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Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann | Beyond Borders

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Beyond Borders

by Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann

A Global Voyage in Music - World Fusion & Jazz with 35 Musicians from Around the World featuring original compositions by Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann. CD has 16 page booklet & photos.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ciao Bella
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
5:04 album only
2. Fear Not Fear
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
4:42 album only
3. Unidad Anthem
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
1:01 album only
4. Unidad
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
4:55 album only
5. Wherever You Are
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
4:50 album only
6. Shanti Om
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
6:38 album only
7. White Cloud Black Thunder
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
7:14 album only
8. There's Always Hope
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
5:19 album only
9. Love Letters (The Story of Abelard & Heloise)
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
5:20 album only
10. Fun in the Sun
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
7:21 album only
11. Unidad Epilogue
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
0:58 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"From the first notes rising on a guitar's steel string to the last note fading from a trumpet's muted bell, Beyond Borders soars. Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann have crafted a vibrant and fascinating tapestry of music, masterfully woven from a truly kaleidoscopic palate of vocal and instrumental tonal hues." - Eric Sinclair sixstrstories.com

Beyond Borders – The Story (16 Page Narrative Booklet and Photos with Physical CD)

Randy Armstrong has been creating a fusion of jazz, western classical and folk music with musical traditions and instruments from around the world for four decades. He co-founded the pioneering Do’a World Music Ensemble, which welcomed classical and jazz bassist Volker Nahrmann from Hamburg, Germany on its fifth album, World Dance. This launched an enduring musical collaboration for Volker and Randy and the subsequent release of their Hand In Hand CD on the Global Pacific label as Unu Mondo in 1994. Inspired by their love of music and cultures, they tour and travel extensively, drawing inspiration from the world’s diversity. Their compositions take you on a global voyage, from the streets of Havana and Rio de Janeiro, the evocative traditions of India and the Middle East, to the romantic café and cinema music of France and Italy, the haunting sounds of the Native American pow wow, and the worldbeat rhythms of West Africa and the Caribbean, all blended with contemporary jazz, western classical, and folk music influences. Several songs on Beyond Borders are tributes: to jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Beatle George Harrison. The songs also feature many former members of Do’a and Unu Mondo, joined by outstanding world-class musicians from many countries. Five years in the making, Beyond Borders is a “Magnum Opus” for Armstrong and Nahrmann, a collection of songs composed over a 40-year span of creative output, dedicated to the belief that music has the power to uplift the human spirit and be a catalyst for change in the world.

Beyond Borders - The Songs

The Brazilian-flavored Ciao Bella features sublime vocalist Olga Roman of Madrid, Spain and percussionist Marcus Santos from San Paulo, Brazil, as well as drummer Henrique De Almeida, originally from Recife, Brazil. Olga’s soaring voice is also heard in Unu Mondo’s Brazilian-style song, Alegria, on the Hand In Hand CD. She was a natural choice to sing the melody on Ciao Bella. Henrique also performed on Hand In Hand, released in 1994 on Global Pacific Records.

Volker Nahrmann – composer, electric bass, keyboards
Randy Armstrong - co-composer, guitars, cavaquinho, berimbau, ganza, shakers
Olga Roman - vocals
Marcus Santos – cuica, pandeiro, tambourim, atabaque
Henrique De Almeida – drums

The contemporary Latin Jazz song, Fear Not Fear, was inspired by an etching entitled The Crimson Coloured Ark by American artist Stephen Brandon, and reflects the triumph of human hearts over the many fears and challenges that all people experience through the journey of life. The song features Andres Espinoza from Santiago, Chile, on congas and bongos, the drumming of Jose Duque from Caracas, Venezuela, and former Unu Mondo saxophonist, Ken Gable.

Randy Armstrong – composer, guitars, synth-guitar, shakers, guiro, percussion
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, upright bass
Ken Gable – alto saxophone
Andres Espinoza – congas, bongo
Jose Duque – drums


Unidad Anthem is the prelude and introduction to Unidad and composed as a tribute to legendary jazz trumpeter and Bahá'í brother Dizzy Gillespie, who introduced the music of Cuba and Brazil to audiences throughout the United States and the world. Dizzy was not only a great musician but a musical ambassador and humanitarian who demonstrated the unity of the human race through his United Nations Orchestra. The song features virtuoso trumpeter Yaure Muniz from Havana, Cuba.

