One World Music Radio

Kingdom Of Mountains 

Review Written by Steve Sheppard 

 "Kingdom Of Mountains by Mystic Journey is one of those albums you cannot afford to miss out on, the album has a stunning production quality, the performances from each and every artist are of utter quality and thus I have absolutely no problem totally recommending this release, it is easily one of the most magnificent and scenic albums I have heard for ages, an absolute must buy."

 

My wife and station manager Chrissie Sheppard had been praising this album from the roof tops, so I was more than pleased to get a chance to review it and take a listen to something that she had already given a ringing endorsement to. Chrissie does indeed have excellent taste, and Mystic Journey is well named. 

 

I began my journey one late July afternoon in the sweltering Cyprus heat. The day was roasting; the sort of heat that melts the endurance of the traveller and asks him to take shelter and rest for a while. I was fortunate enough to have this album by my side and that journey began its first few steps with the track Subhadra. The performance on this piece was a perfect remedy to the draining relentless heat; the flute from Teng so deep and so moving, her rich and colourful narrative was only given extra weight by the most delightful and creative percussion of Gilbert Levy

 

Home is our next sojourn of music; this album is so delightfully chilled it will bring peace and tranquillity to all that listen to its beautiful refrains. This is so laid back and smooth and wonderfully arranged, Levy and Teng make the perfect partnership on a track that is as warm as the heart, and home is where the heart is, right? 

 

We now arrive at our next musical stop and this is the grand central station of the title track, that ultimate moment when we learn about the entire project, that moment when we see the passion and intent of the musicians as they bring us their signature offering. After the first two splendid pieces, now we languish in the realm of Kingdom Of Mountains. We can be completely satisfied here with this film score styled offering, the sheer beauty of this track and the simply stunning performance by Teng on flutes is off the scale, the added instrumentation within the construction of this composition is like creating a painting with a multi myriad palate of paints and with each stroke, perfection is

created, a simply outstanding moment of musical mastery can be found here. 

 

Midnight in Bamako is one of those pieces that you could easily just get lost in. The scene of night is perfectly set and we seem to both hover and float around this nocturnal location, partnered by some of the most laid back and peace driven music of our day. Listen to Teng on flute here, this has to be one of the most confident and sublime performances on flute I have heard for years. 

 

On Delicate Rainbow Flower we arrive at a composition that is so carefully played, note the bass here in this piece, and while Jon Ossman delivers a perfect depth to the track Suzanne Teng reigns supreme with a lively performance so redolent to that of the UK’s legendary flutist Nigel Shaw

 

I found something very lifting about the track Yunnan. The tempo was upbeat and a real eastern flavour was created with a lush back drop of sound and colour, the guitars of Dann Torres danced beautifully with Teng’s flutes, in a piece that really lifted the energies and raised the rhythms. 

 

As we now move into the deeper waters of the release we come across something rather special called Viento. The lively skills of multi percussionist Gilbert Levy create such imagery and rhythm here. Teng’s mastery also created a layered sense of an almost sensual motif within the composition that made this piece completely undeniable. 

 

On En Passant we have a track that contains a defined sense of movement within its construction, the multi instrumentation and nature of this offering is sublime and manifests for us a journey within a journey. This is one of those; I must listen to many times over tracks, a composition that has a really addictive essence about its arrangement. 

 

Our penultimate offering is entitled I Dream of a Castle. The Teng and Levy combination once more brings into our musical realm, a piece that contains a picturesque vibration about its construction, some simply amazing percussion, perfectly timed and weighted and a flute that seems to create a musical web of an increasing emotional nature, that hovers all around our melodic and harmonious awareness. 

 

So we have reached the final port of call for our voyage with the band Mystic Journey, it is called Lebanese Girl. Lebanon the location is not that far from my current location and within this piece we seem to be right back at the start, sheltering from the midday heat under a palm tree or preferably at the nearest taverna. A sultry offering, one that shimmers with the intensity of the day and hangs and drifts like sand in the desert. I must admit I have now listened to this piece three times in a row and I am completely captivated by its beauty, this is without doubt my favourite track off the release. 

 

Kingdom Of Mountains by Mystic Journey is one of those albums you cannot afford to miss out on, the album has a stunning production quality, the performances from each and every artist are of utter quality and thus I have absolutely no problem totally recommending this release, it is easily one of the most magnificent and scenic albums I have heard for ages, an absolute must buy.

Billboard Magazine

 "Sensual and Serene…Mystic Journey is an impressive solo debut.  Highly Recommended.”  

