Jonna Jensen

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May 052015
Jonna Jensen

Jonna Jensen’s Tree of Life

Trees, in all their magical glory, are powerful symbols of physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation, sustenance, spiritual growth, fertility and union. In Norse mythology, the Yggdrasil tree or tree of life is often seen as noble.

Growing up on a farm in the Norse lands of the Netherlands, artist Jonna Jensen spent her childhood exploring the nearby woods, where she would discover a strong affinity with trees under their protective gaze. “I’ve always been very much drawn to nature. I spend a lot of time there, and everything I see, I absorb,” she says. “Some of these things inspire me, mostly trees. I feel a strong connection to them and the forest, sometimes it even feels like I am a part of it all.”

Jonna JensenTrees have always played a significant role in Jensen’s work. Whether the trees she paints are with or without blossoms, the Jonna Jensenbranches and trunk, always the centerpiece of her paintings, are emblematic of strength and power. Fluid lines and bursts of color in acrylic, sometimes bold and sometimes faint, chart the trees through seasons or environmental concern. Winter Soul depicts a towering tree with a full head of red blossoms. While Tree of Life shows a trunk that twists and turns into an infinite loop of branches as it basks in the sun. Then there are the beautiful, ornate wands that Jensen has created from tree branches, and incorporating other earthly elements such as gemstones in her magical offerings.

_85-3“I would describe my art as a spiritual representation of nature, or better yet, a representation of the spirituality that is nature,” Jensen explains. “I feel a deep need to express what I see and what I feel, to capture it before it fades, and to share it. These things are given to me visually, that makes me want to use the brush.

“When I paint, I feel like time stands still, like I am living in the moment, and I am one with what I paint. I then do not get tired, nothing can distract me, I feel complete, there are no worries, there is only me.”

Jensen’s spiritual path started early. The need to paint and draw came intuitively to someone born into a family where creativity was applauded. Jonna Jensen“Most of my family members seemed to have a desire to express themselves in a creative manner, and I was no different,” she says. “As far as I can tell, what was different about me was the way I viewed the world. Some spiritual sight seemed to offer me a different perspective. As a young girl I felt the desire to draw, to paint, to give expression to my dreams, fantasies and visions.”

Jonna Jensen tells an illustrative story of what is going on in the elemental environment around her. Although she was not _85-4“consciously aware” in her youth that she was pursuing art in this manner, she says: “I’ve always had a deep fascination for nature. I believe the urge was there from the very beginning. I started drawing (often nature-related) at a very young age.”

Jonna JensenThrough the eyes of her soul, Jonna Jensen has developed what appears to be a photographic memory of what it is she desires to draw or paint. “I am also inspired by my dreams and visions, which are very vivid, and frequent,” Jensen says. “Somehow I’ve often been able to hold on to these images clearly and long enough to translate them into my paintings. Those times I was able to do that, were the times the inspiration sprang from my inner being.”

Jensen recalls wanting to go to art academy as a young woman, but as with many artists like her born with a gift, art school is rarely the path they need nor should pursue. “More than anything in the world I wanted to attend the art academy, but me being a woman I had little prospective future, my parents told me,” she says. “So my art is purely, and simply, me.”

Today Jonna Jensen mostly uses acrylics, but in the past she used to work with oils. Soapstone have become a particular interest of the artist, whereby she recently created a sculpture depicting a circle of people in a protective embrace, made using the material. She is also looking at gaining access to materials so she can work with wood next. Sometimes, Jenna explains, she can get through several canvases in a week, each with a different tale to tell.

“One time I actually made four paintings in a week, one of a robin, for my sister. An abstract painting for my son, since he liked one I made for myself in the past. I made two others as well, ” she describes. “All of them, except for the robin, came to me in visions. These visions come to me at night, which is often the case.”

A selection of Jonna Jensen’s artwork is available to buy from:

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior, intuitive counselor and life coach. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or

May reviews 2015:Books Movies Games and Music

 Books Games Movies Music, May Review 2015, Reviews  Comments Off on May reviews 2015:Books Movies Games and Music
May 032015

May reviews 2015 :Books, Movies, Games, and Music For Teens and Adults

May reviews 2015:Movies for Adults and Teens 

Teens:Jurassic WorldMay Reviews 2015

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World. After many years, Jurassic World’s attendance rates begin to decline and a new attraction, created to re-spark visitor interest, gravely backfires.” Little has been unveiled about Jurassic World, but expect a hybrid dinosaur – created by splicing the genes of different dinosaur species – who lunches on whatever it can find.

