Review of - 'Rain Trance'

Enlightened Practice Magazine

Although the practice of yoga is mostly focused around moving our bodies, what we listen to plays a big role as well. Our bodies tend to flow in line with what we hear, and "Rain Trance" is a perfect compliment to any yoga practice. Our connection to the water is a deep and ancient one. Sensations of being immersed in water and having water running over our bodies can bring a deep release of physical and mental tension. The soothing sounds of falling water can also invoke feelings of peacefulness and relaxation on a subconscious level.

"Rain Trance" is the second CD in a Water Trilogy series by Yellow Bell/Richard Brookens intended for relaxation, meditation, and yoga. The 30-minute ti tle track "Rain Trance" uses exotic acoustic instruments, such as the Egyptian bamboo flute, Clay Pot from Africa, and the Brazilian Berimbao, over recordings of rhythmic water splashes and a tropical rainstorm, creating a beautifully transparent soundscape.

The opening cut on the CD is titled "Water Drum" after the featured percussi on instrument from West Africa. The Water Drums are made from two large gourds cut in half and filled with water. Two smaller gourds, also cut in half, float atop the water open end down. The sound of these smaller gourds resonating through the water after being struck is a uniquely deep and hollow sound. The other percussion on this track is also as unique. The Indian Kanjira is a small tambourine with a snake-skin head that becomes pliable after it is softened with water, allowing for changes in pitch as it is tightened and released. The Kalimba and Bass Kalimba (also known as Thumb Pianos or Mbira) give the piece a loping energy, and the Gonkogui (African Bells) contribute a light rhythmic feel. Above the interplay of these melodic percussion instruments the Chinese bamboo flute, called a Dizi, weaves a sinuous melody; the Indian bamboo flute called the Bansuri provides a waving drone.

One of the interesting aspects of Yellow Bell/Richard Brookens's music is this use of instruments from all over the world. On his website,, he has a section filled with pictures and information on all the diverse instruments used on his World Fusion/Jazz and Meditation/Relaxation CDs.

The closing piece, "Water Bells," is a triumph of minimalism. Using only an Indian Brass Bell and the sound of dripping water, Richard Brookens has made a piece of music so serene and peaceful that it immediately takes you into a meditative space. The overtones of the bell and the translucent nature of the water on this cut is something special.

[ Jaime Ehrenfeld, Feb/March 2004, Enlightened Practice Magazine.]

Read about the musicians and instrumentation, of 'Rain Trance'.