 

Suzanne Teng is a student of the flute, playing variations on this instrument from around the world on her impressive solo debut. Sensual and serene, Teng orchestrates a global percussion landscape with Gilbert Levy, sending improvisations across a slow dance on “Topanga Dreams,” creating a Middle Eastern tango on “Katyia’s Dance,” and bringing out a ritual dance on “China Lily.” On “Aduman,” Teng is joined by African kora player Prince Diabate in a vibrant narrative of cross-picked melodies. Because she is often inspired by dance, one can hear her rhythms and melodies flowing with the form of bodies in motion. And when exhaustion sets in, Teng envelopes the listener in a meditative space of “Clouds Across the Darkness,” with a multi-tracked bass flute blowing across wind chimes and a Tibetan singing bowl. ‘Mystic Journey’ is an impressive debut from a former member of the Angels of Venice.” 

 

Los Angeles Times

 " Suzanne Teng plays music for the soul.  This is a lovely album.  Its music will stay with me for a lifetime."

Music Connection Magazine

 "…a sweet, ethereal musical journey…an East meets West production orchestrated by Teng's delightful flute performances and the joy that emanates from her soul when she plays."

 

"Here's a sweet, ethereal musical journey by an L.A. based instrumentalist who is joined by 17 master musicians featuring flutes, strings and percussion instruments from around the world. Nicely produced, the music is influenced by various spiritual disciplines and includes melodies from China, Africa and India. This CD is an East meets West production orchestrated by Teng's delightful flute performances and the joy that emanates from her soul when she plays." (MYSTIC JOURNEY)

Los Angeles Times

"…brilliant flutist…"

Rhythm Magazine

 "Teng's chops are fluid and lithe, and the accompanists seamlessly augment her musical message."

 

Teng is the flute-wielding conductor of Mystic Journey, a contemporary world music ensemble that blends old and new, alternating between the mellow and the motivated. Teng handles a world-spanning plethora of
wind instruments, while Gilbert Levy tackles a broad array of percussion. Other players add harmonium, harp, dulcimer, frame drum, kora and more. Topics include community (“Topanga Dreams”), inner serenity (“China Lily”), tribal continuity (“Aduman”) and new opportunities (“Darjeeling Sunrise”). Teng’s chops are fluid and lithe, and the accompanists seamlessly augment her musical messages.

Yogi Times

"The expression of this CD comes from a deep place, yet speaks musically in reverence to all people who become aware of the "breath of God." (ENCHANTED WIND)

 

Suzanne was once part of the Angels of Venice, a trio of women who began in the world of classical music and gradually expanded into the realm of world music.  Over the course of her three solo CDs, Suzanne has found a similar journey, always flute-centered, which spanned the globe for influences, cultural reference points, and rhythmic elements that carried the songs to their spirited realization. Prior releases, like her debut "Mystic Journey," with Hans Christian, Dave Stringer and others on hand, might be more suitable for flow yoga, while her recent "Miles Beyond" is more of a rhythmic exploration from various faraway lands on which Gilbert Levy plays all manner of hand percussion. "Enchanted Wind" is the newest release, subtitled "Flute Meditations for the Heart & Soul", and it completes the circle  back to music that finds simplicity at its core by offering music for peace, love and healing.  These beautiful meditations are played on alto flute, bass flute, bamboo flutes and the rare contrabass flute with delicate arrangements on harp, dulcimer, harmonium and zithers. Bobbie Jo Curley plays Celtic harp, Suzanne's partner and co-producer Gilbert Levy plays harmonium, tambura, bamboo wind chimes, kartals, and keyboards, and she plays all the rest. The expression of this CD comes from a deep place, yet speaks musically in reverence to all people who become aware of the "breath of God". 'Above the Clouds," a track with Suzanne's alto flute and Bobbie's heavenly harp playing, attracts accompaniment from a sweet little bird who lends his song to the track as well! This is quiet music for quiet times.

LA Yoga

"Teng’s Enchanted Wind is just beautiful from start to finish.  With her Eastern heritage and spiritual path Teng offers music that is extremely organic and her gentle notes are fertilized with enough love and compassion to fill the galaxy with peace." (ENCHANTED WIND)

 


Topanga Canyon's favorite flute master has released a new album of personal compositions.  Though life partner Gilbert Levy is credited as producer and accompanist, it is very evident that the seven meditative tracks here have been sketched by Teng's spirited soul.  A bit of a departure from her usual work with the popular Mystic Journey group, Enchanted Wind is blessed by “flute meditations for the heart and soul.”  The entire record focuses on Teng’s performance on the alto flute, bass flute, contrabass flute, an assortment of bamboo flutes, dizi, swaramandala and the ghu zheng with some auspicious companionship contributed with angelic harp flutters and reserved percussive shakers and chimes.

Teng’s Enchanted Wind is just beautiful from start to finish.  With her Eastern heritage and spiritual path Teng offers music that is extremely organic and her gentle notes are fertilized with enough love and compassion to fill the galaxy with peace.  I highly recommend this release for all healing occasions, while keeping in mind that this is not Teng with Mystic Journey, but Teng sending us a hug with her kind maternal vibrations.
-Michael R. Mollura

Yoga Journal

 "Beautifully produced CD…a classically trained virtuoso and ethnomusicologist…."