In 1976, Do’a members Randy Armstrong ad Ken LaRoche performed an opening set for the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet at Sandy’s Jazz Revival in Beverly, Massachusetts. Do’a had just recorded its first album, Light Upon Light, on the Philo / Rounder label and Dizzy endorsed it as “One of the important contributions to future of our music”. Dizzy also gave some important advice and suggested adding percussion to their sound. His generosity of spirit, encouragement, and advice launched a lifelong passion for the study of world rhythms and music. Unidad was composed as a tribute to Dizzy in 1978 and only performed in its original form once by Do’a World Music Ensemble. After a concert tour in Cuba in 2012, Volker and Randy reworked the song into a Latin Jazz arrangement featuring Cuban trumpeter Yaure Muniz with saxophonist Charlie Jennison and Walt Bostian on trombone rounding out the horn section. Andres Espinoza adds Latin percussion playing congas, timbales, and guiro, with Jose Duque on drums.

Randy Armstrong – composer, acoustic guitars, Cuban tres, clave, maracas, mambo bell
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, Ampeg baby bass, piano, keyboards, horn arrangements
Olga Roman – vocals
Yaure Muniz – trumpet, flugelhorn
Charlie Jennison – tenor saxophone
Walt Bostian – trombone, bass trombone
Andres Espinoza – congas, timbales, guiro, bongo cowbell
Jose Duque – drums


5. WHEREVER YOU ARE (Rupak / Dawr Hindi – 7 Beat Cycle)
Wherever You Are is composed in a 7-beat cycle taken from the Indian rhythm, Rupak, and the Middle-Eastern rhythm, Dawr Hindi. Over the years, Randy has worked as a teaching artist in hundreds of artist-in-residence programs at public and private schools, universities, cultural institutions, and programs that support children with disabilities and at-risk and abused youth. During one residency, he offered a music-therapy session in which a young girl was very distraught after a visit with her mother. To console her, Randy began an improvised call-and-response chant in which he sang, “Wherever You Are” and she sang, “Mommy”, over and over. She gradually became calm. It was a very moving experience and later, the simple chant was expanded into a song with lyrics that express the love between a child and a parent, and can also be interpreted as the longing between two lovers or between the seeker and the Divine. The song features the voice of Hallie Fuller in a duet with Randy and the darbuka, played by Iranian-born percussionist Shamou, with Ken Gable on alto saxophone.

Randy Armstrong – composer, guitars, vocals, Hawaiian slide guitar, Konnakol vocals, percussion
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, fretless bass, keyboards, sound effects
Hallie Fuller – vocals
Ken Gable – alto sax
Shamou – darbuka
Jose Duque – drums


Shanti Om, a composition inspired by the mystical and ancient music of India, features the sitar, tabla, dilruba and upright bass. It honors Ravi Shankar and George Harrison, who played a pivotal role in introducing Western audiences to the music of India. Shanti Om was performed as the finale of a score composed for the 2014 Phillips Exeter Academy production of “The Mahabharata”, the epic poem of India. The song features longtime musical associate Marty Quinn on tabla and vocals, Raghav Bhat on Carnatic violin, and Vidhya Bhat on vocals. It is a fusion of Indian classical, folkloric, and Bollywood styles with western pop and jazz.

Randy Armstrong – composer, sitar, tabla, tanpura/tamboura, manjira/zils, tambourine, gungroo bells, acoustic guitar, swarmandal zither, shakers, percussion, keyboards
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, upright bass, dilruba, keyboards
Marty Quinn – tabla, drums, vocals
Raghav Bhat – Carnatic violin
Vidyha Bhat, vocals


Featuring the Native American Music Award (Nammy) winning Black Thunder Singers, White Cloud Black Thunder highlights the beauty of the Lakota courting flute fused with contemporary jazz. In the early 1990s, Randy participated in a Native American gathering in British Columbia where he received his first Lakota courting flute along with some instruction from master Lakota flute player and hoop dancer Kevin Locke. Following the improvised studio recording of “Lakota” on Unu Mondo’s album, Hand in Hand, Randy and Volker always had a freely improvised song for this flute in our live shows. Volker decided to compose a melody specifically using the natural scale of the Lakota flute and has since harmonized it to transport the theme into a more urban setting. During the recording process, he and his family attended a Native American Pow Wow and heard the powerful drumming and singing of the Black Thunder Singers and he immediately invited them to perform on the song. White Cloud Black Thunder celebrates the power of the natural world and of Native American and Indigenous cultures and music.