May Reviews 2015Adults:Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Studios epic follow-up to The Avengers, sees a superhero cast – including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – to combat the threat of a genocidal artificial intelligence which Tony Stark has accidentally brought to life. Stark created Ultron to help the Avengers protect the world, but it concluded that since humans cause all the world’s problems, all humans must die. (Released: 22 April)

May Reviews 2015: Music for Adults and Teens

Teens:Drew Lustman – Crystal Cowboydrew lustman

Best known for his work as FaltyDL, Drew Lustman explores hardcore and drum & bass, as well as soul and funk on his latest release. A step away from his electro moniker, Falty DL, Lustman found himself experimenting and making the kind of tracks he would DJ with or play to friends “without the pressure of the conceptual weighing him down”. Tracks like ‘Angel Flesh’ are reminiscent of early hardcore and breakbeat, while ‘Watch A Man Die’ is a smooth, drum and bass journey. This is a must have for lovers of the pioneering breakbeat scene of the 1990s and will be a familiar soundscape to anyone fortunate enough to have raved at some of London’s best drum and bass nights during that era. Whether he’s in electro or drum and bass mode, Lustman is a musical warrior to be reckoned with.

nnekaAdults: Nneka – My Fairytales

Nigerian-German soul songstress Nneka’s forthcoming 9-track album, explores the politics of her birthplace and her own personal voyage of discovery. “My Fairy Tales is a concept album, exploring the lives of Africans in the diaspora and the struggles they face,” Nneka explains. “How we cope hustling in ‘another man’s land,’ but also the aspects of endurance, perseverance and gratitude.”


May Reviews 2015: Books  for Adults and Teens

Teens: Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwoodjinxs magic

Jinx is a daring young wizard’s apprentice, who travels from his home in the Urwald to an unfamiliar desert land in search of ancient magic. He desperately needs that magic as there are forces threatening the Urwald from all sides. Jinx’s Magic tells the tale of Jinx’s journey who soon learns he has to call upon the support of many magical beings of the Urwald – including witches, werewolves, wizards, and trees – to help in his endeavors

holistic energy magicAdults: Holistic Energy Magic: Charms & Techniques for Creating a Magical Life by Tess Whitehurst

Manifest success in every aspect of your life with Holistic Energy Magic, which provides ancient and modern spiritual techniques for tapping into your personal power. Holistic Energy Magic provides instructions for tool-free magic and important insights including intention, visualization, symbolic action, grateful expectation, and alignment. Complete with a spell book of charms and invocations for protection, serenity, love, and prosperity, this book shares the secrets of bringing abundance into your life.


May Reviews 2015: Games  for Adults and Teens

Teens: Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions App for Androidstar wars

Become an intergalactic hero in Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, the new action-platformer mobile game. Take on four free levels of battle against the Empire as Ezra Bridger, dodge TIE fighters, blast stormtroopers, and drive an Imperial AT-MP. With in-app purchases, wield a Lightsaber, fight Star Wars bosses, drive an AT-DP, and unlock 30 more levels and 50+ unique challenges. Customize and expand a secret Rebel Haven where heroes can hide out and rescue citizens.

Star Walk 2 - Night Sky Guide freeAdults:  Star Walk 2 for iOS

Star Walk 2 is a stargazing app that identifies constellations, planets and satellites as you point your smartphone or tablet at them. So if you’re one who enjoys taking a walk at night and gazing at the stars, this app is a perfect partner.


About the Author

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior, intuitive counselor and life coach. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or 


Asakura Kouhei’s World

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Apr 082015
Asakura Kouchei's World

Asakura Kouhei’s world where animals and the elements meet

Japanese illustrator Asakura Kouhei’s world is one where animals and the four elements – fire, water, air and earth – live in harmony within a psychedelic playground, executed with rainbow watercolors and acrylics.

The Tokyo-born Kouhei grew up close to nature, in a place rich with greenery and filled with magic. It was at the age of three that he recalls wanting to become an artist after his father, who went fishing, came home with a rainbow trout. The distinct colors and features of the fish inspired the young Kouhei to draw the rainbow trout, and with it was planted a deep fascination for nature and color that is so recognizably Azakura Kouhei’s stamp.

Asakura Kouhei’s worldKouhei began to expand his technical skills at high school where he learnt to work with oil paints. But it is the combination of watercolor and acrylics that dominates the artist’s work today. He focuses on translating nature’s journey through acrylic, watercolor, and unique color and pattern combinations.

Austrian painter Egon Schiele, renowned for his erotic art, has been an influence on Kouhei’s work. Schiele’s meticulous attention to detail in his line drawings is something that Kouhei has developed in his art.

Kouhei’s colourful prism adds vibrancy, boldness and purity in his translations of Mother Earth and all her marvels. How nature and humans co-exist Asakura Kouhei's worldis a theme that runs across Kouhei’s paintings. It is the desire to explore the way humans and nature live together that Japanese wildlife photographer, Michio Hoshino, championed that inspired Kouhei.

In an interview with The Well Pennies, Kouhei explained: “Michio Hoshino was a photographer who lived in Alaska. He wanted to know about the way humans and nature live together. I was inspired by his vision of nature.”

Artist-Asakura-Kouchei-watercolor-colored-pencel-illustration-drawings_2“The world is shaped by a big energy of nature,” Kouhei added. “I am made by a lot of particles that have been travelling around the world since the universe started. The particle might have been rain, bear or mountain.”

It’s Kouhei’s analogy of the “particle” that is so prominent in his paintings be it a physical manifestation of a mountain, bear, sun, Asakura Kouhei's worldantelope, water or fish.

A popular presence on Behance since 2012, Kouhei has been showcasing his work to international acclaim. In 2014, he won the Tokyo Independent Exhibition award. And more recently, his work featured on The Well Pennies, ‘Endlings’, album cover.