 

Suzanne Teng’s flute playing is all over the map. On Mystic Journey, that’s a good thing. “Topanga Dreams,” the beautifully produced CD’s beguiling opening track, seems to start in India, with droning tamboura, percoloating tabla, and jingling ankle bells in the mix. But before long, Celti harp, bongos, string bass, marimba, keyboards, and other instruments help transport Teng’s lushly overdubbed flutes and piccolo

to a nonspecific cultural region all its own.

As her global sojourn continues through nine other contemplative and celebaratory tracks, the music touches down in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South and North America. A Southern California-based,
classically trained virtuoso and ethnomusicologist who leads a large performance ensemble also named Mystic Journey, Teng plays traditional silver flutes as well as their relatives from China (the bamboo dize), Turkey (the ney), and the Andes (pan pipes). Her ambitious cross-cultural vision impels her to weave her fluid solos through accompaniment that includes guitars, djembe, oud, sarangi, kora, mbira, cello, dulcimer, harmonium, Tibetan bowls, zithers, windchimes, and a plethora of ethnic percussion.

Some of the upbeat numbers boast immediate pop accessiblity through lilting melodies and infectious dance rhythms, while others create simpler, more spacious listening environments in keeping with Teng’s reputation as a composer for healing practices like yoga and meditation.

Whole Life Times

 "Mystic Journey is an apt title for this CD, which lifts the listener to a place where beauty, ecstasy and tranquility reside."

 

Mystic Journey is an apt title for this CD, which lifts the listener to a place where beauty, ecstasy and tranquility reside. A literal world fusion orgy, this CD features 18 master musicians on a plethora of flutes, strings, and percussion instruments from around the world - C flute, alto flute, Chinese bamboo flute, pan pipes, Celtic harp, African harp, Tibetan cymbal, tabla, doumbek, Chinese drum, shakers, string bass, oud, violin, Indian zither - the instruments are too numerous to name here. The resulting sound is full and rich without giving way to modern electric instruments; keyboards are the sole non-acoustic instrument played here.

Above the tapestry that the various instruments create is Suzanne Teng’s flute, sometimes soaring like a bird taking flight, other times evoking subtler shades and moods. The 10 original songs, written by Teng and other collaborators, are inspired by the East (China, India, the Middle East and Africa) and fused with the West, and by nature (a sunrise in India, clouds, lakes). The opening song, “Topanga Dreams,” is an ode to the town where Teng resides, and starts the album off on an uplifting tone. “China Lily” invokes the Far East with Teng on the dize (Chinese bamboo flute). The album reaches a peak with the song “Fertile Crescent,” which starts off slowly, then jumps into a fast-paced Turkish song replete with oud (Arabic lute), dumbek and ney (Turkish flute) that’s implssible to sit still to!

After that, things quiet down a bit. “Clouds Across the Darkness” evokes just that; it’s a slow, moody piece with sparse instrumentation (bass flute, wind chimes and Tibetan bowl) as opposed to the more than a dozen instruments played on other songs. Finally, the album flickers out quietly with “Lotus.”

I’ve heard a lot of CDs (most of them in the so-called New Age genre) that claim to elevate and inspire, but turn out to be over-produced, heavily synthesized and disappointing. Mystic Journey, however, delivers the goods.

Magnatune.com

"...the music itself is timeless.' (ENCHANTED WIND)

 

We think this brand new arrival by global flutist Suzanne Teng is her best yet: seven long tracks that showcase her sinuous, slowly unfolding melodies on the alto flute, bass flute, and the rare contrabass flute. The mood here is profoundly quiet and serene; there are no beats at all and the accompaniment on harp, dulcimer, harmonium, and zither is delicate and minimal. The approach shows the full scope of Teng's talent too; stripped of adornment, you really hear how masterful her tone and breath control are, and the music itself is timeless. Listen after a stressful day and marvel, as we did, at how completely it dissolves tension.

New Age Voice Magazine

 "This is one of the sweetest flute albums to come along in a while."

 

"This is one of the sweetest flute albums to come along in a while. All original music leading a stellar ensemble, including such well-know musicians as Martin Tillman, Prince Diabate, Hans Christian, Greg Ellis and Gilbert Levy. An eclectic mix of instruments includes frame drums, dumbek, cello, harp, bass and tamboura, among others. The overall sound is a sort of Middle Eastern, Celtic, gypsy and Asian hybrid. And here again, the spirit of jazz touches them all. Listen, for example, to "Topanga Dreams" and "Darjeeling Sunrise" and the smooth jazz fan will feel right at home, yet the world music aficionado will find a lot to like too. "Katyia's Dance" and "Fertile Crescent" bring out the infectious warmth that seems to naturally flow from the Middle Eastern/gypsy compositions and seems to draw the dancers' bodies into motion, which, in turn, inspires the band to even sweeter passages. But before you think you know where the album is going, "China Lily" is a more Zen arrangement featuring Teng on the bamboo flute. Or how about a duet between bass flute and Tibetan bowl, like on "Clouds Across the Darkness?" This is a set of music loaded with lovely melodic touches, and plenty of pleasant surprises. If flute is one of the instruments you most love, you will want to hear this one."

