Arūpa Gold is sacred music. It is sacred and yet free of religion—spiritual, yet soulful. Keyboardist, Paul McGillivray and guitarist, Kavi Jezzie Hockaday create the most delicate of improvisational musical scaffolding for sultry and sensual vocalist, Ella Joy to sidle up to with aching and longing. While there are lyrics embedded in these tracks, they are, perhaps less important than the deep, but gentle musical pool upon which Ella Joy’s voice floats, glides, and ripples.
Favorite track: Crazy.
Our self-titled debut album, Arūpa Gold is compiled from two sessions; a studio session, and a live session. These are the first two times that we played together, and we're delighted that we hit 'record' first.
For the first session, we decided to go to the studio and see what might happen - no discussion, no plans, no ideas on what we'd play; we just plugged in our instruments, and started playing.
70 minutes later, we stopped, and were really excited about what we had just played - we'd dropped into a deep space of presence and stillness, where the music had just flowed from us, naturally, and with no idea what was going to happen from one moment to another. We decided that it might be fun to do it again, but in front on an audience, a month later.
And so, in front of a small crowd of around 30 people, and with more watching live online, we played again; we'd had no rehearsals, or discussions about what we were going to do this time, and what happened next was very warmly received indeed.
Now, with another 90 minutes worth of recordings, we decided to pull our favourite bits together into an album.
So this is very much a live, improvisational album; In 'Treated You Well' and 'Embrace The King', Ella used words and melodies from two songs she'd already written; melodies changed and syncopated from the original songs to match the music that was being played at the time; the words came to her, and she started singing.
With 'Crazy', the chords Paul played at the start of the song reminded Ella of the Gnarls Barkley classic, and so she started to sing that, and Paul followed suit; Kavi hadn't heard the original before, but joined in beautifully to create a very different version of the popular pop song.
And lastly, with 'Further and Further', Ella sang a mixture of improvised words, and a song that came to mind halfway through - again, very much departed from the original.
All the rest was birthed in the moment, to the delight of us in the band and the listeners alike; we feel that the stillness that we experienced during the recording is captured beautifully here in its rawness; yes, there are odd noises and clinks and knocks as people move about and notes are reached for and not quite met; for us, this is something to be honoured and enjoyed as part of the moment itself.
The venerable Winton Marsalis said that sacred music isn't a genre - it's about intention; the intention to surrender completely to the divine, and give ourselves over as instruments of the moment. In this respect, this is very much sacred music, and we hope that you are lifted and taken with us to that place of stillness, of silence, of now.
released October 16, 2014
Vocal: Ella Joy
Guitar: Kavi Jezzie Hockaday
Keyboards: Paul McGillivray
Arūpa Gold is an improvisational music collaboration project by Paul McGillivray, Kavi Jezzie Hockaday, and Ella
The project is faithful to its founding principle of allowing the music to manifest itself - there is no discussion, no ideas, no preparation, just the intention to stay in the moment and allow what happens to present itself; the musicians simply plug in their equipment and play....more