Picture credits: Asakura Kouhei

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counsellor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or

Mar 292015

March reviews 2015 :Books, Movies, Games, and Music For Teens and Adults

March reviews 2015:Movies for Adults and Teens 

March reviews 2015Teens:The Moon and the Sun

King Louis XIV’s quest for immortality leads him to capture and steal a mermaid’s life force, a move that is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter’s discovery of the creature in this American-Chinese production, The Moon and The Sun. The film is a  fantasy/adventure feature, based on the award-winning novel by Vonda McIntyre about French king Louis XIV, who kidnaps a mermaid in order to steal its life force. Set at the turn of the 17th century, The Moon and The Sun stars Pierce Brosnan as the ageing king in search of immortality, Chinese star Fan Bingbing as the mermaid he thinks might get him there, William Hurt as Jesuit priest Pere La Chaise, and English actress Kaya Scodelario as the king’s illegitimate daughter. Released: 10 April

Adults:Last KnightsMarch reviews 2015

A fallen warrior (Clive Owen) rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master (Morgan Freeman) in the Last Knights, directed by by Kazuaki Kiriya. The film follows Clive Owen (Sin City, The International, Children of Men) as Raiden, a heroic warrior who rises up with his men on a mission of revenge for their dishonored master (Morgan Freeman of Oblivion, The Shawshank Redemption), cut down by the hands of a corrupt ruler (Aksel Hennie of Headhunders, Hercules). Released: 3 April

March Reviews 2015: Music for Adults and Teens

March reviews 2015Teens: Toro y Moi – What for?

Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, releases his new album, ‘What For?’ on April 7, hinting at a touch of rock and guitar pop. Signalling yet another change in direction from this multi-talented producer and artist who has toyed with pop, funk, disco, electro, and retro R&B sounds. Bundick says: “I’ve done electronic R&B and more traditional recorded type R&B stuff. I just wanted to see what else was out there. It’s all coming from the same mindset and point of creativity. It’s just me trying to take what I already have, and then take it further.” Expect the unexpected. Released: 7 April

Adults:Blur – The Magic Whip

Brit March reviews 2015pop pioneers Blur return with their first album in 12 years, The Magic Whip. Since the album’s completion last year, the band have kept information about the new record under wraps. Recorded in Hong Kong during “downtime following a cancelled show in Japan”, the songs featured on The Magic Whip are influenced by their surroundings. Frontman Damon Albarn described The Magic Whip as a return to “the way we recorded when we started,” and similar in style to the music David Bowie made during his mid 70’s Berlin period.

March Reviews 2015: Books  for Adults and Teens

March reviews 2015Teens: Yield the Night by Annette Marie (Kindle Edition)

After surviving a round-trip to hell, Piper figures she can survive anything. The Gaians, aka the crazy radicals, plan to rid Earth of daemons and they need Piper’s help. In exchange for her cooperation, they promise her the answer to all her problems: magic. With her own magic, she could reclaim her apprenticeship, the only future she’s ever wanted. But her magic comes at a price – it could kill her. The third in the Steel and Stone series, Annette Marie continues her balance of action, engaging characters and romance.


Adults: Mythical Creatures Oracle by Cyele SkyMarch reviews 2015

Mythical creatures from mythologies around the world are depicted in 44 colorful divination cards. Mythical Creatures Oracle draws on myths and legends to instruct readers on how to see mythical creatures within people and situations, including within themselves. Learn to identify your mythical creature totem, cultivate personal strengths using mythical power animals, and banish negative monsters from your life.

March Reviews 2015: Games  for Adults and Teens

March reviews 2015Teens: Superbrother’s Sword and Sorcery for Android

You’re Scythian, an exotic warrior monk guided by the fabled Archetype. Your mission isn’t clear at first, but the offbeat story and your heroic task is revealed as the game rolls on. Co-operate with friends via Twitter, experience a videogame world that is affected by moon phases & help a wandering warrior monk complete her woeful errand. Your romp through the lively world may only push a few hours, but the 8-bit visuals and emotional writing make it one of the best adventures out there.

March reviews 2015Badland for PS4

Multi award-winning Badland comes to PS4 in April. Some kind of evil has entered the forest. This side-scroller from Frogmind slowly transforms your benign forest environs into a vicious industrial landscape filled with spinning saws. Your task is to keep a little forest creature safe while he navigates through a gruesome, but innovative world with 80 unique levels to traverse.

Compiled by:

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counselor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or

Hiatus Kaiyote

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Mar 242015
Hiatus Kaiyote

Future soul from Hiatus Kaiyote

Melbourne-based experimental and future soul band, Hiatus Kaiyote have carved out a unique place in the contemporary music scene with their intricate and progressive take on R&B, soul, jazz, funk, electronica and opera even.

The four-piece quartet, led by the enigmatic songstress Nai Palm, have picked up their fair share of accolades since introducing the world to their genre-defying brand of ‘future soul’, round-the-world harmonies and sultry vocals on their 2012 debut album, ‘Tawk Tomahawk’.

Their song Nakamarra was nominated for a Grammy award for the best R&B performance, making them the first Australian act to be nominated in that category.