Bostonia Magazine

“Teng’s instrument of choice is the flute, and she plays a variety of them with masterful ease...Teng has made a rarity: a record that withstands close listening and can be a caliming influence in the midst of a hectic day." (MYSTIC JOURNEY)

Teng’s instrument of choice is the flute, and she plays a variety of them with masterful ease on this, her first solo recording. It’s hard to say where she fits in - her style isn’t really world music or New Age. It might be called contemplative, with an international flavor. On several tracks the Chinese influence is strong, as Teng plays a dize (a Chinese bamboo flute). But she’s equally adept with the ney (a Turkish flute), with backing from an oud (a Middle Eastern lute) and dumbek (a type of drum). She has brought together quite an ensemble here, eighteen musicians on a wide variety of instruments, playing her compositions with ease. Teng has made a rarity: a record that withstands close listening and can be a caliming influence in the midst
of a hectic day.

Yogi Times

 "…rich and harmonious soundscapes…an imaginative world tour…unique and refreshing."

 

A diverse, cross-continental mix of sounds and musical influences grace this new release. Suzanne Teng, an award-winning artist with PhD studies in Ethnomusicology as well as music and healing, has created memorable and uplifting compositions that merge cultures and melt boundaries.

 

Teng's rich and harmonious soundscapes often begin with melodies played on Turkish, Chinese and Indonesian flutes. These are layered with the voices of a variety of instruments including flamenco guitar, sitar and didgeridoo as well as hand drums from Iran, India, Africa and Egypt. All are skillfully played by Teng, her husband Gilbert Levy and other accomplished musicians.

 

The songs reflect their instrumental diversity, taking you on an imaginative world tour. The first piece is reminiscent of a Native American ceremony of the American Southwest. From there, we travel on to Babylonia where the rhythms take on a Middle Eastern feel. Balinese and Guatemalan melodies are also represented in Teng's unique and refreshing way.

 

Sensual and serene, this recording also reflects the love between Teng and Levy. On "Chicoy," we enter a magical cave in Guatemala where a shaman priest performs a spontaneous wedding ceremony for Teng and Levy.

LA Yoga

 "Musical gems that feel as honest and as pure as any instrumental music heard today.  Beautiful melodies that just soar through the ears with grace and ease."

 

Here's a release from one of Topanga Canyon's sweetest artists. With MILES BEYOND, flutist Suzanne Teng and percussionist Gilbert Levy string together a series of musical gems that feel as hones and as pure as any instrumental music heard today. The music blends Hindu and Asian influences with hints of African rhythms to complete the feel.

 

Of all of Teng's releases, this album seems appropriately titled since it feels like it goes miles beyond anywhere she has gone before as a composer. MILES BEYOND exemplifies Teng and Levy's growth as artists and as human beings with beautiful melodies that just soar through the ears with grace and ease. Levy uses Indian tablas, khol, karals and an assortment of shakers to produce a rich steady rhythm for which Teng performs her magic on the flute. All the tunes here were written, arranged and produced by Teng and Levy with some help from Fritz Heede.

Music Design in Review

"Miles Beyond covers a lot of ground, culture-wise...a contemporary southwestern flair...exoticism of the Middle East and India...enchanting sonorities of the Far East...miles beyond shows that not only is Teng an amazingly versatile flutist, but a highly skilled one as well."

 

Former Angels of Venice instrumentalist Suzanne Teng embarks on her second ethnic-flavored album of flute/wind music with MILES BEYOND. Building off the ideas she put forth on her debut release, MILES BEYOND covers a lot of ground culture-wise. "Sierra," for example, has a contemporary Southwestern flair akin to a Nicholas Gunn tune. The two tunes that follow - "Babylonians" and "Sitara," plunge the listener into the exoticism of the Middle East and India respectively through the use of bamboo flute, percussion indigenous to both cultures and sitar. African music influences "Motherland" and "Tien's Lullaby" displays the enchanting sonorities of the Far East. MILES BEYOND shows that not only is Teng an amazingly versatile flutist, but a highly skilled one as well.

Flute Talk

 "…displays Teng's artistic and facile use of ethnic flutes…"

Magnatune.com

 "… you really hear how masterful her tone and breath control are, and the music itself is timeless."

Yahoo.com

 “Suzanne Teng’s flute beckons the soul to retreat to a soothing, relaxing place…magnificent flute…”

Public Radio International (ECHOES nationally syndicated show)

"One of the top ten albms of 2003...Miles Beyond is a meticulously composed and arranged work...that uses traditional sounds for a new pan-global music."

