by Diana Schwaeble
Every once in awhile someone comes along and changes the how we experience music. Sometimes it’s subtle—like a great remix by a popular DJ or more often, it’s a cover of a song by a rising star.
Now imagine you are in a music club and are hearing none of these things. In fact, you might not hear anything distinct at first because instead your eyes are drawn to the vibrant images on the walls by the talented Ocean Clark, which somehow look like music feels.
Look again, and begin to notice that there is a definite vibe going on. You feel the beat of the music perhaps a little more than just hearing it. The music feels focused but free. Think bluesy-rock improv. You catch the enthusiasm of the room and begin to feel happier—and your drink hasn’t even kicked in yet.
If you stumbled into Maxwell’s back room at Alex Tava’s recent “Choose Love” show, you would have seen all that and more. Tava has two decades worth of experience as a singer-songwriter. Her next show on Wednesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. will be similar—but have a different theme. The focus for Wednesday is “Self-Expression and Authentic Voice.” Tava encourages people to wear blue and purple to enhance their experience of the show.
Tava’s initial idea for the show was to play music that would connect with the different chakras. What’s this? What does new age yoga speak have to do with music? Each chakra has a key. For example, the key of “G” corresponds with the solar plexus and the color yellow, Tava explains. But even the uninitiated yogi can appreciate the music, which has a focus on the instruments and the beat. Music fans can appreciate just how good it sounds and how much better it is to see a live show.
How Tava got to this place where she feels like she wants to give back to the community, to the art world and to help people find their own true selves might seem unusual to some who have never taken a yoga class, but her aim is to be inclusive. Each show will focus on a different chakra root and take a different musical journey. Her goal is to connect people on higher levels. “I think we are about to change the world,” said Tava, after her debut show at Maxwell’s. “We will never play like that again.”
If her last show was any indication, she’s succeeding: “I don’t know if I understand it all, but I think it’s great,” said Lloyd Gold, one of the musicians who performed at Tava’s debut show in April. “Every musician has subscribed to a certain aesthetic. I think they go into their own world. Jimi Hendrix came up with his own guitar sound – and people don’t do that anymore. As long as you are alive – you keep doing it. I’m still here man. I’m still here.”
Tava has worn many hats before directing her recent show. She was classically trained at Berklee College of Music and worked as a DJ long before she had the idea for this show. It took a move, a change of jobs, and an immersion in yoga for her to get to the realization that in order to change the world, you have to start with yourself. “I hid behind the music of other people before I had the strength to do my own stuff,” said Tava about her years as a DJ. “But it’s okay because it led me to this.”
If this sounds too much like a journey of self-discovery—don’t be fooled. What is interesting about Tava is her ideas, not her circular loop to find them. She hopes to one day take the mindfulness mantra and aim it at many aspects of a person’s life, like cleaning out a closet, all with the goal of balancing chakras, lifting spirits and connecting people. And isn’t that what a really good song can do? “I know that this is going to create change and it is a lot more fun to have people enjoy it with you,” says Tava.
This Wednesday, the “Choose Love” show starts at 7:30 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Tava will perform lead vocals and will be joined by musician Lloyd Gold and sound healer CaraMia. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Admission is $22.
For more information, visit: www.maxwellsnj.com.
BELOW: photos by Marie Papp