Shelterbox and the Sounds for Shelter albums to hear the sounds of compassion, meet some of the contributing artists, and help our charity.  Thanks.

Japan needs money more than prayers?

The most absurd statement I heard on Twitter like this:  “Japan doesn’t need prayers. Japan needs money. #songsforJapan”  REALLY?  The third largest economy in the world needs money, in lieu of it’s disaster?  Okay, let’s just throw a dollar at an orphan, throw a buck at a widow, give a ten spot to a Japanese farmer who just lost all his equipment and has salty, oil-soaked fields — all victims of Japan’s disaster.  Really Twitter, money?

. . . uh, NO.  Relief organizations like Japanese Red Cross and Shelterbox.org need money (not “Japan” or iTunes).  WHY? . . . to show genuine compassion by wiping a tear and hugging the elderly, providing a meal, giving shelter, or some other form of compassion.  That compassion gives HOPE, often supernaturally, as an expression of LOVE.  So Twitter implies that if I cannot show compassion to someone in need, then “money” is the answer?  Maybe I should pay someone else to “give a damn”?  Right.

I beg to differ, and encourage others to continue to pray for Japan.  The Japanese people need compassion far greater than they need money, albeit the relief organizations we support need funding.  What we accomplish supernaturally through prayer has an even greater impact than mere sympathy.  Prayers in Faith are orchestrated and focused on just exactly where Hope and Comfort is lacking.  Money cannot buy, nor does it reveal our capacity to reach out to those in need, nearly as effectively as our collective prayers.

James 5:13
[ The Prayer of Faith ] Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Several artists around the world have made some efforts to show their own compassion and help instill awareness for the need of the Japanese people.  iTunes has released their album “Songs For Japan,” a collection of branded, popular artists and songs (like Lady Gaga, Beiber, and some 38 artists, combined).   Honestly, we are highly suspect of the genuineness and sincerity of the artists and this effort.  None of the songs are truly inspired about or for the Japanese people, rather they are a collection of already popularized music.  We understand that “proceeds” are diverted to the Japanese Red Cross, to fund relief efforts there.  The selection of songs and artists iTunes has compiled, however, stand much more to gain than does the Japanese people from the promotion of their “Songs for Japan.”  Not to entirely “knock off” this effort, people can genuinely contribute to a greater cause buy purchasing the album, but it seems that the proportion of ones contribution is paled in comparison to the efforts to promote and aggrandize the artists and iTunes, themselves.  We do not imply, however, that all of the artists or those that purchase the “Songs for Japan” album do not somehow have some compassion for the Japanese people.

HOWEVER, weeks prior to iTunes “release” of their contributions to aid Japan, a number of musicians from the SoundCloud.com group gathered to share their songs that were genuinely composed with the Japanese people and their recent disaster in mind.  Their release titled “Rising Japan!” is for sale, and ALL proceeds from their effort are raising funds for Shelterbox.org, who was already “on the ground” in Japan at the time of the albums release.  There have been many more SoundCloud artists come forward with music inspired by and for the people of Japan.  We hope you take time to experience these artists and their genuine musical inspirations — all in the sincerest compassion for Japan.

Here’s a post from a friend explaining how Shelterbox.org and “Rising Japan!” is helping the Japanese (by: Peter Owen (Soundtrack-Audio) )

“. . .the boxes that Shelterbox supply to the victims of these disasters are vital lifelines and include family tents, water containers, basic cooking facilities, children’s colouring packs (when they’ve lost everything it really becomes a treasured possession and means the world to them) and basic supplies to help in those vital first weeks and months. They have their whole lives to rebuild, so any help we can give is greatly received. Just one box from Shelterbox gives a whole family support and shelter at this desperate time.”