 

After several year's wait, flute player Suzanne Teng returns with a follow up to her imposing solo debut, Mystic Journey. Miles Beyond picks up on the global rhythms and world flutes that made her debut so compelling. The core of the album is Teng and percussionist Gilbert Levy, playing flutes and hand drums from India, Africa, Eygpt, and Persia. Their melodies and rhythms spiral off each other in desert arabesques. Miles Beyond is a meticulously composed and arranged work with oud, string bass, keyboards and guitar fleshing out the sound in a music that uses traditional sounds for a new, pan-global music. Whether playing ocarina, Turkish ney, Indian bamboo flutes or the Balinese suling, she's a master pulling melodies out of the air and bending them in sensual, calligraphic designs. Miles Beyond is an auspicious first CD of the Month for 2004.

RegionRock Multimedia

"This album is AWESOME!!...hands down my favorite world music artist."

Music Connection Magazine

"One of my favorite albums, and I receive over 50 a week...it's always in my cd player."

Radio Belarus

"Suzanne Teng plays different flutes (ocarina, bass flute, alto flute, ney, bamboo flutes, Native American Flute and many others) with virtuosity...an album which is an integral one and is like nothing on earth."

Rustic Rag

" In Miles Beyond, Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy create a magical music rainbow with colorful instruments and sounds from around the world."

 

Outside in the intimate Theatricum Botanicum, the music of a flute is joined by the mysterious sounds of a guitar, dun dun, tar-rine, oud, didgeridoo, sitar, klong-yaw, and several other instruments from remote corners of the earth. We feel the warmth of the winds and we look up to the dark sky, the melody of a new flute takes us even higher. The Mystic Journey is unfolding, this is their new album, Miles Beyond

 

How does this simple, sensual music spark the familiar feeling we recognize as our own sadness and delight? The nine songs which comprise Miles Beyond, the new record from the Flutist of Topanga, Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey featuring Gilbert Levy, are a sweeping musical offering to the spirits of Topangas' mountains and canyons, and to life miles beyond its borders.

 

Medicine Wheel conveys all the sweetness in the world, the first caresses of the sun in the morning mist. To go deeper on the mystical excursion, you simply have to unfasten your seatbelt as you hear the first notes of Sierra flow (a mountain with no name, its peak lost in the mists). Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy have transformed the drive into flight, an anthem full of hope for the future, a rainless land that will forever be verdant in the hearts of its people. 

 

When the Journey reaches the lively Babylonians, they take us beyond time. Joined by Fritz Heede on a saz from Turkey, Naser Musa on a Oud from the Middle East, and Andrew Werderitsch on a didgeridoo from Australia, the world as we know it shrinks. They are speaking directly to the soul of their listeners, filling our hearts with so much music, we can’t help but dance. Sitara, with its bamboo flutes, kartals, and sitar, whirls us into a mystic dance in much the same spirit. 

 

The two tracks Motherland and Suling perfectly illustrate the ambivalence of life’s journey, where melancholy constantly turns to the pursuit of joy and pleasure. They both feature the first recorded performance of Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy’s newborn baby Miles Teng-Levy, on rattle and bell. Suling, which is inspired by a Balinese melody Suzanne Teng heard in a Cafe in Bali, is soothing like a beautiful memory revived. 

 

The delicate tune Chicoy emerged from a musical offering Suzanne and Gilbert made to the spirits of a magical cave in Guatemala, where the couple were led through a spontaneous wedding ritual by a Shaman priest. With Topanga musician Kim Carroll on Guitar, Chicoy seems to resonate with all the mystery of every cave.

 

Miles Beyond is a spontaneous musical channeling dedicated to Suzanne and Gilbert's son, Miles. It is a piece beyond description, like incense to our ears. The solo finale Tien’s Lullaby features Suzanne Teng on dizi and ghu zheng, awakening us from an amazing Mystic Journey of dreaming.

 

Miles Beyond was recorded with musicians who have backed Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey on stage since early 2000, and who have appeared on her previous album. It also features flutes from China, Turkey and Indonesia, and presents an array of hand drums from India, Africa, Egypt and Persia, which lend a particularly warm and vivid sound to the album.

 

Mystic Journey does not change, she simply carries on; and as she does, a more and more profound mystical experience unfolds. She invites us to plunge a little deeper into the soul of our own journey, as she takes us around the world. In Miles Beyond, Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy create a magical music rainbow with colorful instruments and sounds from around the world.