With the backing of DJ legend Gilles Peterson they were soon catapulted into the spotlight, winning over the attention of Prince, Erykah Badu, Questlove and Flying Lotus among others.

‘Tawk Tomahawk’ was then later re-released as the first project on hip hop producer Salaam Remi’s Flying Buddha Imprint.

Not bad for a band that have released only one long player to date.

The group formed when bassist Paul Bender spotted Nai Palm, a former fire dancer and wedding singer, at a small Melbourne club. Keyboardist Simon Mavin and drummer Perrin Moss joined later, and the group began weaving funk, soul, hip hop, opera and pop together for their debut album, ‘Tawk Tomahawk’.

“I was born into an environment with an appreciation of the arts and music,” Nai Palm told the South Sydney Herald. “It was distilled and nurtured in me from a young age. I’m really lucky that it’s my life. There was never really a moment where I thought, ‘I think I wanna be a musician’. There’s this statement from Fela Kuti, it’s like – music is not a toy, it’s something very spiritual and it’s not to be played with.”

Guitarist and lead singer Nai Palm’s vocals are raw and sincere. Nai Palm, with her sultry, harmonising voice, cites Bjork, Billie Holiday, Lauren Hill, Oumou Sangare, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson among her influences. Her songwriting also stretches to reference spirituality, nature, science and mythology in her lyrics.

“I spend a lot of time on my lyrics and I’m really proud of them,” Nai Palm said. “There is an underlying duality or synchronising to nature and science, I like finding a common thread in things and finding ways to layer in a way that seems like I’m talking entirely in metaphors but there will be scientific elements to it too. It’s really beautiful to have visual associations with my lyrics when I’m performing. Someone wrote to me and said that when I’m performing ‘Breathing Underwater’ I have a glazed look, like I’m somewhere else, like the room is full of water or something. I like creating lyrics that trigger a visual memory for me and I love playing with that when I perform.”

Hiatus Kaiyote‘Breathing Underwater’ – the first track off the group’s second album ‘Choose Your Weapon’, slated for release in May – “is homage to the different examples of love and compassion in the world that are beyond the limitation of romance,” Nai Palm said.

“Music has always been medication to us,” Nai Palm explains. “It’s a force for self-healing that we’re ready to share with the world.”

Hiatus Kaiyote’s ‘Choose Your Weapon’ drops on May 5 via Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks, and you can catch the band on tour in the US from mid-March.

Picture credits: Facebook

For tour dates visit:

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counsellor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or

Jaimeo Brown

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Feb 062015
Jaimeo Brown

Jaimeo Brown: Transcending the spiritual

2015 promises the return of some musical heavyweights – one of those being jazz drummer and percussionist Jaimeo Brown, who is set to release the follow-up to his Motema Records debut ‘Transcendence’ this summer.

1043938_479544382146732_1943577058_nNew York based drummer Jaimeo Brown was the crème de la creme on the jazz circuit in 2013 following the release of ‘Transcendence’ – a 12-track album celebrating beautiful karnatic Indian influences and the work songs and spirituals of an Alabama community called the Gee’s Bend Quilters.

A project that touched on Jaimeo’s experiences of living in the Big Apple, ‘Transcendence’ expressed his worldview and his own spiritual awakening. 1043938_479544382146732_1943577058_nBeing inspired by the Gee’s Bend spirituals of Alabama, he wanted to bring light to their music and artwork. “I focused on the music of the Gee’s Bend community and the Black spiritual as the root of the material because of its raw unfeigned expression,” said Brown. “Hope is in abundance in these spirituals.”

The innovative album weaved a tapestry of African-American spirituals, along with East Indian concepts, electronic textures, acoustic jazz and blues.

Speaking about his debut album, the trained musician explained: “At that time I was studying Tablas.  There are certain elements of East Indian music and classical music as a whole that I was already thinking about and experimenting with. There is something within the elements of the cry from the spirituals in Alabama and the cry from singers that I heard from Indian singers that became a common denominator. It is humans crying out in the midst of struggle. That was a huge denominator for all of the music on the project. It wasn’t the type of situation where I’m thinking, ‘Okay, how am I going to merge these elements together musically?’ It more came from a natural byproduct of things that I was already experimenting with. I think that’s what gave the record a sense of cohesion.”

Jaimeo was born into a musical family but rebelled against becoming a musician for many years. He didn’t begin playing drums until he was 16-years-old, a move that he credits with saving his life as it diverted him from a growing involvement with gang culture in California. “I was a C student. I didn’t really have much interest in anything and I was heading down a bad path. It was my father who put the drumsticks in my hands and led me to study with Sly Randolph, a Bernard Purdie protégé.”

Brown soon found himself playing with other illustrious Bay Area scenesters including pianist Ed Kelly, percussionist Pete Escovedo, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and even guitarist Carlos Santana. His CV now reads like a who’s who of music, having worked with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Pharoah Sanders, Kenny Garrett, Steve Turre, Geri Allen and Joe Locke, as well as Stevie Wonder, hip hop’s finest, Q-Tip and electronic music legend, Carl Craig.

Many jazz musicians are known for their integrity when it comes to their music, and Jaimeo works hard to extend that integrity to all aspects of his life. He has also worked as a music teacher providing free and low-cost music lessons to children in New Jersey whose parents were unable to provide artistic experiences for their children.

