Interview with Asher
Quinn for The Rainbow Spirit Festival magazine, Germany, February 2nd
Interviewer: Anada Trojan
Asher, we are very pleased to finally have you playing a concert at our
festival. Long ago, in the early years of the festival, where many of
today´s musicians and bands did not yet exist, we loved to play your
music in our meditation center - we loved especially the epic pieces of
music, like "Field of Stars", "Missa Greca" or "Love is the only
Prayer" - those pieces that have this typical 'Asha' deep, loving,
nearly trance-like style. We are glad that you accepted - after so many
years - our invitation to finally play 'live' - and we hope you will
present your classics!
Thank you for inviting me to sing, Ananda! It is really only in these
last three or four years that I have begun to give concerts. Now I sing
everywhere... Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Iceland,
Denmark and the UK. I currently have invitations from Finland, Brazil
and Australia, too. The reasons I didn't perform before were partly
artistic, partly organisational and partly financial. My earlier
instrumental pieces were quite epic in the studio, so therefore hard to
re-produce credibly on-stage, without a light-show and some visual
stimulus... all very expensive and complex. But now my songs are mostly
spiritual love ballads, and I've learned over the years how to get down
to the very essence of them, acoustically, on stage, with just
keyboard, guitar and vocals.
It's an art in itself, like creating a Picasso line-drawing, knowing
how to express the very essence of one's themes! Now I have enough
vocal songs to give good concerts. I also gathered up many of my
all-time best-loved tender and spiritual songs by other artists, like
Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, as well as my favourite traditional songs,
and all this gives me a good repertoire to sing.
I have no equipment that I can transport... not even a keyboard! I have
no speakers, amps or cables at home. I just compose at my little, blue
upright piano, or on guitar, and I demo my songs on an old cassette
player. Then I take the song into a bigger studio set-up to record it.
So, to give a concert, I have to hire the equipment and the sound
technicians. I work as a psychotherapist and shamanic healer in London
monday-friday, and have a family, so I decided to compose, record and
see clients all these years, rather than tour, which is a way of life
in itself. But now my kids are older, I have a repertoire, I've
overcome my shyness and I get help setting up concerts! I love it!
I have a version of the "Missa Greca" which I can perform in Karlsruhe.
This has been an enduringly popular piece of mine. I recorded it in
1988, for my second album "Mystic Heart". I now have made 26 albums.
does spirituality mean to you today ?
Having a spiritual life needs to be an active, living reality for me...
something more than an ideology or belief system, to really work, and
make one's existence better. I experience that no matter what my more
primitive self encounters... mortality, mistakes, illusions, pain,
loss, suffering, fear, desire and so on... I am loved; loved by that
pure, incorruptible part of my own higher soul, which is a fragment of
the universal soul. Therefore I am constantly attended to, redeemed and
forgiven, each day, by this reality. I now live it and breathe it. It
is my first waking experience each day, and my last experience before I
fall asleep... and there, in unconsciousness, I am still loved. It is a
constant attunement. I have no fear of death; death is beautiful...
perhaps a strange and terrifying beauty, but awe-inspiring and full of
mercy and transformation. When I die, I know as surely as I can know,
that my higher soul shall return to source, pure as ever, and my lower
soul may come with me if I've learned enough. If not, it will return
for more love in another incarnation.
I am in a constant state of communion with my eternal Self, which is my
God particle. It is a never-ending love affair. This is what I really
sing about and write about, and what I live each day... more and more
each day. This is my only message; it's my eternal song.
I don't quite know how it got to be like this, for me. It's a
development; an evolution. I began to have visions of Christ aged 5,
and have had many altered-state experiences ever since. These blend
with my ordinary life experiences. I feel I spend more time now in
other dimensions of reality, than in my ordinary reality, but I
commute! I love both states and am nourished by both realities. I feel
I can give to both realities too, as well as receive. What I mean by
this, is that I spend more time in a 'seeing' and 'hearing' place,
where I experience the bigger structures and stories of life, than I
did when I was younger. For example, I can experience profound, sad and
tragic loss, personally, but see the love and compassion in the
experience, at my higher soul place.