Insideworldmusic.com

"If you're not completely blissed out after the first sampling, don't blame Teng and her highly skilled crew. They know how to make "world" music in the best sense -- unpretentious, attuned and with an obvious love for the cultures they tap into. An absolutely wonderful album." (MILES BEYOND)

This is a mystic journey indeed, and a highly enjoyable one. Suzanne Teng plays flutes from all corners of the globe, sideman Gilbert Levy does likewise with percussion, and additional participants provide instrumentation ranging from the familiar (guitar, bass, keyboard) to the exotic (sitar, oud, didgeridoo). Musically, there's a lot of ground covered in these instrumental pieces. Breezing through narious points in Africa, Latin and Native America, India, Indonesia, the Far East and on and on, the tracks are nonetheless remarkably cohesive, well arranged and musically and rhythmically engaging. Listen to how "Babylonians" unfurls majestically before dancing off into the sun, the dark continent cool of "Motherland" or the airy melancholy of "Sierra" and the title track. If you're not completely blissed out after the first sampling, don't blame Teng and her highly skilled crew. They know how to make "world" music in the best sense -- unpretentious, attuned and with an obvious love for the cultures they tap into. An absolutely wonderful album.

Ambientvisions.com

"Teng has the ability to imbue her work with the spirit and style of a myriad of cultural influences...This might be considered "highbrow" music. But its appeal stretches beyond labels, and may be for anyone who seeks
variety and intricacy." (MILES BEYOND)
 

Remembering an older Hearts of Space program named "Miles Beyond," my first thought upon seeing the title of Suzanne Teng's CD made me think this would be a spin on the music of Miles Davis. Was I wrong! Teng is an accomplished flautist, a holder of a Masters degree in music, a Grammy nominee in 2000, and a finalist in (the now-defunct) New Age Voice magazine's "Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of 1999" and "Best Contemporary World Music Album of 1999." 

 

Small wonder. Teng has the ability to imbue her work with the spirit and style of a myriad of cultural influences. This should come as no surprise, as she completed Ph.D. studies at UCLA's Department of Music Ethnomusicology. Miles Beyond is a collection of nine musical treatises that encompass musical stylings from around the globe. "Sitara," for example, blends the Indian sitar and tabla with Teng's flute playing.

 

"Suling," despite its name (a suling is a type of simple bamboo flute), is reminiscent of the Irish penny whistle in both tone and tenor. 

 

"Miles Beyond," the title track, is a muted concoction of sophisticated instrumentation; its complexity hidden in the shadow of its subtlety. 

 

Mystic Journey, the name of Teng's band (which also gave name to the first album by the ensemble), works harmoniously to lend atmosphere to Teng's flute, not to overpower it. Mystic Journey consists of partner Gilbert Levy (drums), Barry Newman (string bass), and Fritz Heede, multi-stringed instruments and composer. Alone, Teng has performed for a number of file soundtracks, many with noted composer and new age artist, Jeff Danna. 

 

This might be considered "highbrow" music. But its appeal stretches beyond labels, and may be for anyone who seeks variety and intricacy.

BOSTONIA Magazine

"She's mastered many a wind instrument and plays them here to great effect. The music comes from all over the world, ranging from Turkey and India to Indonesia and the Americas. Teng and her partner, Gilbert Levy, have clearly taken the time to immerse themselves in the different musical forms... Yes, the music is soothing, but it's stimulating too, as Teng hops from country to country, genre to genre." (MILES BEYOND)

Teng's music sometimes gets lumped in the New Age category, but there's nothing bland or saccharine about it. She's mastered many a wind instrument and plays them here to great effect. The music comes from all over the world, ranging from Turkey and India to Indonesia and the Americas. Teng and her partner, Gilbert Levy, have clearly taken the time to immerse themselves in the different musical forms. Take Teng's playing of the suling, a bamboo flute used in Balinese music: to my ears it's indistinguishable from that of contemporary Indonesian players - an impressive achievement. Yes, the music is soothing, but it's stimulating too, as Teng hops from country to country, genre to genre.

The Instrumental Weekly

"I found that Mystic Journey had a very familiar and comfortable feeling, which makes repeated listenings a true joy…Suzanne and company have taken a great amount of ideas and styles, and have expertly blended them together in a hybrid that is heard only so rarely in current instrumental releases." 

With the prominence of various types of flute acting as the foundation for this recording, Mystic Journey from Suzanne Teng presents a refreshing and fascinating fusion of world sounds. From Far and Middle Eastern motifs to Celtic and African rhythms, this recording offers an abundance of styles that blend together perfectly.

 

With over a dozen musicians of varying fame and her own masterful presentation of several flute variations, Suzanne has taken a rather eclectic mix of instrumentation and formed the resultant sound into something new and worldly. At the same time however, I found that Mystic Journey had a very familiar and comfortable feeling, which makes repeated listenings a true joy.

 

Some pieces, such as "Topanga Dream" and "Darjeeling Sunrise" are more subtle and relaxed, highlighting Suzanne's alto flute against gently fading harp chords and wonderful percussion layouts. Other tracks, like "Lhasa Love", which is based upon an ancient Chinese folk song, are more upbeat and would make amazing backdrops to traditional as well as modern dance performance.

 

An album such as Mystic Journey is a great example of music that works equally well when listened to carefully, or as relaxing background music in your living room. Suzanne and company have taken a great amount of ideas and styles, and have expertly blended them together in a hybrid that is heard only so rarely in current instrumental releases.

