Globe Icon Ancestral Voices & other recordings by David Gilden

David Gilden's music has been played in North America on a number of syndicated radio programs, including Hearts of Space, Musical Starstreams, Echoes, Totally Wired, and New Sounds.

Watch the video promo for these exciting reissues!
Recently reissued on CD, you can finally enjoy Dave's exquisite early recordings. Ancestral Voices, features 14 tracks of visionary music that blur the boundaries of "world music" and "electronica." Distant Strings & Jato (The Lion). is a double CD reissue of Dave's early acoustic folk kora recordings.

Option Magazine "Sensuous and Delightful" - 1990
"I listen to Ancestral Voices often... It's such amazing, timeless music, and I think it compares favorably to selections from Andreas Vollenweider's first three or four albums"
W. Slater -- 12/20/02
"Your music is compelling, contemporary and represents the future as musicians from all over the world collide"
L. Martin - 6/3/10
Ancestral Voices Compact Disc - Total playing time: 67 minutes - $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order
Get Ancestral Voices @ iTunes

Download the online version of the Ancestral Voices album booklet.

Sound Bytes from Ancestral Voices

New cover art
new Ancestral Voices cd cover art
1990 Ancestral Voices cover  1990 Ancestral Voices cd cover art
 Island Journey David Gilden: kora and PPG Wave 2.2 synthesizer, Jimmy Earl: fretless bass.

 Dragonfly Dream Dave Gilden: keyboards, Steve Gorn: bansuri bamboo flute, Ray Spiegel: tabla drums, and Jimmy Earl: fretless bass.

 Harmonic Vista David Gilden: Oberheim Xpander, Casio CZ-101, Grand Piano, Talking Drum, Noah Bells.

 Ancestral Voices (part I) David Gilden: mbira dza vadizmu (Zimbabwen thumb piano), PPG Wave, Oberheim Xpander, and Kurzweil K1000.

 Yarabi David Gilden: kora -- multi track, duet performance.

 Music video Island Journey, created by Abby Digital, using the Fairlight CVI, aired on VH1 in 1989!


Tracks on Ancestral Voices

 Island Journey
An interpretation of the Greek folk song "Saint Basil's hymn." The kora is lead voice here with fretless bass and the lush PPG synth filling out the track.
 Bantang Ba Kouyate
A traditional Gambian, Mandinka folk tune is played on the kora. Two channel direct to digital recording.
 Dragon Fly Dance
A rich multi-layer sonic track, with India Bansuri bamboo flute and Tabla drums.
 Harmonic Vista
A slowly evolving visionary journey. The track features rich synth brass with piano filling out the upper register. The rhythmical pulse played on African talking drum suggests a Native American vibe.
 Yarabi
A traditional West African love song featuring two koras, recorded back in 1985.
Crossing the Astral bridge
Ethereal synth choir with reversed reverb, detuned gongs, layered with solo Bansuri bamboo flute.
 Island Solo
An alternate solo performance of the first track, only solo kora this time.
 Rights of Man
A traditional Celtic jig with a synth concertina and a percussive accompaniment on cow bones played by John "Mr. Bones" Burrill.
 Ancestral Voices (part I)
A meditative layered soundscape, with mbira -- thumb-piano from Zimbabwe -- , PPG Wave and DX7 keyboards.
 Ancestral Voices (part II)
The rhythmical answer to the opening section, with lots of synths and layers of congas and percussion.
 Pilgrimage To Soma
Somewhere between Pink Floyd and tradtional Indian classical music. The lyrical voice of the Bansuri bamboo flute floats over the drone of Tamboura, bringing the Indian element to this track.
 Kora Duet
Uplifting Gambian Kora duet.
 Temporal Tonic
A Dreamy electronic piece with superb stereo effects and microtonal piano.
 Serengeti Sundance
A dream like journey through the jungle, complete with animal sounds.

The making of Ancestral Voices a brief history...

