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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Saga Songs by Kim Madsen


Posted: January 31, 2010
by: T.Alexander

I studied music at university for two years – just long enough to know that I had minimum talent but maximum talent for appreciation. So I changed my major to English and allowed music to take its place as “a pleasure of this world.”  The classics always delivered the experience I was seeking.  However, I found most popular artists to be annoying; that is until the “new age” movement  came along.  Andreas Vollenweider, Kitaro, guitarist William Ackerman, pianist George Winston and of course, Enya…all these artists demonstrated that their “new” music could deliver a language of the heart…an experience that delivered peace as opposed to stress.


This was happening in the 1970’s and early 1980’s until I changed my music preferences to “alternative”  - a reflection of the changes of the 1990’s. Isn’t it odd how the music of the decade aligns with our state of mind during the same period? Almost makes you wonder what’s cause and what’s effect. So here we are in this new century with all manner of new stressors…economic, political, environmental.  Some members of my generation, the boomers, are finally beginning to give up their search for answers on the outside as they turn to introspection, spiritualism and a life of simplicity. Once a commitment has been made to take this new path, gifts come our way to help us along. I received such a gift from a good friend last year – a music cd called Saga Songs by Kim Madsen, an Atlanta artist.


I remember the first time I played Saga Songs – it was one of those typical days overfilled with too many trivial tasks. I listened once, again and then set Windows Media Player  to “repeat.” I could not get  enough of what Kim was saying. What a language! What an art filled way to gently say  “stop – slow down – remember who you are – remember what’s important.” That’s the best way I know how to describe excellent music. It’s stops me in my tracks and eclipses all the stressors in my world. It carries me to a higher place where I can gain perspective and a moment of peace. This is what Saga Songs did for me and still does today after many listenings.


I wrote a track by track review of Saga Songs (below) for Amazon; but honestly, this dilutes the experience to metaphor. Words don’t get it. The best way for you to enjoy the experience as I did is to acquire the cd. You can do that easily by visiting Amazon.com.  Congratulations Kim for your beautiful gift. Can’t wait to enjoy your next production.

Review of Saga Songs – Amazon.com
I am not a music critic so I am unable to use typical vernacular to describe Saga Songs. I am however, an avid fan of new age music and can describe the experience that the music provides. While new age music is a great "catch all" phrase, my description of Kim Madsen's "Saga Songs" would be "healing music." This world clearly needs more expressions of relaxation, peacefulness and sounds that are soothing to the senses. Kim achieves these goals and more with "Saga Songs." Like a symphony, a cd should be an experience; a memorable "ride" with ups and downs driving our emotions here and there. Kim takes us on a ride starting with the track "Tiger." He demonstrates his talent with the acoustic and electric guitars by producing a light, upbeat tune with the innocence of childhood. "Firefly Night" goes deeper as if the listener is floating in a sweet dream. My favorite tracks are "Remnant" and "No Place For You And Me." In these two tracks I am driven to the bitter-sweet state of adulthood that has a sadness and beauty at the same time. Such is life. Kim again shows us his diverse talent in "India" on the electric sitar. This track has a slightly more intense groove - another stop on the ride. Congratulations Kim - you have succeeded in creating totally unique and memorable music!

Ways To Purchase Saga Songs

Saga Songs on Amazon.com

Saga Songs on C.D. Baby

Direct from Artist:  info@sagasongs.com

Saga Songs Image

C.D. Cover Art by Paige Taylor, Atlanta GA
 

Il Divo At The Fabulous Fox


Posted: July 4, 2009
by: T.Alexander

I was first introduced to Il Divo by a friend in 2008 with one song. Their interpretation of Ennio Morricone’s Nella Fantasia was powerful and beautiful. But I was not inspired enough to learn more about Il Divo. In March Chef Julie and I were at the Fox Theater to hear Celtic Women and we saw a promotional billboard for Il Divo’s July 1 Atlanta performance. Without knowing a lot about these boys, I responded immediately by purchasing tickets. Good thing because the house was sold out almost 4 months in advance.

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The anticipation was almost as exciting as their performance. Julie and I were like two little girls waiting for Christmas until the big day finally came. We started our magical evening with dinner at Virginia Highland’s Mali Restaurant & Sushi Bar on Amsterdam Ave. Atlanta is extremely hot in July so cool sushi was perfect. We also enjoyed the evening special, halibut in a mild Thai sauce and topped the dinner with mango and sticky rice. Mali – live on!