It is the drummer’s holistic approach to music greatly informed the multifaceted nature and execution of his debut album. “What I tried to do was follow the simplicity and the common denominator of each [musical] essence,” Brown says. “Being a product of the hip-hop generation and having parents who are jazz musicians, and seeing all music as kind of equal but as different forms of expressions, had a lot to do with me understanding the common denominators of gospel, blues, jazz, and Eastern Indian music and helped me create a continuity within all of the diverse ideas.”

Ultimately, Brown offers the world a kind of ‘jazz’ that simultaneously recalls the history of man while also challenging us to consider our own place and responsibility in the current cosmos. “I feel more like a steward of this project than a bandleader,” says Brown, whose conviction brought his own musical understanding, personal experience, and considerable historical and sociological expertise, not to mention patience, to the table to realize this quilted masterwork of sound.


About the Author:

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counsellor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or


Feb 052015

 February reviews 2015 :Books, Movies, Games, and Music For Teens and Adults

February reviews 2015:Movies for Adults and Teens 

February reviews 2015Teens:Outcast

In Outcast, a mysterious warrior teams up with the daughter and son of a deposed Chinese Emperor to defeat their cruel brother, who seeks their deaths. When the heir of the Imperial throne becomes the target of an assassination by his despised older brother, the young prince must flee the kingdom and seek protection. His only hope for survival is a reluctant war-weary crusader named Jacob (Hayden Christensen), who must overcome his own personal demons and rally the assistance of a mythical outlaw known as The White Ghost (Nicolas Cage). Together they must fight side by side in an epic battle to return the prince to his rightful place on the throne.

Adults:Seventh SonFebruary reviews 2015

Seventh Son, based on the novel The Spook’s Apprentice, centers on Thomas Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son, and his adventures as the apprentice of the Spook. In a time long past, an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between supernatural forces and humankind. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), the last of the Falcon Knights, had imprisoned the malevolently powerful witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), many years ago, but now she has escaped and is seeking vengeance. Summoning her followers of every incarnation, Mother Malkin is preparing to unleash her terrible wrath on an unsuspecting world. Only one thing stands in her way: Master Gregory. In a deadly reunion, Gregory comes face to face with the evil he always feared would someday return. He has only until the next full moon to do what usually takes years: train his new apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) to fight a dark magic unlike any other. Man’s only hope lies in the seventh son of a seventh son.

February Review 2015: Music for Adults and Teens

romareTeens: Romare – Projections (Ninja Tune)

Taking name and influence from Romare Bearden, a collagist whose core work is influenced by black America, London-born producer Archie Fairhurst’s work explores his fascination with African-American culture and its traditions. Projections is Romare’s debut full-length on Ninja Tune, providing a “heady mix of homage and fresh approach, a statement from a young artist unafraid to revel in his influences, and confident in his own originality.” Projections features ‘Roots’, Romare’s killer groove that goes from pulsating melody and drums before breaking out into a rave-like piano riff. Dance music at its best…bring it on. Release  date: 23 February

Adults: Vijay Iyer Trio – Break Stuff (ECM Records)vijay iyer trio

Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer returns once again recording with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Break Stuff refers to what Iyer describes, more obliquely than at first glance, is contained in the “break” as “the basis for breakdowns, break-beats, and break dancing… the moment when everything comes to life.” A number of the pieces are breakdowns of other Iyer constructions. Some are from a suite premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, some, focusing on birds of New York, derive from ‘Open City’, a collaboration with novelist Teju Cole and large ensemble. Released: 10 February

 February Review 2015: Books  for Adults and Teens

spirit animalsTeens:Spirit Animals 7 by Marie Lu

The seventh chapter in the SPIRIT ANIMALS fantasy series about children and their spirit animals fighting to save their kingdom. Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed for ever. Part engrossing book series, part action role-playing game – discover your spirit animal and join the adventure.

Adults:The Cook’s Tarot by Judith Mackay Stirtthe cooks tarot

How do kitchen witches take their tarot? With a touch of spice courtesy of The Cook’s Tarot – a 78 hand-painted deck that revolves around a lively culinary theme. Bright colors and often whimsical humor provide an instant connection and reading experience for anyone who has ever put two slices of bread together. In a narrative style, the accompanying comprehensive guide provides a sophisticated understanding of Tarot Archetypes and philosophy. Card meanings are based on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith standard, yet project their own original flavor.

