Thomas Barquee – BIO
Thomas Barquee was brought up in a Protestant family and attended church frequently, drawn in large part to the sacred music, especially that of J.S. Bach. As a young child, he was also exposed to Beethoven and the Romantic composers, beginning his own study of classical piano and composition at age nine with an internationally renowned teacher in Hamburg, Germany. His first compositions were piano pieces and string quartets, and he served as a church organist from age 16 to 18. By 16, however, Barquee’s musical interest was shifting to pop and rock and roll and he even joined a punk rock band.
In his mid-20’s, Barquee was a busy recording session musician, and toured internationally with his own bands, had a publishing deal with ACT music & a record deal with EMI Japan, and was well on his way to European/Asian pop stardom. But somewhere along the line the world of pop stardom ended up feeling empty to Barquee.
In search of new inspiration Barquee moved to Los Angeles in 1992, reinstating his dormant yoga practice (he had become a practitioner more than a decade earlier), and shifting his musical perspective to one more spiritually oriented. He still made his living from his musical skills, but stayed close to home: he engineered sessions, remixed tracks, even gave voice to a monkey in Disney’s Jungle Book.
One of Barquee’s musical shifts was spurred by his first trip to India in the early 1980s, “I absorbed the music of India and I liked it,” he says, “but at that point I wasn’t ready to do anything with it; however, it did make a deep impression on me.”
In 2000, Barquee released his first recording since his pop-stardom days: Temple on Hearts of Space Music. He followed that with Missa and, most recently, The Sound of Om, both on Spirit Voyage Music. In making these recordings, Barquee took advantage of the breadth and depth of his spiritual practice and experience.
In the last few years, Barquee has also written and produced numerous recordings for other artists, such as The Game of Chant featuring Seal, as well as Prem and Shanti for Snatam Kaur. He co-produced an album with Patrick Leonard, and scored several feature films and TV shows
Thomas Barquee’s The Sound of Om, on Spirit Voyage Music, is his newest release and an exciting new direction for this World Music artist. Comprised of seven Sanskrit chants, The Sound of Om resonates with depth and passion. The simple, ancient chants form the core of the recording, which is layered with an elaborate, exotic, and effective blend of Indian and Western instrumentation: bansuri, sarod, esraj, and santoor give equal time to keyboards, drums, percussion and bass, as well as electric and acoustic guitar. Barquee’s music is smooth and cohesive, creating an exultant, melodious world.
The simplicity of the chants on this recording enables you to easily join in. “Chanting the mantra is the most intimate experience you can have of them because you get pulled into the energy field of the chants.” says Barquee. “These mantras are universal, they reach beyond language and embrace all religions. They express love, wisdom and joy.”
An artist of uncommon sensitivity, depth, and breadth, Barquee created modern melodies that seem uniquely well suited to the ancient mantras. Composing the music, Barquee felt guided by the mantra and experienced a strong synergy between the mantra and the music. The desire to express unity and transcend individual, spiritual, and musical barriers is the foundation on which Barquee has built his latest body of work.