Constance Demby


Constance Demby

Constance Mary[1] Demby is an American multi-instrument musician and composer. Demby is identified with the New Age movement (as both her personal belief and the New Age music style),[2] while some of her output is also classified as ambient or space music.[2] She is also a singer, instrument designer, painter, sculptor, and multi-media producer. She is best known for her 1986 album Novus Magnificat.

Contents

Biography

Original cover of Novus Magnificat (1986 cassette)

Constance Mary[1] Demby was born in Oakland, California. She learned to play classical piano in her childhood and went on to become a multi-instrumentalist (including hammered dulcimer, vocals, synthesizers, and originally-designed custom acoustic instruments).

She studied sculpture and painting at the University of Michigan.[2] It was both as musician and sculptor that her Sonic Steel Instruments, the space bass and the whale sail were created. An original design, her Sonic Steel Instruments have been recorded by Lucas Skywalker Studios for use in their filmscores, and also filmed by Discovery Channel at Gaudi's Park Güell. The Space Bass is featured on Michael Stearns' soundtrack for Chronos.

In 1986, her album Novus Magnificat was released, self-defined as "Spacemusic" from its liner notes to its subtitle "Through the Stargate", with a space-themed cover (pictured at right) reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey (whose novel version featured a "Star Gate"). Inspired by Western classical and sacred music, it was recorded with samples from real instruments played on the Emulator II digital sampler, and features sound textures by Michael Stearns. Though it wasn't nominated at the Grammy Awards,[3] the album sold over 200,000 copies worldwide,[4] making her one of the most successful New Age artists of the time[4] and helped Stephen Hill to build his Hearts of Space Records' reputation.[4]

Demby was the co-founder of The Central Maine Power Sound and Light Company,[2] an experimental multi-media group that toured the east coast from 1971 to 1976[2] with programs such as Space Mass, a multimedia production launched in NYC combining painting, film, massive environmental sculptures, music, dance, and ritual. In 1978, Demby also founded her own record company, Sound Currents[5] (also known as Gandarva,[6] her recording studio) that released or re-issued half of her albums.[2]

In 2000, Demby moved from Southern California to Spain[2] in Sitges (outside Barcelona), and returned to the U.S. in July 2003.

Discography

Studio albums
  • 1978: Skies Above Skies (CS, Sound Currents/Gandarva)
  • 1980: Sunborne (CS, Sound Currents/Gandarva)
  • 1982: Sacred Space Music (CS, Sound Currents/Gandarva; 1988 CD, Hearts of Space Records)
  • 1986: Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate (Hearts of Space Records)
  • 1989: Set Free (Hearts of Space Records)
  • 1995: Aeterna (Hearts of Space Records)
  • 1998: The Beloved (Living Essence Foundation)
  • 1998: The Heart Meditation (Living Essence Foundation)
  • 2000: Faces of the Christ (Sound Currents)
  • 2001: Sanctum Sanctuorum (Hearts of Space Records)
  • 2004: Spirit Trance (Hearts of Space Records)
  • 2004: Sonic Immersion (Sound Currents)
Live albums
  • 1984: Constance Demby at Alaron (live, 1983)(CS, Sound Currents/Gandarva)
  • 2000: Attunement: Live in Concert (live, 1999)(First Light Music; Sound Currents)
  • 2008: Live in Tokyo (live, 2002, CD-DVD)(Sound Currents)
Compilations
  • 1987: Light of This World (compilation, 1978–1986 best-of, plus 2 original tracks)(CS/CD, Sound Currents)
  • 1991: Polar Shift (various-artists compilation, 1 original Demby track)(Private Music)

References

  1. ^ a b ASCAP (2009). "Works written by: Demby Constance Mary, CAE/IPI No. 127.53.77.66", database of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wright, Carol. Constance Demby biography at Allmusic
  3. ^ Novus Magnificat was released in 1986 and eligible for the 1987 Grammy Awards (alias "Grammy Awards for 1986"), where a "New Age" category appeared that year for the first time. Neither the album nor Demby appears on the MetroLyrics list of 1987 Grammy nominations, including the two compilations from Germany's Windham Hill Records, "various artists - Windham Hill Records Sampler '86"[1] and "various artists - A Winter's Solstice"[2]. (Same for 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989.) No other source checked in June 2009 (including Google News Archive[3] and Google Book Search[4]) could list the album among Grammy nominations. The "Grammy nominated" claim found on Demby's website since at least 2001[5] (and in some interviews) may have been a confusion between the album being "nominated" by its record label to the Grammy academy (as is the regular process) and the actual official list of five Grammy nominees (the one called "Grammy nominated").
  4. ^ a b c Phoenix, Robert (2007). "Constance Demby: Heavy Metal Thunder", January 23, 2007 at eMusic.com
  5. ^ http://www.mcs.csueastbay.edu/~tebo/history/Ambient/Space/C.Demby.html
  6. ^ http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=664184

Further reading

External links


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