Dudley and Dean Evenson are spiritual, business, and life partners. In 1979 they founded their award-winning label Soundings of the Planet with a mission of sharing Peace Through Music. Their newest album, Monet’s Garden, was inspired by their journey to Paris and to the home and gardens of Impressionist master Claude Monet in Giverny, France. Although their peaceful music of flute, harp, and nature sounds is often used for yoga, meditation, and healing, the Evensons don’t shy away from lively music that makes them want to dance. Here are some of their favorite tracks to move body and soul.
Miracles will happen as we speak
But we're never gonna survive
Unless we get a little crazy
Seal wrote “Crazy” in 1990 inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square protests. Of that era he said: “I felt the cycle had reached its apex. I felt the world changing and I felt profound things happening.” This has always been one of Dean’s and my favorite songs to lift our spirits and energize us. No matter how tired or down we might feel, playing this track is guaranteed to get us up and dancing. And I mean really dancing—super-charged and energetic.
The Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge”
Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time?
In the early ’90s we got a call from Naomi Judd, who was listening to our music as she dealt with liver disease. We weren’t big country music fans, but when we started listening to The Judds we knew that uplifting music crosses all genres. We’ve met Naomi and her daughter Wynonna several times and loved seeing them perform in person. They really planted the seeds for conscious country music.
Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”
I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
These sweet lyrics are simply about the beauty of nature and humans expressing loving kindness, but they don’t fail to inspire us. When I was in college, I got to see Louis Armstrong perform in concert. His music was something my jazz-loving father and I actually had in common. Jazz in America owes its early popularity to Louis Armstrong’s incredible music and loving spirit, which crossed music boundaries.
Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe When I Fall in Love”
I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever.
This is one song we can really relate to. Dean and I met in 1968 and have been married over 50 years—so I guess that’s approaching “forever.” Stevie Wonder apparently plays ALL of the instruments: piano, Moog bass, clavinet, and at least four or five other synthesizers, as well as the drum kit. What an amazing talent for one who’s been blind since shortly after birth. In fact, everything that Stevie touches is amazing. This is one hopeful song for everyone searching for eternal love. But be warned—once you hear it you won’t be able to get it out of your mind!
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Over the Rainbow”
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
Well, who wouldn’t want to believe those lyrics? I think I was 12 years old when I first saw The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, but no version of “Over the Rainbow” has moved me like this ukulele-based rendition by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (IZ), the beloved Hawaiian musician known for his standout voice, his heartfelt smile, and his tremendous size. His unique interpretation of the song was apparently recorded in one take in a spontaneously arranged 3 a.m. session, and it has become a timeless classic. For dreamers like us, the lyrics continue to inspire and uplift even after all these years.
Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now
People dealing with anxiety and depression will hopefully find this song to be good medicine. Singing away your cares with such a creative expression as this will surely help. And notice there are no instruments in this song, only the voice and snapping fingers. We love how McFerrin has taken scat singing to the max and lets the voice become an instrument.
Singh Kaur’s “Imagine”
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
John Lennon’s song has been recorded by thousands of musicians and continues to inspire and uplift. We love this version by our dear friend, the late singer Singh Kaur (aka Lorellei). Her crystalline voice lifts the words up and makes us really feel their meaning. We were privileged to record with her and whenever we did concerts together, “Imagine” was our theme song. We recently celebrated Soundings of the Planet’s 40th anniversary, and of course sang that song with audience participation.
Keep the music going with Valerie June's top 7 spiritually uplifting songs.