On ORIGIN – One World Turning
“I looked into the eyes of the Goddess Sekhmet and felt my entire soul shift…”, recalls inspirational artist Elise Lebec. “There I was in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent of the Cradle of Civilization, the Origin of the Awakening of Humanity.”
Under the same blazing Saqqaran sun that drenched the warrior deity of antiquity 5000 years ago, this musical citizen of the world had experienced the start of what has become a spiritual illumination… an epiphany which compelled her to embark on an intuitive, cross-cultural musical journey of discovery, deep creative expression, and a calling to use it as a vehicle for bringing disparate cultures together.
The first in a planned series of related works, ORIGIN is the collection inspired by this enlightenment which began in the Fall of 2016. An amalgam of exotic Upper Egyptian traditional instruments, distinctive vocals, and contemporary production techniques, ORIGIN comprises a transcendent bridge between contrasting worlds. “It’s an expression of human kindness,” says Lebec of the release; “…an attempt to bring the beauty of diverse cultures together via fresh combinations of Arabic & Western instruments. We have built a harmonious narrative merging the millennia of Egyptian music with elements and forms of modern popular music to help exemplify that we are all related beings of planet Earth; one extended family turning in our respective orbits around the Sun.” This “One World Turning” concept is woven into the fabric of the entire project and will be reflected in and represented by all the media releases, from the recorded music to promotional videos, interviews, live performances, and merchandising.
ORIGIN was composed and executive produced by Elise Lebec, who began recording in Cairo when she returned several times in the ensuing months. Ancient instruments, expertly played by local traditional musicians under her direction include lute, lyre, oud, ancient flutes, Egyptian tablas, and an assortment of handmade drums and percussion. Several Egyptian singers and Arabic rappers were also included, to round out the project’s vivid authenticity. The resultant sessions were then sent back to Los Angeles to four time Grammy Award-winning Producer/Engineer Dave Way, whose credits include Sheryl Crow, Pink, Macy Gray, Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney. He in turn brought in one of Prince’s programmers, Eric Anest, who applied Western song forms to the myriad tracks from Cairo resulting in musical “beds” onto which a variety of Western instruments were overdubbed. These include over dozen passionate musicians playing violin (most of which were played by Shadowfax’s Grammy Award winning violinist Charlie Bisharat), electric violins, cellos, alto sax, pedal steel guitar, Hammond organ, background vocals and, of course, Elise Lebec’s own lead vocals.
“I just love the way music brings people together,” she says. “As a composer, hearing music I have never heard before is like trying a new dish that tastes amazing, as if a whole new world is opening! Just when I think there’s nothing else to learn or explore, I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface of a Life Experience. To me, Music is an all-encompassing form of intimate expression. And what better force is there to bring divergent peoples together? That is the essence of this ORIGIN project!”
A Brief Bio
ELISE LEBEC is a multi-talented pianist and vocalist whose years of composing, recording and performing began in Australia by musically interpreting nine paintings by Charles Billich, and in England as part of the Post Pop Federation, featuring Level 42’s Mike Lindup and Roland Chadwick. These experiences laid the foundation for her emergence as a prominent independent chart-topping instrumental artist over the past decade.
She is a Steinway-sponsored artist, and as such has been a major presence on the Independent and New Age charts since the 2004 release of her album Back To Innocence, which showcased her piano and vocals. Her follow-up, Possible Dreams: Impressions for Solo Piano reached #6 on the Zone Music Reporter Global Airplay chart, while her 2014 ensemble recording Heart Song hit #5 on that chart, and was #1 on Spa Radio for six months straight and remaining on the New Age charts for an entire year! Her previous recordings include her official solo debut (from her time in Australia) Tabitha plays Billich, titled for her birth name and the inspiration of Charles Billich, whose nine paintings inspired the project; and PPF, the album she did for Warner Bros. Records when she was a member of Post Pop Federation, whom she played with in England for five years. In addition to her own live performances, Elise has had the opportunity to share the stage with artists Sheryl Crow, Imogen Heap, Kiki Dee, violinist Nigel Kennedy, and several others.
Over the years, Elise has developed an impressive dual career in the Film Industry, serving as a Composer, Sound Editor, Sound Mixer, Sound Designer and Music Supervisor on a wide range of independent features and documentaries. Her most prominent credits include composing and sound mixing for “Kuna Ni Nanang,” a 2008 documentary short which won numerous awards at that year’s Tribeca Film Festival; composing and sound editing for the 2014 documentary “The Sum Total of Our Memory: Facing Alzheimer’s Together”; sound mixing for the video documentary short “Maestra” in 2012; and composing for the upcoming feature drama “Don’t Shoot! I’m The Guitar Man.” She has worked with numerous world class producers, composers and arrangers.
Elise credits her Father’s love of New Age music for fostering her passion for artists like George Winston, Enya, Loreena McKennit, and Andreas Vollenweider. Playing the piano from the age of four, she eventually learned pieces by Beethoven and Vivaldi - and later began experimenting with Pop, Rock and Improvisational playing. She attributes her lifelong desire to dive deeply into uncharted territory and explore new musical and cultural vistas to her otherwise strict Christian parents, who taught her, “to never take things at face value but find out what they really are beneath the surface.”
A natural “outside the box” thinker, young Elise applied that philosophy to her growing fascination of diverse spiritual backgrounds – including Judaism, Christianity, Sufism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It’s to such life-long studies that Elise attributes her passion for honoring disparate paths through projects like ORIGIN (and what lies ahead).