Alex Skolnick's Planetary Coalition

Here it is! A full album-excerpts video, which helps visualize the regions covered by the varied musical styles and instruments, and gives a glimpse of the musicians during the recording process.

“It started with a lone, handwritten sentence on a notepad, describing a musical vision: “An ethnically flavored collective of musicians from all over the world, driven by acoustic guitar and bringing together inspirational melodies, in-depth improvisation and the passion of the musical styles of Gypsy, Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin, East Asian, Mediterranean, Balkan/Eastern European, African and other indigenous lands.”

“The reality: coordinating over two-dozen musicians from five continents.”

“Yet despite the numerous logistical challenges, Planetary Coalition has been guided by a single hope: that by weaving the threads that connect musical expressions with regional identities, we can bridge the gap between diverse cultures and people, and increase awareness of the ecological and social issues facing the planet, our island in the sky.” – Alex Skolnick

Video compiled and edited by Maddy Samaddar (NOMAD 9 DESIGN)

“Planetary Coalition” selected as top 10 acoustic guitar albums of 2014 and among the best 50 releases of the year

Guitar World magazine has selected “Planetary Coalition” among 2014’s best 50 releases, alongside albums by Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Eric Clapton and others. We are humbled and thrilled by this honor. Thank you  again to those who have supported this album and believed in the power of music as the healing and binding tool that can bring diverse people and countries together.


As well, Acoustic Nation has also picked “Planetary Coalition” in its Top 10 releases of 2014.


“You might have heard of Skolnick from his escapades with the metal band Testament and later with his jazz trio.

Now Skolnick has gone in a new and exciting direction with his acoustic-focused project, Planetary Coalition. The collective’s first release, simply named Planetary Coalition, includes an impressive array of 27 musicians from around the world.

Multi-cultural and incredibly musical, Skolnick has somehow brought together a variety of musical influences, interesting instrumentation and intricate rhythms for a wholly enjoyable experience.

If you have a chance to see the Coalition live, grab it!”


Exactly one year ago on 11/11 we released Planetary Coalition’s debut CD, and what a wondrous journey it has been! A huge thank-you to all who supported, encouraged and participated in this project and appreciated the music we offered and continue to do so.

For the holiday season, share our labor of love as the perfect gift.
Available on i-TUNES here: http://apple.co/1zB0qiN
On AMAZON here: http://amzn.to/1ASdNg4

If i-tunes and Amazon options do not cover your country, you can order directly from ArtistShare here: http://artistshare.com/v4/Projects/OfferDetails/325/439/2186/1/6

Make music, not war! Support the independent Arts!

Alex Skolnick's Planetary Coalition


On 11/1 – it’s here: Finally – a single video with excerpts of all 14 tracks! (Please watch in HD if possible)
We are excited that ArtistShare has submitted this album as an official entry in the world music, arranging, composition & soloist categories for the 58th Grammy‬ awards.

The first anniversary of the album’s release – 11/11 is fast approaching and we are happy that so many have reached out and shown appreciation for this album. Please keep spreading the word! Remember – Make Music Not War!

“Excerpts” video – compiled & edited by Maddy Samaddar of Nomad 9 Design 

Once again – a huge thanks to the entire Planetary Coalition team!

Click on the image or link http://on.fb.me/1iwSkSV  to play video. This is a Facebook video. An youtube video will be released shortly.

Planetary Coalition officially submitted for the Grammy awards

We are honored to be officially submitted by our record label ArtistShare for Grammy award consideration (and in very distinguished company too) – details in this article: https://t.co/qQtQKoPHUF

We are also in consideration for best instrumental, arranging, composition and soloist category. https://t.co/2ZbPdPrraX https://t.co/psPPZbS6x1

While this is a pleasant surprise, the most important thing is that we were able to successfully create an album which took tremendous effort and musicianship. And that act of creation was a wonderful reward in itself.

Thank you ArtistShare NYC for believing in us!

artistshare grammy

Thank you ArtsLive & University of Dayton!

THANK YOU ArtsLive and the University of Dayton team for your wonderful hospitality and warm welcome this week and for making our October 29, 2015 show a success!
Special thanks to Eileen Carr & Bryan Bardine for the interviews!
Thank you Lisa Claus for the flawless coordination!
& to the Planetary Coalition ensemble who also spoke of interesting insights of their life and work.
We had a fantastic time!

