One musician who combines genres and sounds is Gabriel of Sedona, who has created what he calls CosmoPop music.
Gabriel of Sedona began performing at the age of 8 on the street corners of Pittsburgh. At 15, he started his own band. At 24, he began writing spiritual music. His first vinyl album, Unicorn Love, was released in 1985. In 1989, he started his own nonprofit record label, Global Change Music, and with it came his new brand of music.
"CosmoPop is spiritual hip vocal music," says Gabriel. "I fuse jazz, rock, pop, country Western. There will be two, three or four genres in one song, and always at least two.
"There's always a spiritual bent. I try to give answers to life's problems. I try to bring hope. I write about pain and struggles. But I try to give people (the message) that there is hope, that there's an answer to every problem in life. We can get (the answer) if we turn to the Creator and seek that answer. We are not alone through our trials and tribulations. I try to put that message into all my songs."
Gabriel says his music is designed to bring the listener to a higher level of consciousness. "I design the music to tap into the chakras and the human body. ... My music is designed to bring you harmony." Gabriel of Sedona and the Bright & Morning Star Band will perform on Sunday, Nov. 20, at a Sacred Global CosmoPop Concert at the Reid Park Bandshell. Festivities begin at 11 a.m., with food, crafts and vendors. The concert begins at 1 p.m. Suggested donation is $35, but any donation--or none--will be accepted. For more information, visit globalchangemusic.org or call (928) 282-9139. For a complete list of events, see below.
Ben Dameean of Global Change Music says some of the money is used to pay expenses for the concert, but the rest goes to four nonprofits in Northern Arizona: the Musicians-That-Need-To-Be-Heard Network, the Personality Integration Rehabilitation program, the Friendly Hands Vocational program and a scholarship program for students to attend the Schools of Melchizedek in Sedona. Dameean says Gabriel generates income from his Future Studios performance hall and recording studio, both in Sedona.
Gabriel stresses his CosmoPop concerts can be attended freely by the whole family and says the suggested donation is not a requirement.
"They can come and not have to give anything," says Gabriel. "The music business has become just that; it's a business. The music industry is star-oriented now, charging $300 a ticket. It's absurd. Most people cannot afford that. I am trying to set a new paradigm."
Gabriel has been working on this paradigm in a variety of ways, saying his whole life has been about helping humanity. From 1976 to 1982, he was a chaplain of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. He says he used to feed up to 100 people per day at parks on Fourth Avenue. As an offshoot of Global Change Music, he founded the Musicians-That-Need-To-Be-Heard Network, to "help artists meet their destiny and use their God-given talents for the betterment of humankind."
In the late 1990s, Gabriel began to get media attention as his song "Wake Up America" got airplay. Released on his Holy City CD, Gabriel urged people to make changes and not be so greedy. Gabriel was contacted by media bigwigs such as Diane Sawyer and agreed to an interview with Dateline. He says he was in shock after the interview aired.
"I allowed them into my home and where I work. When the final edit came, I was answering questions to other questions they asked me. They cut out every good thing I said and only showed what they wanted."
The experience seems to have strongly affected Gabriel and his associates (who have their detractors, as a simple Google search will show). Gabriel penned Making the Most of Media Exposure for Global Change--Versus Our Experience With the Media in 1998. And as a twist, I was taped while conducting the interview after suggested questions were faxed over, supposedly to alleviate what he calls "misrepresentations" in the media. (I followed my own format and asked questions not on the list.)
As Gabriel continues to speak out about the "false American Dream of greed, materialism and unhealthy competition," he wants us to remember to treat others with respect and dignity. "Jesus said do unto others as you would have them do to you. If we did that, we'd be a lot better off on this planet."
Sacred Global CosmoPop Events: · Friday, Nov. 18, 4 to 6 p.m.: Discussion on Global Change Music, Green Fire Music and Art Collective, 925 E. Fort Lowell Road. Suggested donation $10.
· Saturday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m.: UFO teaching, Anjali, 330 E. Seventh St. Suggested donation $10.
· 12:30 p.m.: Organic gardening workshop, outside patio at Casbah Teahouse, 628 N. Fourth Ave. Suggested donation $10.
· 2 p.m.: Screening of The Phoenix Lights, Anjali. $5 admission.
· 4 p.m.: Screening of The Future of Food, Anjali. $5 admission.
· 7 p.m.: Screening of Crop Circles: Qwest for Truth, Anjali. $5 admission.
· 9:30 p.m.: Screening of The End of Surburbia, Anjali. $5 admission.
· Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.: Sacred healing walk beginning at Casbah Teahouse. Free.
· 11 a.m.: Sacred Global CosmoPop Concert, Reid Park bandshell. Suggested donation $35.