Fairfield-Suison Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — Janet Baltzo sat down at the church piano and began to play.

“I was playing songs I heard on the radio,” she said. “I thought to myself, ‘This is kind of weird. How do I know how to do this?’”

She was only 7. There was no turning back.

“Pretty much after that, nothing else hit me with such sound and rhythm,” she said. “I never, ever thought of doing anything else.”

Her music and life partner, Narayan Baltzos, was a few years younger when his uncle showed up at a family Thanksgiving and played the trumpet.

“Everything disappeared except for me and him,” he said. “I was engrossed. He noticed how enraptured I was.”

His uncle gave him a silver trumpet as a gift. He would never see that uncle again and continued to play the trumpet through high school. 

Narayan Baltzo made a living outside music, though he continued to play the trumpet and also learned the tabla, a small hand drum from India.

The couple met in Seattle playing in the same band. She would sing and he would back her up with the trumpet while other band members took a break.

“We realized we could speak to each other musically and we started writing,” she said.

Their first work collaboration resulted in three songs.

In February, the couple took over as music directors at Vacaville’s Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center. They will perform there Saturday.

“They walk the walk,” Janet Baltzos said of Unity. “They are so filled with love.”

“We feel like part of their family,” Narayan Baltzos added.

That’s important to the couple, who focus on music with positive vibes. Green festivals, events that encompass body, mind and soul are some of the venues they prefer.

The couple was involved in deep meditation and doing yoga in Seattle.

“Then, we’d go out at night and play in a casino,” Narayan Baltzos said. “On our break we would be in the parking lot doing yoga.”

It was time to chart a new course, he said. One that would align them with who they are.

“We were playing in these places that were not promoting what we were doing,” Janet Baltzos said. “This is going in another direction. You look back at the past and it all helps you get to where you are.”

They have learned that playing music with positive vibes can be emotional for them and the listener.

“You don’t realize how vulnerable you can be, especially after playing this music,” he said. “When you’re confronted with negative energy, you have to learn to protect yourself. People don’t realize your heart is wide open.”

They have straightforward advice for musicians hoping to express passion in their music and connect with listeners.

“Doing it because of outside pressures, you’ll never come to satisfying results,” he said. “If you are aligned with yourself, you will be the fountain, the wellspring (of creativity).” 

She suggested starting with songs the audience may know and then sharing some original works.

“If you are doing all cover tunes, they (the audience) don’t get a piece of your heart. It’s a nice blend to both of those,” Janet Baltzo said.

There will be a dance floor at Saturday’s performance. Janet Baltzo said she understand those who like to get up and dance, she often feels the same.

“We are in bodies,” Narayan Baltzo said. “That’s part of the experience, to get filled with life energy.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

 

‘Jazz in the Valley’ with Narayan and Narayan

  • 7 p.m. Saturday
  • Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center, 350 N. Orchard Ave., Vacaville
  • 447-0521, www.jazzinthevalley.brownpapertickets.com
  • www.narayanjanet.com

Vallejo Herald-Tribune

Narayan and Janet Baltzo were seemingly entrenched in Seattle. But, after three West Coast tours to San Diego and back, the musical duo finally figured out that perhaps it was best to anchor somewhere in the middle.

“There was so much driving,” Narayan said. “We thought we should find a place more centrally located and I love the Bay Area in general. The whole area here encapsulates the kind of music we do.”

So here they are in Santa Rosa, thrilled with life, and they get a job as musical directors at Unity Church of the Valley in Vacaville with a debut concert July 9.

A semi “real job” keeps them here, though Narayan’s policy on taking gigs remains intact.

“No. 1, it pays really well,” he said. “No. 2, it’s a lot of exposure that leads to other gigs. And No. 3, it’s a blast. If two of those are in place, then we’ll take it. If less than two, we’ll likely give it a pass.”

Of course, if No. 1 is a million bucks, that pretty much takes care of the third requirement.

“That would make it fun. It’s hard not to have fun if you’re a making a million,” Narayan said. “That would put a spring in your step.”

Not that the couple needs the big dough. Some daily meditation, a little yoga, a few original tunes, a twist on some classics, and they’re good to go.

“I think we’ve been pretty successful by the response of the audience,” Narayan said.

With a “positive vibes only” when it comes to gigs, the couple scrutinizes offers more closely these days.

“There are all kinds of venues we used to play and stopped playing like casinos and bars,” Narayan said.

After performing together about 14 years, it’s best to play for an attentive audience, he noted, where the music “transforms energy and makes people feel happier. When we’re doing background music, it doesn’t work. It isn’t effective and it doesn’t honor the music. It just doesn’t feel good.”

