Who is Oliver Shanti?
The real Oliver Shanti is probably a little different from any picture fans of his music may have. No abstract alienation, no reclusive contemplation but warmth and sincerity. A personality that loves to dream but can be immensely practical.
True to his gypsy background, he roamed the docks and back streets of post-war Hamburg and here he signed on as a deck hand at the age of thirteen. At the age of fourteen he wandered through Paris and explored the Caribbean. In the sixties he lived in Amsterdam, Berlin, California, and North Africa. In this time period he made money by Singing in nightclubs and doing odd jobs. Doing this resulted in him making contacts with people from the folk and pop music scene and he was then able to organised concerts. It was there that he met Donovan who is a close friend of his to this day.
After the legendary music festival at Baalbeck in Lebanon, his fascination with Oriental music led him there. In 1973 he disappeared from sight. Years and years later he was discovered in a djungle village on the banks of the Ganges, where he worked in the field hospital that he himself had founded. In 1980 his friends convinced him of the need to return to Europe.
It was only then that the life of the musician Oliver Serano-Alve actually started. Together with keyborder and sound specialist Veit Wayman and multi-instrumentalist Margot Vogl-Shanti he founded the music label SATTVA. The first production was 'Frieden Shanti Peace'.
During the time that followed, they melted meditative two-dimensional sound, charming melos, and the ethnic music of this world into a sound that is becoming more and more convincing and independent.
Ethno-Pop or Electronic; New Age or World Music, Shanti proves to be too independent to be just filed away in one of these genres, nor does he fit any of the conventional scenes. In spite of this or maybe because of this, his musical approaches are being discussed widely.However, his music 'happens' mainly away from the media.
Shanti is being ignored by the electronic media and does not fit any of the preconceptions of the print-journalists. Yet, collections like 'Tai Chi' and 'Tai Chi Too' bridging gaps to Asian cultures and 'Well Balanced' make him a recurring subject in subversive musical propaganda.
The best of collection 'Circles of Life' (1997) was a bestseller for 18 weeks; the SATTVA book-keeping department began to use seven-digit numbers when mentioning sales.
'Circles of Life' marked the end of a period.
The following CD 'Seven Times Seven' (7x7) signified another awakening for Oliver Shanti. A miracle indeed: focusing on all his productions since the beginning of the eighties, he presented a stupendous condensation of musical culture the world over. 40 musicians from 14 countries were either invited or visited personnally.
The musical dimensions were simply breathtaking. Musicians from Africa, Asia and the Near East, America, and Europe met and everything sounded as though they had always belonged together. 'Seven Times Seven' is the most complex but also the most pop-like presentation of Oliver Shanti's music. The new concept is clearly more song-oriented than his earlier work that had more spiritual depth and easy listening. This music has nothing in common with banal harmonies targeting the uncritical listener; yet these melodies are not lightly forgotten.
Without infringeing on the integrity of cultures, Oliver Shanti lifted the borders and used their musical individualities not as a mix but a symbiosis.
Peaceful coexistence is one thing, but creative cooperation is more. On the threshold of the new millenium, Oliver Shanti created WORLD MUSIC in the true sense of the word.
'Medicine Power', another Oliver Shanti's masterpiece, was created together with friends from Apache, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Chicksaw, Chocktaw, Irokese, and Navajo tribes.
Subtle Indian women's voices touch the heart; earthy, trance-like shaman chants and heart-beat percussion vitalise 'Body and Mind'. The enchanting beauty of the Indian flute, the lead-voices and the harmony of Pow Wow choirs blend into a musical carpet of contemporary music, thus mediating feelings of indescribable peace.
Invigorated, you will return from this extraordinary musical voyage. You don't exactly know how, but you seem to remember a spiritual healing, called 'Medicine Power' by the Native Americans.
Information above was found at the Sattva Music webpage.
Again if you have any questions or information to add please email me.
Web Pages Oliver Shanti
The Sattva Music