“Music has always been a place of refuge for me. My first memory of an epiphany is of realising that I could contribute to this transformative sanctuary in my own way”.
Kira Kira’s UNA is a fascinating album. New label Letra Records, formed by Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall (The Boats), aims to give artists space, promoting closer listening, and UNA, the label’s first release, is a perfect example of this. The fragile web of sound is full of positive thought and vitality.
UNA was created in under a year with what was a rapid blossoming of peaceful petals. Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir’s music is a relaxation tape, composed of peaceful, playful, and meditative spells, ‘improvised with friends and lovers, mostly recorded in my home studio in Reykjavík with very little production but all the more heart and raw soul through space echo and tape loop orchestras’.
Kristjánsdóttir has been a major factor in the experimental electronic scene for years, co-founding the Kitchen Motors label and collective alongside Jóhann Jóhannson and Hilmar Jensson, leading the Kórus choir, and writing music for theatre, film, dance, and art-installations, as well as delivering four solo albums. This record is a cleansing. It sweeps away the cruelty of a news headline and disbands the negativity of hatred and fear. Hate is born from fear, and we fear what we don’t understand. She brushes aside unwanted dreams and promotes the dappled sunshine of peace and wellbeing.
UNA is a cycle of soundscapes and mantras from The Foundation for Inner Peace book “A Course in Miracles” (1976), one of the greater canons of contemporary spiritual literature. She also explores the Sanskrit mantra “Samgacchadvam” and newly written words designed as ‘medicine for the mind’. One can feel the healing properties of the music, dripping into the heart with every chiming note, a homeopathic remedy for the car-crash of existence. Her voice is the flowing of water in a tranquil garden. As well as being a universal truth, ‘A Miracle Is A Shift In Perception From Fear To Love’ is another mantra, evoking waves of good karma in its sanctuary of stillness.
“When I read this for the first time…something changed in me. It felt amazing, just reading these words, so I underlined them. And then I wrote them up on a piece of paper and taped it to my wall. Can it be that a bouquet of words has presence? Spirit, even? Being fearful is a pain, it truly is. I’d like to be in love, not fear, so I began to witness these kinds of shifts. To consciously, actively transform fear to love by being present with it and singing is such a primal, effective way to do that”.
The words, and her uttered syllables, are poetic and deepening, with every movement of her lips reciting a loving message, a cycling affirmation, sinking into the self and the surrounding world like a drop of water and giving it a generous life. The words have a life of their own thanks to her exhalations, coming into the world through invisible bubbles of air, breathing them out over and over again. She transforms reality by bringing them into the world, shifting perceptions and changing the world. Shaping her own reality in the strong crimson arms of love. This shift in perception becomes a new way of life, a lifestyle choice that sends good out into the world and receives it back in spades. Her mantras deepen a truth already placed in the depths of the heart, but one that’s often forgotten, and they provide calming experiences, too, coming directly from her own meditation and Yoga practice. Each track, and each mantra, has its own energy, drawing the listener into its delicate, transformative sound, fixing what was once broken.
“I’ve practiced Yoga and meditation avidly for about 10 years now and so I am…familiar with the practice of using mantras as medicine for the mind and spirit. But finding words outside the traditional arsenal of healing mantras that resonate with me personally was something else and has taken things to a new level. I hope this one can be of service to others as well.”