Heal This Land
Shores of Avalon
Tina Malia’s prodigious talent spans many musical genres and disciplines. As a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer she has distinguished herself in styles ranging from pop to world devotional to electronic. Her own diverse and growing catalog of albums is complemented by studio and live work with iconic artists such as Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Jai Uttal, Kenny Loggins, India.Arie, Idan Raichel and Bassnectar.
There are two unifying factors in all of this. One is Tina’s remarkable voice. An instrument of exceptional purity, it can be as tender as an angel’s sigh or as powerful as a deep ocean current. The other unifying factor in Tina’s musical universe is her vision — an all-encompassing artistic perspective that embraces many of the world’s musical cultures, languages and spiritual traditions.
Creativity and diversity are her very lifeblood. Of Korean and Yugoslavian descent, Tina was tutored in classical piano and voice from an early age by her mother. But it was her dad who fostered her interest in choral singing and popular music forms.
“When I was 15 or so, performing in choirs for years and doing musical theater at school, my dad bought me my first cheap guitar. And I started listening to all the great women of folk music at the time — Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, the Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, Alison Kraus and all of those wonderful artists. That became my mainstay for years. I started writing my own songs around that time.”
Tina’s self produced debut album, Shores of Avalon, appeared in 2000. Steeped in poetic Celtic, Pagan and Native American mystery, the disc announced the arrival of a major new talent. Not long after the album’s release, Tina met pioneering world devotional artist Jai Uttal, who recruited her to sing in his groundbreaking ensemble – the Pagan Love Orchestra. It was through Jai that Tina had her introduction to the rich spiritual tradition of Sanskrit mantra chanting.
“When I first started performing with Jai,” she says. “the mantras hadn’t quite seeped into me yet. But a few years later I was going through a difficult time. Jai noticed this and asked, ‘Have you ever tried really chanting mantra? I hadn’t. So I started chanting mantra every day and, sure enough, it completely brought me out of the depression I was in. To this day I attribute my sense of well-being and where I am in my life to chanting mantra. It is so simple and yet so extraordinary.”
Tina’s love of mantra is reflected on her 2005 album Jaya Bhagavan, notable for its highly original fusion of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and world/folk textures with Indian musical traditions. It was followed in 2006 by The Silent Awakening, more of a pop singer/songwriter disc, but infused with a poetic lyricism that reflects a deep spiritual longing.