Volker Nahrmann - composer, upright bass, keyboards, sound effects
Randy Armstrong – co-composer, Lakota courting flute, guitars, tambourine, percussion, sound effects, aluminum pot lid
Black Thunder Singers* – vocals, ceremonial drum
Ken Gable – alto sax
Henrique De Almeida – drums

*Black Thunder Singers – Ernie Proper • Scott Devoid • Jamie Burson • Nathan J. Johnson • Bradley Clark • Edward B. Rodrigue Jr. • Coline F. Rodrigue • Katherine Devoid • Heather Shea-Clark • Chelsea Rodrigue • Brianna Rodrigue


After the release of the Do’a album, Ornament of Hope, in the late 1970s, the management and booking agent for the Paul Winter Consort began booking engagements for Do’a and on several occasions they shared the stage at festivals and concerts. Inspired by the Paul Winter Consort’s musical work as environmentalists, There’s Always Hope was composed. In an early concert performance of the song, Volker and Randy were joined by cellist Eugene Friesen of the Paul Winter Consort. They loved his sound and spirit so much that they asked him back when recording “Hope”. Also featured are Charlie Jennison on soprano saxophone and former Unu Mondo drummer Bertram Lehmann from Germany. The chorus features members of Voices From The Heart & ConTutti – Hallie Fuller, Julie Haggerty Southworth, and Cynthia Chatis.

Volker Nahrmann – composer, piano, upright bass, keyboards, vocals
Randy Armstrong – co-composer, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, Cameroonian & Thai shakers, vocals, Hawaiian slide guitar
Eugene Friesen – cello, vocals
Charlie Jennison – soprano saxophone
Bertram Lehmann – drums
Hallie Fuller – vocals
Julie Haggerty Southworth – vocals
Cynthia Chatis – vocals


The theme of this song was originally composed for the Pontine Theatre production “Correspondence of Desires” in 1993 and is based on the tragic love story of Abelard and Heloise in medieval France. The music for this song evokes the beautiful café music of France and cinematic film music of Italy and features Volker on bowed upright bass and Randy on classical guitar.

Randy Armstrong – composer, classical & acoustic guitars, percussion
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, upright bass, melodica, piano, keyboards


Fun In The Sun is an upbeat musical celebration of the vibrant Afro-Caribbean music and rhythms of West Africa. It features Theo Martey from Accra, Ghana, on vocals with members of his Akwaaba Ensemble, Evelyn Martey on vocals and master drummer Saeed Abbas on Donno talking drum. Henrique De Almeida plays drums, and backing vocalists are Hallie Fuller, Julie Haggerty Southworth, and Cynthia Chatis, with lyrics in the Ga language and in English.

Volker Nahrmann – composer, electric bass, keyboards
Randy Armstrong – co-composer, guitars, treble & alto kalimba, djembe, balafon, gankoqui & agogo bells, grello/firikyiwa castanets, Brazilian caxixi and Cameroonian shakers. sweeping broom
Theo Martey – vocals, djembe
Saeed Abbas – dondo talking drum
Ken Gable – alto saxophone
Henrique De Almeida - drums
Evelyn Martey – vocals
Hallie Fuller – vocals
Julie Haggerty Southworth – vocals
Cynthia Chatis – vocals


A postlude to Unidad – Tribute To Dizzy Gillespie and closing piece to Beyond Borders, with Yaure Muniz on Harmon muted trumpet solo.

Randy Armstrong – composer, acoustic guitar
Volker Nahrmann – co-composer, upright bass
Yaure Muniz – trumpet


Recorded at Beauty Hill Recording Studio, Barrington, New Hampshire 03825 USA
Engineered by Randy Armstrong, Volker Nahrmann & Nick Phaneuf
Produced by Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann
Mastered by Lane Gibson Recording & Mastering, Williston, Vermont 05495 USA

Photography by Sofia Piel, Susan Downing, Volker Nahrmann, Indira Leal
Cover photo by duncan1890 licensed from Getty Images
Booklet Copy Editing by Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Printed, pressed and packaged by Oasis Disc Manufacturing


What The Reviewers Say...