  1990 Photo of David and enginer Michale Krowiak, RPM Studio NYC
Photo of Dave at RPM Studio

World folk music traditions have been a major influence on David Gilden's musical development. Over the past fifteen years, his performances and compositions have evolved to include aspects of African, Celtic and Indian musical traditions. Complementing these ancient elements, Gilden introduces a strong modern flavor in the sound, reflecting his years of work with keyboards and electronic music.

The music on Ancestral Voices started in Boston-area studios back in 1985. Beginning with computer-based midi compositions, Gilden interwove acoustic sounds--kora tracks, and on one song, the mbira, a thumb piano from Zimbabwe. The following year, Gilden took the tapes to Rawlston studio in Brooklyn, New York, and added more keyboard parts and bass lines. Bassist Jimmy Earl filled out the sound with his eloquent frettless work on a number of tracks. That summer, Gilden released Ancestral Voices  on cassette.

In 1990 Gilden went to Manhattan's Sorcerer Sound and RPM studios to rework Ancestral Voices for a CD release. He recorded a new solo kora track, reflecting the evolution of his playing following an extended visit to the Gambia. He also added new colors to the existing tracks. New York studio percussionist Joey Cradello played bells, shakers, congas and talking drum. Internationally know bansuri bamboo flutist, Steve Gorn added a Indian Jazz flourish. John Burrell--know nationally to folk fans as Mr. Bones--used a pair of cow bones to add percolating rhythms to Gilden's kora rendition of an Irish jig. Finally, Ray Spiegel, a veteran to Mickey Hart's Diga Rhythm Band, played table and shaker on a track. Gilden mixed his new project using RPM's vintage Neve console and wide selection of outboard gear. Finally Ancestral Voices was digitally edited & mastered with Sonic Solutions at Foothill Digital (NYC).

Ancestral Voices was originally issued cassette in the late 80s and the CD version with additional tracks and remixes was released in 1990. The music has been out of circulation for twenty years, but still sounds fresh and timeless. The new 2010 CD reissue has been remastered Foothill Digital using Sonic Solutions. Some older kora tracks have received Sonic's 'No Noise' restoration to remove low level clicks and other noises.


Distant Strings & Jato (The Lion), rare kora recordings -- double CD reissue

This remastered release gives new life to Dave's early kora recordings, now heard in their full fidelity for the first time!
Distant Strings & Jato (The Lion) Double Compact Disc - 24.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order
Distant Strings - Jato The Lion, cd cover

The music on these two CDs comes from several mid 80s recording sessions that took place in Boston. These first recordings of my kora performances were originally released between 1984 and 1985 on cassette as 'Kora I' and 'Kora II'. In 1986 I went back into the studio to record additional tracks for the release of Jato and Distant Strings. Both of these cassette albums featured tracks from my early initial recordings.

During a summer break from my jazz piano and composition studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1978, I attended a concert at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, that would forever change my musical path. It was there that I heard the music of West Africa's Mande Empire played on the kora, a twenty-one string harp-lute.

After graduating from Berklee 1980, I embarked on a journey aimed at learning the kora. I started with the traditional West African repertoire. As the years passed, my focus became more on the kora and less on keyboards. I could be heard playing my kora starting around 1984 in places like Boston's Faneuil Hall, Harvard Square in Cambridge and during the peak of the summer you would hear me in Provincetown, Cape Cod. Along the way I heard many musicians playing traditional Celtic music on hammer dulcimer and fiddle, and I began adapting this music to the kora.

Distant Strings
original cassette cover Get Distant Strings @ iTunes
Music of many lands played on the majestic West African harp-lute, the kora. Selections range from traditional African repertoire to Celtic music, Bach and beyond. David Gilden: kora & synthesizer; with guest musicians: John "Mr. Bones" Burrell: bones, Ron Lister: concertina. Recorded in Boston, Masschusetts 1984 & 1987. (Originally issued on cassette.)
 
Sound Bytes

Hear more music tracks at mySapce/CoraConnection


Jato  original cassette cover Get Jato @ iTunes
A peaceful and meditative collection of traditional West African folk melodies played on the 21 string kora. Tittle track features a kora and piano duet, with both parts played by David Gilden. Recorded in Boston, Masschusetts 1984 & 1988. (Originally issued on cassette.)

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