Blue Star

Dateline: 10/16/98

Peter Blue and Elisabeth Star met in 1983. They fell in love, not knowing that they would become fellow artists and business partners. Their backgrounds were so different, that it took some time to get together in music as well. In the end of 1985 however, Blue Star was born. In their (very small) first recording studio they began recording their unique instrumental music. At that time, that kind of music was new to Germany and record labels were not interested. So by 1989 the studio had grown and the duoreleased their debut cd "Western Skies" on their own new label COOL BREEZE.

More cds and other releases followed. Recording their own music has always been part of their work, giving them complete control over every step of the creative process. So they also became respected engineers and producers for other artists.

Since the beginning of their musical partnership, Peter & Elisabeth have created a unique instrumental sound in which outstanding melodious guitarwork, fine (vintage) keyboards and sounds and rythms from all around the world create the world of BLUE STAR. Today the artists live and work in the countryside near Munich. Himalaya Suite is their new recording, and is the second half of a two-part "Suite for 'The Tibetans'."
Paula: What made you choose your musical direction (Himalayan music)?

Blue Star: We would not call our music "himalayan". It is only these two cds that have a focus on that region. For the vol.1 we were asked to compose music for the million seller - book Suite for the five Tibetans. These exercises are very similar to yoga and have become extremly popular in germany. We wanted to create a music, that serves the exercises best but at the same time avoid "New Age Kitsch (donīt know if you have that word in your language. When we were asked to do a Vol. 2, we wanted to do something different and decided upon a concept album, that deals with aspects of Tibetan mythology.

We feel at home in a broad range of music, and it was always difficult to find a home in a musical world that is divided by formats. Even formats, that once started as a free place turn out to prisons in the long run (jazz, world, new age etc). I was looking once in an AMG article, that explained subdivisions of newage-music. The description of "contemporary instrumental " was the one, that I think suits our music best. Meanwhile we have created our own category. We call our style BlueAge.

We always play the music, that expresses our feelings best. Our music develops, we donīt choose a direction. But of course, things have an influence. 5 Years ago, for example a percussion band came to our place to record their CD. (Voyage, Blue Flame BMG). The house was filled with exotic percussion instruments. Once we had got to know these instruments during production, they were familiar to us and some time later, we found ourselves using samples of various ethno percussion. Now they are a part of our music.

Paula: Who and/or what are your musical influences?

Peter: I was always attracted by melodies and emotional depth. Music that touches the heart, creates dreams and expresses the human longing for the beyond. As a child I loved records with gypsy violin, hawai guitar and a Tschaikovski - LP. As a Teenager i was really moved by singers like Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. I started to play the guitar at the age of 16, and this was the instrument I fell in love with. Once again it was melody and expression, not speed that I was after. My heart is in the blues, but to me the blues is not sad. It has a transzendental quality, helping the heart to deal with the limitations of human existance. Billie Holliday has been a great inspiration for my guitarplaying. Putting everything in a single note is something I developed over the decades. When I first heard Tony Scottīs "Music for Zen Meditation" I got hooked on eastern minimalism. Still it was close enough to the blues to attract me. Most eastern music is pentatonic - as the blues. On the other hand the whole psychedelic thing - Doors, Pink Floyd had an influence on me. My sign is aquarius and music to me should always go beyond limitations & connect people.

Elisabeth: As a child I used to sing in a church choir. I loved when my grandfather got his violin and played popular music. Later I played violin myself and church organ. At the age of 15 I started to study the piano, and it was then that I decided to become a professional musician. Until I finished my study it was mostly classical music I played. Then I made a break, sold my grand piano and travelled to asia and became a student of life. Experiences with meditation changed my approach towards music and it became more important how I did things and not only what. I also had first experiences in improvised and electronic music. So I am influenced by Bach, Mozart, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Chopin, Janis Joplin, Mahler, Schubert, the Doors & Mahalia Jackson.

Paula: What are your musical goals?

Peter: We are very happy with our music. It is growing day by day. By the time Himalaya Suite was ready, there was already one more complete album finished. We have tons of new material. We would like to do a soundtrack to some TV stuff, something like Twin Peaks, which we loved. We would like to reach more people. There are not too many who have heard our latest music at all. We want to get in contact with interesting colleagues around the world. As we did all our music track by track, it would be interesting to record something with a whole band in realtime. Maybe with people from different countries. Women should be in it. Iīd like a female drummer. Ratio in the band should be 50% m/f. All colours. We think a lot about new ways to perform music. [Paula's note: check out this project in progress, the BlueAge Orchestra]

Elisabeth: We want to make connections not only between different styles but also different arts like dance or multimedia.

Peter: I remember we once played in a church for a wedding, Elisabeth with her big hammond, a friend on voc. and me on guitar. This was so different from the usual pop - concert situation. Everybody was so receptive and you could reach peoples hearts easily just by playing the blues. What I mean is sharing instead of consuming.

Paula: What do you find is the reaction to your music?

Blue Star: This is a bit difficult to say. Up to now we only had few live concerts, so most people know our music from cd only. Naturally, we dont get to know much about their opinions. Once I met a woman who had used our music for her daily meditation exercises. I was touched, when she told me, that a certain track had been of great importance and influence for her life. Many people say that they can relax when listening to our music. Others say that it creates a warm space around them, allowing them to follow their dreams or just feel good.

People see imaginary pictures and films when listening to our tracks. The critics are often puzzeled with the way we put different things together. One said, that there are so many ideas in our compositions, that somebody else would create a whole song out of each of these single ideas. Some call our music colourful. Critics have often compared Peterīs guitar playing with the work of some of his more popular colleagues.

Paula: What is the World Music scene like in Germany?

Peter: Thatīs the point - World Music - as all instrumental music is not a big thing here. First of all there are no radio stations. Ok - there is format-radio in germany. The trouble is, all stations use the same format - Top 40. Thatīs it. Maybe somebody has a rare weekly hour on World Music. Our music is not played in Germany because there are no stations for that kind of music. Thatīs why we make contact to the USA.

I have a critical point of view on the term World Music. To me that should be a music for the world, to create understanding. In the west, however, world music is often regarded as a musical souvenir from the 3rd world. Culture beeing the last thing to be stripped off those people who had been exploited since centuries.

Some final thoughts from Peter:

Everything we have created so far has to do with the fact that we are lovers. This is the point where it starts from. If you donīt do it out of love, it turns into something ugly sooner or later. Treating each other with love and respect gives the work a different quality. We create an atmosphere in which this music can happen. (Itīs really happening. We donīt sit down and write songs). Usually we just play and suddenly something new comes up. It is like reading a book. The song is already there and we just have to play. it.

Photo courtesy of Blue Star.

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