Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rachelle Jeanty - Higher Ground

Immediately after Sahasrara 2011 I came across a very interesting album. Vow – I remarked silently short afterwards I had a look into the song-list inside the booklet. This young singer Rachelle Jeanty surprised me very pleasantly by songs taken over from the bands of the 70s – the Beatles, Supertramp, Simon and Garfunkel. When I heard her dense and rich voice, I just sat down and listened carefully. The singer of such an expression appears only rarely. Rachelle managed to create something amazing and vocally strong out of songs which she took over. As if she brought more energy of those 70s and unrepeatable atmosphere of those times into my room. I contacted Rachelle by e-mail and asked her a few questions.

Rachell, can you introduce yourself and write a few lines about your beginnings as a singer?

With pleasure! My name is Rachelle Jeanty, I was born in New York and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. My parents are from Haiti and immigrated to the USA in the 60's. Although both very musical, I am the one who has made it a profession. The last person in my family to have been a professional musician is my great grand cousin Occide Jeanty, one of Haiti's most reknown classical composers. As for my beginnings as a singer, apparently as a little girl, I would constantly hold a make-believe microphone in front of my mouth , singing and dancing, all the time, everywhere. But my personal memory of a musical wonder was when I saw a drum set for the first time. I could play it within the first half hour and it became my true love. But for practical reasons, I finally chose singing. I made the right choice, I LOVE to sing and thrive when doing it.

Your website presents you as a soul-jazz singer. I also know that you sing gospels and that you had several successful concerts in Austria and Germany. Which style is more important for you? What is the strength of gospel music which you had presented in various churches?

Gospel music unites people, transcends prejudices, speaks directly to the Heart and to the Soul. It is an obvious and easy link to make, to bring about the Joy and Power of Sahaja Yoga to the listeners, for Gospel celebrates the Glory and the Beauty of God. When the Spirit is touched, we go beyond fixed ideas of God, we enter its full dimension and this is what I noticed during the concerts in the churches.
I believe each style of music brings its lot of well being and Healing power, but it must come from the right place, from the Heart. I love all kinds of music and love to sing all kinds of styles; Soul and Jazz resonate the deepest, whereas Gospel allows me to fully express my Love for God.

Now I turn back to the album we could buy in Cabella. Why did you make cover versions of the Beatles, Supertramp and Simon and Garfunkel? Is the music of the 70s close to you or do you have certain favourite interpreters?

Indeed, The music of the 70's is the music of my childhood – (chuckles)I'm not as young as I look ;) – I actually chose these specific songs for their amazing lyric content, all linked to spiritual reflections and messages. Something for example, is dedicated to our Mother Shri Mataji and our Kundalini Energy. Bridge Over Troubled Water is what I feel Mother represents to us, The Long and Winding Road, for me, talks about the struggle the seeker must go through to find truth in this crazy world, and to stay connected to it. The 80's is also an important era for me, as I was a teenager. Songs like Just an Illusion is so much deeper than I ever realized. I would die 4 U is a song Prince wrote about Jesus! It took me years to understand it and now, I find it very appropriate with Ganesha in mind..

For some time you produced backing vocals to Celine Dion. How do you remember that period and how did the cooperation with this famous pop-music star enrich you?

Yes indeed, for two years, I was singing around the world as a backvocalist for Celine Dion, on her tours D'eux and Falling into Love. This cooperation with Celine mostly thought me about how the star machine works and functions, and the advantages but also the limitations that come with it. Artistically, in such a big production, there is no place for spontaneity, thus for freedom. For me, this does not go with the nature of an artist. I chose to follow my own path after the second year, to make sure I would keep my soul alive…

It did enrich me on a self-confidence level, because starting your career as a backvocalist for such a star lets you know that you got what it takes to be at that level of professionalism. It was a nice confirmation.
The enrichment also lies in that I saw many countries and wonderful cities of the world and sang in legendary places such as the Madison Square Gardens of New York, the Budokan in Tokyo, or for Bill and Hillary Clinton at their private country house for example…It also enriched me on a life observation level, for I was really able to confirm that money itself cannot make you happy; I have never seen such inanimate beings as the ones we played for in the multibillionaire Sultan's palace; the only Light there was in these people were their diamonds! It was actually quite sad.

At present we can buy your album D´ame Soul. How would you characterize this album, is this exactly your present musical expression?

Although my most current musical expression is jazz, the songs and music of D'AME SOUL will always be part of my musical expression, for I wrote, composed, pre -arranged and co-produced them. They are a close and important part of me as well as an accomplishment I am proud of, also for its lyrical content. I would definitely characterize it as an autobiographical piece. Every song I wrote tells about a lesson learned, an understanding of life, a belief, a philosophy, a message, a hope, a dream, all that accompanied me on my way, from the moment I left the tour and chose the intricate path of becoming a solo artist…it was a total leap of faith to leave this wealthy comfortable position and go into the unknown, but my need to be real and close to my soul, to my Heart and to God was bigger that anything. It was not easy. But it was never boring ;) and the Highlight of it, is to have found Sahaja Yoga. I found what I was looking for. As my song Ecoute toi says: '' You don't know nothin' til you dont know Yourself…''

Workshops and concerts together with Sahaja yoga presentation were the part of your tour around Austria and Germany. How did you perceive the atmosphere and people who came to such performances and probably gained there their self-realization?

These concerts were amazing moments for me. For all of us. To feel so connected with your audience, through the Heart and through vibrations, is a dream come true. The Vorchdorf concert was especially memorable: to witness 400 people with their hands above their heads, eyes closed and bathing in the deep silence of the meditation, in a church, was one of the strongest moments of my life. Aah, The Power of Mother.
The Gospel workshops are always beautiful and profound experiences too. People come in shy and afraid, but open up and blossom in front of my eyes! I had one mission from the beginning of my career on: to give Joy and Faith to people. When I see people leave with Mother's Light in their eyes, it gives true meaning and purpose to the gift I have received from God. Mission accomplished :)

Info about CD:
The CD is supposed to be on sale in Cabella at every puja, in one of the tents near the kitchen area, by a brother that sells the cds of all the Sahaj artists.
Yogis can also buy it personally from me when i will be at pujas. I sell it for 12 euros, of which 2 euros go to Daglio camp, in support of kids and teenagers in Sahaj.