Q&A with Multi-Grammy winner Paul Avgerinos - new Christmas album full of ambient new age holiday cheer

"The melodies are so perfectly crafted and catchy that you just can't help but hum and sing along. And Christmas is such a fun time of the year with decorations, parties and gifts. Even a grouchy old Scrooge will give in and crack a smile eventually."

Paul Avgerinos: Om, Serene Shanti Noel!

Multi-Grammy® winner Paul Avgerinos presents a 14-song Christmas album titled "Shanti Noel" (2023) full of ambient new age holiday cheer! Shanti Noel radiates fresh takes on holiday favorites, designed to keep the season joyful, peaceful, and serene. 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. After graduation, Paul served as principal bass of several major symphony orchestras around the world, and gave solo recitals as well. Expanding into more popular genres, Avgerinos toured as a bassist with Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli, and the jazz legend Buddy Rich. Seeking to further his original composition and develop his childhood passion for electronic music, Paul built Studio Unicorn, a comprehensive digital/analog recording studio, in 1984.                                          (Photo: Multi-Grammy winner Paul Avgerinos)

Twenty Four solo CDs in the New Age genre followed, including Grace, which won the 2015 GRAMMY for Best New Age Album. His album BHAKTI earned a 2014 GRAMMY® Nomination. Avgerinos always makes time for scoring and licensing and has worked on over One Hundred film, TV, and cable projects for HBO, PBS, and Lifetime, among others. Currently, he lives and works in Redding, Connecticut, where the deer pass by his studio windows and the hawks and eagles give inspiration from above.

Interview by Michael Limnios                   Archive: Paul Avgerinos, 2020 Interview

Currently you’ve on release with Christmas music. When did the idea of “Shanti Noel” come about?

I was talking about the possibility of making a Christmas album with my family and we all felt together that bringing in some eastern Indian spiritual energy from the yoga world would be a great fun and soothing combination along with the old classic Christmas songs.

Why do you think that the Christmas music and songs continues to generate such a devoted following?

The melodies are so perfectly crafted and catchy that you just can't help but hum and sing along. And Christmas is such a fun time of the year with decorations, parties and gifts. Even a grouchy old Scrooge will give in and crack a smile eventually.  

Are there any specific memories from your Christmas holidays that you would like to tell us about?!

Singing Christmas carols with my brother as my mom played the piano parts and sang along altogether…

Sledding in the deep snow and thawing out our frozen feet by the fire drinking hot cocoa…

Singing in Church on Christmas Eve with the full choir and pipe organ…

Hardly being able to sleep on Christmas eve thinking of all the presents under the tree…

My daughter is seven now, so we have had all these magical Christmas times together already, enjoying the holiday even more now seeing it all through her innocent eyes… The best of times.

"Great virtuosic technique without a soulful heart and soul is ultimately empty and devoid of meaning. When I work on a new piece, I always start by opening up channels to my higher self, and inviting archetypal energies to flow through me, and use me as an instrument as I improvise." (Photo: Paul Avgerinos' Christmas album "Shanti Noel" radiates fresh takes on holiday favorites, designed to keep the season joyful, peaceful, and serene / Paul Avgerinos with his Grammy Award / Photo by Mike Windle)

Life is more than just music, is there any other field that has influence on your life and music?

I love to read all kinds of books on spirituality and timeless wisdom. It is so expansive and healing.

I also love to learn about science, quantum physics, energy, the universe, etc. We know so little, but yet we are learning so very much.

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

I got serious about my career in music at around age 15 and 16 when I realized that Music had a tremendous spiritual power to connect us to the universal oneness. Practicing and playing music was deeply healing and therapeutic: uplifting my spirit, and connecting me with my higher self. When I realized that Music could accomplish these goals for my listeners as well, my life's work and Dharma truly began.

What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

A profound and deeply important question! Great virtuosic technique without a soulful heart and soul is ultimately empty and devoid of meaning. When I work on a new piece, I always start by opening up channels to my higher self, and inviting archetypal energies to flow through me, and use me as an instrument as I improvise. I use my technical knowledge and skill in music all the time, but it is always in the service of soulful channeling and improvisation from the heart. I always say to mentees: God gave us two parts to our brain, the rational and the creative, so why not use both of them?

Studio Unicorn      Round Sky Music 

(Paul Avgerinos / Photo by Frederick M. Brown)

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