Imagine, if you will, what music would be like if it was comprised of melody and harmony that transported you beyond the mundane into the sound celestial. Close your eyes and visualize a place so serene that you might never want to leave it. Wonder if such a sonic gift exists? I had the opportunity recently to meet a musician whose heart and soul is poured into his creations. Having listened to David Young’s CD’s for many years, it was a delight to finally encounter him at my friend’s Deva and Stan’s Solstice gathering a few weeks ago when he performed there.
How do you live your bliss?
By writing and creating as much music as is physically possible for me and by being with people who I love. I also enjoy yoga and ping pong.
What beckoned you to music?
Since I was little I always a thing for music. I picked up a violin and after 5 minutes could play a song on it because I just got it. Actually before I started playing the recorder I would take popular songs and write my own words to them. Then in 3rd grade I started playing the recorder in public school. I was the worst in my class but thanks to the hand of fate, my class was given a 2nd year of it, and half way through the school year I started to get good at it. Over the following summer, after hearing the songs repeat on the radio I started to figure out how to play them by ear and it all took off from there.
Do you feel it is a language that transcends what words alone can’t express?
Music is colors that you hear instead of see. Its hard to describe what orange or yellow look like in words and its hard to describe what certain instruments sound like. But they are used as a medium to describe and give life to feelings we have. Music also carries vibration and these vibrations have a way of lifting us up if the music is elevating. Since God communicates to us through the inner light and the inner sound, which is a vibration, we can channel God’s energy through music which lifts the listener up closer to our Creator.
Why two flutes at once?
It wasn’t something I planned. I had ran out of money as a guitarist/singer in the early 90s and was living in California and met a woman who played the Celtic harp at Venice Beach. We started a group called Celestial Winds and would play on the boardwalk on the weekends to make money. Since she had long black curly hair and wore beautiful white linen dresses and played a beautiful Celtic harp she was always getting the attention from the crowds and I was sort of like the invisible man with a flute sitting next to her. Since we only knew 7 songs in the beginning, we had to play them over and over 30 or 40 times a day, which drove me out of my mind. During the afternoons I would sometimes pick up a 2nd flute to see if I could play both of them just for something different to do because I was bored and each time I would do this whoever was walking by would say “Hey look, there’s a guy playing two flutes at one time,” and then she was invisible, so I just kept doing it. It took 3 years of practicing 6 hours a day to feel comfortable doing it. The sound of the two of them is also interesting because when 2 or more recorders are played at one time it creates a tri-harmonic tone, which is a 3rd note which sounds like a buzz. That only happens with the recorder for some reason. And of all instruments, the recorder is the closest to the human voice.
How does your spiritual practice feed your music?
I meditate every day for at least 30 minutes. All the good stuff happens after about 15 minutes because it takes that long for the mind to run through its routine and quiet down. I’ve studied Eckankar, which means Soul Travel, for 27 years and have taught classes on it. The peace and divine love I experience in my meditation I transpose into the music. But something happens when I play the two of them at once that just transcends. Its hard for me to describe since I’ve done it so much it is so second nature to me and I don’t think about what I’m doing. It just happens.
Do you feel it comes through you and not merely from you?
Once we raise our abilities to a certain level where we don’t have to think much about what we are doing, then it frees us up in a way to just create and be a channel. You practice a thousand hours so it becomes second nature and so you can pull from your vast repertoire of musical possibilities to play what seems to be perfect in that moment. And sometimes what we play lines up through Spirit to connect with people so it is speaking the perfect language to them in that perfect moment and then they receive a spiritual experience or healing. In a way its like our chakras lining up which opens us up to a greater flow of the Divine so we can receive. But I am not aware of what is happening inside people when this happens. I just hear about it afterwards. Just like people in a mediation group would not be aware of what I am experiencing in a group HU chant/meditation. They are not inside me, and I am not inside them when they are hearing me perform or listening to one of my cds. There have been certain times when the flow has been so strong that I was able to feel what was happening in the room, but not inside people’s experiences.
What/who inspires you?
Being in love inspires me. Playing great music inspires me. Playing with great musicians inspires me. Knowing that God is using my talents and touching people in a deep spiritual way that is giving people a spiritual experience inspires me. It is actually the love that we have for something that makes it shine to others and makes it beautiful. All who have 10 fingers can play an instrument and when we are kids we all learn to play something, but its the love that we have for it that drives us to practice more so we can play better. Then when people hear us after the hours of dedication and practice, they may say “Oh, what a gift you have.” But the gift is that we had the desire to do it more and become better at it through determination and not giving up. In a way, that is our love in action. I promise you if I hadn’t practiced as much as I did when i was a kid, no one would be saying that I had a gift now. The same goes with all things we do in life. Having the desire to get over the learning curve with something so we can really do it well, whatever that is.
And funny as it may sound, playing ping pong inspires me because the hand / eye coordination moves so fast that it becomes a high speed Zen experience of going beyond physical limitations and doing amazing things.
What is the juxtaposition between the musical genres you have played? Most people would have a hard time imagining AC/DC meets etheric.
Music is like colors but it is also like food and we don’t eat the same food every day. A good chef can create different foods for different palates in different styles for different cultures. But anyone who appreciates good food can appreciate different flavors. Music comes in all sorts of flavors and colors and I love creating beautiful ethereal heavenly music as much as I love rocking out with an electric guitar and singing. There’s a time for all these things. When I was younger I played in an AC/DC tribute band and dressed up like Angus, their lead guitar player and ran all over the stage playing just like him and that was a total blast! OMG was that fun. Their music is like Chuck Berry on 10 cups of coffee. To this day, whenever I hear an AC/DC song on the radio I turn it up as loud as it will go in my car. It’s just fun. Music’s purpose is to move people. Whether we are trying to get people to move their physical bodies or raise their spiritual bodies its still about movement and energy. But I do make it a point to create things that are positive and uplifting now so I am adding somethng beautiful to the planet in my own way.
Your music has healing properties, I have found. What types of settings has it been played in, to that effect?
You name it. Hospitals, over 10,000 massage therapists and spas use it, hospice programs, acupuncture and chiropractor doctors, MRI’s, numerous people with cancer have found peace in it and it has helped them through such difficult times. But many couples use it to enhance their intimate times because it raises everything to a higher more spiritual level.