For this featured song, Toby took the lead and he knew exactly who he wanted to work with — Melodic Connections, a local Cincinnati organization that provides music therapy services for all ages and abilities. The team invited six kids with autism to come jam with them. The result was pure magic.
The song’s name, “Kumu” (koo moo), is Hawaiian and means Purpose. “We had six students who were highly excited to be in a studio. It was a dream come true for them and their parents, who were there snapping pics of their kids. When we all gathered, I immediately recognized each one of them had their own style, own story, own idiosyncrasies, needs, and desires. But, when they sat behind those drums, they became one. The energy in the room was electric. And what came together was this incredible, healing, unified rhythm.”
Later in the recording session, for just fun, Toby grabbed a bass guitar, and CJ laid some guitar music over it. “The kids just loved it when CJ and I jammed with them,” Toby says. “Here we were, all these different people, coming together to make music. It was incredible. It was healing for all of us. For the students, for the parents.”
Everyone Came Together with Focused Intention
What Toby loved most about recording “Kumu” was the transition he witnessed. “At first, everyone was crazy with giddiness and then once the music started, everyone came together with this focused intention. Only music can do that.”
They laid the tracks down in one evening. And then Toby & CJ spent several hours putting together the different layers of sounds. “CJ is a musical alchemist,” Toby said. “And what resulted was pure gold.”
Toby hopes everyone enjoys “Kumu” as much as he does and wishes he could see all the students’ faces when they hear the final song for the first time. “They’re going to be so proud. They should be. They made it.”
What’s Up Next?
Each of the musicians from Melodic Connections that participated in this project has their own solo projects, playing in coffee shops, and with other bands. You can learn more about Melodic Connections and their upcoming events by clicking here.
- FEATURED SONG: “Kumu”
- OUR HEROS: Students of Melodic Connections
- ARTIST(S): Toby Christensen
- COMPOSER: Toby Christensen
- INSTRUMENTS: Melodic Connections (djembes), Toby Christensen (djembe, congas, programming, guitar, & bass), CJ Lambert (lead guitar).
- PRODUCED BY: Toby Christensen, CJ Lambert
- ENGINEERED BY: Toby Christensen, CJ Lambert
- EDITED, MIXED & MASTERED BY: CJ Lambert