"A sure-fingered guitar virtuoso." —Boston Globe

"Randy Armstrong is a virtuoso of versatility." —NH Magazine

"A sonic joyride from start to finish." —Portsmouth Herald

"One of the hottest world music bands on the planet." —The Patriot News

"Ridiculously Talented" —Metroland

The Boston Pheonix stated "Nahrmann's hypnotic solo nearly stopped the show"



to write a review

Robert Steven Silverstein

An essential global village CD soundtrack for the 21st century
Guitarist Randy Armstrong joins forces with bass player Volker Nahrmann on the 2015 CD release of Beyond Borders. More than a collection of tracks, the album is a scenic travelogue covering a range of World Beat music with the accent on Latin, Brazilian and Indian music and those genres are just some of the scenic signposts dotting the album’s sweeping terrain. In addition to his expert synth guitar work and his background in exotic percussion, Randy Armstrong is a seasoned guitarist who is equally gifted on both classical, steel string and electric guitars and he uses all of it to enhance the sound. Volker Narhmann gives the album its tasteful sonic thunder so to speak and he plays a range of different acoustic and electric basses. Also worth noting is the muted trumpet sound of Cuban-born musician, Yaure Muniz. The CD features numerous guest musicians, including some excellent percussionists, ranging from full kit to incidental percussive sounds. There’s a colorful and well done CD booklet featuring track by track details of the wide range of music here, including tracks devoted to Ravi Shankar, George Harrison and Dizzy Gillespie. Surprisingly, instead of being made in Rio or even L.A., Beyond Borders was recorded in Barrington, New Hampshire but if you close your eyes you can feel the music carry you beyond borders indeed. Filled with cool World Beat moods and meditative Global Groove sounds, Beyond Borders will take your mind to far off lands.


This recording, Beyond Borders, by Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann is a world-fusion album that furthers the journey around the world these two have literally and musically pursued the past four decades (most prominently in their successful groups the Do’a World Music Ensemble and Unu Mondo). Armstrong plays guitar and many stringed and percussive instruments from everywhere on the globe, and Nahrmann performs on acoustic and electric basses (including fretless electric) and occasional keyboards.

When you first listen to the album you might think it is mostly Brazilian/Latin-jazz music because the first four tracks (and the minute-long closer) fall into that category (some of the music is a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie who early in his career recorded several Brazilian-influenced albums). But there also is a sitar India-inspired tune (“Shanti Om - Dedicated to Ravi Shankar and George Harrison”), a Native American flute track that turns into an ethnic jazz piece, the Afro-Cuban “Fun in the Sun,” a Mideast number, and the soft-and-slow “Love Letters” which has a French cafe accordion sound.

This is an exciting multi-cultural CD featuring musicians and singers from many countries. It is a pleasure to hear such top-level musicians as Armstrong and Nahrmann, but adding depth and spice are special guests on horns, drums and ethnic instruments. This melting pot of sounds and styles is enjoyable throughout and highly recommended.

