School of Music Visiting Artist
LARAAJI is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, mystic, and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City. He attended Howard University, a historically black university in Washington D.C. on a scholarship to study composition and piano. LARAAJI’S experiments and explorations with the open tuned electric autoharp/zither began with a gentle nudge from his divine guidance. In 1976, in Queens, NY, he had gone into a pawn shop to trade his guitar for much-needed cash, but was guided to instead acquire the autoharp/zither in the store window. Heeding this mystical and startling guidance, he left the shop with a Kentucky BlueGrass instrument he had never touched before. Within a few weeks, LARAAJI had discovered a new sound vocabulary with this 36-stringed American folk instrument. After open-minded experimentation with altered tunings, LARAAJI arrived at a deeply engaging and exotic new age music performance sound, which he sometimes refers to as “Celestial Vibration,” recalling an earlier paranormal sound hearing experience. LARAAJI began studying Eastern mysticism and improvising trance-inducing jams on his modified autoharp, processed through various electronic effects. In 1979, Brian Eno saw LARAAJI playing in Washington Square Park, NYC and invited him to record an album for his seminal ambient series “Ambient 3: Day of Radiance,” released 1980. Since then, LARAAJI has recorded over 50 solo and collaborative albums, the latest of which are three solo piano improvisation LPs, SUN PIANO, MOON PIANO & THROUGH LUMINOUS EYES. He also conducts healing laughter playshops around the world.
Artist in Residence Series- Fall 2022
Planned Activities: In Fall 2022, the Herb Alpert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts presents the very first Artist In Residence Week. From Monday, November 7th to Friday the 11th, four artists will visit the CalArts campus to give presentations/workshops, perform, collaborate, and engage with the student body and the School of Music’s facilities. Most instruction will be suspended that week, allowing students to fully immerse in the programming.
Resident activities may include but are not limited to solo performances, group concerts, presentations and workshops on topics of the resident's choosing, in studio collaborations between residents and students, live ensemble collaborations between residents and students, and panel discussions.