Constance Demby Biography
An irrepressible personality with an infectious joie de vivre, Constance Demby is also a sincere spiritual seeker. Beginning classical studies at age 8, her first public performance was at age 12. Alongside music, her artistic spirit led her to also master several other art forms, painting, sculpture, and multi media. It was her work as a sculptor that led her to new dimensions of sound. As she was torching a sheet of metal, it roared thunderously, and thus was born the Sonic Steel Instruments: the Whale Sail and the Space Bass, enormous bowed instruments with deep, primordial, archetypal resonances, recently showcased and sampled at Lucas Skywalker Sound..
As an innovator in the world of sound, and a pioneer in her field, Demby taught herself a number of ethnic instruments (tamboura, harpeleck, hammmered dulcimer, ch'ung, gamelan) and found ways to use them inventively. She cofounded a unique multimedia group, Central Maine Power Sound &Light, which toured the East Coast from 1971 to 1976 with their "Space Mass" program and other groundbreaking light/sound and planetarium shows.
In the late 1970s, Demby began to investigate the spiritual life by following a discipline that was focused on the inner light and the inner sound, or Surat Shabd Yoga. She found a special affinity for the hammered dulcimer and discovered that her "prayers would turn into song." These devotional songs formed the basis of her first album, Skies Above Skies.
In 1980, Demby, a fifth generation Californian, returned to Marin County north of San Francisco, where she received a warm reception and played concerts to overflow audiences. Here, she founded her own record company, Sound Currents, and released Sunborne, an ambitious five-part tone poem that featured her Sonic Steel instruments, world percussion, synthesizers, hammered dulcimer, and vocals. In 1982, responding to audience requests for more hammered dulcimer, she produced Sacred Space Music, an extended chamber concerto featuring Demby's unique style and dazzling virtuosity on this ancient instrument.
The mid-eighties brought changes in recording technology with the advent of digitally sampled sounds; Demby embraced this electronic revolution to compose contemporary classical space music using a full range of symphonic instruments, pipe organ, and choral voices. Tapping into her spiritual guidance, she brought through Novus Magnificat -Through the Stargate, the album that many call the most important New Age recording of all time. This album, released in 1986, was one of the first releases on the Hearts of Space record label, and the one that received the most honors and comparisons to Classical Composers.
Since that time, Demby's primary instrument has become the symphony orchestra. The Kurzweil digital samplers, with their advanced technology and ability to portray all the colors of the orchestra, have become her keyboards of choice. Other albums include her "best of" compilation album Light of this World, with excertps from ten years of music, the celebratory Set Free, with it's variety of atmospheres, and Aeterna, the emotionally cathartic sequel to "Novus Magnificat," dedicated to the healing of the heart.The most recent album Attunement is a recording of a live concert in December of 1999, including a long selection on the Space Bass..
In the early '90s Demby toured nationally and internationally to NYC, Sedona, Seattle, Brazil, Egypt, Bali, the Canary Islands, and Tokyo, where a professional music video, Constance Demby - Live in Tokyo was created at her summer solstice concert.
Recently relocated to Los Angeles, Demby is currently working with independent filmakers on soundtracks for film and TV. Ongoing is her focus on composing contemporary orchestral albums with an impressive array of the latest electronic instruments, digital sampling synthesizers and recording technology in her home studio. Live concerts with Constance Demby deliver potent experiences to participants. (see feedback on Attunement page). She is especially interested in the transformational power of music and its potential to heal and elevate human consciousness.