February Review 2015: Games  for Adults and Teens

zeldaTeens:The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

One of the most talked-about games in the history of The Legend of Zelda series is coming to Nintendo 3DS. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D brings Link’s engrossing, spooky quest through the mysterious world of Termina to a handheld system for the first time, with enhanced 3D graphics and added features for users to streamline gameplay for a more comfortable experience. Release date 13: February

Adults:DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires (PS4)dynasty warriors 8

DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires focuses deeply on the chaotic lives of the warriors as their fateful decisions affect the rise and fall of the nations they bravely fight for. Players can select from 83 unique characters, or create their own original character with a multitude of options through the edit function. The visual customization goes further with the newly implemented ability to customize their horses, banners and “normal” officers. Courageous warriors trudge through Ancient China with its vast plains, bleak wastelands, narrow ravines and immense castles as they slash through enemy lines. In DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires, warriors must fight against not only enemies but also the forces of nature as the changing seasons bring new elements to the more than 35 battlefields affected by seasons and the passing of time. Release date: 27 February

Compiled by:

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counsellor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or

Jennifer Mourin

 Art, Jennifer Mourin, Reviews  Comments Off on Jennifer Mourin
Feb 042015
Jennifer Mourin

Jennifer Mourin: Goddesses at the heart of art


Just before artist Jennifer Mourin puts gouache to canvas, it is the Goddesses and Angels that she calls upon to confirm her inkling. The self-taught artist, based in Malaysia, has grown up with a strong awareness of one such Goddess that she inhabits, Gaea, which is inherent in much of her work.

Working with gouache, acrylic and oils, her art features and celebrates strong women in all facets of their daily lives – women responding to the on-going changes in their environment and communities, women seeking spiritual balance and love, women as care-givers of mother earth, women as monitors of the development affecting her environment, and women as resisters of destruction. Themes of motherhood and nurturing feature heavily across the art of Jennifer Mourin, where bold colors, curvaceous figures and spiritual messages unequivocally converge in this playground of life through the eyes of Mourin herself. An ode to Gaia.

Jennifer Mourin“Gaia is all around me,” states the Malaysian-born Mourin. “Overlooking the hills near where I live there are red spots. You see all the red earth – it’s like Gaia’s bleeding. It gets me mad when she is abused. There is a nurturing energy about being a woman. I see it in Mother Earth. But take care of her. She is sustaining us but humans trample on her constantly and for what greed, vanity. There are red patches here because people have cut trees, but why not replant what you take.”

Strong women are celebrated across Mourin’s artwork and she is thankful for growing up in a family of strong matriarchs. With grandmothers of Thai origin on both her maternal and paternal side, Jennifer Mourin has been inspired by her mother’s Thai village in Kelantan, east Malaysia. She has even claimed the sarongs that the women in Kelantan wear as a totem for her identity and art. The beautifully coloured, batik-style prints feature heavily throughout her pieces.

“Female energy comes to the fore for me,” she says. “The colors and dramas in my mother’s village were an influence on me. I’m not really a floral kind of person – but suddenly this world of florals came to the fore for me.”

The women that Mourin depicts in her art are voluptuous and shapely women – beautiful and truly feminine. “There is a certain look and view of a women’s body that takes precedence over what is real,” she says. “The pictures I draw are very real. Women are not model thin, that’s not reality. The point is the variety of our shapes and sizes, and the fact that unites us is that we are women.”

One woman that Mourin has a huge amount of respect for is her mother, who was also the first person to recognize her talent from an early age. “My mother had to take care of two precocious children,” she laughs. “It was because of her that I got into art.”

Jennifer Mourin“My mother’s creativity amazes me,” Mourin adds. “She used to trace these cartoons and whatever she used to see in my books. She’d do outlines and then she’d get me to color them in with a very basic kids’ paint and brush set. She would sit there and say ‘go on then’. I could lose myself – it was almost like taking me to another space and my mum would leave me to it and let me get on with it.”

But Mourin’s own creative journey was not one that would take her down a “formal” route per se. The Eurasian artist didn’t go to art college and she is purely self-taught. Inspired by human rights, the environment and women rights, Mourin pursued a route which saw her spend time working for women’s liberation magazine, Spare Rib, writing about race relations, feminism, human rights and environmental rights, whilst living in London in the 1980s. She also worked in various roles in Malaysia for the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific, and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development.

In 2009, she decided to take the plunge and pursue her art. Going from full-time employment to part-time consultancy so she could work on her artJennifer Mourin, she admits “was scary”. But fortunately Mourin’s consultancy work at the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and work as an artist has bode well. “Concurrently in my part-time job at WABA, it was a space where lots of things started to come together. The struggle for mothers struck a chord. Breastfeeding and the whole issue with visibility and rights. My work at WABA has informed my work as an artist.”

Jennifer MourinMany of Mourin’s pieces feature women breastfeeding, an act that she is aware of has become controversial, even viewed as an ‘obscene’ act in society’s eyes. “I reclaim this as well, rebelling in the power of mothers supporting mothers, women supporting women,” she adds. “A woman has a right to choose whether she wants to breastfeed her child. When she does choose, it is only right that she is supported to breastfeed and nurture her child whether at home, in the workplace, or in other places she exists as a part of the society that she lives in.”

Mourin cites Frida Kahlo and Paul Gauguin as some of her influences. But given she has not been driven by the technicalities of art, she acknowledges Jennifer Mourinthat it is their stories that have captivated her. “I absorb their essence as artists, and respect their style,” she explains. “I connect because Frida Kahlo faced her own reality and Paul Gauguin went searching for something and went to Tahiti looking for a utopia and stumbled on other problems. Nothing’s perfect  – thru the pain of their own realities they found a way of putting it in such a real and beautiful way and that’s what excites me.”

Speaking about her own foray into art, Mourin says: “I draw organically from the heart. The technical component can not be the only thing in art otherwise it becomes soulless.