Steve Sheppard One World Music

Ssomething for everyone on Beyond Borders
It’s incredible when I look back at the years, they have just rolled on by relentlessly and it still seems like much of life was a dream, well Randy Armstrong has amassed that same time period in the music business and for this release the collaboration that has been so successful with Jazz bassist Volker Nahrmann is brought to our musical table.
If you’re new to them, you are about to fall in love with some of the coolest and sultry World Jazz fusion there is. For example the opening piece is called Ciao Bella and is such a fine example of smooth Jazz as you would ever wish to hear, for some bizarre reason my dog adored the track and danced and barked around the room in glee, but apart from canine approval, this has a wonderful Brazilian feel to it and the vocals of Olga Roman were an absolute delight as well.
Beyond Borders is an album that has just about everything to please your wide and varied tastes dear reader and listener, example in case is the next piece called Fear Not Fear. With a subtle Latin influence, here is a track that has some stunning Sax by the magical Ken Gable and some quite delectable guitar from the man himself, Randy Armstrong.
If you liked that one dear reader and I am sure you did, you will adore these next two pieces entirely, we arrive at a tribute to the great Dizzy Gillespie. We have back two back tracks called, Unidad Anthem and Unidad, the first piece is a prelude to the second which is lively and ultra-danceable and delightfully rhythmic, a Cuban composition that brings to your ears all the very best aspects of the world jazz fusion genre, the trumpeter is the talented and stylish Yaure Muniz and his playing not only does justice to the great man, it also honours him.
One of the most interesting pieces on the album is this one called Wherever You Are. Randy is joined by Hallie Fuller on vocals and brings us not just a good song, but one with a loving story. The narrative comes from Armstrong’s work as a resident teaching artist, when he managed to calm a distraught girl in one of his music therapy sessions by repeating the chant, “wherever you are”, her response to him and his retort after, would eventually go on to become this song, but if you wish to find out the full story behind this beautiful track, you’re going to have to buy the album.
Now time for another dedication to two men who were partly responsible for changing the face of modern western music, in Ravi Shankar and George Harrison, the header for this piece is Shanti Om. Here Armstrong has manifested a level of honour so deep in music that the reverberations will last for ever.
The influence of the two aforementioned musicians in bringing Indian musing to our attention will never be forgotten and on this track the talents of Marty Quinn on Tabla drums and Raghav Bhat on Violin can be heard, but also listen out for some of the best bass your ever likely to hear from a true master, in Volker Nahrmann, towards the latter half of the composition, he absolutely excels in his art.
To emphasize the point of crossing musical boundaries and to showcase one of the best Native American fusion tracks we have probably ever heard, we come to the OWMR office’s favourite track off the album, the quite breath taking White Cloud Black Thunder. Armstrong does the ancestors proud with his performance on flute in this piece, which also contains the Nammy winning Black Thunder Singers and a wondrous concoction of indigenous jazz ensues. Armstrong’s Lakota courting flute is magical, but please, a special mention to Henrique De Almeida on drums, I have been to a few pow wows in my time and that beat was perfection.
It was nice to see a familiar face on the next track called There’s Always Hope. We have worked on many albums that Eugene Friesen is featured on and his quality shines through here in Armstrong’s returns to an early worked released back originally in the 70’s by the band Do’a. There is a really beautiful motif to this song and if there was one piece of music to emphasise the word hope, then perhaps this would be it.
Now we move gently into the realm of an arrangement called Love Letters-The Story of Abelard and Heloise. As an acoustic guitarist myself I really appreciated this one, the delicate tempo and mood filled arrangement, the slightly mournful approach was a delight to bathe in. Please also take some time to listen to the bass work by Nahrmann on this composition; it’s something not to be missed.
So from the cafés of France we now fly way down south and to a different continent entirely. Reminding me of the work of James Asher and Feet in the Soil, Armstrong and Nahrmann gift us a track guaranteed to bring a broad smile to your face and have your feet tapping, called Fun in the Sun. This breath-taking and completely enjoyable track includes the skills of Theo Martey, Evelyn Martey, and Saeed Abbas on various percussive instrumentation and vocals. There is simply nothing to dislike in this piece and is a real celebration of music. Also listen out for some brilliant interplay from Armstrong on electric guitar and Ken Gable on Sax, and yes, this one is another station favourite.
So we have once more reached the final frontier of another review and we will finish with the final tribute to Dizzy Gillespie with Unidad Epilogue which once again features Yaure Muniz, but this time on muted Trumpet and in all honesty it is a both a respectful and quite beautiful way to leave one of the most enjoyable albums I have had the pleasure to listen to this year.

What the people say...

Testimonials & Reviews
BEYOND BORDERS - Testimonials & Reviews:
“Right off the bat Beyond Borders won me over! The first two songs, reminiscent of the great 1970s band Return To Forever, brought a quick smile to my face. I kept that smile as tracks 3 thru 11 took me on a very entertaining adventure of musical styles from many cultures. Throughout, the performances are first rate. In particular, the rhythm section is amazing on all the songs. I am partial to guitar playing and Randy Armstrong plays beautifully and strong in a very wide range of styles. There really is something for everyone to enjoy on Beyond Borders, “A Global Voyage in Music”. Gary Traversy - garysguitars.biz

“Much like the terrain covered in the origin of inspirations, these songs traverse a multitude of moods, replete with buoyant melodies, insistent rhythms, and an ecstatic energy that aims to keep us dancing long after the album ends.” Nat Baldwin – bassist/singer, Dirty Projectors

