292. World Maestro, Colin O’Donohoe, Conductor of the Pangean Orchestra
Welcome to episode #292 of dHarmic Evolution
It is with pleasure for me to introduce the only symphony conductor we have ever had on the Dharmic Evolution. Drummer, composer, and “World Maestro”, let’s welcome for the third time on the show, Colin Donohoe! The last twelve months have been both awesome and crazy for Colin. He and his wife, Ceren, wanted to be away and be in the woods to concentrate on the projects they are working on. Hence, they are currently in the beautiful state of Oregon. Unfortunately, there was a major fire in Oregon recently. Colin expressed his gratefulness and admiration to the dedicated team of firefighters. In dire circumstances, the team was able to drive the residents away from the fire while they were driving into the fire. And because of these efforts, they were able to come back safely home.
Pivotal moments in Mongolia
About a year ago, Colin embarked on a tour to Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia. This was a part of the project he was working on for his orchestra, “The Pangean Orchestra” wherein he interviews at least one musician from every country. He delved into the approaches, technical aspects of the instruments, and just learning their music in general. One of the most pivotal moments for him was in Mongolia where he was able to see a lot of concerts, jam with bands backstage, and what it is like to be a musician in Mongolia. He jammed with the musicians using his Kanjira which is an Indian drum (a very small frame drum, but it gives the characteristics of a drum set). Although they needed a translator from Mongolian or other languages to English, these musicians are totally eloquent. They blended pretty well and music has been their language.
The Prayer Garden
This project was born in Mongolia. Colin and Ceren went there to unplug from the world, get away from news and social media. Moreover, they went to the Gobi Desert, where there was no WiFi, literally nothing except endless sky and white foxes. Consequently, they were forced to live in the moment and just have a spiritual and peaceful time.
Then at one of the concerts in Mongolia, they heard a woman announcer mispronouncing some English words. It sounded like “Prayer Garden”, but she actually said player something. As a result, the epiphany came to Colin, and realized that it is a good concept. However, his father died in February. Then they came back to Arizona to be with his mother, unfortunately, COVID-19 broke out.
Due to the pandemic where everyone cannot go out and Colin had to take care of his mother, Colin, also needed an escape from everything that was going on. And so together with Ceren, they created The Prayer Garden. Wanting to be in a good space and just getting away from the anxiety, and apprehension during the pandemic, and also the recent loss of his father, Colin was able to write these incredible tracks. It initially started as a live stream, then he continued working out on the music and created a cinematic soundscape that would go underneath it. Because The Prayer Garden is supposed to bring the listener deeper into a meditational or relaxed state, he wanted to play something that was a bit of a flourish and a bit virtuosic, but also musical; it has to be melodic. He always makes sure the spirit of the piece is paramount, and that his playing should only be supporting the piece which is to bring people into peace and calm.
Check out The Prayer Garden from the links below; this was just released on 10/16/2020. He also released an EP called The Sunset Serenity Mixes.
4:32 Experiences in Oregon and the recent major fire
8:19 Asian tour and pivotal moments in Mongolia
12:44 Listen to “Eloquent” by Colin O’Donohoe
16:50 The birth of “The Prayer Garden” album
25:54 Listen to “Inhale” by Colin O’Donohoe
30:24 Music is an escape and writing the tracks
33:32 Using space in music
38:11 Listen to “Morning Air” by Colin O’Donohoe
43:21 Where did Colin record the tracks
45:22 Plans on where to go next
49:52 Listen to “Solace” by Colin O’Donohoe
55:53 Does Colin find it difficult to connect with English translators when he interviews musicians from other countries
59:54 How are Colin’s kids doing?
1:00:26 Words of wisdom from Colin
1:04:35 Listen to “Connected” by James Kevin O’Connor
24:20 It's funny you wrote the track. But as you're recording and practicing to it, you let the track speak to you. And you start to learn the track, and it's weird because you created it. You should know what the track wants, but now the track is its own entity. It's it is own thing. It has its own characteristics. And you listen back at it, you say, oh! I should be playing this here. Oh, that's what you want. And you get a relationship going with the music you just wrote.
28:27 Wherever you travel to, you bring a little piece of that back with you.
29:10 Just be alive and let your imagination take you where you want it to go. And if things work, you know, somehow get into your mind while you're listening. That's fine. You know, let it go in there and then let it pass out like a wave and then just be alive in the moment of the music.
29:30 One thing a lot of composers and performers forget is that one of the best things they can do with their music and with their instrument is just not played. Because silence is a note. 29:49 It's called embrace the silences because that's what makes music so beautiful is the spaces
42:59 We’re not trees. We don't have these roots that stick us in the ground. We're human, and humans have moved throughout the history of our species, we move.
43:31 If there's someplace you've always wanted to go to, then start making it a dream of “I've always wanted to see Australia or Ireland” or wherever, and make a plan to go there. Set yourself a plan and a course on how to get there.
45:33 If you're just so passionate about what you're doing, then it's just fun to get up every day.
58:09 But I would encourage all of us for all of our sakes, to take some time out every day, close your phones, close your computers, meditate, go for a walk with the trees. And take some time to get to know yourself. Because it's so easy with the things on our phone to just forget who we are.
Connect with Colin
Selected links and mentions