On Friday, May 12, the AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, hosts a CD release party for Brenda Fernandes, who plans to fill the space with tranquil music off her new album, “Her Mountains.”
Fernandes, a Scranton-based musician and visual artist, classifies her album, which incorporates mantra and world music, roughly as “new age or meditative.” 
“The music itself is very inspiring,” Fernandes said. “It’s uplifting.”
For Fernandes, making music is not a new experience. She generated about six albums in the past, but she decided to approach the marketing for “Her Mountains” differently. 
“The albums that I did create, I sold out of the trunk of my car,” Fernandes said. “So, I never really counted them as ‘real.’” 
Fernandes’ approach to making music has “completely changed” since she first started playing in 2001. 
“[At] first, music for me was putting music to poetry … so it was more like expressing myself through my feelings,” Fernandes said. “I tried to explore all musical genres until I found a niche, my own style.” 
Lyrically, she drifted away from more “typical” themes. 
“The songs that I write are … I guess they’re more like prayers than songs,” she said. 
Fernandes’ sound has changed, as well. Her new album most heavily features her on the harmonium, a free-reed organ. 
“I originally play the piano, so that’s my main instrument, and the harmonium came to me through learning how to chant.”
In creating this album, Fernandes had the opportunity to take on many roles. 
“I created all the drum beats, I did all the harmonies and, with the use of my iPhone, it has something called a tanpura,” she said.  “So, that acts like a drone, and it almost sounds like a sitar.”
Her focus on creating meditative and peaceful music serves her well in other pursuits, too.  
“Currently, I’m a part of a program at Geisinger (Community Medical Center),” Fernandes said. “It’s called the Art Heals project … they hire musicians to play music in the ICU units to soothe and relax the patients’ families, the patients themselves and the people that work in the hospital.” 
Melissa Carestia, gallery coordinator at AFA, says Fernandes has played at the space before, and her connection to it stretches back a long time. 
“She’s a long-time member and participating artist of the gallery,” Carestia noted. 
Carestia looks forward to the performance and atmosphere she expects Fernandes will create.
“I think she’s a wonderful person and you can definitely get a sense of her personality through her artwork and music,” Carestia said. “It’s going to a be beautiful evening.”
— peter shaver

If you go
What: Brenda Fernandes CD release party
When: Friday, May 12; party runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m., with a performance at 7
Where: AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: For album information, contact brendafernandessings@gmail.com.

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