“Beyond Borders reflects the musical breadth and spiritual depth of a global treasure. Randy Armstrong, a musical polymath, has pursued issues of peace and reconciliation through his music for his entire career. With his collaborator, Volker Nahrmann, they traverse the known world in search of instruments and musical idioms that speak to the depth of the human experience, bringing together instruments and traditions that rarely make sense in the same work. Through the vision of these men, the world grows closer together, more united. This music energizes and comforts. Listening to it, I sense an expansion of my consciousness and hear an invitation to peace. Everyone should listen to this music!” Reverend Robert Thompson – Minister, Phillips Church

“Randy Armstrong's talent both redefines and reaffirms my notions of beauty and creativity. I've directed theatrical productions at Phillips Exeter Academy for over twenty years and working with Randy has inspired me to do my best work. His music accesses deeper realms, yet seems to know no limits. Our collaborations have always inspired me to think and feel more inventively. He is a true artist who has access to the rhythms and tones of our humanity. My own artistic development and my growth as a human being has been transformed; that is his gift to us. Beyond Borders is aptly named, because Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann’s music is a language of transcendence; it reminds us that we are all connected to one another.” Rob Richards – Actor/Director/Teaching Artist, Phillips Exeter Academy Theater Department, Chair

"Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann have not only gone Beyond Borders, but they have masterfully blurred cultural boundaries to fuse together sounds and styles from around the world. Truly a wonderful musical experience." Beverly Perriccio – Music Educator & Trumpet Player

“Every song on Beyond Borders makes me want to visit the place and culture that inspired the music. Fantastic World Tour!” Linda Safford – Yoga Teacher

"While it could be said that Beyond Borders celebrates and showcases many diverse musical tastings--and what delightful tastes indeed--what I most enjoyed is that 'taste' has been given 'trajectory' to marry exploration and thrill, reflection and play, stunning sounds and palettes with thoughtful expression and splendid flare. This gift of a recording, largely in moderate canvases, finds a way to reveal music-making that only could be realized through a wealth of decades worth of sharings, livings, breathings, adventurings...to become global then as much through temporal immersion and long accretion as by invigorating cultural love, passion, and interest for the Other and others 'through' the Other and others. To listen and thereby travel as such: that is, to invite taste, our tastes and tastings, to dance these worlds." Dr. Jon Sakata - Concert Pianist & Transdisciplinary Artisan

“Beyond Borders creates a soundscape born from the heart, inspired by the world and expressed in a rich sonic tapestry.” Joe Murphy – Classical Vocalist

“Beyond Borders is an impressive collection of different worlds of music united by Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann’s spectacular playing and composing. In fact, I especially liked the Ravi Shankar/George Harrison tribute, Shanti Om and the lovely and elegant, Lover Letters telling the story of Abelard and Heloise. Susie Burke, Singer/Songwriter - burkesurette.com

"Exotic and exciting in its best sense, Beyond Borders takes the listener on a colorful musical ride filled with creative ideas and sound effects coming from original composition of the finest. An impressive work that makes the term ‘world music’ speak for itself." Petra Pacaric, Vocal Artist

"Beyond Borders is a magical journey through many different musical genres - even within the same song. The unexpected juxtapositions of style and the extraordinary musicianship make this an album to be treasured and listened to over and over, truly a triumph for Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann.” Genevieve Aichele, Artistic Director - New Hampshire Theatre Project

"I highly recommend this beautifully and imaginatively crafted eclectic cross-over recording of jazz inspired world fusion. Beyond Borders is superlative! Executed at the highest level, Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrman have assembled some of the best players on the planet and produced an album of original music setting a standard for world class musicality, inspiration…and fun!” David Wold - Artistic Director, Abendmusik Fine Arts Concert Series

Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Over the past four decades, guitarist Randy Armstrong and bassist Volker Nahrmann (who also both play a wide variety of other instruments) have toured the globe, absorbing international musical traditions like a sponge. With the release of “Beyond Borders,” they have taken their rich musical fusion to new levels. The album includes an impressive list of global musicians and cultural influences. And as always, it is dedicated to the belief that music has the power to uplift the human spirit and be a catalyst for change in the world. The album artwork is exquisite and comes with a full-color 16 page booklet of photos and info about the songs and the project overall that adds greatly to the experience of “Beyond Borders.”