 

A quick word about the instrumentation on Mystic Journey: keyboard is accounted for here, but the lack of heavy electronic synthesizers is a welcome strategy that I wish more musicians would at least try once in awhile. There is a very real, very friendly vibe from this recording, and it's one that I think you will definitely appreciate.

cdbaby

"Teng's mesmerizing album of new age flute with magical accompaniment stands out among all others…New Age fans of all tastes will be enchanted."
(MYSTIC JOURNEY)

Mt. Shasta Magazine

“Her passionate playing unleashes kundalini energy and coaxes it up the back of the spine. It’s nearly impossible to listen without swaying your body. This artist is obviously aware of the healing power of music.”

 

In her newly released CD, Suzanne Teng, flutist, dancer, percussionist, composer, teacher and recording artist has conjured up a magical mixture of exotic and familiar themes to charm, entice, and entrance us.


On this recording of origingal music, Teng, with the help of 17 master musicians, takes her audience on a tour around the world and ultimately into themselves. Her passionate playing unleashes kundalini energy and coaxes it up the back of the spine. It’s nearly impossible to listen without swaying your body. This artist is obviously aware of the healing power of music.
 
Suzanne Teng has been called upon to play at the Dalai Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music. Her flute meditations are featured at events with leaders like Marianne Williamson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mathew Fox and David Whyte.

Wind and Wire Magazine

“Suzanne is a consummate flutist on a variety of flutes...beautiful and soulful music.”

Suzanne Teng is a consummate flutist on a variety of flutes. On her album Mystic Journey, she plays alto flute, C flute, bass flute, bamboo flute, pan pipes, ney...well, you get the idea. She also handles some percussion. And she has about a zillion other people on the record as well (too many to recount here). Everyone accords themselves admirably and the CD has a solid cohesive sound to it.

The overall vibe of Mystic Journey is world and world fusion-oriented. There are ethnic textures galore courtesy of Suzanne’s flutes, as well as instruments like dumbek, tabla, frame drums, oud (Arabic lute) and
even more exotic world instruments. The songs vary in tempo and mood but since the flute is the lead instrument in almost all cases, a strong continuity factor exists throughout the recording. Percussion is a high
point, especially (obviously) on the more uptempo pieces. “Topanga Dreams,” while occasionally fast and furious, also has a sultry side to it. “Katyia’s Dance” is out and out sensuous, as the tango-like rhythms
blends with Martin Tillman’s cello and a host of bells and percussion, all led by Suzanne’s smoky alto flute.

None of the music on this CD rides the current wave of “world meets electronica” fusion which seems to be all the rage these days. Thank goodness. Don’t get me wrong, I like the aforementioned drum and bass
meets ethnic music recordings. But, it’s nice to hear someone find fusion in a less synthetic vein. In this way, Suzanne’s CD reminds me of the work from artists on the Alula or Maggie’s Music labels. The point of music like this is to offer vague hints of different parts of the world, barely wafting into view, before the song changes and before you know it, you’re somewhere else. It (the music) is adventurous and I like it.

“Aduman” introduced me to a brand new instrument - the kora (African harp) which has most pleasant sound and, while harp-like, is also daringly different. The song has a soft lilting bounce to it. I love the East Indian opus (ten-minutes long) “Darjeeling Sunrise” with its exotic Indian instruments. In fact, I love this whole album. I have played it both as background (during meals) and have listened to it intently. Either way, I heard beautiful and soulful music from a highly talented flutist, surrounded by accompanists at the top of their game. Fans of world music, as well as acoustic fans seeking something exotic, should find a lot to enjoy on this Mystic Journey! Highly recommended.

Backroads Music

“Suzanne Teng needs only a few notes to establish herself as a major artist in her own right."

Formerly with the Angels of Venice, Suzanne Teng needs only a few notes to establish herself as a major artist in her own right. Her flute-centered compositions show a dancer’s view of world music motifs, with light, swaying and gentle rhythms occasionally offset by more solid rhythms that would easily support belly dancers, improv or modern dance, or free movement on any level. She has assembled an all-star cast of supporting players that lend this project a sense of expertise and artistry that really shines. As a student of the flute, Suzanne is equally at home in many styles from around the globe. Her primary percussionist is Gilbert Levy, who underscores the sensual flute passages across slow ballads, fast-paced tangos & ritual dances. African kora player Prince Diabate shines on his tracks, while Greg Ellis of Vas and oud master John Bilizikian also stand out. “Mystic Journey” becomes just that on a couple of pieces, most notably “Clouds Across the Darkness,” with multi-tracked bass flute, wind chimes and Tibetan singing bowl beckoning the listener from afar.

