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Shunia Releases New Self-Titled Album


The album blends Sanskrit chants, Latin prayer, ancient poetry, and exquisite orchestration.

Shunia Releases New Self-Titled Album

SHUNIA takes the listener through mantra melodies, energetic vocals, and dynamic compositions worthy of a feature film score. They are joined by renowned Moroccan artist Hassan Hakmoun on two of the tracks. Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson became friends while attending graduate school at University of Maryland. Both performed with the Washington National Opera for 20 years while launching successful solo careers. The duo decided to meld their love for the power of chanting with their Western vocal prowess. This led them to form Shunia (pronounced SHOON-ya), choosing the Sanskrit word meaning "stillness and receptivity" as the name of their duo.

What you will hear are 8 songs, produced by Jamshied Sharifi, featuring the core choral duo Shunia, who are joined by Moroccan musician Hassan Hakmoun on "Sa Re Sa Sa," "Breeze at Dawn," "Alleluia," and "Har Hare Han Wahe Guru." Repetitious chanting allows one to focus on breath and leads listeners to deeper relaxation and a stronger connection with life. The arts have a unique power to heal and transform. We want to be happier and at peace within ourselves. We are all interconnected on the planet and ancient religious ideas are now being proven by contemporary science, repeating the same phrase over and over again has a beneficial effect on body, mind and spirit.

There is a theoretical potential for conflict between contemplative Christian faith and Yoga, Tai Chi, and related disciples -- the yogic path and the Christian path. Shunia has successfully merged these two sacred life paths creating universal meditations for healing, and simply letting your mind let go of all its temporal concerns. Everything is vibration, observes the spirit of Shunia. All the energy in the universe exists in different vibratory levels. Combining music with meditation can deepen the positive effects of both, and bring about greater stress relief. Bringing comfort, solace, reassurance, peace, composure, and quietude serves to uplift humanity through the oldest universal teachings, foster the creative spirit and bring a new awareness to the voice and body connection. Shunia continues to foster a mindset promoting meditation, relaxation and stress release which are all so important for our health. Shunia merges the art forms of chant and opera and promotes the body's own natural healing processes. Universal Energy exists around us, all of the time, nature gives us everything we need to overcome the distance between God and humans. When the duo Shunia discovered the hidden dimension and power of singing chant music, they wanted to share this profound experience. You have a physical body and an energy body. The chakra system is a main conduit for energy. In order to live at our highest potential, our chakras must be aligned. If we want to make changes in our lives, we have to change ourselves. In the sharing process, each faith must maintain its own unique identity and integrity, to bring together the voice and body vibration as one and develop strength, balance, harmony, and flexibility. The music of Shunia provides a way to calm the monkey mind and to journey towards a totality of being, honoring eternal change.

In an article recently published in LA Yoga Magazine (December 15th, 2020), Lisa Reagan writes about how the new album came about. "As a classically trained musician, I often found myself distracted by some of the music I was hearing. As years went on, I did find a couple of chant artists I liked, but for the most part the music left me feeling unsatisfied. However, there was one artist, Singh Kaur that I loved. It was such a joy to hear her sing the mantras so beautifully. For me, it elevated the whole experience of chanting. I listened to her for years. When I chanted with her, I felt happier. I also recorded my own versions of the mantras and would chant along with my own creations. I was visiting my friend Suzanne Jackson, whom I had known for many years from college and The Washington National Opera. We had created several projects together and we were talking about what we were going to do next."

She continues with the concepts of chanting, "Every time I meditated with these chants, I always felt a sense of joy, well-being and appreciation for them. There was something in my gut that told me I needed to find the album's producer and work with him. Finding him was easier said than done, but after a long time searching, I found someone who knew someone that had played on an album he produced with Snatam Kaur, and she made the introduction. Thank God! And that's how I finally found Jamshied Sharifi. And I'm so grateful I did."

Jamshied Sharifi is a New York-based composer, producer, and keyboardist. He has composed the scores for feature films including Harriet The Spy, Down To Earth, Clockstoppers, and Rollerball, as well as contributing music to numerous television shows and independent films. He has produced and/or performed with Paula Cole, Ray Charles, Dream Theater, Laurie Anderson, Hassan Hakmoun, Yungchen Lhamo, Mirabai Ceiba, and many others. He produced Snatam Kaur's album, Beloved, which was nominated for the 2019 Best New Age Album Grammy. Sharifi did some orchestrations for Sting's Broadway musical, The Last Ship. His orchestrations for The Band's Visit won the 2018 Tony Award.

In advance of the full album debut, four tracks were released with inspiring videos, including "Akal" (June 2020); "Sa Re Sa Sa" (October 2020); "Breeze At Dawn" (November 2020); and "Alleluia" (December 2020). The duo's high-quality, uplifting videos are available at this YouTube location:

Shunia Album Track List
Sa Re Sa Sa (4:54)
Breeze At Dawn (4:12)
Alleluia (6:51)
Akal (6:48)
Har Hare Han Wahe Guru (6:21)
Ang Sang Wahe Guru (6:42)
Ong Namo (5:37)
Sa Ta Na Ma (8:27)

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