Aired live on August 26, 2009 on CKSB, Radio-Canada Winnipeg
Interview with Pavaka translated from French
Vincent Dureault?: What you are currently hearing, ladies and Gentlemen, is taken from the 2nd CD by Pavaka – The Melodies of Sri Chinmoy Vol. 2 and Pavaka has just been released in New York by the artist Pavaka also known in Manitoba under the name St?phane Ritchot who has been living in Montreal for several years already.? St?phane Ritchot, hello and welcome!
Pavaka St?phane Ritchot?: Hello Vincent!
V?: How are you?
P?: I am doing super well, how are you?
V?: I’m fine, thank you. Congratulations!
P?:? Well thank you very much!
V?: You must be proud of you second project.
P?: Yes.? It was a lot of work and I am happy that it’s finally available to the world.
V?: OK! St?phane, before we talk about this project, I would like us to talk a little about Sri Chinmoy.? We know that he was born in India, he was a man who promoted peace in the world and the potential of the human spirit.? I think he mostly did this from New York.? He passed away in 2007. But I would like to know who he was for you.
P?: Well, I’ve been practicing meditation based on his teachings for the last 14 years now, something like that.? One of the things he did was teach meditation to the public – free courses for the public, not always himself but his students like I became myself afterwards.? So to begin with he was my meditation teacher.? Since there were many other activities, it became other things, notably he is the person who wrote the melodies on this album we just released.
V?: So he was a guru for you, of course.
P?: Yes, you can say that.
V?: So you knew him personally?
P?: Yes, yes I had several personal interactions with him.? He told me fairly often that I had quite a bit of potential musically so it’s something that I tried to develop over the years.? But the first time he told me that, I had just played a little guitar and I had played very, very badly, in fact (laughter).? I told myself that it must have meant something like – it’s something more profound.? It’s like: I’m a good musician “inside”! (laughter)? So I’ve been trying to express that outwardly also since that time.
V?: There you go!? So you did the release of Volume 2 or the 2nd disc in New York last Saturday.? Why New York?
P?: This is where there are often meditation conferences and in August like this – at the end of August there is something every year.? For me, it was a good way to launch things within the community of meditators (used strange French words to describe men and women who meditate).? I don’t think those are words.? I just made them up! (laughter)
V?: You’re allowed! (laughter)
P?: Thank you! For me, it’s a good way of going about it.? Yeah, because at these conventions there are people from all over the world and it’s a good window for this sort of thing.
V?: And I see that you called upon Manitoban musicians to help you in this prokect.
P?: Well it’s from Manitoba that I come!
V?: Of Course!
P?: It’s really an integral part of my musical background as well as everything else.? Yes it was important for me to do that.? So I worked with Daniel Roy and don benedictson among others, in Manitoba.? And also with Joe Fiola who has been here in Montreal for a little while.? Benoit Morier mixed the album and he is in Montreal also.? Yes there is a strong Manitoban component indeed and it’s important for me.
V?: In fact, you even have Sacha Daoud who is percussionist with Chic Gamine!
P?: Yes sir! Now I can say that I have a Juno Award winner on the CD (laughter).
V?: Exactly! (Laughter)
P?: There is Sacha and Benoit also of course who recorded Chic Gamine’s album.? Yes I find that I am really well surrounded and there are other also more international people.? There are people that I met in fact through the meditation center that participated.? So there are people from Switzerland, Austria and New York that play on here.? I thought it was really……I found myself very lucky to have been able to work with all these people.
V?: There you go!? Are you possibly planning a release party for Manitoba at one point?
P?: I didn’t make any plans to tell you frankly.? It’s a lot of work to put together a disc while working full time. (laughter)
P?: I ran out of time regarding certain things that would be cool for a CD release and one of those would have been a Manitoba release.? I thought of it – there are no plans for the moment.
V?: I see! In the meantime, for those who would like to buy the CD, how would you go about it?
P?: Well if you happen to meet my mother, she’ll have some in her purse! (laughter)
V?: In fact, it’s your mother that brought us a disc yesterday! (laughter)
P?: That’s right! In the absence of a marketing team, my mother and I are doing what we can! (laughter)
V?: So she’s taking care of Western Canada and you’re doing the East!
P?: That’s right! (laughter) But otherwise it will be available for online download soon.? I’m a little behind on that, but it will be available on iTunes and Napster, things like that, soon.? I think we’ll have some at La Boutique du Livre also in Winnipeg.
V?: Understood.? St?phane Ritchot, are you targeting a particular market with this CD?
P?: Well I’m targeting…I mean, the gap I’m trying to fill ….It’s kind of like new age music in the sense that it’s something that comes from meditation music so it’s a mellow-new-age style but on the other hand I’m making it into a kind of pop or jazz that I hope is interesting to hear.? To quote Francois P?russe (French-Canadian comedian) I want to NOT sound like “someone who fell asleep on his keyboard and turns over from time to time”! (laughter)? What I want to do is give people music that has a particular kind of consciousness, that has a vibration, a feeling of meditation but sounds like, not ordinary, but what I mean is something that is familiar to the Western ear, I would say.
P?: So that’s what I want to do.? And also it’s music you can listen to in the car without falling asleep that will have an interesting consciousness.? In general for me that is what is interesting about this project.? All music has a kind of consciousness, of feeling behind it.? It’s a vehicule for something.? For me, taking the melodies of a spiritual master essentially is something very fresh.? It’s something that doesn’t exist much in the world and it’s something that I hope will fill that gap.? I don’t know exactly what the audience will be but it’s kind of part of the experiment – to see who will react and how they will react to this.
V?: Remind us why you chose “Pavaka” as a stage name.
P?: It’s also a spiritual name.? The meaning, in essence is ” pure heart, clear mind”.? And the principle of having a spiritual name is that it represents an ideal towards which you are moving.? So it’s something that I was using in certain contexts for my meditation practice and I figured it would be a good stage name also.
P?: I’m not saying I have a clear mind OR pure heart yet, but….(laughter)
V?: But it’s coming! (laughter)
P?: We’re working on it! (laughter)
V?: St?phane, to finish, we will listen to ?Eso Ma Durga?.
P?: um hum?
V?: Can you present it for us?
P?: This is a song that I did with..the only that I did with Shawn Sasyniuk.? He is a Franco-Ontarian drummer who lives in Montreal.? I know him from his work with Anique Granger but he’s a hot-shot in general.? He plays with Roch Voisine and other A-List performers in Montreal.
V?: Yes, yes!
P?: That’s the foundation.? There is a sitarist -that’s another word I think I just invented.
V?: No I think that exists.
P?: A sitarist is a real word?
V?: Like a guitarist, there is sitarist
P?: Incredible! Fantastic! (laughter) There is a viennese sitarist and that’s it.? This song was on the first CD but as an instrumental.? This one has vocal on it, and yeah, I tried to do something mellow and interesting.
V?: Well, let’s listen to it right away and in the meantime, St?phane Ritchot alias Pavaka, I thank you very much and I wish you enormous success with this nice project.? Thank you very much St?phane!
P?: Thank you very much Vincent!
Having spent his life savings on the recording of “Vol 2”, Pavaka S. Ritchot has not been able to hire a press secretary as was initially hoped.?? This reporter has learned that in the face of such dire PR circumstances, Mr. Ritchot has resorted to taking care of his own marketing and publication.? Writing blogs, posting news stories and answering fan mail all on his own.? At the time of posting, in fact, this reporter is realizing that his compensation for the present story is likely to be little more than good wishes and possibly a Tofurky sandwich.?? Therefore there is little left for this reporter to do but to wish one and all a good night and good luck.