Now, Thomas Barquee, an artist of uncommon sensitivity, has woven a profoundly moving tapestry of Indian, Middle Eastern and Western musical elements, with Latin choral overtones, onto the form of the Catholic Mass. Missa (mass in Latin) is an experience of world church. It transforms this holy structure into a serious and reverential modern musical journey.
As our world continues to shrink, assuming more of the characteristics of a global village, music that crosses the boundaries of different genres, blending elements of East and West, North and South, gains an ever greater audience. The expanding interest in spiritual matters - especially Eastern spirituality -- attracts a larger audience for music with a sacred or inspirational theme. Missa nourishes this need.
Missa combines Eastern and Western approaches to life and spirituality. Its lyrics are drawn from the Roman Catholic service, as well as ancient Sanskrit texts and inspired by the wisdom of Kahlil Gibran, Rumi, the Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Bible and other immortal words. The result showcases Thomas Barquee's great skill as both composer and vocalist.
A call for peace, Missa seeks to tear down barriers between us, allowing emotional commonalties to emerge. The work uses our religious diversity as a vehicle to express human unity, transcending the limitations of individual spiritual and musical traditions. It is this desire to express unity that is the hallmark of Barquee's work.
Missa follows Barquee's previous World-inspired album, Temple, released in 2000 on Hearts of Space Records. A more Eastern-influenced work, Temple was the precursor for the more elaborate canvas Barquee used to create Missa. Barquee, who sees himself as both a composer and vocalist, wanted Missa to be a fuller integration of vocals and music than Temple, a more explicit blending of sacred text with crossover composition.
Barquee was brought up in a Protestant family and attended church frequently, drawn in large part by the sacred music, especially that of J. S. Bach. As a young child, he was also exposed to Beethoven and the Romantic composers, beginning his own study of classical piano and composition at age nine with an internationally renowned teacher in the Hamburg, Germany area. His first compositions were piano pieces and string quartets, and he served as a church organist from age 16 to 18.
By 16, however, Barquee's musical interest was shifting (predictably?) to pop, and rock and roll, and he joined a punk rock band as its drummer. In his mid-20s, Barquee was a busy recording session musician, touring internationally with his own bands, had a five-year publishing deal with ACT Music, a record deal Japan, and was well on his way to European/Asian pop stardom.
Somehow, though, it was all feeling empty. In the early-90s, Barquee recognized that the pop music style was almost entirely ego-driven. A yoga practitioner in the late-70s/early-80s, Barquee survived his "pop music crisis" by moving to Los Angeles in 1992, reinstating his yoga practice and shifting his musical perspective to more spiritually-oriented work. "The spiritual path is healing-driven," he says. "This music offers a healing benefit to the world and to myself. A much more meaningful pursuit, I feel."
In Los Angeles, Barquee persisted, using all his skills to remain in the music business: he engineered sessions, remixed tracks ... even gave voice to a monkey in Disney's Jungle Book using a library of monkey sounds! And it is paying off. At the turn of the millennium, Barquee released Temple. Last year, he arranged and produced Game of Chants, featuring vocals by Seal, for Spirit Voyage Records. And now Missa is ready.
In composing Missa, Barquee took advantage of the breadth and depth of his spiritual practice and experience. "Much of it was an emotional process," he says. "It consisted of me feeling my way into the moment through the music, in a meditative sort of way. In that state, time just disappears and things - music - just happen."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Dona Nobis Pacem
4. Mea Culpa
5. Salva Me