Doing the positive tunes is a big reason why Janet “got off the Top 40 cover band touring with other people carousel.”

It’s about “having their consciousness raised,” Narayan added, pinpointing another reason why the two moved to the state.

“California does a lot of that (consciousness-raising),” he said. “It’s on the leading edge of taking care of the planet.”

Audience members “feel good about themselves, what they’re doing, who they are, and they feel connected to the community” after one of the duo’s concerts, Narayan said. “And they make new friends.”

The two have “a big vision” for the music program at Unity that includes “teaching everyone how to sing better,” Janet said.

“Different things we’ve learned, we’ll apply here,” noted Narayan. “It’s about finding what talent there is in the community and utilizing it.”

The key, the two agreed, “is to get people’s hearts open.”

“You don’t want to have a kick-butt band but no heart feeling,” Janet said. “I’ve seen that at churches. Where is the love?”

She said the two have played with “some of the best musicians in the world and at times there’s just no joy being transmitted.”

Then there are blues players like James Cotton, said Janet, “where he doesn’t have to play a note and there’s joy and a feel of goodwill.”

Janet started her musical odyssey playing the bulky Hammond B3 organ. Then she discovered her voice.

“I thought, ‘Wow, I can express my feelings quicker than on the keyboard,’” she said.

Narayan was strictly a horn player, picking up freelance gigs when he met Janet.

“One thing I’ve learned is that she got me singing, which I really enjoy now,” he said. “She also taught me to expand your presence in the room and connect with people in the audience. And that’s what I think we do. When we play for people, they feel like they’re part of it. There are no barriers.”

Performing has been the ultimate healer, the two said.

“I can remember times when I walked on the stage. We might have been in disagreement about something,” Narayan said. “And all that changes. You can’t stay in that place while you’re playing. It takes us into a ‘connecting’ feeling.”

Attending a Narayan and Janet concert is “a good reason to get out of the house and off the couch to share warmth, love and harmony,” Janet said.

Narayan & Janet perform “Jazz in the Valley,” Sat., July 9, 7 to 9 p.m., Unity of the Valley, 350 N. Orchard Ave., Vacaville. General seating $15, luxury seating $45, students and seniors $10. Info (707) 447-0521 or visit jazzinthevalley.brownpapertickets.com.

 

About the Author

Reach the author at rfreedman@timesheraldonline.com or follow Richard on Twitter: @richfreedmanvth.

Bread and Roses Performance Review

“I feel better!”

“They are so good!”

“Swing it baby!”

“I’ve never seen him get up and dance!”

Numerous staff members said, “It was the best show that they had ever seen there!”

One of the staff said “There was more dancing here today than ever before.”

A couple of “regular sleepers” woke up and opened their eyes during the set with momentary bright smiles.

One man in a wheelchair kept trying to get up to dance and they finally wheeled him to the center where he was able to join in. Once he was part of the “dancers” he settled into the rhythm as he could. One person clapped throughout the entire set. Physical Therapists came in to get their clients and ended up staying to do P.T. dancing & smiling with the seniors. Narayan & Janet invited the room to sing along and indeed they sang along. Holiday songs, familiar songs and positive original tunes filled the room.

 

One woman told me that “she was not a morning person and she was in her bed with no intention of coming to the show. When she heard the music, it made her get out of bed to come see and hear it!” She also said that “This type of music made her happy.”

 

This is evidence of the healing power of really great music.

 

So what made this day so good? The high caliber, professional, positive, dynamic duo, Narayan & Janet! They have a presence that is very upbeat and they play familiar songs in a variety of styles. Oh What a Beautiful Morning in the style of Ray Charles, a Motown version of Away in a Manger, a country song On the Road Again, a calypso version of an original “The Connection” made me long to be on an island somewhere and had a lot of these seniors on their feet. Janet sang a traditional bluesy version of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and it brought tears to my eyes. As I looked around, I saw others with tears as well. There was something for everyone.

 

With smooth vocals, precise harmonies, and a playful banter, Narayan & Janet brought joy and delight to the seniors this day. Narayan sings and plays a muted trumpet sounding like Herb Alpert. He also plays a variety of percussion instruments that included, angelic chimes, a tambourine solo and more. A special treat was his whistling solo. Janet sings and plays keyboard with gusto and a sassiness that makes you smile. Combine that with her soulful, rich, bluesy voice and it doesn’t get much better than that. There were only two of them, but with their high tech support, they sounded like a full band.

