“To know that my music is being used successfully for yoga, massage, reiki and many other holistic practices is a dream come true for me as I know that I am helping to comfort and soothe people that I have never met all around the world.” – Paul Avgerinos
When Paul Avgerinos graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1980 as a full scholarship honors student, he had already performed with Isaac Stern, Jean Pierre Rampal, The Beaux Arts Trio and many other great classical artists. Throughout his career, he has released over 20 solo albums and is one of YogiTunes’ most popular artists.
His most recent release “Grace” won the Grammy this year for Best New Age Album, so we decided to reach out and get to know this prolific artist a little bit more.
Tell us about your music career: where it began, what got you first interested in making music, and how it evolved to where it is today?
Like many of us musician types, I began playing in school and in rock, jazz and classical groups at around ten years old. My real music passion began around age 16 when I discovered Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, his guru Sri Chinmoy and yoga in a big way in 1974. This is when I realized that music was a spiritually potent vibrational and devotional vehicle capable of connecting directly to the heart of God.
As you won a Grammy in New Age, do you feel like that accurately categorizes the album “Grace”, and if not, is there a way to categorize it that helps communicate its intention?
When we were creating “Grace,” our intention was to make a quintessential new age album – so I am very happy that the academy felt that we were successful in our efforts. For me, I love the term ‘new age’ and feel it applies to any music that has a spiritually uplifting focus and quality.
What are your thoughts on music categorization as a whole, do you feel it’s a help or hinderance for people seeking to find yours or anyone else’s music?
Categories are a good first step to help people sort through the avalanche of musical choices available these days. I am a huge fan of services like YogiTunes which bring together and curate a vast array of diverse music that fits the needs of yoga devotees and new age people in general.
Does winning a Grammy put any pressure on you to keep doing what you’ve been doing? Do you feel like it pigeonholes you in any way?
Actually it is very liberating! I have been known primarily as an instrumental guy for the last 30 years but on “Amma” I am singing on every track and the Grammy win helps me to have the confidence to do this and to release an all vocal album.
Are you aware of how your music is used for therapeutic reasons?
This is one of my greatest comforts and joys, to know that my music is being used successfully for yoga, massage, reiki and many other holistic practices is a dream come true for me as I know that I am helping to comfort and soothe people that I have never met all around the world.
Do you recall any specific feedback you’ve gotten from individuals regarding how your music has moved them?
There have been a lot of heartfelt responses over the years, but one of my favorite is a fellow who said that he had a spontaneous chiropractic self adjustment while listening to my music.
What’s your journey in yoga?
Since 1974, I’ve been practicing every day. I also do a lot of chanting and do Amma’s IAM technique every morning. My practice has given me deep peace, comfort and true joy. It has helped me immensely to handle challenging situations more graceful as well.
Where do you feel called to go musically from here?
I am 11 tracks deep into “Amma”, an album of devotional kirtan for my blessed Sat Guru Amma, as an offering of gratitude at her lotus feet. Jen and I got Amma’s blessing to have a baby last February 20 in India and Jen’s due date was February 20 of this year ! Juliana Joy was born February 27. We credit Amma with all the wonderful things that are happening in our lives. (www.amma.org) We will donate thousands of copies to help raise funds for Amma’s massive charity work around the world.
Do you practice to music, and if yes how does it affect your practice?
I actually practice in silence but I love listening to kirtan especially these days while working and driving and singing along.
What is your ideal setting in which to practice yoga?
Jen and I are blessed to live out in the peaceful woods here in Redding, CT and we have a yoga studio in our house serving the local community. (www.adore-yoga.com)
If you were a yoga pose, which one would you be and why?
I would say Warrior, because I never give up on trying to uphold Dharma.
Listen to Paul’s Grammy-winning album and find your place of Grace >>>