Raphael Groten | Star Lullaby

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Folk: Fingerstyle Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Star Lullaby

by Raphael Groten

Meditative, peaceful and expansive. Heart connection, the mind of peace and the vibration of wonder. Amid the hardships of our times, there’s a wellspring of joy inside us all.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Dawn (Solo)
2:51 $0.99
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2. Waking (Solo)
3:09 $0.99
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3. Mindfulness (Solo)
8:36 $0.99
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4. Guidance (Solo)
3:00 $0.99
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5. Levity (Solo)
2:59 $0.99
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6. Star Lullaby (Solo)
2:45 $0.99
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7. Gratitude (Solo)
1:45 $0.99
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8. Meditation (Solo)
3:51 $0.99
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9. Compassion (Solo)
5:12 $0.99
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10. Opening (Solo)
4:04 $0.99
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11. Fledgling (Solo)
2:44 $0.99
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12. Eclipse (Solo)
2:27 $0.99
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13. Trust (Solo)
2:36 $0.99
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14. Prayer (Solo)
2:15 $0.99
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15. Dawn
3:30 $0.99
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16. Waking
3:11 $0.99
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17. Mindfulness (feat. Charlie Bisharat)
8:36 $0.99
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18. Guidance (feat. Michael Manring)
3:01 $0.99
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19. Levity (feat. Ron Korb & Jeff Haynes)
2:57 $0.99
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20. Star Lullaby (feat. Michael Manring)
2:46 $0.99
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21. Gratitude (feat. Ron Korb)
1:48 $0.99
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22. Meditation (feat. Michael Manring)
4:55 $0.99
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23. Compassion (feat. Eugene Friesen)
5:19 $0.99
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24. Opening
4:04 $0.99
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25. Fledgling
2:41 $0.99
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26. Eclipse
2:56 $0.99
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27. Trust (feat. Eugene Friesen & Will Ackerman)
2:33 $0.99
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28. Prayer
2:26 $0.99
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29. Star Lullaby (Vocals) [feat. Michael Manring & Noah Wilding]
2:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Raphael Groten - guitars, ukulele, percussion, vocals, clay whistle and electric tamboura
Michael Manring - bass on guidance, star lullaby and meditation
Eugene Friesen - cello on compassion and trust
Ron Korb - flute on levity and gratitude
Charlie Bisharat - violin on mindfulness
Jeff Haynes - percussion on levity
Noah Wilding - vocals on star lullaby
Will Ackerman - guitar on trust

Produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and Raphael Groten
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton

Will Ackerman describes the album:
"Raphael Groten’s pieces are a bit like a Japanese rock garden...his compositions on Star Lullaby are wonderfully spare of unnecessary ornamentation and concentrate exclusively on the essential."

A fascinating tour de force and a display of Raphael's acoustic guitar artistry and talent, Star Lullaby is a unique approach to instrumental music. Presented as a two-disc set, the first disc holds fourteen solo guitar pieces played with grace and intimacy, while the second disc offers the same recordings with the addition of stellar guest stars on a variety of accompanying instruments. The resultant contrast turns Star Lullaby into an exploration of two musical landscapes; one of more subtle and personal solo works followed by expanded textures as other instruments are added to the mix on the second disc. Disc two also showcases Groten's versatility; featuring his steel and nylon string guitars, ukulele, percussion, clay whistle and voice. The list of guest artists reads like a "Who's Who" of contemporary instrumentalists: bassist Michael Manring, cellist Eugene Friesen, flutist Ron Korb, violinist Charlie Bisharat, percussionist Jeff Haynes, vocalist Noah Wilding and Will Ackerman on guitar. Star Lullaby was produced by Grammy winner Ackerman, Tom Eaton and the artist. Eaton engineered, mixed and mastered the album.
______________________________________________________