 

Their positive spirit was contagious. One of their original songs is still resonating with me. “I’m gonna feel better than I did just a minute ago. I’m gonna do it, that’s what I know. I’m gonna spread some sunshine from right here to all over the world! That’s what I know.” I was smiling throughout the entire show and my heart was lifted this day thanks to connecting with Narayan & Janet. Their website says it all. “Music for Peace, Goodwill and the Celebration of Life!” Indeed. The healing power of music at it’s best.

New Spirit Journal

It is such a distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to review the rising, embracing music of two people this reviewer knows personally. Narayan and Janet live on a higher plane of consciousness, and their music distinctly is reflective of their solace, energy and peace.

New World Family is a delightful blend of the genre that the Baltzos have created with some daring departures into new rhythms and keyboarding. That is, of course, to be expected, as they explain in the title “New World Family.” By remaining faithful to their solid music style and embracing new expressions they’ve created a solid mix that both old and new listeners will delight in. With energy and vocals reaching new heights this reviewer would classify this CD as “must have.”

New Age Retailer

All Bliss Narayan & Janet You’re Loved, www.narayanjanet.com Bringing in guitar virtuoso Eric Tingstad as co-producer yielded huge benefits for the duo Narayan & Janet on All Bliss. Merging elements from pop, jazz, rhythm and blues, and other genres, the CD is joyful and celebratory yet also holds more than a few important messages—one casual listen to the opening “Be Yourself” drives that point home. From the funky, soulful cover of the classic Youngbloods’ tune “Get Together” to the struttin’ jazz of “Mostly Love” (Crusaders, anyone?) to the flashback-to-the-late-‘60s “Peace and Joy” (easy to picture John Lennon singing this one), Narayan and Janet infuse so much fun into this CD that it’s nigh irresistible. Sterling production is the icing on the cake of this delightful album.

New Spirit Journal

The music of this Seattle-based duo will have you swaying, toe-tapping, humming and feeling in your groove. Narayan and Janet have combined their musical talents with their spirituality to make what they call “Music for Awakening.” I love how the lyrics are meaningful since today so many musical performances are less than inspirational. The song “Be Yourself” encourages the listener to be true to themselves; it would be great for youngsters to hear this so they would be supported to being true to themselves rather than following the herd. There’s a great mixture of styles from Beatles, pop, jazz, new age, and R & B – all on one album – that can only make you feel good, raise your energy, and ground you all at the same time. Hmm, I guess that’s what the album is called All Bliss!” Instrumentation includes: organ, keyboards, trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar (played by Eric Tingstad, no less), bass, drums and percussion, cello, and accordion.

seattle pi blog

A CHANGE OF PACE For something completely different, we recently checked out the Soul Food Books in Redmond. This cozy store has organic coffee, Picture My organic mocha latte' was a work of art! , panini style sandwiches, baked goods, and other treats. The real treat was the live music on Friday night. From 8-10 PM we were treated to Narayan and Janet Baltzo doing original tunes to uplift and make you smile. " The music of Narayan & Janet is creating a buzz among the ever-growing numbers of people who want music to reflect their spiritual awakening and nurture a sense of love and joy. Narayan & Janet's powerfully uplifting concert includes music from their new CD "ALL BLISS" and invites participation from joyful attendees who will go home from this event feeling uplifted, centered and inspired! And it's fun!" And, it WAS fun. Soul Food Books serves up organic coffee and tarot readings, reiki, and drum lessons plus more. I wish we had one of these in Bellevue. The cozy atmosphere is perfect for our "Juneuary" rainy nights.