The Fox Theater is without doubt the best place to hear or see an intimate performance in the entire Southeastern US. To think The Fox was a candidate for destruction in the 1980’s still makes me tremble. The Egyptian-Moorish architecture is unusual to this region, making the Fox that much more unique. Il Divo kept the stage simple with a 16 piece mini-orchestra, symbolic background images and a stage with just enough color and light to add to their performance – not take away from it.

Donna_Chef Julie

Il Divo, meaning star or celebrity in Italian, is the brainchild of reality television star Simon Cowell…go Simon! American tenor David Miller, Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler and French pop singer Sebastien Izambard make up the quartet. I am not a music critic, but I know what moves me and can usually anticipate what will move others. What is unique about this group is their adaptation of popular songs with operatic technique. Adding to the mix is the singing in their various native languages. Very authentic! Because of Il Divo, thousands of people that would not approach operatic music can now introduce it to their music library with tunes they are familiar with.

One of my favorites during the performance was Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Julie enjoyed Unchained Melody as this was a favorite her parents used to dance to. But without a doubt I was most moved by two special songs played back to back – Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power of Love and Lucio Dalla’s Caruso.

That’s it for where it was, what they sang, etc., but really, how was it? Honestly, I cannot remember a more moving enjoyable concert. Words can’t describe the experience but feelings can. Performers like Il Divo have the ability to move us into the realm of “timeless”. You’ll know you were successful if you wake up the morning after the concert with a smile on your face, the sky is a little bluer, your breakfast pastry tastes a little sweeter or you see a little more love in your pet’s eyes. Yes, you can make it last. Just play that beautiful music, shut your eyes, and go to the Source. It’s always there waiting just for you.

All From India – Good Food & Sacred Music


Posted: June 4, 2009
by: T.Alexander

I dedicate this post to these wonderful people - my new friend from India, Ramesh and his lovely wife and family. Ramesh has shown me the warmth and kind nature of the Indian people. I also dedicate this post to my dear friend Johnny Naugle, an Atlanta peace advocate with a great appreciation for Indian culture and the works of Gandhi.

Several months ago my friend Johnny introduced me to Snatam Kaur. I knew she sang sacred music from India and I liked the peaceful emotions her music evoked. That was about it. When we learned she was on tour and Atlanta was a concert destination, it seemed appropriate that Johnny and I attend. I had no idea that I was in for an experience of a lifetime.

SnatamKaur

 

Our evening stared with dinner at a local Indian restaurant, Planet Bombay. The owners and staff provided an authentic experience from décor to cuisine. I enjoyed Vegetables Biriyani and Johnny had Tofu Tikka Massala. One taste of the yogart and tandoori spice sauce on Johnny’s entrée and I almost took it away from him. I didn’t; I behaved. But I am going back for this dish – all for myself.

 

Plant Bombay   

 

The concert (I use this word loosely) was held at a local yoga institute. The performance room seemed large enough until hundreds of people arrived – most sitting on the floor in perfect yoga form. They knew why they were there and what to expect. Snatam performs Sikh devotional music; the practice of kirtan. In India’s devotional traditions, kirtan is call-and-response chanting. Although Snatam is Colorado born, the influences of her early exposure to India are very obvious. The musical experience was as authentic as the Indian culinary experience.

 

Snatam Kaur Concert  

Now I must say, it was not a concert. When I think of a concert I think of a person or group sending music to the audience. We might hum a familiar tune, but for the most part we listen. Not so with kirtan. This is participatory at it’s best.  The beauty of the melodies, the integration of performers & audience and the nature of the lyrics, soulful praises to God, all create a feeling of Oneness that is beyond words. Oh to have discovered all this 20 years ago – but then I might not have appreciated it then like I do today.

Celtic Women at the Fabluous Fox Theater


Posted: March 26, 2009
by: T.Alexander

Isle of Hope is the official name of the Celtic Women 2009 tour and the gourmet girls from GourmetStation, Julie Davenport & Donna Lynes-Miller, were privileged to occupy “pit” seats at their March 24, 2009 performance at the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta. The day of a the concert a friend who was unaware of Celtic Woman asked “what is their genre?” All I could think of was “Irish gospel.” The concert proved they were much more than this tiny niche.

