Mikuak Rai
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Mikuak Rai


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Rai of Light"

In the 1960's, it was common to see artists like Joan Baez and others pick up guitars and sing out against war, racism, and other social ills. These days, however, you're not likely to see Lil Jon urging folks to get the crunk out of Iraq. But if local singer/songwriter Mikuak Rai has his way, today's musical landscape will once again be flooded with socially conscious tunes. His piano-driven debut SimpleTruth - a self described "guided musical meditation" - is sparse on instrumentation but loaded with messages of peace, love and understanding. "I wanted to deliver socially, spiritually conscious music," says Rai. "I stripped down the sound intentionally because, as a songwriter, I want people to receive the words coming out of my mouth."

Hailing from such locales as Iowa and Nebraska, Rai, the adopted son of former peace activists-turned-ministers, created his own brand of soul folk music by listening to hip-hoppers like Brand Nubian and rockers such as Led Zeppelin. He later honed his skills as a member of the Washington, DC-based funk-rock outfit Moya and as host of the open-mic forum "The Movement". In June 2004, he moved to Atlanta based on divine direction. "My spirit brought me here," he contends. "I came with the intention of making this record, but there's a lot of ancient energy here in places like Stone Mountain and even Little Five Points."

With a voice and style reminiscent of Ben Harper and John Lennon, Rai hopes that his music can do more than just help people get low. "I want people to be encouraged, inspired, and come out of my show with a greater sense of their humanity and a greater sense of self."

- Carlton Hargro

Earshot Local Music News
Atlanta Creative Loafing
Nov. 11 - Nov. 17 2004 - Creative Loafing - Atlanta

"Mikuak Rai Delivers Musical Honesty and Integrity"

"It’s true what they say, “the truth is bitter”, and even more in modern day music, sugar coated. On “SimpleTruth”, Mikuak Rai delivers musical honesty and integrity that’s long been missing. With lush piano playing and a soulful voice reminiscent of Gil-Scott Heron and the more recent Amos Lee, the truth just got sweeter!"

KuKu - singer/songwriter - www.CDBaby.com


"Mikuak Rai's smooth voice declares messages of hope for our spirits under the branches of a potent, yet contemplative, momentum."

Mysha Caruso - songwriter/performing artist - www.CDBaby.com

"The "Simple Truth""

The 'Simple Truth'

By Korin Miller
Special to washingtonpost.com/MP3
Tuesday, January 3, 2005

If headaches are lingering from the holiday season , shove that bottle of aspirin aside and reach for Mikuak Rai's soothing solo debut, "Simple Truth."

Rai, the former frontman for D.C.-based soul band Moya has ventured out on his own to create a stripped-down, calming album that features just a piano and his rich, deep voice.

According to Rai, his varied West African, Ojibwe and English heritage has greatly influenced his music. "I've done all styles of music and my multiethnicity has really allowed me to tap into those angles," he says. "It's allowed me to express myself differently."

In a time when heavy album production is as common in the music industry as lip-synching, why did Rai choose to make his album so instrumentally simple? "Doing this has allowed the content to take center stage," he answers. "It's kind of like me stepping out on stage naked."

The words expressed in Rai's lyrics mirror the tone of his music -- self-exploration and relaxation are common themes in "Simple Truth."

This artist started writing melodies as a young adult, during a self-inquisitive time in his life. Since then, Rai has written a multitude of songs. "I realized we all have these creative potentialities," he remembers. "When we move ourselves aside, we let those creative energies flow through."

The singer-songwriter believes that everyone has an artist within. "It's really a matter of expressing one's feelings," he says. "A lot of people say, 'I used to play clarinet' or 'I used to dance' and with time it got away from them." Rai often encourages others to revisit those talents.

A frequent topic of conversation with this artist is the division between people and nature. "We don't get to experience nature in its organic sense very often. We've separated ourselves and created these material things to survive."

While Rai admits his views sound straight out of the '60s, he's, "not a flower child."

Rai appears to be on a mission to get people to slow down and smell the proverbial roses. With an album full of soft piano melodies, it's apparent this artist is trying to create an aura with his music. "I tell people, 'This is a complement to whatever you do to relax.'"

With a laugh he wraps up, "It's definitely not a party album." - washingtonpost.com/mp3


Moya ~ Underwater (2000 ~ EP)
Moya ~ State of the Union Address (2001 ~ live album)
Matthew Payne ft. Raheem DeVaughn/Omar Hunter ~ If the Ocean Had a Voice (2002 ~ Urban Ave. 31 ~ The Antidote)
Matthew Payne/Pixel ~ Do You Miss Me? (2004 ~ People Need People) {US release - Dogon Records, UK release - Counterpoint Records}
Mikuak Rai ~ SimpleTruth (2004 ~ LP) {BEarth Tones Music}


Feeling a bit camera shy


Biography of Mikuak Rai

Change Agent, Creative Visionary, World Bridger…

Mikuak Rai (mi-koo-ah ray) is an accomplished poet, singer-songwriter, pianist, composer, and music producer with a strong affinity for the transformative, healing effects of sound vibration. In addition to being an artist and performer, Mikuak is a youth-advocate, peace-educator, and longtime community organizer, who uses creative arts and new media in order to address issues ranging from universal health care and environmental justice to the emerging unity-consciousness on the planet.

Beginning in 1997, and for a ten-year run, Mikuak co-hosted and produced The Movement, a weekly open-mic event on U Street in NW Washington, DC, which is partly responsible for the creative arts renaissance happening in the nation’s capital today. In 2000, Mikuak co-founded One Common Unity, Inc. (OCU), a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing sustainable communities by promoting mindful living, and giving inner-city youth alternatives to violence through access and training in the arts and media. Mikuak was also founder and front-man for DC-based progressive-soul band Moya, with whom he recorded the underground classic live album, “State of the Union Address”, in early 2001.

In 2004, after relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, Mikuak recorded his debut solo album entitled “SimpleTruth”, featuring only piano and voice. Since then, he has produced, written and performed with a variety of acts including The Suns (formerly Motown group The Boys), singer Raheem DeVaughn, producer Pixel (Kwesi Dawes), keyboardist Mausiki Scales, hip-hop artist Nas (on keys and production with stic.man), Hawai’ian reggae band Mixed Roots, Australian soul-dub band The Witness, Jiva producer/bassist Khari Simmons, Nigerian-born Kuku, and vocalists Rahkell Yahvah, Stacie Aamon, Noelle LuSane, Sharon Blu Rain, and Gina Rene. In 2006, Mikuak Rai and musician Bilal Abdulsamad formed Mystic Column, a music production company.

Over the years, Mikuak has traveled throughout the United States including Hawai’i; British Columbia, Canada; Chiapas, Mexico; Benin and Togo, West Africa; and Australia to experience and follow his strong affinity for indigenous cultures and their related prophecies and worldviews, all of which he incorporates in his original music and performances. He is often sought after as an event producer and consultant to artists and organizations alike.

Mikuak currently resides near Los Angeles, and works with the Youth and Family Ministry at Agape International Spiritual Center, as well as with young people in communities throughout Southern California by way of Planet Restoration, Inc., a newly formed non-profit that promotes themes of ecological stewardship and indigenous wisdom via creative arts, live productions, and nature-immersion experiences. Also, Mikuak is one of four members of 4 Directions, a dynamic, new music super-group being produced by Mystic Column.