Acoustic guitarist Raphael Groten waited four years to release Star Lullaby, his follow up album to 2015's Journey Home. Many artists might rush to embrace the recognition that Groten achieved with his debut, but he chose to allow the critical success to gestate, to develop into his next step in his recording pantheon. This perseverance was borne of his commitment to personal spiritual growth and to use his talent for the wellbeing of others on a broad scale. In the four years since the release of Journey Home, the artist worked diligently to record its follow-up, his second with Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. The original guitar tracks for this album were recorded at the end of 2015. The featured musicians were added over the last three years. Star Lullaby is, indeed, a culmination of efforts from across the country over the course of four years' time.
Raphael Groten was born in Philadelphia on Christmas Day, 1973, into a true music-loving
environment. From happy times as the family sang during long car trips, to his father’s period of harpsichord study, to the ubiquitous presence of multiple guitars during holiday gatherings, there seemed to be something musical going on at all times. In addition, his father’s sizable jazz and classical vinyl collection, with a particular emphasis on Bossa Nova and Latin jazz, was central to his childhood experience. Raphael began with the saxophone as his chosen instrument, starting with alto sax in the 4th grade and graduating to tenor through grades 7 to 10. He moved on to guitar at age 13, learning basic chords and fingerpicking from his mother and sister, and as they say, the rest is history. While still in high school, he became immersed in folk music, composing over 100 songs with friends who collaborated on lyrics. In 1992, Raphael moved on to formal studies at the University of Vermont, where he majored in Philosophy and minored in Music. After his graduation, he launched his ten-piece Latin/jazz/funk ensemble, Saudade. The group performed extensively during the late '90s in Burlington, Vermont, and released two albums of Raphael's own compositions.
Even as he was experiencing success with his band, something began to stir inside him; some part of him wanted to affect positive change in the world. In 1993, while taking a holistic health class, he met his first shamanic teacher, Susan Grimaldi. She re-entered his life as a healer and teacher in 2002, after his four month old son was involved in a near fatal accident. Raphael first experienced the healing power of sound during that first night in intensive care, as he played guitar for his son, and the following day when a therapeutic harpist played for his family in his son's room. It was in this moment that Raphael had an epiphany - his life calling was to compose, perform and eventually record intentional healing music. Shortly thereafter, he began shamanic studies, first with Grimaldi and later with Zacciah Blackburn in the fields of Sound Healing and consciousness. After years of intensive study, Raphael became a practitioner, offering individual sessions, group work and apprenticeships, using voice, medicine drums, rattles, crystal and brass bowls, gongs, flutes, guitars and more. As an extension of his involvement with sound and consciousness, Raphael enthusiastically enjoys his work as a preschool music teacher and private guitar teacher.
Groten credits the beginning of his recording career to his intuition. During his nightly meditations, he was guided to email his song "Black River" to Will Ackerman, Windham Hill label founder and owner of Imaginary Road Studios. He did so, asking for assistance in producing his first recording of solo guitar for healing. Ackerman responded the next day and a working friendship was formed. Three months later, Journey Home, was recorded at Will’s studio. The experience left a huge impact on Raphael, as he states "I would be remiss in not mentioning the enormous presence of Will Ackerman in my life... I now see, first hand, Will's influence and heart in supporting the music he loves”. That is why Groten returned to Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios for his second album. And it shows in the continued rapport that the Grammy-winning Ackerman has with the relative neophyte, Groten.
The artist's two-disc release, Star Lullaby, displays the special relationship between Raphael and Ackerman in abundance. It will almost certainly grow his following as one of the most promising acoustic guitar instrumentalist composers and performers in the genre.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
With his second album, "Star Lullaby," guitarist Raphael Groten leaves no doubt that he and his music are here to stay. The two-disc set features one album of fourteen solo acoustic guitar tracks and one that includes the same tracks with additional instrumentation plus a vocal version of the title track. With and without the stellar group of musicians who often appear on Will Ackerman’s productions, Groten has created one of the most soothing and relaxing albums I’ve heard in a long time. Warmth, openness and deep sincerity combine to make Groten’s music something very special and welcome in these turbulent times.

Produced by Ackerman, Tom Eaton and Groten, the intentions for the album were to continue the solo guitar experience Groten introduced with his 2015 debut, "Journey Home," and “to expand the musical landscape offered by featuring the many world class players Will Ackerman placed at my fingertips.” It is interesting to note that the solo guitar tracks were recorded at the end of 2015 and the ensemble instrumentation was added over the past three years. Some of the “featured” musicians are actually Groten himself layering ukulele, percussion, vocals, clay whistle and electric tamboura over the guitar solos. The other musicians are Michael Manring (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Ron Korb (flute), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Noah Wilding (vocals) and Will Ackerman (guitar). Even the cover artwork by Gabriel Tempesta is something special!

Disc 1 consists of fourteen original acoustic guitar solos performed freely and from the heart without a lot of embellishment to hide behind. Artists often expose much more of themselves by keeping their music stripped down to its essence rather than trying to “show off,” and Groten’s music is a perfect example of this. Even the song titles are at their most basic with one-word titles (except the title track) left open to interpretation and personalization for each listener. Groten is committed to personal spiritual growth as well as using his talents for the well-being of others, and that spirit of generosity and caring flows from every note.

