Mike Tamburo, also known as Brother Ong and one part of Crown of Eternity, has returned to his renowned practice of hammered dulcimer in his latest release composed between 2010 and 2015, The Way to Be Free. Travelled upon, dissipated, and re-worked through multi-layered wanderings, Tamburo’s The Way to Be Free treads old practices and phases through the complicated inter-workings of his most expansive string works to date. The Way to Be Free is a comprehensive exploration of an artist’s massive perceptual shifts as told through compositions that travel memories of past performance, the stripped bare return to disappeared collaborations, and the complexities found in the relationship between musician and instrument.
…Beatific gong herder Mike Tamburo reprised his work on hammer dulcimer with a new collection this week, The Way To Be Free, comprising multi-track recordings from 2010 to ’15 that air definitively on the relaxing side…A companion to “contemplative discovery,
“Tamburo, a Pittsburgh-based multi-instrumentalist known by the Brother Ong name, also draws upon the American folk and minimalist music traditions for the material; one therefore might describe The Way To Be Free as music with clear ties to multiple genres yet dressed primarily in Indian garb. Don’t be surprised if while listening to the album you’re reminded at different times of artists such as Alice Coltrane, Robbie Basho, and John Fahey.”
“…from the first note of Mike Tamburo’s The Way to Be Free, such auto-associations disappear. Tamburo’s extensive experience as a player, improviser, and composer colors every note he plays; his hammered dulcimer expositions are as personal and compelling as if he had plucked them out on an acoustic guitar.”