CD: Touch The Hand Of Love
Artist: Andoni

Andoni is a man with a mission. Gifted with impressive vocal talent, his quest is to use it in service to spiritual awakening and the uplifting of the human heart. One of his greatest passions in life “is to support inner and outer peace through music.” This sense of purpose is reflected in his website url: And although his goal is one pointed, his paths to getting there are diverse. While most vocalists are generally identified with one musical genre or another, Andoni is distinguished by his ability to transcend boundaries and express himself and the indwelling Spirit in a remarkable variety of styles. On his “Touch The Hand Of Love” CD he shifts effortlessly between R&B, Pop, Spiritual Ballads, and ends with a beautiful rendition of “Ave Maria.” Any album that includes original tunes as well as music by Seal, Stevie Wonder, and Franz Schubert definitely fits the description of “eclectic.”


I found it interesting to learn that Andoni’s incredible stylistic range and diverse career in the entertainment industry (he’s also an accomplished professional actor) has been developed in the past 15 years, after he chose to leave the security of a $200,000 a year job in the high tech world to “follow his bliss” as they say. The turning point came while on a retreat when he felt spiritual inner guidance to pursue music. Luckily for us, he heeded the call. In his words: “I chuckle now at me thinking at the time that it would only take a year to carve out a career as a singer in the music business.” Although this path has had its challenges, the rewards of inspiring people through song has made it all worthwhile.


Any insightful discussion of the music on this CD would have to start with the impeccable quality of Andoni’s vocals. Among the words I would use to describe his voice are elegant, smooth, soulful, powerful, nuanced, and moving. He has a wonderful sense of how to use vocal inflections in his phrasing to add something special and personal to the song. In his live performances he can go from covering classic crooners like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, to the grit and gravel of Ray Charles and James Brown, as well as the country air of Willie Nelson to a soaring power rock ballad by Journey, and the Motown cool of Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson. Suffice it to say, the man has range. And he brings this dynamic diversity to bear in full force on his “Touch The Hand of Love” release.


The album opens with the title track, and although the words and music were written by Mahriah Blackwolf and Blossom Dearie, Andoni makes them his own, imbuing them with spirit and encouraging the listener to press on though life’s roads may be weary. This is followed on track two by a heartfelt rendition of “Love’s Divine” by Seal, one of my favorites on the CD, although with so many great songs it’s hard to choose favorites. One thing I noticed in listening to the album is that Andoni does not necessarily choose songs that are easy to sing. Many of them have complex melodies that would challenge the skills of even the most seasoned vocalist. The fact that he is able to do this so well over such a wide range of material is a testament to his musical strength.


Another favorite is “One Power” which is certainly timely in its message of spiritual unity: “Call it God, call it Spirit. Call it Jesus, call it Lord. Call it Buddha, Ba’ha’ulla. Angel’s Wings or Heaven’s Door. But whatever name you give it, it’s all One Power, can’t you see. It’s the power of love in you and me.” Continuing on the theme of the need for love and compassion in the world is an original tune called “A Little More Love” by Jai Josefs and Harold Payne. Jai is a highly respected songwriter who has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry as well as having credits in major Hollywood films and TV. In addition to contributing to songwriting on this CD, Jai is responsible for co-producing and arranging as well as some very tasteful playing on acoustic and electric guitars.  Andoni is also accompanied by Dave Getz, a first rate jazz drummer who also made music history by playing with Janis Joplin in the original Big Brother and the Holding Company. Rounding out the ensemble is Sascha Jacobsen on bass and cello, Jef Labes on piano and keyboards, with background vocals by Pollyanna Bush and Sista Shakti. The production sparkles with professional polish by well-known Bay area mastering engineer Christopher K of 7 Generations Studios.


While the remaining tracks, which are all wonderful, exhibit the stylistic diversity alluded to earlier, the power and passion of Andoni’s voice and the continuity of the spiritual messages give them a cohesion that makes it feel like they all belong together in this musical garden. “Touch The Hand Of Love” is a beautifully produced, inspired, and uplifting listening experience which I enjoyed every minute of.