This weekend you can enjoy a free, 3-day, online music festival featuring some of the most respected artists in the fields of ambient, electronic, spiritual, trance, and new age music. Titled Soundquest Fest, the event will include a series of performances created especially for the event, as well as interviews with key artists, and evocative music videos. (See https://soundquestfest.live/ for a complete schedule for all three days, as well as artist bios and other information.)
During Saturday’s offerings, Eponaquest founder Linda Kohanov and her husband, Grammy nominated electronic/ambient pioneer Steve Roach will debut a music video to the public that will be of interest to anyone who wants to tap a state of consciousness conducive to physical/mental/emotional balance, creativity, and openness to connection with others. The video, with original music and images, features slowly evolving photos of the Eponaquest horses, the surrounding desert and mountains, and stunning sunsets that take place at the Eponaquest home base in Arizona. For those of you who have studied at the ranch over the years, it’s a powerful way to travel back to this soulful land. And for those of you who’ve never had a chance to visit the ranch and meet the horses, it’s a wonderful way to connect more deeply with the scenery, horses, and expansive feelings that inspired the stories Linda has shared in her five books.
Linda explains more about the creation and purpose of the video, and highlights from the upcoming festival overall, in this edition of the Eponaquest News:
For the last few years, my Eponaquest instructor colleagues and I have found it highly productive to teach people how to access what’s known as “coherence,” a particular state of consciousness that can draw people and animals out of dysregulated, flight or fight states, into a physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced state of relaxed alertness conducive to enhanced creativity and deeper connection with others. In studies I’ve worked on with Dr. Ann Baldwin from the University of Arizona, we also found that horses are intensely attracted to people who become coherent, so it’s also helpful for people who work with horses and other animals.
It’s a simple technique to learn really, but it is counterinstinctual, so it’s hard to stumble upon this state accidentally, and you really do have to practice it to even remember to access it during stressful situations. Last fall, during the production of my online video course Connections 101: Life Wisdom from the Herd, I wanted to figure out an evocative way to teach this technique online as well as offer some background on the science behind it. I also show video of how a horse’s demeanor can change instantly for the better when people become coherent.
Still, I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to create an original music video that would help people to shift into this state. So I commissioned my husband Steve Roach to work with me on this project. Based on the science behind coherence, we used a particular sequence of chords with a specific timing of those chords that has been shown to draw people into this state, enhanced by the kinds of images that have been shown to encourage coherence. The resulting music video, called “Breath Connection,” was debuted in January as a part of that course. (To access this self-paced, 7-hour online course: https://nelda.tv/connections-with-linda-kohanov/ Use the coupon code “15soundquest” to receive 15 percent off the tuition during the Soundquest Fest weekend. This special offer expires March 31.)
In creating this piece with Steve, I got “back in the saddle” so to speak as a musician who had studied composition in college. It was delightful to be a part of the composition process, playing the bassline as well as an expansive melodic line, with Steve creating the chords and these beautiful pianistic melodic constellations. While our original motivation for creating this piece was more practical than artistic, it turned out to be a very expansive, symphonic electronic piece that we both found to be moving emotionally as well. So much so that Steve decided to put this piece on his new album As It Is, which will be released April 2. For Soundquest Fest this weekend, we decided to make the music video accessible to the public during this international event. You will be able to watch it on Saturday at around 7:15 pm Eastern, 4:15 Pacific, as one of the many offerings featured during this 3-day event.
Steve originally created the Soundquest Fest as a live gathering of international artists 10 years ago, and it was a real success. He had been planning to produce another Soundquest Fest slated for spring 2021. However, COVID threatened to postpone this event: That is until his frequent collaborator Serena Gabriel said, “Hey why don’t we do an online festival instead?” It turned out to be a marvelous idea. Lots of work has gone into this three-day festival, by Steve, Serena, and all the musicians. A number of sponsors made it possible, along with expert production supervision by Eric Freeman, who is also one of the producers of my online course.
To see the full schedule of events, scroll down the https://soundquestfest.live/ link where you can see what’s happening each day, and access the bios of all the artists. Most of the action happens late afternoon into the evening. I know that many of my Eponaquest colleagues and students will especially enjoy the “Sacred Sunday” concerts on the 28th that will take place in the morning/early afternoon (depending on your time zone). These concerts will emphasize contemplative, devotional, meditative music. I’m also very pleased to see some wonderful performances by two women artists: Serena Gabriel and Madhavi Devi.
The field of electronic/ambient music was developed primarily by some very creative men, including Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Robert Rich, Howard Givens, Erik Wollo, Ian Body, and Jeff Greinke (all of whom will perform during this weekend’s Soundquest Fest). But there is a unique quality of subtlety, celestial instrumentals, and stirring vocals that only a woman seems to be able to bring to the music. Both Serena and Madhavi are multi-instrumentalists, vocalists and recording artists who also work in other artistic fields, including the visual arts, creative video production and dance, and both also have done extensive studies in the healing arts. This brings a dimension to their music that is very moving and unique. Serena’s solo concert on Saturday night has some evocative video images that add subtle yet powerful accents to the music she is performing. She will also perform a contemplative duo concert with Steve during the Sacred Sunday offerings. Madhavi, a harpist and vocalist as well as talented electronic music artist, will perform with Howard Givens during the Sacred Sunday offerings. And Steve’s solo concert, which concludes the festival Sunday night, is an extraordinary journey beyond time and space.
All of the artists are performing at the top of their game here. According to Steve, the festival’s mission is to “create three days of global connection, togetherness, and inspiration through the power of sound and vision during this consequential and unique moment in time.” I hope you have some time to take advantage of this free event that has become a real celebration of creativity in the midst of life’s challenges.