“Just letting my inner voice and the issues that I find fascinating and that vex me, and channel it to come out in ink, color, gauche and acrylic – I guess I found a trademark signature style.

“I found my voice. I found my signature and people could see it was my work. There was an assuredness and confidence that I gained from having people react positively to my rather than be formally educated.

“I can never copy something. I always do my own spin. That came through as well. This is my way of putting myself and my thoughts and concerns on the canvas. As long as I am happy with it and it is real, that is my reality check.”

Mourin’s art is also influenced by the eternal search for balance and fulfillment of the souls’ spiritual journey, and the pursuit of understanding of ones’ reality. Through her paintings, she informs her audience of what is truly going on in the world – including the story of endangered species such as the Horn Bill Bird and Tiger of Malaysia. One of the best compliments she has ever received was from a person, who bought one of her paintings, who said that her art “doesn’t bludgeon you over the head but the beauty and the power of the paintings resonates”.

“It’s not an overt message,” Mourin explains. “But it’s there. I’m making visible either what people take for granted or find obscene.”

Spiritually Mourin calls on the universe to help her. While the reality of living on Mother Earth or Gaia is ultimately what she paints, it is the Goddess Bastet that Mourin has a real affinity with. Goddess Bastet – the Egyptian Goddess, depicted with the head of a cat, who is associated with protection, pleasure, the sun, moon and fertility – was also an inspiration behind Mourin’s venture into erotic art.

“The goddess at the center of my heart is the Goddess Bastet,” she rejoices. “When I started opening my heart and mind to art, she came to me stronger more than anybody else and more than any other goddess and it just made sense. We just clicked. She is a very multi-dimensional goddess. I picked one that is multi-dimensional – I grew up with a mother who is a multi-tasker. I grew up with women, grandmothers, aunties, friends who multi-task – I multi-task. Women do it everyday. Sometimes we are frustrated because it’s not the best but we get it done. Goddess Bastet has spoken to me so many times and in so many ways.”

Mourin also has a team of Angels that help her channel the images that she wants to. “The Angels Michael, Raphael, Zachariel, Uriel and Gabriel – they help me at various times. They help me put all my thoughts into a message, and they help me with the symbolism.”

When she gets to work on a canvas, Mourin also calls upon Goddess Freya for courage, Athena for wisdom and Lakshmi for abundance. “I’ve learned to keep saying  thank you for things because even though I get angry about the things I see in the world, injustices and so on, Lakshmi and Aphrodite have helped me to see beauty still and the beauty for me is my work. I’ve often been scared that people would say your stuff is so pretty but there is actually so much substance that I put in to my work.”

Selling a piece of her art to someone who understands her message puts things into perspective for Mourin. “You could say my paintings are my children. I want it to go to a home where it’s going to mean something to the buyer,” she adds.

“I have turned people down who want to buy my art because I didn’t feel right about it. It’s like giving a piece of your soul away. I can’t do this if it’s purely commercial. It’s coming in different ways and coming in ways that are more acceptable. It’s not about charging a huge amount – it’s about touching a person’s soul for years to come.”

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, creative warrior and intuitive counselor. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker. Applying that very same ethic, she also offers creative coaching and intuitive counselling services to help others discover their own truth. Get in touch with Huria at or


My Review:Blood Magick

 Blood Magick by Nora Roberts, Books, Reviews  Comments Off on My Review:Blood Magick
Feb 032015

Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #3)Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finally read book 3 in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy.Blood Magick was an excellent read. The way that the past and the present was brought together was well done. It was good to be able to see how Sorcha’s children were doing with their lives. This book focused also as it should on Branna and Fin. It allowed us to see the choices they had made in the past because of the mark Fin bore. We see how Fin handled his feeling for Branna and how she handled hers for him. In the beginning it appeared they would always be star crossed lovers. It did not seem that was likely to change even when they finally found a way to defeat Cabhan. Finding out that Cabhan was more than just a long lived human sorcerer did not make the vanquishing of him any easier for the four. They had to find a way to bring Sorcha’s children to them physically, figure out the right time as well to face Cabhan, all these factors had to be worked out even as Fin and Branna had to work out what their future would look like. Following their magic and their attempts to continue to live their daily lives even as they are being stalked and harassed by Cabhan gives an added dimension to the story. This third and final book of the trilogy is well done and the ending give us a clear idea of the lives of Sorcha’s children and of the O’Dwyer cousins future.

View all my reviews
Reviews by: Dyanna Wyndesong, She enjoys a wide variety of genres from Romance to Sci-Fi and everything in between. Dyanna is  an avid reader along with the other things that hold her attention and time. She is an intuitive reader and pastoral counselor, spiritual life coach, specializing in twin flame relationships and soul mate relationships. A teacher of metaphysics, magic, spiritual and psychic development, Dyanna has over 20 years of experience in spiritual guidance, relationship guidance, guiding twin flame relationships to fruition and guidance in maintaining your relationship. She also does tarot readings, intuitive readings, and energy and light healing. – See more .