The sound of Brazil fills the air as the album takes flight with a lively propulsive track called “Ciao Bella” featuring the scat vocalizing of Olga Roman from Spain. The album contains several tributes to well-known musicians who have influenced Randy and Volker. Dizzy Gillespie was a big fan of Latin rhythms and that fiery influence is beautifully captured in a loving tribute to him. The next homage on “Beyond Borders” is entitled “Shanti Om – Dedicated to Ravi Shankar and George Harrison.” Not surprisingly, this track begins meditatively with sitar and tamboura before moving into a more rhythmic passage with guitar, Carnatic violin, keyboards, vocals, various percussion, and tabla drums.

The next track, “White Cloud Black Thunder” celebrates the power of the natural world and of the Native American culture. This piece is a fascinating fusion of traditional Native American singing and drumming with contemporary jazz elements. Evoking a more new age ambiance than most of the songs on the album is a lovely piece entitled “There’s Always Hope,” which features Grammy winning cellist Eugene Friesen of The Paul Winter Consort. The decidedly celebratory “Fun In The Sun” reflects the vibrant Afro-Caribbean music and rhythms of West Africa with a number of percussionists and vocalists from that part of the world. It’s hard to sit still while listening to this one!

“Beyond Borders” certainly lives up to its title, providing a veritable melting pot of world music influences that transcend cultural boundaries and is a stunning statement from two consummate musicians who have dedicated their lives and artistry to the betterment of humanity and the planet we live on.

To read a full length feature article on this CD, as well as others, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

For this listener Beyond Borders was like a guide to syncing my soul with my sur
Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann have released a jazz world fusion album that reminded me of why I fell in love with jazz back in the early eighties listening to Al DiMeola, Jean Luc Ponty and Stanley Clark. Those artists showed me the way and invited me to explore a complex genre of music that offers a journey that never ends.

With Beyond Borders, one of many releases that this duo has brought to the masses over the years, they have reestablished their place in the world of music. Several songs on Beyond Borders are tributes to jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Beatle George Harrison.

I do not use the term world lightly; if you look at the fascinating and expressive cover it says it all for these artists. To me, the cover conveys that we are one people on this vast globe and music can unite us. So, let’s try to make our own music as a sentient race and make this a better place to live. This of course leaves the door open to your own personal interpretation and that is the beauty of such a stunning work of art as portrayed on the cover of this CD and all the music that it contains. As quoted from the artist page “Beyond Borders is considered their “Magnum Opus” featuring a collection of songs composed over a 40-year span of creative output, dedicated to the belief that music has the power to uplift the human spirit and be a catalyst for change in the world.” I think that puts it all into a proper perspective.

The term jazz world fusion comes into perfect focus with the opening track “Ciao Bella” (which was featured on Rate The Tracks). In Italian it translates to "Hi/Bye Beautiful," and what a hello it is. The first time I heard the sitar in popular music was back in the 60s when George Harrison introduced it into The Beatles music. I cannot say it is an instrument that fascinates me like some others however in this particular case I was amazed how beautiful and appropriate it sounded in “Shanti Om,” the dedication to Harrison and Shankar. It is one of the best tracks on the recording. The myriad of instruments employed throughout this project make it one of the more eclectic listens of the year.

There is something to take into account regarding the flow and energy in life, it is crucial to the balance of the body, mind and spirit. With that in mind I realized after a few listens to this captivating album that this brought this concept to the forefront of my consciousness.

“White Cloud Black Thunder” is another prolific change during the course of this album. It is a reminder of from whence we came and encourages us to honor our Native American brothers and sisters that gave us so much while receiving so little during the development of our great nation. It serves as a rain dance of life with tribal beats and chants accompanied by music that will mesmerize you.

For this listener Beyond Borders was like a guide to syncing my soul with my surroundings and finding more appreciation for the beauty of the human spirit and how Mother Nature can be one with us. The key is that we honor her rather than interfere with that delicate balance and synchronicity that is necessary for a spiritual partnership, one that has always been there. All of that and more can be discovered in the music, it invites you and cajoles you into a perfect blend of sound and textures that bring you to another place that is pure and feels right. In essence everything about this release reaches Beyond Borders, in fact any lines in the sand or self-imposed restrictions melt away, they all disappear after one listen. Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann have created a masterpiece of jazz world fusion that will surely receive high praise for quite some time.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Ciao Bella, Shanti Om, White Cloud Black Thunder
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
August 6, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews