Thought surrounding the music.
I’ve been listening to 1970s ambient music and film scores in general for a few years now, looking for minimal jarring or uptempo sections. Sometimes I find an entire album suited to accompany massage, meditation, yoga, sleeping, etc.. I’m keeping a running list of them here.
Artists and Styles
Mama Earth Massage and Wellness has an ambient, 1970s vibe. This carries through the decor, style, art, and music choices. A variety of curated audio is available for specific atmospheres.
Sound affects our overall mood and tension level at least as much as touch, smell, and sight. Some artists and musical styles currently getting attention in the home studio include:
- Jakob Bro – Danish Guitarist and Composer
- Harold Budd – frequent collaborator of Brian Eno.
- Elisabeth Waldo
- Goblin – Composers of iconic 1970s film soundtracks (Dawn of the Dead and Suspiria for example.)
- Alice Coltrane – This article gives an idea if where to start in her back catalogue.
- Darbari Kanada – The Emporer of Ragas and the Raga of Emporers.
The Speaker System at Mama Earth Massage
The Mama Earth Massage studio’s Sonos system and the thoughtful playlist curation is as much of an amenity as the seventies vintage decor. Paying attention to music and a curating personalized playlists is an overlooked way for massage therapists to enhance their practice. I’m sharing what I’ve found here in case clients want to set up their own system, or also in case fellow therapists want to see the benefits I’ve found from focusing on ‘spa music’.
Worth knowing are the repeat and crossfade options. I found this Pocket Lint article on Sonos hacks which details some features of interest to a massage therapist: pairing and unpairing speakers, analog/optical/coaxial digital outputs for patching in existing high-fi systems, upgrading older Sonos speakers, playing vinyl, and muting a single speaker so you can take a phone call. The grouping and ungrouping function is useful for layering different tracks on different speakers, effectively creating a soundscape in your studio. Voice control and Crossfade are ideal for treatment sessions when you can’t stop using your hands to switch a song or adjust the volume, and also to avoid another thing massage therapists dread – clumsy, silent gaps between songs.
I have a ten percent friend discount for certain Sonos products. I don’t know which products qualify, nor do I make any commissions from purchases (I don’t have an affiliate relationship with Sonos currently).
- Playlist Hosts
- Sonos Playbar
- Sonos One
- Sonos Play (3 speakers)
- Sonos Roam
CORE BELIEF: THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY CAN STILL PERPETUATE ‘ORIENTALISM.’
‘Orientalism’ (Edward Said from his text on the topic) is used to weaken people and their messages. It reinterprets ‘Other’ cultures for the Western world through a white lens and serves them up to the ruling majority. Orientalism speaks for a culture, rather than letting everyone speak for themselves.
Xenophobic, misogynistic hate crimes have been directed recently towards the Asian community, often at spas. Racism paints those of Asian descent as different and immoral, portraying them as unfeeling commodities, that they are ‘other’. Through Mama Earth Wellness, I work to avoid any and all cultural appropriation or ‘orientalist’ mysticism attributed to talented artists and scientists of Non-Western origin.
The spa music I play might be not at all what you’re used to in terms of ‘spa music.’ Its challenging to find music that is hypnotic yet interesting enough to not prevent relaxation or overwhelm a massaged client. Here are some tracks and musicians currently streaming in the studio:
- Piano is simply piano solos. I like to play it alongside a recording of songbirds. During the summer, the studio gets plenty of real song birds out the window too!
- Maurice Ravel – Miroirs M. 43: III. Une barque sur l’ocean. (Vlado Perlmuter)
- Franz Liszt – 6 Consolations, S. 172: III. Lento Placido (Mariam Batsashvili)
- Max Richter – The Departure (Lang Lang)
- Phillip Glass – Gaddis Is Happy
- Ludwig van Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
- Claude Debussy – Reverie, Suite Bergamasque (Dieter Goldman), Estampes, Claire de Lune
- Frederic Chopin – Nocturne #2 in E Flat, 24 Preludes,
- Jon Hopkins
- William Basinski – Melancholia II
- Gabriel Foure
- Witchy Relaxation is what I imagine a witch chilling out to. The list is heavy in soundtrack composers. Features: David Lang, Darshan Ambient, Goblin, Olafur Arnalds, Brian Eno, Anuna, William Basinski, Dario Marionelli, Claude Debussy, Slow Meadow, Chihei Hatakeyama, The Moon & The Nightspirit, Beautiful Chorus, Roger Eno, Biosphere, Loscil.
- Arabic Massage – Simon Shaheed, Anouar Brahem, Yousuf Alluwaihi, Iraqi Ensemble For Traditional Music
- Guitar Massage – Munir Bachir, Fleetwood Mac, King Crimson, Andrei Krylov, Pat Metheny, Ludus Danielis, Vin Downes, Jakob Bro,
- Indonesian Massage – Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, Various Balinese Musicians, Gamelan Degung, Nano S, Gentra Pasundan, Various Gamelan musicians
- Japanese Massage – Yoga Healing, Seoul Music Ensemble, Satomi Seeki & Alcvin Takegawa Ramos, Herbie Mann, Buddhist Pilgrims, Nagauto Shamisen, Japanese Shamisen Jiuta Ensemble, Priests of the Meian Sect
- Native American Massage – Joy Harjo, Alice Gomez, Burning Sky, Calvin Standing Bear, Lorain Fox, Robert Tree Cody, Bryan Akipa, Little Wolf Band, Verdell Primeaux, Sissy Goodhouse, John Two-Hawks, Robbie Robertson, Johnny Whitehorse, Douglas Blue Feather, Bill Miller, Kevin Locke, Joanne Shenandoah, PhD, The Spirit of the Eagle, R Carlos Nakai
- Yoga Mix. As this mix is not meant to be a strict representation of the religious and spiritual principles behind yoga, it is cosmopolitan and not just limited to Indian music:
- Tanam Kadaram – Jeyaraaj & Jaysri (Leading veena players in the Carnatic tradition)
- Marukelara – Lalgudi G. Jayaraman (Indian Carnatic violinist, vocalist, and composer)
- Bandureethi Hamsanadam-Adi – Idappally Ajith Kumar (violinist accompanying most leading vocalists of the Carnatic tradition)
- Joujou Zewa – Tabu Ley Rochereau (leading African rumba singer/songwriter from the Congo region)
- Muimbo Ua Sabalu – Bonga (performer of Angolan Semba music and global symbol of African independence)
- Seremende – Sourakata Koite (Senegalese Kora master)
- Maya – Ahmed Malek (Algerian musician and soundtrack composer)
- Hindustani Classical Music – Indian Music Prime
- Darbari Kanada, Alap – Vasant Rai (one of the acclaimed masters of Indian music)
- Raga Mishra Shivaranjani – Debashish Battacharya (created the genre ‘Hindustani slide guitars’)
- Raga Jansanmohini – Alap Jod Zala – Gat Vilambit Roopak – Pandit Vibhav Nageshkar
- Chos. – Priests of the Meian Sect.
- Retro Vibes Relaxation – Herbie Mann-Mauve Over Blues, Forest Robots-It’s Quietest At The Edge of the Crestline, Popol Vuh-Aguirre I/II, Genesis-Unquiet Slumber for the Sleepers, Doreem-Seele III,
MAMA EARTH LOVES SUGGESTIONS
There’s only so much time in the day listen to new music. If you have some tunes you feel are suited to accompany massage therapy or fitness training, or if you have suggestions for appropriate artists / genres to check out, please contact me! Finally, I welcome any opinions and discourse on my practice. Let’s chat!