Wednesday, July 09, 2008

i.gemz II has arrived !

Buddhism is often associated with chants but not pop music. Buddhist pop group i.gemz forever changed that perception in 2005 with the release of their album “Cradled in Buddha’s Arms”, which contains the song “Brahma Of My Heart” which was used in the “Chief” documentary about K Sri Dhammananda, the late chief monk of Malaysia.

I had just completed work on the documentary for the 2006 Wesak Film Festival and needed some music for the closing credits. My friends Yu Ban and Kooi Fong suggested “Brahma Of My Heart”. The folks behind i.gemz graciously gave permission and I must say, that song greatly enhanced the documentary. (If you want to hear it in the context of the video, look out for it at the end of this clip).

Chia Sue Ann

One of the most memorable moments during the festival was when the Chief, who was then already very ill, attended the premiere of the documentary and witnessed the song’s singer, Chia Sue Ann, belt out a touching rendition dedicated to him.

The first album contained a few other standout songs including “Truth Of Change” and the title track “Cradled In Buddha’s Arms”. Their follow up album, “Rainbow Of Blessings” is even better. The songwriting has improved, the singing is better and the range of musical styles has expanded (without touches of pop, hymnal, country and even bossa nova).

As with the previous album, the songs in this new collection speak of the importance of maintaining spiritual friendships, reaching out to those in need of companionship, practicing the Buddha’s teachings, and being thankful and grateful for all blessings received.

The group gave a live performance at the media briefing this morning and every song was really catchy! Here is the track listing:

Rainbow Of Blessings
1. I Feel A Home
2. I’ll Be There For You
3. Good Action
4. Making Friends
5. Warmth
6. Let’s Change Your Destiny
7. Blessings
8. Thankful
9. Bodhi Tree
10. Rainbow
11. You Showed Me The Way

I’ll be doing some more postings about i.gemz and their latest CD in the coming week. I have some multimedia content that they gave me which I will upload and I plan to interview some of the members as well as the producer, Greg Henderson. So, watch this space!

“Rainbow Of Blessings” is available through Sukhi Hotu.

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