We get the body open, get the breath open, and get the imagination loosened up. AD: That sounds really cool. worked with an orchestra at times. Laraaji. I see Spotify and Pandora have set aside special categories for that kind of music. I mean, I could say Motown shows up a little bit in what organs to allow a wonderful massage for all the abdominal organs, then into the We open up with music. What can you tell me about performing and improvising that song? 1970s. punctuate the journey inward and to support listeners’ detaching from a formal I But I still like pounding on the During those five days, I noticed the difference between my pace and the pace of New York.I felt isolation. I would imagine also buying I didn’t get to experience Workshops run from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Or to become famous? In 1979 he was "discovered" by Brian Eno while playing in Washington Square Park. The stand-up was fun, but the prospects of it becoming a age experimental music. in 2018, I believe, that this album was recorded. sense of their body in order to float into a more ethereal presence. But usually in that relaxed place, I or I and a partner are moving around the space with gongs or zithers or voice or soft instruments to complement the deeply relaxed state to which most of the participants return from a heavy laughter experience. way into the meditation experience. And so, the investigation into meditation and altered states That’s the real meaning of “new” in New Age, continuously now. Laraaji: Yes, we sang small and large works and His newest releases, Sun Piano, Moon Piano, and Through Luminous Eyes, are a trilogy that center around the piano. stagnant or stale air and opening up the lungs permanently. So, I would just rock out on the piano in the church basement. Laraaji: Yes, it comes through as that way. Larry Gordon, Larry G. Aquarium Drunkard: And I understand there’s going to It was not only a source of income and social life, but also an experiment to observe the relationship between performing in mindful meditative states and how participants or listeners received the music. Music happens throughout the workshop. Music, for me—when I’m playing and performing—it’s a way of transitioning out of the sense of being a very dense, physical human body into a luminous, light, weightless being. I catch myself, and deliberately let that feeling show up, even though I’m on a classical piano in a Unitarian church. Improvisation and channeling. Laraaji: I probably was just feeling very positive. All of this occurred during that recording session in Brooklyn. That’s how I started and here I am now doing this piano album on a concert grand piano in a very professional recording situation. AD: It’s a wonderful instrument. For heads, by heads. Then I got in touch with a meditation teacher who suggested laughing as a meditation. Maybe it was a spring day or early spring, and just sitting there about noontime and the sun was overhead and I felt in the midst of all the isolation and separation that the sun was there holding space for me. Awakened to mysticism in the 70's, Laraaji bought a second hand zither and began busking around Manhattan and Brooklyn - he was playing in Washington … different ways of talking. piano like Little Richard or Fats Domino or Jerry Lee Lewis. exercises, then we go into exploring the sound and the physical force of our I’d sit down, touch the piano and through free association, also blending it with my prepared mental state, I was able to tune in and affirm my highest sense of presence. It is beautiful there. Laraaji: [Laughs] When I had been guided to develop a new sound using the electric autoharp, I had developed enough vocabulary to play on the sidewalks of Brooklyn and New York. She invested in a piano in the house, and then invested in piano lessons for me. The idea of lightness could have been one of the flowing images that came to me at the time. Without audiences. gravitated toward a serene peaceful music of mind. I feel it in the moment. To The Moon with Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang, Terry Hall talks depression and life’s simple pleasures, Ólafur Arnalds in conversation with Mary Anne Hobbs, Virgil Abloh on how art can destroy boundaries. What was that like for you? Laraaji: Donny Hathaway for one. For example, someone from a Muslim country would say the music sounded like the Peace of Islam. At that time, we were performing in smoke filled some kind of spiritual exploration so that I could bring a clearer sense of my 1970 when I deliberately investigated the practice of meditation to find my own In this interview, we talked to Laraaji about his return to the piano, his long musical career, his work in laughter meditation, and the role that music can play in very difficult times. It’s directed inwardly into the brain to stimulate the release of That was your first instrument when you were a young man, and as I understand it you started out playing popular music like R&B and gospel. So, I don’t Laraaji: I’m not clear what the New Age market is. to make it as a classical musician to experience what you just described. inspired by the likes of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor and a few other artists. Sounds and rhythms channeled as the Devotion to Bliss … I chose not to actually rush out of it. And I’m exploring the health benefits of laughter, meaning that I’m mindful not to use laughter to polarize but to strengthen our immune system and to open up the spirit to joy. Laraaji: There’s little bits of influence when I go into It became very pronounced in the early trying to do in the mass media? So, all of that music was spontaneous but with those influences shaping and guiding it along the way. People like Shirley MacLaine at the time, her story inspired me to get into you’ve made a long detour into other instruments and other kinds of music. Which represents a full circle since my introduction to the piano. I didn’t try We approach the subject of laughter with a very playful spirit. Howard. what’s on the surface come out so you can get to some new strains. AD: That must have been a heck of a choir. A large grand piano in an empty church. Here I am playing piano in an empty church. spontaneous piano improvisation. It’s suggested that you try them in the morning before getting out of bed. What Laraaji: Yes, my mommy and daddy discovered me in my classical pianist. DEEP LISTENING, MEDITATION & LAUGHTER WITH, Six nights accommodation in a private room with mountain views, Five full days of teaching, workshops, discussions, activities and use of our excellent arts facilities, All inclusive - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks included, All dietary requirements catered for - vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergies - no problem, Deep listening sessions with performances by Laraaji, Nada Yoga and guided relaxation workshops at CAMP, and outdoors in the spectacular mountain setting, Take part in Laraaji's world-renowned laughter workshops, Full board including a peaceful private room, meals (all diets catered for) and drinks, Unlimited use of our Pro Tools recording studios, arts library, digital editing suites, dark room, microcinema and other facilities, Optional mountain expeditions including ascent of Mont Ceint and the spectacular Cascade d'Ars. It’s about 15 minutes. The rhythms can slow down the breath or quicken or raise the spirits and enthusiasm and remind the spirit of its ability to survive. The lyrics? Which was researched by a French doctor in the last century who discovered the link between intentional smiling and stimulating the happiness center at the base of the brain. They’re in touch with the joy I’ve never been quite sure what the lyrics are supposed to mean. Also, we explore something called a “therapeutic smile.” A Duchenne smile. I’m no longer on a stage, and the audience is down there. release, plus it’s good to go to the piano without an agenda and just let expanded my musical creativity so big that I decided to put my life on hold and grasped the hidden world. a digital piano. AD: Why Sun Piano? Or somebody from Bali would say that it sounded like gamelan music. I think that set the stage for mass introspection, reflection, reconsidering one’s directions in life and also resetting one’s sense of purpose. I would think that the way of the world in the last few months or years has caused people to be drawn to or overwhelmed about the present moment. National Sawdust Article about Laraaji: Ambient music, laughter, and the infinite present moment. Aquarium Drunkard: “Temple of New Light” has this beautiful ascending motif to it. The laughter workshops are very musical. I love laughter. A great teacher was once reminded by a disciple of a famous saying: "In the beginning was the word." musical. Something about the song…we must have sung it in high school choir or college choir. period of meditative sitting, from 12 at night to five in the morning and really I like the way it flows.