 

Celtic Women

The creative and direction behind the group is David Downes, an accomplished artist with background in composition from Trinity College in Dublin. Television, film and most notably his role as orchestrator of Riverdance on Broadway explain why Celtic Women enjoys success and passionate fans.

One of the most moving moments of their performance (and there were many) was a special song dedicated to America performed against a background of images of Irish immigrants pouring into Ellis Island.  Standing ovation was spontaneous as the tour name, Isle of Hope, started to make sense.

The most engaging performer was Mairead, an all-Ireland fiddle player and energetic dancer. Her ability to dance like a fairy in and around the other performers gave the stage a vibrant energy. The audience responded enthusiastically to Orinoco Flow (aka Sail Away) but their most passionate response was clearly to the Irish classics, Danny Boy and You Raise Me Up. Here is a stirring performance of You Raise Me Up from YouTube. For all you Morricone fans, they didn’t omit Nella Fantasia; Chloe delivered this favorite from The Mission with precision and passion.

The 4 singers were delightful and I found it interesting that Lisa was a lead vocalist with Riverdance The Show. Each singer brought her individual style and delivery to the mix. I was almost mesmerized by the performance when it struck me how very young these women are. Their almost-mature voices in solo and in unison produced child-like, innocent sounds. Mix that with Irish classics and what do you have? An evening of Celtic magic.

Next Fox music engagement for these two gourmet girls – El Divo – again at the fabulous Fox Theater, July 1, 2009.

Donna_Julie_Fox

GourmetStation Partners with Rui Serodio to Create Complimentary MP3 Music Program


Posted: December 16, 2008
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation, the leading national merchant for gourmet dinners and fine food gifts, announced the introduction of their new complimentary MP3 music program in partnership with Portuguese composer and performer, Rui Serodio.

(PRWEB) December 15, 2008 -- GourmetStation is pleased to announce their new complimentary MP3 music program in partnership with Portuguese composer and performer, Rui Serodio. All GourmetStation patrons making a purchase will receive an invitation to listen to sample music then download a complimentary MP3. All selections are created by Mr. Serodio and are positioned as New Age Music straight from the heart of Europe. In addition to the complimentary program, patrons may also purchase Mr. Serodio's songs from the GourmetStation website.

Over fifteen music selections are available. GourmetStation food gifts are purchased to celebrate life occasions such as anniversary, birthday, or romance and many songs have been recommended to fit these occasions. In addition to occasion oriented songs, nine additional songs are offered from Rui Serodio's CD entitled Sounds of the Mountain, a tribute to the romance and landscape of the Sierra Madre near Lisbon, Portugal.

"GourmetStation is fortunate to have an artist with the talent and vision of Rui Serodio work with us in developing this innovative MP3 music program" says founder & President, Donna Lynes-Miller. "Mr. Serodio's music is perfect for our brand. The beautiful relaxing songs are an excellent accompaniment to our dinner gifts and the European influence of the new age music is a compliment to many of our menus."

"I am pleased to work with GourmetStation," commented Mr. Serodio. "The special life occasions for which these patrons purchase dinner gifts is in alignment with my goal of touching people's hearts and emotions and making listening to my music a supreme form of true happiness."

About Rui Serodio
Born in Lisbon, in 1937, Rui Serodio, composer and interpreter, started his piano studies very young at the Lisbon Conservatory where he also studied Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue, Organ, Ancient Music and History. He developed an intense work on the Classical, Romantic and Impressionist piano literature, complemented with studies on Analysis and Composition Techniques. Ever since he has developed a special attention for the particularly rich Portuguese Traditional (Folk) Music. As a performer, he plays as a soloist, interpretating a broad repertoire of Portuguese standards and traditional music, including his remarkable interpretations of fado, where his personal style combines the technique and phrasing expressiveness of the romanticism to attain a unique musical Portuguese atmosphere. Rui Serodio launched a new musical work in 2001 inspired in the fascinating mountain of Arrabida. With nine tracks, this CD "Sounds of the Mountain" has a violent music, full of sharped edges and strong harmonies, but truly mystic and descriptive of the enormous beauty of this Sierra Madre, forty miles to the south of Lisbon. Listening to this music is an enchanting journey to the specific places portrayed by this Portuguese composer.