Press Release

HELPING THE PLANET TO EVOLVE _ONE LISTENER AT A TIME All Bliss, a new CD by Narayan & Janet, transcends its own mainstream appeal with a powerful purpose: to help everyone who hears it sustain a state of bliss in everyday life. “It’s like meditating with your eyes open,” says Narayan of the CD, which is scheduled for release in early 2010. “It’s for having inward and outward reality become one. It’s for lifting your awareness and taking that state into the world.” The genre-bending duo’s first release, Why Not Now, drew on a unique blend of New Age, R&B, gospel, and Sanskrit chant influences. All Bliss has an even more eclectic, exciting palette, adding rock, pop, jazz and world music styles. “Get Together” is a fresh version of the Youngbloods’ classic hit. “Peace and Joy,” a tribute to John Lennon, echoes the sound of the Beatles. “Soul Song” and “Walking in the Bliss” are structured like chants, using repetition and a hypnotic beat to induce an uplifted trance state. “Shivaya” is literally adapted from a powerful Sanskrit chant. “Be Yourself” is a song with a pop feel and a non-conformist message, while “Mostly Love” evokes the smooth style of the Brazilian jazz singer Sadé. The lyrics for the reflective “Always Near” are adapted from a poem by the Indian teacher Yogananda. “I believe all music is spiritual,” says Narayan. “and these songs are infused with the realism of our shared spiritual journey.” The duo describes the creation of the CD as a blissful, miraculous journey. “Each step along the way involved self-healing and a lot of visioning work and right when we needed it people who are masters of their art appeared-doors opened ! ” says Janet, “starting with Grammy-award winner Eric Tingstad who produced and plays guitar on the album.” Janet had met Eric while on tour with David Lanz, and was invited along with Narayan to be a part of Eric’s highly-acclaimed live performances of music from Eric’s solo album “Southwest”. Eric says “Narayan and Janet are extraordinary musicians and songwriters and the three of us bring very complimentary musical senses into the studio. Making this album was a beautiful collaboration.” The songs on All Bliss blossomed from Narayan & Janet’s love for each other and for the divine. Janet proclaims “When we make music together our spiritual lives become our everyday lives.” Narayan adds, “Many people right now are making life choices and living moment-to-moment in a fear-based reality, allowing fear to dictate their actions and cultivating fear thoughts in a sort of feedback loop. We want to encourage those who are ready to move into a love-based reality, where love becomes the motivating force behind ones thoughts and actions. This music is very helpful to lift one’s thoughts and feelings.” Contact: Max Horowitz | Crossover Media | 212.465.2444 |max@crossovermedia.net

Press Release

You’re Loved, the genre-bending musical duo that recently released its first original CD, Why Not Now?, will host an innovative new radio program, Living Music Radio, on KKNW 1150 AM and 98.9 FM HD3 starting April 30. Each half hour show will also be archived on livingmusicradio.com for access on the world-wide web. Hosts Janet and Narayan Baltzo can be heard Mondays & Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 11. They plan to showcase “conscious contemporary” music, a term coined by the two to describe a broad range of uplifting and joyous sound. “A lot of people think that for music to be sacred it has to be old, that modern is negative,” says Narayan. “The truth is that modern instruments and new forms and combinations of genres can be just as heart-opening.” The show will feature interviews with musicians, healers, community leaders and visionaries. It will highlight established musicians who have made the shift to more conscious music, as well as leaders in the field of sound healing such as Jonathan Goldman, and local creatives. “There are artists out there who are playing and composing beneficial music in a higher vibration who aren’t being heard outside their communities,” says Janet. “We want to change that.” Adds Narayan, “We’re looking for new ways to expose all of us more to conscious music. We’d like to circumvent the traditional, consumer-driven attitude towards music that turns it into a formulaic, homogenized product and, while we’re at it, help to make more connections between communities.” The Baltzos discovered their natural flair for radio during an interview promoting their CD. When the interviewer suggested that they host their own program they jumped at the opportunity. The two have a broader mission beyond creating and performing expansive, life-affirming music; they want to use music to help assist with the cultural and planetary shifts that are happening. As a result, listeners to Living Music Radio can expect a transformative experience. “Music has the power to shift us from competitive mind to creative mind, from a problem-infused to a solution-infused existence, from conditioned thinking to living in the moment, open to all possibilities,” says Narayan. Janet declares, “We’re prepared to be blown away by what we find as we do this show. I think our listeners will be, too.”

Seattle Unity Church

Narayan and Janet gave us a wonderful morning of music for our services - the sound was contemporary groove, sacred Sunday morning jazz. With imagery from urban and natural sources, their original materials ease the listener into Divine embrace. Then their beautiful chants brought in mystic elements from their Ananda background, which was a perfect mix for our congregation. And what a breeze to work with! They've both got super attitudes and flexibility, there to serve our service and our ministry's needs for the day. Highly skilled players and vocalists, both, they gladly and easily jammed in on the rest of our service tunes, blended beautiful with our house musicians, creating exactly the feeling we wanted - a music team in full harmony with the moment and the ministry. Erin McGaughan, Director Seattle Unity Joyful Arts Ministry

Spiritual Enrichment Center of West Sound

We have been so blessed to hear Narayan and Janet perform. The comments our congregation have made tell it all: "All that sound from just two people." "It was like a cool breesze of Spirit moving through the room." "It's all about God, not about them. They're very humble." "Beautifully humble artists." “We are so glad we didn't miss the opportunity to bring these God-infused, light-beings into our service.” Thank you both! Kathryn Lafond, Music Minister Spiritual Enrichment Center of West Sound

