Anjali a.k.a. Angela Silva [anjali]
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
I am a performer of spiritual and socially conscious music. My background in world music spans 20+ years. I specialize in East Indian, Brazilian, Latin American and jazz music. My main instrument if voice, yet I play guitar and dabble in percussion and keyboards.
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
Both. I love collaboration and do so whenever I have the opportunity. I have a few global musicians that I like to work with: Jyotsna, Dada Nabhanilananda, and Rainjan Ramon Sosa; as well as local spoken word artists PK McCary and Maria Palacios. I am a resident artist at Ananda Kanan Ozark Retreat Center where I work with different artists twice a year; and at the Ananda Marga Center in Vermont, where I co-teach Prabhat Samgiita workshops in the summer.
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
Please list discography in which you have participated.
The Fairy's Flowers, Anjali, AMGK 2006, produced by Anjali
Garland of Love, Anjali, InnerSong, 2004, produced by Anjali
Sweet Joy, Anjali, InnerSong, 1998, CD release, 2004, produced by Anjali
*as vocal producer/co-vocal producer
Red Earth Fusion, Kirtans from the Rarh Tradition, *Jyoshna and the Kiirtan Choir
Kundalini Xpress II, *Jyotsna, Anjali, Didi AnandaRagamaya, Giita, Anadi,
All My Energy, *Dada Mokseshvarananda, Anjali and Friends,
Chandosiik Productions, 2007
Melodias de Alma, *Rainjan and Anjali, InnerSong, 2007
Women We Are, *Anjali, Didi Ananda Ragamaya, Kamala, Jacquelyn Batisse;
WWDF, 2006, Produced by Anjali Angela Silva
Momentos de Vida, *Dada Rajatakrsna, Anjali, InnerSong, 2001
Daboa - From the Gekko, Frank Harris, Triple Earth Records, 1998
Mystical Garden, *Didi Giitanjali, RagaMala Music, 1998, produced by Anjali
Salamandra, Claudia Gomez, Clarity Records, 1991
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
I come from a matriarchal lineage of musicians that goes back at least 4 generations. I began to sing as a small child - before I could talk, so says my mother! My mother is a concert pianist, choir director and plays several instruments. My siblings and I were all made to learn piano at the age of five. I preferred the guitar and singing. I began to make up songs at an early age and performed them for family and friends. I was very precocious as a young child.
What was your musical education?
I had the great fortune to sing in my mother's folk music group at church when I was around 7 years old. She also led our school choir, thus I began to learn harmony then as well. At age 15, I was introduced to Claudine Spindt of the San Francisco Opera. She was a major vocal teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. Claudine saw great potential in me and took me under her wing. I then went on to study vocals with several other prominent teachers, including noted Hindustani vocalist, Chandrakantha Courtney.
Growing up in the Bay Area, offered me exposure to some of the nations greatest musicians. My studies were done mostly through my working with artists such as Joyce Cooling, Carlos Olivera, Claudia Gomez, Tuck and Patti, Pete Escovedo, and the list goes on. I studied music formally for two years, but was often called to work overseas. The excitement of travel led me to quit school and experience life!
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
I believe in reincarnation. We come from past lives and reap the benefits and sorrows of previous lives. The intensity with which music came through me before I could even speak (I sang along to the radio in perfect pitch) leads me to believe that I am living a continuum of a past life.
There is no other way for me. When I leave music for any time, I feel deep sorrow. I've had to compromise my art since having children and choosing to raise them with full consciousness. The Divine always opens up the space again for Cosmic expression through music. I am truly blessed.
What is your creative process?
I love practicing to my Hindustani vocal tapes; ragas. This puts me into another state of consciousness. From this point, songs evolve, or new arrangements to old songs. My "song writing" is sparse. I am more apt to arrange Prabhat Samgiitas (a body of spiritual songs) or kiirtans. More recently, I've tapped into beautiful interludes; introductions to songs; or interesting guitar voicings. It is very lucid and fluid. I just don't have enough time to do it with a family in tow!
Have you ever awoken with a melody created from your dreams?
There was a period in my life when I was doing intensive spiritual practices - meditation, chanting and asanas. At this time, several songs came through me in dream states, or during meditation. Sometimes the melodies were so insistent that they would not allow me to rest until I had worked on them. I recorded these songs in the CD Sweet Joy, InnerSong.
How did you discover your creative territory? How would you describe it?
Well, I have always sung, danced, played instruments and written songs and stories since I was a child. I was raised in the rich San Francisco Bay Area, which allowed me to experience multi-genres of music and art. This is who I am as a person - a universal chameleon. It is a cherished, Divine gift.
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
I was just thinking about this the other day. There was a time in my career when I sang for several world known artists and got to commune with them: Horace Silver, Joao Donato, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, Manhattan Transfer, and Placido Domingo, to name a few. They each gave me such warmth and encouragement on this path. I was the co-founder of an a capella group with Sweet Honey member Louise Robinson in the early 1980s. I also became good friends with Pete Escovedo of Azteca and sang with him on several occasions. I got to meet the three female activist icons that marked the way for me in life: Joan Baez, Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem. My life has been very rich this way.
Now, who I loved listening to: Ella was my #1 favorite singer. I could listen to her all day; Simone, Milton Nascimento, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Stevie Wonder, Joan Armatrading, Winton and Branford Marsalis, Sarah Vahn, Roberta Flack, Trio Los Panchos, Donnie Hathaway, Sergio Mendez, Santana, Azteca.
What other things have you done to make a living?
In my 20s, I worked for several years cleaning houses to supplement my income. I have always worked in Early Childhood. Presently, I am a kindergarten teacher at a Waldorf School. I love the flexibility and challenge to present materials through artistic medium. I also teach music and movement workshops to under-served children in the inner city.
Anjali a.k.a. Angela Silva