Contact Information:
Rui Serodio
http://www.ruiserodio.com

GourmetStation delivers a delicious in-home dining experience complete with the flavor of travel to an exciting cultural destination. The online retailer offers the unique opportunity to give or receive a unique gourmet food gifts to mark a life-cycle occasion or just to take a night off from cooking. GourmetStation offers multiple regional menu options including Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun, Fusion, Americana as well a Romance menu and seasonal menus like Thanksgiving dinner delivered, Christmas dinner delivered, and Valentine dinner delivered. The wide variety of destination themed food gifts is designed to spark the imagination of both the giver and receiver. Each chef-inspired gourmet dinner is intended to provide a dining experience similar to that of its regional inspiration. Internationally themed three and four course gourmet meals, and soup gifts are delivered anywhere in the United States. Deep-chilled gourmet dinners and gourmet soups require only 30 minutes preparation. Some dinner gifts include European blend coffee or organic tea, after-dinner candy, floating candle and matches. Prices for gourmet dinner gifts and soup gifts start at $49.99 plus shipping. Gourmet gift certificates, including Dinner of the Month certificates, Dessert of the Month certificates and Soup of the Month certificates are ideal for birthdays and anniversaries.

Contact Information:
Donna Lynes-Miller
GourmetStation
1-888-944-9794

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Forum2008

New Age Spiritual Music From Rui Serodio


Posted: September 13, 2008
by: T.Alexander

For many years I fanaticized about visiting the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. One Fall day in 1997 I declared my intent to make this dream come true and in May 2008 it finally did. This article is not about that experience although I am developing a series of posts on Peruvian cuisine. This post is about serendipity at its best – the accidental discovery of a musical talent so profound that I would once again allow music into my world.

The place of this discovery was hotel Inkaterra in the tiny village of Aguas Calientes near Machu Picchu. The sprawling Andean style resort spilling with orchid paths and a humming bird sanctuary was the perfect place for magic. I decided to rest and reflect in the library during my last day at Inkaterra when I heard what sounded like music from Heaven. I eclipsed all other sounds and sights as I sank into this soft sweet masterpiece. The experience was over all too fast and I knew I must identify the artist.  With the help of the wonderful people at Inkaterra I received the information shortly after returning home.

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Meet Rui Serodio, Portuguese born composer, musical interpreter and master of the mystic piano. My first impulse was to compare Rui to other artists that had once inspired me – Vangelis, Kitaro, perhaps Yani. Honestly, there is no comparison. Rui’s style is….well,  diverse. His bio speaks to classical, romantic and impressionist piano and special attention to “rich Portuguese Folk music.”  That’s a lot of ground to cover and his special talent is that he masters each category bringing new energy to his audience be it spiritual contemplation, peace, humor or playfulness.

The piece that captured me is called Where Life Was Born Again from a compilation called Sintra. The cd is named for a historical region of Portugal romanticized by Lord Byron and others for it’s historic castles and landscape. Pity that this cd is no longer available but you may hear a brief clip of Capuchos Convent at Discography page of Rui’s website.

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You may purchase another cd of equal beauty called Sounds Of The Mountain – a powerhouse of 9 pieces celebrating the mountain of Arrabida, 40 miles south of Lisbon. This compilation is described as “violent music, full of sharp edges, strong harmonies, but truly mystic and descriptive of the enormous beauty of the mountain.” I’m ordering several for gifts. This is too good not to share. Ordering is not quite like Amazon, however. I suggest emailing your order with selections and shipping address to info@ruiserodio.com . You will receive an email confirmation with prices & shipping in Euros and an account for wire transfer.

A new cd is in the making – The Mystic of the Piano. I’m on the reservation list as you might expect. In closing I would like to ask if you have heard of the term “interior improvement.” I had not but in general it refers to seeking and finding peace. Rui describes his vocation as “focusing all my activity….in the creation of sound atmospheres that allow the listeners the right frame of mind to interior improvement”….with guides of an imaginary trip to remote and abstract horizons.” This statement was not positioned as a guarantee but I assure you, it worked for me.

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new age spiritual music

Portuguese folk music

New age electronic music