NOW, whether donating cash or purchasing albums, we still cannot let folks like Mojocaster infect the human condition by alluding that the Japanese people need money more than compassion.  Prayer is compassion, and we strongly know to be true that prayer in Faith is the greatest transference of HOPE when one cannot be physically present to give comfort “face to face.”  There is no greater or more sincere effort that an individual can make when wanting to help another, than to fall to one’s knees with “brokenness” and “compassion” and ask GOD to help those people that we have burden for.  Songs, poems, and donations are secondary; and usually come “after” the initial heart-wrenching passion for our fellow mankind that is suffering.

We continue to pray, and ask all others to continue to pray in Faith, for “Brighter Days” for those wounded by the Japanese disaster.  Even if not affording to buy into some fund-raiser, your prayers will do much more.  Inspired to “want to share” our compassion, we composed an original arrangement of four popular Japanese melodies.  The history of these tunes can be found in our previous article.  The following is our last and final revision of that work.  Please enjoy and allow yourself to be moved to share your compassion for our neighbors in Japan.

Kami yo Mimae ni 日本の私たちの祈り

Psalm 32:6-7 — let everyone who is godly pray–pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him.  You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Kami Yo Miame Ni – Our Prayer for Japan

Most of the world has become aware of the horrible earthquake, then destructive tsunami that leveled much of Northern Japan.  As many as 10,000 life’s were lost and even greater numbers were left homeless, jobless, and without food.  Nuclear power-plants are near catastrophic destruction, while some radiation is effecting food and many residents.

While much of Japan maintains its stoic, cultural confidence that all is well; it seems much of the world has frantically scrambled to help out.  Monetary donations are being accepted from both Shelterbox and RedCross, both aiding in humanitarian relief efforts with personnel on the ground.

Through our musician friendships at SoundCloud, we’d also like to encourage supporting both the relief effort and the talents of our independent artist friends by purchasing the Rising Japan album, a collaboration with SoundCloud, BandCamp, and Shelterbox.  Right now there are 22 artists, all ambient/electonica tracks, where proceeds from the albums sale are donated to Shelterbox.

Moriah and I discussed our desire to commemorate and rally for Prayer for Japan – their need for Help and Comfort in time of need.  We are confident that there is GREAT Hope and Peace for the people and the nation, despite the overwhelming disaster and losses due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.  Christ in no “respecter of persons” and truly the greatest supernatural source for those in need.

D-D-Praz has compiled a song track titled:  Kami Yo Miame Ni (click the link to review our unmastered track).  This track is a medley of four very familiar tunes to most of Japan, and incoporates the ethnic stringed “koto” and bamboo flute instruments.  The introductory tune is “Shakura,” a traditional Japanese folk song, depicting the coming of Spring and the cherry blossom.  This leads to a Romantic era song “Yoimachi-guru,” (the evening primrose) first published by Tadasuke Ono (1895-1929) in 1918.  The original is a vocal score with piano accompaniment, and we varied the original by changing keys (for the bamboo flute) and adding more dramatic arpeggios.

Ironically, the last two tunes of this medley originated from Western Christian Hymns.  What we know as the familiar “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” is a tune made popular in Japan, as it is used in almost all Japanese “Westernized” weddings, today.  The final tune, from which we get the name “Kami Yo Miame Ni,” is a contemporary adaptation to traditional Japanese musical scale of the hymn, “Lord, We Come Before thee Now.”  Never more appropriate to end this medley with one verse of that musical adaptation by Tomoaki Bunya as a song of prayer.

We hope you are inspired by this work (in progress).

Many thanks and blessings,

Michael and Moriah

Crossroads

Crossroads.

 

As we expand our social networking with various artists, occasionally we come across something that we MUST share.  Please enjoy this mellow, lounging music we discovered on Podomatic.com.

Can’t Keep It in a Box Vote

As we find ourselves incorporating our own online store, we’ve gotten stumped.  Moriah and I cannot reach an agreement which “spheres” to use in printing our smaller merchandise (like mugs, bumper stickers, magnets, bookmarks, et al).   We need you to help us by taking the following poll and let us know:

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