home listen reviews artists a-z
Baird Hersey & PRANA


One of the places this summer brought me to was upstate NY, and I took the opportunity to visit my old friend Leslie Ritter, an outstanding vocalist and songwriter. She and Scott Petito have long been valuable and ubiquitous contributors to many different kinds of musical projects and recordings.

Near the end of our short afternoon reunion, Leslie played me a recording of an "overtone singing group" she’d been working with, PRANA. It was transfixing, discorporating. Music of the spheres. Nothing but voices on the recording, and yet you would swear you heard pipe organs, theremins, cellos, analog synthesizers, all kinds of things. There is nothing tricky in the recording process, just incredible singers and otherworldly compositions, some great mics and a little reverb. (Scott Petito recorded at his fine facility NRS Studios, assisted by Beth Reineke.)

The founder and composer is Baird Hersey. He has been studying overtone singing for fifteen years, with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India and the Gyuto Monks of Tibet (see our review). Baird has also been pursuing the practice of Ashtanga Yoga since 1997, and in fact this record is subtitled overtone singing meditations on the 8 limbs of yoga. I’m glad that we provide clips on the Listen page for you to admire and to inspire you to buy this record, because mere words fall short to describe it, and may be the wrong tool for the job completely.

This talented group is made up of individuals who do and have done many other things, musical and otherwise. Many are singer songwriters and/or gifted instrumentalists in their own right. (Hell, Bruce Milner was part of Every Mother’s Son, which shot to #1 in ’67 with "Come On Down to My Boat, Baby"--you gotta love that.) They musically direct radio shows, make incredible stringed instruments, are world class audio engineers, and between them have vast musical credits.

We can practically guarantee that you don’t have a CD in your collection that resembles this celestial undertaking, and conversely assure you that you will want to acquire it immediately, as we certainly did. I can’t wait to see this amazing group perform live, and we’re enthused to share this fantastic and unusual music with our readers. Dig the clips, and buy it here. • FG

       Baird Hersey  
return to covers
listen to clips
to order one
puremusic home