The first two tracks on Disc 2, “Dawn” and “Waking” are just Groten adding a layer of subtle instrumentation to his solo guitar. “Mindfulness” is a wonderful duet for guitar and violin (Bisharat). At a little more than 8 1/2 minutes, it is a relaxed and soulful musical journey to deeper understanding and awareness. As its title suggests, “Levity” is a light and carefree piece for guitar, flute (Korb) and percussion (Haynes). It’s almost impossible to not smile while listening to this one! There are two versions of the gentle and sweet “Star Lullaby” on Disc 2. Both include Michael Manring (bass) and the last track on the album includes vocals (Wilding and Groten). I really like the guitar and flute (Korb) duet of “Gratitude” - again very gentle and from the heart. I don’t recall hearing many duets for acoustic guitar and cello, but Groten and Friesen are a match made in heaven on “Compassion” and “Trust,” which also features Ackerman. “Eclipse” could easily fit in a movie set in the desert. Haunting and very spare, it’s quite different from the other pieces! “Prayer” is one of my favorites with its easy swing rhythm and slightly bluesy sound.

"Star Lullaby" is truly a great album, so don’t miss the chance to soothe and heal your soul while delighting your ears at the same time!
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Dyan Garris

New Age CD Album Review
“Star Lullaby” by guitarist Raphael Groten is what can be called “intentional healing music.” Raphael was first inspired into the “healing journey” by playing guitar bedside for his infant son who was in an intensive care hospital room following a nearly fatal accident. Afterward, Raphael began shamanic studies and became a sound healing practitioner as well.

This is the second album Raphael recorded at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios. The first was “Journey Home.” “Star Lullaby” is co-produced by the artist, Will Ackerman, and Tom Eaton. Tom Eaton also engineered, mixed, and mastered the album.

“Star Lullaby” uses a unique approach in that this is a two-disc set with the music on the first disc being mainly Raphael on acoustic guitar only and the second disc consisting of all the same tracks, however, with the addition on Disc 2 of an impressive list of guest artists, adding intriguing depth and texture to the already soothing musical soundscapes.

Disc 2 also showcases Raphael’s versatility as a musician, featuring his steel and nylon string guitars, ukulele, percussion, clay whistle and voice performance. The contemporary instrumentalists featured on the album are Michael Manring (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Ron Korb (flute), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Noah Wilding (vocals), and Will Ackerman on guitar.

Now, if I have it right, I believe what the artist has done essentially here with this two-disc album is give us two frequencies, two different vibrations, neither one necessarily higher than the other or better than the other, just slightly different. And although I don’t think this is what anyone would think of as traditional “sound healing,” per se, the healing frequencies are present in the music on both discs. The two-disc set in whole is like a “sound bath” so that the body has opportunity to “tune” itself, release emotional blockages, and realign with optimal health.

The fifteen tracks are titled simply each with one word, with the exception of the title track, “Star Lullaby,” which is not only found as an acoustic guitar track on the first disc, but also twice on the second disc – once there with Michael Manring adding his bass, and then also as a vocal track featuring Noah Wilding and Raphael Groten.

There isn’t a way to pick a favorite on this album, truthfully, as this is all a joyful relaxation experience. The entire thing is super soothing; a truly special “lullaby” for the soul from the etheric realms. There is not one single thing not to like here. This is harmonious, heartfelt perfection.

The album opens with the gentle “Dawn.” This song is as gentle and lovely on the second disc, with just mild instrumentation underneath. I am quite fond of the 8-1/2 minute “Mindfulness.” Melodic guitar and Charlie Bisharat’s wonderful violin artistry make this song quite special and so very peaceful. “Levity” is a light, cheerful song as the title suggests. On Disc 2, along with Raphael’s guitar performance, we are treated to Ron Korb’s flute mastery and Jeff Haynes’ percussion. This one lifts the spirits appreciably.

“Gratitude” is breathtakingly beautiful on both discs. Ron Korb’s gorgeously warm flute performance along with the tender guitar melody make this one to listen to repeatedly.

The exquisite “Trust” is another to take in again and again. Here we have Eugene Friesen’s rich cello harmonizing so beautifully with the soothing guitar performances of Raphael Groten and Will Ackerman. Truly heavenly.

On Disc 2, “Eclipse” is a deep, thought-provoking vocal. On Disc 1, it’s a great, kind of cinematic guitar solo. Very interesting and enjoyable. Disc 1 closes out nicely with the soft and swingy, “Prayer,” which is totally different from what one’s concept of “prayer” might usually be. Perfection.

Disc 2 closes out with the vocal version of title track, “Star Lullaby.” Love this: “Rest in bed and close your eyes. Stars will sing you their lullaby. . .Breathe in deep, the day is done. Peaceful prayers to everyone.”
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