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Featured Artists
January, 1998

Each month we showcase the work of exceptional new artists. Typically these recordings are found on small independent labels. . . and often times are not found in mainstream distribution. So we will introduce you to them here. . . . We think that you will be pleasantly surprised by the talent we've discovered.

"Gypsy Sun, Gypsy Moon"


   Sunyata is one of the most original and exciting instrumental duos to emerge in recent years. Their acoustic, flamenco-flavored music is performed primarily on Spanish-style guitars, original instruments and percussion and is anything by easy to categorize. It draws from a myriad of international influences, and expresses uniquely vibrant world music rhythms and melodies. We call it "high-energy" acoustic Gypsy passion." You'll call it ... amazing!


Jim Gawne © 1992
  1. Cayuse Flats (4:18)
    This piece was written in the style of Flamenco Funk, which of course didn't exist, until now.
    JIM: Acoustic bass, rhythm cuarto, mandola solo (2nd verse), cuarto solo (3rd verse shared)
    STUART: Nylon & steel guitars, steel and nylon guitar solos (12st & 3rd shared). bodhran (as kick drum ), ocean drum (as snare), dholak (as itself)
Jim Gawne © 1993
  1. Yo Mo Se (5:20)
    "Yo No Se" - Spanish for "I don't know." Some poor soul asked us for the title when this song was just created. And it stuck.
    JIM: Acoustic bass, rhythm cuarto, bass domra, cuatro solo (1st & 3rd verse), acoustic bass solo (at end)
    STUART: Nylon & steel string guitars, steel string guitar solo (2nd verse), djembe (every band needs a djembe player), shakers
Jim Gawne © 1992
  1. She Sleeps (5:26)
    Written very quietly, while she slept. Inspired by her beauty that keeps me awake.
    JIM: Cuarto (solo intro & ending), acoustic bass, nylon guitar (double stops)
    STUART: Nylon & steel string guitars, dholak
  2. Gawnedola (3:31) We threw everything into this tune including the packing boxes. Really. The bass drum sound in th 2nd section is both of us beating the heck out of a big cardboard box. And then there is the yelp. That's the yelp of a 1910 Gibson mandolin getting a bit excited, for an old timer.
    JIM: Bass domra, bouzouki, cuarto, "yelping" mandolin, bottom half of kick drum, mandolele (1st verse), cuatro lead (last 5/4 section)
    STUART: Nylon & steel string guitars, lead steel string guitar, other half of kick drum
Jim Gawne © 1993
  1. Gitano Django (5:31)
    This song starts innocently enough, but Django's Gypsy spirit compelled us to become frenzied slaves of thrash.
    JIM: Cuarto, acoustic bass
    STUART: Nylon & steel string guitars, bodhran
Jim Gawne © 1994
  1. Dansk Statique (5:57)
    This is one of our "Art pieces. Not much more can be written about it other than the usual warnings about not operating heavy equipment while listening.
    JIM: Cuatro, fretless bass, bodhran, Zen rainstick (the sound of one cactus needle drooping)
    STUART: Steel string guitar (with additional "demonic" processing)
Jim Gawne © 1992
  1. Blue, Wet, Deep (6:14)
    The sea can have a profound effect on the psyche. Then again, the psyche can be a profound sea.
    JIM: Mandolins, mandola, cuatro, fretless bass, E-bowed slide mandolin (Sirens of the Deep), E-bowed bouzouki (Leviathans of the Depths), Dolphin slide dulcimer
    STUART: Nylon & steel string guitars
Stuart Munro © 1992
  1. Desert Sky (3:57)
    Join Stu now in a cool walk under the desert sky (at noon, without your shades or sunscreen).
    STUART: Steel string guitar, rhythm nylon guitar, aboriginal wood sticks and shakers.
    JIM: Bass domra, mandolin & mandolele, cuatro solo (last verse)
Jim Gawne © 1992
  1. Gypsy Moon (3:11)
    Jim wrote this for his Gypsy lover,She must have like it. It became their Gypsy wedding song.
    JIM: Cuatro
    STUART: Pouting nylon guitar
Jim Gawne © 1994
  1. 4U Ina (5:11)
    Jim writes another romantic tune for his Gypsy love, but she still like Dansk Statique better. He always wanted to marry a woman with a taste for the dark side. JIM: Cuatro, fretless bass
    STUART: Nylon string guitar, steel string guitar, shakers.
    Total: 49:19

Mary Lee - for the loan of your Saturna home to us gypsy musicians. Jannie & Lynn for our time on the mountain... (You can run but you can't hide. We can record just as well in the flats as in the sharps.) Arlene, Doug and Mabel for putting more than zeroes in Zero-Budget. Wayne and Ron and staff at Long & McQuade for renting all that stuff to musicians'! (Now, can we get our deposit back?) Carol for the loan of her bodhran and other herbal remedies. Ina for being the most devoted fan any gypsy artiste could hope to marry. To all of you who demanded SUNYATA, the sonic-motion picture.


Only acoustic instruments were used in this recording. We're still not licensed to operate electronics in public. Jim's primary instrument on this recording is the cuatro. This cuatro started out life some 30 years ago as a Martin Baritone ukulele. However with Jim's keen sense of the Impossible, it because a bona-fide Latin American cuatro. Most of the world still appears unconvinced of this transformation. It's tuned in fifths like most of Jim's instruments. The mandolele has similar, but smaller and older Martin origins. An old Gibson mandolin and Celtic Heart mandola make some acoustic cameos as well as the Russian bass domra and the "Gawnedolized" Irish bouzouki. An Epiphone acoustic bass was rented for thei project and in a fit of zero-budget creativity a homemade fretless bass was born using only simple kitchen utensils. Stuart used this timeworn, desert-beaten , (vintage?) Ovation steel string. Ina lent us her $100 nylon string guitar. It easilysounds like $300. Stuart is also Sunyata's official drummer, not that we have made the great leap to thumping on things designed for thumping.

Most tracks were recorded on serene Saturna Island, BC. Tracks 4, 8, & 9 were recorded on Thrash Mountain, deep in the Cowichan Valley, BC (where men are men and trees are soon to be horizontal). Track 1 was recorded in sup-urban Langford, BC. Most tracks were recorded on a digital 8 track machine and expensive mics. The early Thrash Mountain sessions were captured on a cheap analog 8 track and cheap mics., back when zero-budget really meant something.

Engineered by Jim
Assistant Engineer (under protest): Stuart
Produced by Sunyata for Zero-Budget Productions
Mastered by Mark "I only want decisions" Franklin at media Magic Inc.
Graphic Concept by Ajana at Media Magic Inc.
Design Assistance by Bob Paltrow
Cover and liner photos by Stuart
Liner notes by Jim

Dear Friends,

This album represents a unique approach to developing the Soundings of the Planet catalogue, because this remarkable debut release from Sunyata was chosen by the staff at the record label. When we chanced upon a preliminary copy of this album, those of us working in all the departments here --a accounting, marketing, shipping, media, graphics and management -- were captivated by the passionate enthusiasm of the music, and the superlative musicianship of the artists. We couldn't stop listening to it! We had never heard of Sunyata before, but the rare hybrid energy and international flavor of the music compelled us to seek out the band and work with its members to help them reach a wider audience. As an independent, artist-owned record label, working as a community of committed artists and enthusiasts like this is what it's all about.

We're so pleased to be able to share this great discovery with you, and we know you'll want to share this with others, too. Please let us know what you think!

In Harmony, The Soundings Family

Directory of our 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 featured recording artists.

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