Possibilities Herbie Hancock

 Books, Possibilities by Herbie Hancock, Reviews  Comments Off on Possibilities Herbie Hancock
Dec 262014
Possibilities Herbie Hancock

 Possibilities Herbie Hancock

Possibilities, Herbie Hancock  eagerly awaited biography, has finally hit the shelves. Ravenhawks Magazine’s Huria Choudhari takes a look at the life at one of her childhood heroes

Herbie-Hancock-620x480_0Music is in my blood and although I have an affinity with breakbeat, neo soul, hip hop, funk, dance and electronic, ultimately my first love is jazz. Many musicians today whether they are championing niche sounds such as footwork, blues, drum and bass, electro or hip hop, often have their influences firmly rooted in jazz, largely owing to its flexibility as a genre to bend ears in the same way. Herbie Hancock and Donald Byrd, personally for me, being exemplary trailblazers of the jazz age.

It was inevitable that in the 1960’s, jazz great Miles Davis would personally seek a young Herbie Hancock to play in his quintet.

Picture 29When a music revolutionary is born they will seek musical comfort in only those who like themselves have the ability to transform and take music to another level. They will hunt down others like them, they will nurture them and they will train them until they are mature enough to carry that revolutionary baton and pass it on to the next trailblazer.

Just like his mentor, pianist Herbie Hancock has revolutionised every sound and note he has touched be it jazz rhythms, funk or electronic music. His openness and experimentalist approach has not only hugely influenced jazz, hip hop, funk, soul and pop, but it has also won him a wide fan base outside of the jazz appreciatists.

Classically trained Hancock started playing piano from the age of seven. He pursued music and electrical engineering as a student which began his lifelong interest in technology, which would see him spearhead its use creatively in pushing the boundaries of music, throughout his career. images

It was at the age of 20 when he linked up with another jazz revolutionary, trumpeter Donald Byrd, that he started to catch the attention of other greats. Byrd introduced him to Blue Note Records executives, and Hancock recorded his first solo album in 1963, by which time Davis had his eye on him to play in his band.

While working with Davis, it was evident that there was more to Hancock than just acoustic jazz. His ability to improvise in constant and electrifying ways was unrivalled. During this time, he developed an interest in funk, and by the 1970s he began experimenting with electronic keyboards and synthesisers forming his own band, The Headhunters.

He began to pioneer what would later be called fusion – a mixture of funk and rock with jazz. ‘Headhunters’ (1973) was the first album on which Hancock used a synthesizer, and went on to become the largest-selling jazz album in history.

As a composer, Hancock has written many great songs including ‘Maiden Voyage’, ‘Watermelon Man’, ‘Canteloupe Island’ and ‘Chameleon’. Today the music continues to be sampled by DJs and producers keen to make their sounds as edgy with Hancock’s imprint.

He especially took the hip hop world by storm when he released the crossover hit, ‘Rockit’. Signalling his foray into the world of electronic music, ‘Rockit’ won the Grammy for best R&B instrumental and the tune featured on many breakdance movies and hip hop compilations.

Never one to follow a formula or stay put, Hancock continues to step out of his jazz shoes and work with musicians that inspire him and enable him to further explore new possibilities. In more recent times he has worked with the likes of those who do not fall in the jazz category including Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, Seal, Jeff Beck, Chaka Khan, Pink and Flying Lotus.

For Hancock, his “infinite ways” of looking at things lends itself to his practice of Buddhism. He discovered the faith back in 1972 while playing in a jazz club, and cites similarities between jazz and Buddhism.

He said: “Jazz is really a wonderful example of the great characteristics of Buddhism and great characteristics of the human spirit. Because in jazz we share, we listen to each other, we respect each other, we are creating in the moment.

“At our best we’re non-judgmental. If we let judgment get in the way of improvising, it always screws us up. So we take whatever happens and try to make it work. We try to make it fit. We try to enhance it.”

Hancock was exploring those “infinite ways” way before he discovered Buddhism. Truly for him, just like Miles Davis and Donald Byrd, their abilities are innate and their spiritual journey started the moment they stepped into this world. Hancock was born with the music revolutionary spirit – but it is the principles of the Buddhist faith that has helped him maintain and develop his consistently groundbreaking approach to his musical cause and life in general.

Buddhism has enabled Hancock to view music from the temperament of “being a human being” rather than just “being a musician”. He added: “[It’s] a much deeper overview. Consequently, I’m able to come up with concepts for musical expression that are different every time. And that’s a request from myself—to make each record different than what I’ve done before, to have a particular function which would be my reason for doing the record.

And even the idea of having function is something I never thought about before. I never thought in those terms: “What is the purpose, or what is the function of doing this? Sometimes you have to create a vision, a path for a vision. It may not be apparent and you may have to forge it yourself. And that will be the way to move your life forward.”

Where the rest of Hancock’s journey takes him is unknown but one thing is for sure, it is destined to explore uncharted territories and captivate audiences the world over.

‘Possibilities’ by Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey is out now on Viking Books USA

Huria Choudhari is a journalist, stylist and creative warrior. She writes about music, fashion and lifestyle for Life & Soul Magazine: Having carved her journalism career in news and current affairs, Huria is a truth seeker and loves delving into the bigger picture. She brings forward her power and magic to write about whatever her soul needs the world to be aware of.


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