UK New Classics

The beautiful flute player, dancer, percussionist, composer and teacher Suzanne Teng is joined by 17 other fine musicians, including the percussionist Gilbert Levy, on this debut recording of original music featuring flutes, strings and percussion instruments from around the world. The ensemble blends music and sounds from east and west, combining the ancient with the new to produce an ethereal and ecstatic whole. (MYSTIC JOURNEY)

Personal Notes from our Listeners

" We love the music you make, that is all that we can say. We just love it."
Eduard & friends, Romania

 

"…I am the music buyer for the store and hence have both the privelege and pain of listening to the constant stream of new cds. In the three years I have been doing this, your CD has been my favorite. I play it all the time in the store, which has led to 20 sales since March, which I know is very little in the grand picture, but does make it our top-selling CD right now. It may have even been more had it not been for the times between orders that it was sold-out! Thank you for the making the world just a little sweeter..."
Chris Richardson, Quest Bookstore, Chicago

 

"You, Suzanne Teng, are a godsend."
Justin

 

"The CD has a permanent place on our CD player!"
Andy, New York

 

"Absolutely brilliant stuff!!! Keep up your creative sounds!"
Brussels, Belgium

 

"…I'm not normally given to composing "fan mail", but in this case I'll make an exception just to thank you for whatever angst and perspiration y'all endured/expended in making "Mystic Journey" . The more I play it, the more I like it. I keep finding subtle and delightful nuances. "
Larry

 

"thanks for inspiring me…"
Chelsi, Fifth Grade, Texas

 

"I love your music....just discovered it. Wow!"
Elmscape

 

"…your musical journey is as gentle as a drop of needed rain and as welcomed as a soft unexpected kiss."
Dennis Tabella

 

"…You do wonderful justice to the flute…"
Tom Quin, Columbia, SC

 

"I'm an acoustic musician and I instantly fell in love with your music! I want your CD and I will tell everyone I can about you! "
Jimmy Bunch 

 

"…your music is a great success here in Puebla (my town), people loves your music…I can´t forget the sound of your magic flutes that night at Tajin."
Eduardo, Puebla, Mexico

 

"I stumbled onto your music while listening to the Atmospheres Music Channel on DirecTV satellite TV…Your music soothes my feelings and elevates me to a dimension where my thoughts have been refreshed and my body has been relaxed. I thank you for the cognitive medicine you have provided me with your talents."
Ozaer Najim, Portland, OR 

 

" Your music is so beautiful that words are not adequate to describe it. "
Liana, Santa Barbara, CA

 

"…Your music is so magical and wonderful, and I am thrilled to be preparing for the delivery of my first baby with your music as inspiration! I decided that I am going to bring your CD to the hospital with me, so that I can relax and meditate, and deliver this baby without any medications."
Adrienne Anderson-Mauricio, Philadelphia 

 

"I listened to your music from a friend in Guatemala… I am in love with your music, it is fantastic, great music, I like it so much, one thousands of congratulations ! …I listen to your music, and now I am losing my head with your music, …YOU ARE MY FAVORITE ARTISTS."
Jose Antonio Gomez, Guatemala

 

"I was really floored… the pieces are beautiful…"
Alan, Alabama

 

"Your music has touched me on a very spiritual level...the haunting sounds of Topanga Dreams invoke a feeling weightless joy of my spirit being freed."
Tonya Lee Williams.

 

"…this recording offers an abundance of styles that blend together perfectly."
Instrumentalweekly.com

 

“This CD is too beautiful for words.” Adrienne Anderson


“Your new CD MYSTIC JOURNEY is a triumph!” Maime Zee 

 
“This is me and Tasha’s favorite album of the year!” Martin Tillmann

 

“Heard you perform on Public Radio. Your music resonates & vibrates in me to my very depths. Thank you.” Dr. Rick DeVoe


“Suzanne Teng is a remarkably versatile flutist and composer whose buoyant spirit soars throughout every moment of "Mystic Journey." This CD is a treasure!”

Leone Buyse, former principal flute - Boston Symphony Orchestra

 
“I will always find soul solace with ‘Mystic Journey." Sujay Pandit

 
“Thanks again for coming to earth. You are definitely an instrument of Spirit bringing soothing vibrations to this world full of suffering. Your music is so expansive, the sky cannot contain it.” Cloyd Pool

 
“Suzanne Teng's perfectly titled Mystic Journey takes the listener on an exquisite and sensuous excursion through aural pathways that delight the senses. Put on some tea, light some incense and enjoy her colorful
transcendental travel music. A great addition to your Cd collection."
- Jeff Hutner, Editor , New Paradigm Digest

 

“ The most entrancing, inspiring, and most-beautifully-done cd that
mankind has ever heard...” James

 

“...breath taking...it takes me to the most sacred places...real and unreal...as far as the greatest mountains and as close as the depths of my interior, where I feel soothing melodies, ancient harmonies and the togetherness of rhythm...
you Master of Wind ...
sensitive woman ...
who can hear even the imperceptible sound ...
who can freely paint in the sky
all the colors of your skin and soul...you Master of Wind...” Cynthia

 
“I am blissed by these songs...” ~Jim Cole, Spectral Spiral Music