Mirabai Ceiba’s European tour is well underway and has been a resounding success. Audiences from Russia to Spain have been captivated by the husband and wife duo of Markus Sieber and Angelika Baumbach, and their beguiling brand of gentle mantra music magic.
“The great thing about Europe is that you can encounter so many different peoples, languages and cultures within a short time and not too many miles,” says Markus. “Going on stage in Russia feels quite different than sitting on a stage in Spain or Germany. But everywhere we go, people all seem to be longing for this kind of spiritual concert, where you’re not just being entertained by listening to beautiful music, but you are somehow a part of it. Some of them are a little afraid to sing with us at first. But if you sensitively open up that possibility in them, they might start singing very shyly. Maybe they’ve never even sung a mantra before. They may not know what the words mean. But when they are done, they are just so happy with themselves.”
“Some people get very inspired that we are a couple,” adds Angelika, “and that we’re able to have this connection through music. That already opens something in their hearts.”
The idea that people of all nations are one in spirit is deeply embedded in Mirabai Ceiba. Markus is East German. Angelika’s mother is Mexican and her father German; she was born in Tucson, Arizona and grew up in a small village in Mexico City. They have a way of making anyplace they go feel like home. On their European tour they are accompanied by their two daughters, ages seven and 2 1/2, plus a babysitter.
“A whole minivan filled with people shows up, but only two people go on stage,” Markus laughs.
“Although there are some concerts where we bring other musicians in to play with us,” adds Angelika, “and some smaller concerts where we still like to play by ourselves, just the two of us, which is nice too. We enjoy both.”
One of Mirabai Ceiba’s large concerts, before some 900 people in Barcelona, Spain, is beautifully captured in a video from their current tour. For this exquisitely staged and lit performance they were joined by their record producer Jamshied Sharifi on keyboards and Simone Haggiag on percussion.
“It was wonderful creating our albums A Hundred Blessings and Awakened Earth with Jamshied,” says Markus. “It’s always a treat when we can get him to do a concert with us because he hasn’t much time. He’s a great musician and he’s always busy writing scores for movies, doing arrangements and other things. But we very much enjoy playing live with him. He’s an outstanding keyboard player and he connects very well with the music.”
Every Mirabai Ceiba concert is a unique experience, and that’s the way Angelika and Markus like it. “We try to go into a concert without expectations,” says Angelika. “Because we feel that, every time we get up on stage, it’s a unique moment and a unique opportunity to create something beautiful out of that moment. Singing together with the audience helps remind people that we are all one and sharing this moment. That we aren’t individuals or artist and public, but all one. That creates an atmosphere where we can also help people go inward and find a place inside themselves where they can feel safe and have a very personal experience–opening your heart, or touching some emotions that you haven’t touched for a long time, awakening memories of something you’ve longed for. So I think it’s really a balance between experiencing our concert as one moment where all share this high energy space together, and at the same time creating an opportunity to go within.”
Following their European tour, Mirabai Ceiba will bring their music to North and South America, starting with an appearance at Sat Nam Fest East in Waynesboro PA on September 13-16. They are also at work on two new albums. “One is an album of sacred love songs,” Markus elaborates, “poetry from Rumi, Kahil Gibran and some of our own poems. It’s a very intimate, minimalistic sounding record. In all the songs, love is described as a path for spiritual growth. We hope to release that one in time for Sat Nam Fest East. And the other album will be on a similar topic: sacred love meditations in the Kundalini Yoga tradition. We hope to release that one for Valentines Day 2013.”