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April 13, 1990 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ANN ARBOR

Minda Hart is shown with
some of her merchandise
inside Earth Wisdom
Music.
Below, the store's New
Age sign.

ler

ttib t'I n

NkNitsi.**

MELLOW AGE

An Ann Arbor shop has been
on the ground floor of the
New Age movement.

SUSAN LUDMER-GLIEBE

y

Special to The Jewish News

ou could say that
Minda Hart has
been on the cutting
edge of mellow. A
decade ago she first got in-
volved in New Age music
before most people ever heard
of it. In 1984 she opened
Earth Wisdom Music in Ann
Arbor, establishing it as the
biggest store of its kind in the
Midwest. Within the next
month she and musician/pro-
ducer Howard White will be
releasing a new tape, ten-
tatively called "Paradise of
Whirlwinds."
"It's a modern instrumen-
tal composition using
acoustic, synthesizers and
samplers," White says. Harps
and flutes and other natural-
ly occurring sounds — of
whales and birds and rain on
trees — create a restful, calm-

32

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 1990

ing ambiance. "It gives the il-
lusion of an ideal en-
vironmental setting — with
no mosquitos or planes flying
overhead, White says. Hart
adds that it's great music to
be massaged by. She should
know. She's a certified
massage therapist.
Earth Wisdom Music,
which carries about 800 dif-
ferent tape and CD titles at
any given moment in its
Liberty Street store, sells the
gamut of New Age music. "It
goes from up-tempo things to
work or study by to music to
be born by to movement
music to music for stress
reduction," Hart says. There's
stuff for meditating, for get-
ting children to go to bed, and
for people who are grieving.
Tape titles such as "Water
Spirit," "Dream Image," and
"Totem" give a clue to the
types of compositions one can
find. There's even some
humorous stuff. Hart is sell-

ing a new release by Bernie
Kraus and Human Remains
which is fast paced, danceable
and includes lots of animal
sounds. Some of the cuts in-
clude "Ape No Mountain
High Enough," and "Stomp
in the Name of Love."
Not all music critics are
crazy about the New Age
sound. Some say it's merely a
marketing concept aimed at
members of the Age of
Aquarius who have outgrown
rock and punk music styles.
Others find its sonic
sameness wearying, a kind of
musical spoon feeding.
For Hart, music which goes
under the moniker New Age
is more than just pleasant
listening sound. "I attempt to
sell music and healing," the
38-year-old Ohioan native ex-
plains. Hart points out that
the idea of music as one of the
healing arts isn't exactly new.
"There's the biblical allusion
to the effect of music soothing

the savage breast and of
David soothing Saul with the
harm" - she says.
Although Hart does not
associate herself with New
Age beliefs, she is a strong
believer in the efficacy of such
music on the mind and the
body. That's how she first got
involved with it. in fact. After
receiving degrees from the
University of Cincinnati.
Hart worked as a social
worker, a profession she found
quite stressful But by listen-
ing to New Wave music she
found that her anxieties
decreased. She began in-
vestigating the phenomenon
of music and how it affected
the body; she attended
workshops and learned from
New Age gurus like Kay
Gardner and Steve Halpern.
Now Hart is the one giving
the workshops and lectures to
cardiac and surgical units in
hospitals such as the Univer-
sity of Michigan. the Turner

Geriatric Clinic, and Botsford
General Hospital in Farm-
ington Hills. She's worked
with hospices, appeared at
health fairs, including the
Women's Health Day held
this past October at the
Jewish Community Center,
and has spoken before health
professional groups. Patients
going to or from hospitals
often hear about the store and
come to take a look-see-hear.
"Ten to fifteen cancer pa-
tients come in here a week,"
she says. Many of these seek
out the so-called guided
meditation tapes which talk
about techniques such as
"mental imagery" and
"grounding energy."
New Age music is eclectic,
using instruments from all
over the world including
African drums, Celtic harps,
Yaquin rain sticks and Hopi
rattles. To Hart's regret,
there's a paucity of New Age
Jewish music. "This year at

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