Vineyard Park at Bothell Landing

To Whom It May Concern: If you are interested in a musical duo with talent, diverse music styles, and an appreciation for seniors, then I recommend that you try “You’re Loved” in your community. They have performed at our facility and are booked to return in April. Narayan is a talented horn player and Janet plays keyboard and sings beautifully. They are very professional and easy to work with. Barb Higgins Social Director Vineyard Park at Bothell Landing Independent and Assisted Living

Peace Meditation

Thank you so much for your participation, your flexibility, ease and willingness to flow with what was happening, and your own wonderful energy that you brought to the event! Thank you, again for helping to create a wonderful evening for everyone!

Passionate Pinky

WOW - I love your music! I listened to the 2 mins of every song and ordered the CD. You have a fabulous unique sound with Janet's rich voice, innovative material and Narayan's horn result in a lighthearted musical delight.

Fairfield-Suison Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — Janet Baltzo sat down at the church piano and began to play.

“I was playing songs I heard on the radio,” she said. “I thought to myself, ‘This is kind of weird. How do I know how to do this?’”

She was only 7. There was no turning back.

“Pretty much after that, nothing else hit me with such sound and rhythm,” she said. “I never, ever thought of doing anything else.”

Her music and life partner, Narayan Baltzos, was a few years younger when his uncle showed up at a family Thanksgiving and played the trumpet.

“Everything disappeared except for me and him,” he said. “I was engrossed. He noticed how enraptured I was.”

His uncle gave him a silver trumpet as a gift. He would never see that uncle again and continued to play the trumpet through high school. 

Narayan Baltzo made a living outside music, though he continued to play the trumpet and also learned the tabla, a small hand drum from India.

The couple met in Seattle playing in the same band. She would sing and he would back her up with the trumpet while other band members took a break.

“We realized we could speak to each other musically and we started writing,” she said.

Their first work collaboration resulted in three songs.

In February, the couple took over as music directors at Vacaville’s Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center. They will perform there Saturday.

“They walk the walk,” Janet Baltzos said of Unity. “They are so filled with love.”

“We feel like part of their family,” Narayan Baltzos added.

That’s important to the couple, who focus on music with positive vibes. Green festivals, events that encompass body, mind and soul are some of the venues they prefer.

The couple was involved in deep meditation and doing yoga in Seattle.

“Then, we’d go out at night and play in a casino,” Narayan Baltzos said. “On our break we would be in the parking lot doing yoga.”

It was time to chart a new course, he said. One that would align them with who they are.

“We were playing in these places that were not promoting what we were doing,” Janet Baltzos said. “This is going in another direction. You look back at the past and it all helps you get to where you are.”

They have learned that playing music with positive vibes can be emotional for them and the listener.

“You don’t realize how vulnerable you can be, especially after playing this music,” he said. “When you’re confronted with negative energy, you have to learn to protect yourself. People don’t realize your heart is wide open.”

They have straightforward advice for musicians hoping to express passion in their music and connect with listeners.

“Doing it because of outside pressures, you’ll never come to satisfying results,” he said. “If you are aligned with yourself, you will be the fountain, the wellspring (of creativity).” 

She suggested starting with songs the audience may know and then sharing some original works.

“If you are doing all cover tunes, they (the audience) don’t get a piece of your heart. It’s a nice blend to both of those,” Janet Baltzo said.

There will be a dance floor at Saturday’s performance. Janet Baltzo said she understand those who like to get up and dance, she often feels the same.

“We are in bodies,” Narayan Baltzo said. “That’s part of the experience, to get filled with life energy.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

 

‘Jazz in the Valley’ with Narayan and Narayan

  • 7 p.m. Saturday
  • Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center, 350 N. Orchard Ave., Vacaville
  • 447-0521, www.jazzinthevalley.brownpapertickets.com
  • www.narayanjanet.com

Our Music

Vocals, keyboards, trumpet and Hammond B-3, songwriting duo Narayan & Janets' originals  are a delicious blend of jazz, Motown, Beatles and world music.

Calendar

Jun 29, 2017
Brookdale Redwood City
Redwood City CA
Jul 2, 2017
Unity of the Valley
Vacaville CA
Jul 14, 2017
Brookdale at Fountaingrove
Santa Rosa CA
Jul 15, 2017
Bay Park
Pinole CA
Jul 22, 2017
Garden Concert at Lyndon's
Seattle WA

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