I see both realities... the ordinary and the non-ordinary... and this
part that sees is the seer; the see-er. I realise that I'm far from
complete in this regard, of course. I've climbed to the top of the
second tree, maybe, out of five. Many traditions have inspired me...
the Sufi way, the Kabbalah, Daoist energy practices, Buddhism,
Christian mysticism, martial arts, Jungian psychology, Rudolf
Steiner... they all point to being in the moment; in the 'now'.
If I have an eternal, incorruptible soul, then so do we all. Even a
person who does hurtful, aggressive things, has a pure soul at their
highest point. I try to remember that, and search for it in whoever I
there a personal message you have in making your kind of music ?
Ah... I seem to have addressed this already! My message is that we are
loved; that we are love. That life is a love affair between our
God-Self and our mortal self, that is constantly unfolding. All my
songs are love songs, as in the Sufi style of poetry, whereby the
eternal theme is the love between the lover and the beloved...
sometimes expressed as romantic love between two lovers. This theme is
also manifest in the Song of Solomon, from the Jewish old testament. It
is the love between Eros and Logos... between feeling and thinking...
between being and becoming. Many of my love songs are written from the
perspective of the eternal self, which then expresses its love for the
mortal soul. My song "Falling through time" particularly expresses this
love story. I sing to heal and open my own heart, and then to make this
an offering to anyone who also realises that they long for this same
healing and opening.
you have a Source, where you draw the inspiration for your songs, and
what is still inspiring you after such a long time?
Again, I seem to have anticipated this question, and addressed it, for
the most part, already. My Source is my eternal God-Self, the ocean of
creation. My particular, personal channel, however, and I do feel I
channel my songs, is the Jesus and Mary ray of being. Please understand
that I do not regard myself as a Christian, in the ordinary sense. I
was born a Jew, and my full spiritual awakening was through the Sufi
tradition, but I am not a Jew or a Sufi, either. I am a mystic; an
esoteric soul. When I receive higher love, it is through Jesus and
Mary... that has been made clear to me. My songs come from their ray of
compassion. The chalice well in Glastonbury has a profound Jesus and
Mary portal in the earth and the water there, and I go, either
physically, or psychically, to renew.
My inspiration is infinite... how can I ever hope to complete every
song about every subtlety known to mankind, concerning the love affair
between the higher Self and the mortal human? I have written maybe 250
good songs... and there are perhaps 250 trillion I could write.
I sit at my piano to heal my heart. Usually, healing music plays
through my hands when I need it. Then I close my eyes and poetry comes,
like a river. It is often archetypal poetry, full of symbolism, with
the images like locks in the canal, regulating the flow of water. What
starts as pure God information becomes human by the time I've finished
the song. And even the original God information is veiled in my psyche
out of mercy, because I could not gaze upon the undiluted truth without
fracturing into a thousand fragments.
These days it flows powerfully. I'm just the scribe. I can hardly keep
up! I wrote a song yesterday, called "Maryam and Eliador" which is a
grail myth in song, about the chivalric dance between the masculine and
the feminine. It came so fluently, in rhyme, that it felt like I was
simply writing an email to a friend. After 40 minutes, I had finished
the 15-verse song, with barely a pause.
I never think I should write about a theme... about love, romance or
truth, or about injustice, inequality or brutality... I just listen to
the message that comes into my psyche, and translate. It is an organic
process... there is no ideology I'm promoting, no will involved. I'm
simply the postman; the cosmic postman. There is no truth I'm selling,
I just write from my heart and from my experience. If anything, I've
worked my way through battles with Darth Vader, the serpent and the
Witch Queen in my psyche, and am somewhat purified these days...
relatively liberated. My inspiration is therefore greater than ever,
inexhaustible... as is my energy for all this. I'm satisfied that this
is my life's purpose... to sing of the love between God and
humankind... and I will live it until my dying day. I shall be singing
of it when I have no voice left, no teeth or hair, and no memory.
As it stands, though, my voice seems to get younger with each passing
year. However, my hair is thinning, so I know where I am on the road.
My memory seems fine though, in fact my memory seems fine. What's more,
my memory seems fine.
Thank you for asking me to respond to your very good questions.