The Essential

Andreas Vollenweider about the release of „THE ESSENTIAL ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER“
„Compiling and reworking the music for this album was a great opportunity to go through the old tapes and take stock of the last twenty years of my life. I have to say that I immensely enjoyed doing this. I feel very fortunate and very grateful for the hand that fate dealt me in those amazing two decades.“

Re-released in 2005

The key-songs of the past 20 years, remastered.

Behind The Gardens, Behind The Wall, Under The Tree…

„This song marked the start of our adventure. Through this piece of music I found a way to groove on the harp, to play rhythmically pulsating, yet without having to abandon the ‚bright’ sound of the this unique instrument.
The title of the song reflects the narrative character of this music; it's a kind of itinerary…, as well it stands as a key-stone.“

Flight Feet & Root Hands

„This is also an example of a puzzle-like work process; it all began with a ‚groove‘, a rhythmical movement, we took it from there and let ourselves flow. When I was preparing this song for the album, I suddenly got the desire to add on some new elements. Obviously this is not entirely the Original, but I do hope you can forgive me.“


„For us the first period was full of explorations. We let ourselves flow and a lot grew out of playing free. This feeling cannot by expressed in words, it must have been similar for explorers in past times, when they set path into new worlds. This whole experience developed more and more into a sort of journey without a clear goal, and - very important - not being guided by rational terms. Everything was open.”


„I love the Tango! I always felt magnetized to the melody and thrill of this special music. I can clearly remember, that it was not necessarily my intention to write a piece based on Tango, but it occured suddenly while playing - and I followed its trace. This was very much typcial for the whole work process; in retrospecitve I tried to analyze what it meant to me. This proteced me very effectively, thus avoiding any brainchild.“

Play Of The Five Balls

„I always found a big passion for so called ,non straight‘ rhythms. A measure in 5/4 is nothing exceptional in many cultures of the world. Yet most people in our Western culture would stumble and fall out of the beat while listening to it. I thought for myself there must exist ways that we here could also experience this rare beat as flowing ‚organic’. When I saw the audience dancing to this song during our concerts, I knew that it had worked out.”


„This song reflects a lot of my feelings during this virgin time at the beginning; for me the perception of life was gentle and romantic, there was a lot of humour and fun, people were open………“

Pearls & Tears

„It was the period of ‚uprise‘ in South Africa, approximately two years before the collapse of the regime. Many of our listeners live in that part of the world. Again and again I was thinking about what would happen, when the black community would finally achieve their human rights. The future was holding a very important power and message if one wanted to have faith for this whole region; the strength to forgive - respectively forgiveness - was absolutely vital! With this in mind I wrote the song. In regards to our music I received the most touching echo, when I heard much later, that people sang this song ‚a cappella‘ during the most tense and violent stages of the conflict, this in order to calm down and to achieve a peaceful path …“

See, My Love…

„A musical encounther and collaboration with the American master fiddle player Mark O’Connor. It was a hot summer, our clothes were sticking, we were surrounded by a pulsating ‚crazy‘ New York. We backdrew to the cool recording studio - and forgot the world around us.“


„This music was created during the period of the elaborate and long world tours. Our band had merged into a very well-gemed ensemble and we could read our muscial ideas ,from the lips‘. This energy can be felt very well in this song. More and more parts were created and the song continually grew in this process.“

Passage To Promise

„A very special encounter is reflected in this song. Sometime before the end of Apartheid, the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambaso visited me in Switzerland and we spent a marvelous time in the recording studio; this song was created in a free collaboration which reflects the postive spirit of a new beginning in South Africa. Joseph Shabalala sings about the power of forgiveness, of promises and of taking responsibility. I met wonderful human beings with Joseph and his friends which gave me big hope for a positive development in that part of the world. Today I am happy to say and express that the hope of then was very much justified.“

Dancing With The Lion

„The first of today's three children was born – a key experience for an ‚air-man’ as me! I got the feeling, gentle but subtle, to become earth-bound and that's how the theme of this album grew out of it:
Dancing With The Lion! The lion stands for the concerte, rational, physical reality. This picture is about finding a way to dance with the lion in order not to stand on his paws (he would bite us for sure…), at the same time securing also not to be stood on our feet by the same lion (this would also be painful for us…). For the first time I was able to open up our project for various guests from different musical worlds; a very rewarding experience enabling many new personal and musical perspectives.“

Wanja The Wanderer

„There isn't a more beautiful body of sound than the one of a big symphonic orchestra! For me as a most passionate ,sound-sculptorer‘ it was sooner or later inevitable to have the opportuntiy to ‚mix‘ once into this palette of colours - loosing myself in it.
This piece of music is a sort of symphonic travel diary (or: travelogue), a harp concerto with a Slavic soul.“

Night Fire Dance

Again a song created during the period of "groovin'’. Based on a forward thriving hypnotical rhythm we tried to build a sort of a city conceived of sound, this with different buildings, figures and scenarios. This is just an example of ‚Mind Movies‘, the inner film, which is stimulated by music.“

Cor Do Amor

„For this song Brazilian cult writer and singer, Milton Nascimento, wrote a most wonderful poem and he embraced it with his characteristic voice on the spot into the music. Though we had met many years ago: the collaboration in the recording studio and the experience of shared concerts in Brazil turned me into being a total Milton- and Brazil-fan.“


„This song originates from a more recent period, from the album COSMOPOLY, the song ‚Stella’, which was created together with my ‚old’ friends Walter Keiser (drums, assorted percussion) and Christoph Stiefel (piano, keyboards). It was very rewarding to see and experience that even after many years of working together there are still new ways to be found in collaborating with each other. This made me very happy.“

Pace Verde

 „This song belongs to the period of ‚Caverna Magica’ and ‚White Winds’. We dedicated this piece of music to the growing communities concerned with the issues of peace, environment and human rights. It is still my deep conviction, that even the most beautiful music won't resonate if we are not willing to dedicate ourselves to these three vital themes and develop them for a constructive and sustainable future.“

EDEL RECORDS: Western, eastern and southern Europe, South Africa, Scandinavia
Not released in USA and Canada
The alternative “BEST OF” for the USA is “Magic Harp

Listen and download

Behind the gardens, behind the wall, under the tree

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