Alex Skolnick -Acoustic Guitar
Rachel Golub -Violin
Max ZT – Santoor/Hammered Dulcimer
Moto Fukushima-Bass
Kenny Grohowski-Percussion
Maddy Samaddar – Visual Art & Film

Planetary Coalition ArtsLive

A Literary Coalition

Those in New York City and especially near Bard college and surrounding areas in upstate NewYork – please come and join Alex Skolnick and his friend, distinguished author of many books and “Conjunctions” editor Bradford Morrow for an evening of text and music, where the duo perform “A Bestiary.”

Event details and performer bios in this link: http://www.bard.edu/news/events/event/?eid=129717&date=1445383800

The title of the track “Island in the Sky” was inspired from a chapter in Bradford Morrow’s book “Trinity Fields.”

We hope to see you there!

Bradford Morrow & Alex Skolnick

Bradford Morrow & Alex Skolnick

It’s all about the Bass!

Today we’ve featured one of our bass players who has performed on 4 tracks on the album.

Born in Kobe, Japan, Moto Fukushima is a Japan & NYC based six-string electric bass player, upright bass player, composer, mountain dulcimer and syamisen player.

Moto performed on Planetary Coalition’s tracks “Island in the Sky,” “Salto,” “Back to the Land,” & “Sleeping Gypsy.”

Moto will be part of our ensemble performing at ArtsLive, Dayton University on October 29, 2015.

Playing music since childhood, Moto received the scholarship and outstanding performer award before graduating summa cum laude, with highest honor, from the prestigious Berklee college of music in Boston, MA.

With a strong background in jazz improvisation, Western classical music, Japanese traditional music and African inspired musical sensibilities of South America, his playing is an amazing combination of finesse, subtlety, and power and he has performed with many great artists of our time. For more: http://www.motobass.com/

Moto Fukushima

Moto Fukushima

Violin Vignette

Violin Wednesday!

The multifaceted and multi-talented Rachel Golub lent her musical skills to the tracks “Django Tango,” “Old World Dance,” “Sleeping Gypsy” and “Passage to Pranayama” on our album.

Here is a short clip of her recording for “Sleeping Gypsy,” a track she has played live at several venues with Alex and his team.

You can find out more about Rachel on her website at rachelgolubmusic.com

If you have joined us on ArtistShare you can see her interview by Alex. And you can see her perform as part of the ensemble that will play on OCTOBER 29, 2015 at Zehler Hall, for an ArtsLIve event at the College of Arts & Sciences, Dayton University, Ohio. Details here: https://www.udayton.edu/artssciences/initiatives/artslive/events/event_3.php

Rachel Golub
(video clip: filmed by Tom Couture; edited by Maddy)

“I broke a string!!” – continuing our September Santoor minutes.

A few more Santoor minutes on this September Saturday!

Alex Skolnick and Max ZT get into a trance during a jam for the development of the tune “Passage to Pranayama,” back in the fall of 2013.

See them and other musicians from the album at Planetary Coalition’s live performance on October 29, 2015, at Dayton University’s ArtsLIVE series: https://www.udayton.edu/artssciences/initiatives/artslive/events/event_3.php

Filmed by Maddy Samaddar — with Max ZT and Alex Skolnick.

Please use this direct link if clicking on the still below does not work: http://on.fb.me/1iFgNFU

A September Santoor minute

Check out Max ZT’s exquisite skill at the santoor (which he learned from the world’s most eminent classical santoor maestro – North India’s Shivkumar Sharma) in Planetary Coalition’s tracks “Island In the Sky,” “Passage to Pranayama,”Back to the Land” and “Sleeping Gypsy.”

You can catch him playing on Oct 29th at Dayton University’s ArtsLIVE series with Alex Skolnick and others for a Planetary Coalition live performance. See you there!  https://www.udayton.edu/artssciences/initiatives/artslive/events/event_3.php

(Clip courtesy Maddy Samaddar)

As well, keep up with new updates and posts by liking us on our Facebook Page!

Please use this link if clicking on the above image does not start the video: http://on.fb.me/1PJAPtS

Guitar meets Kora – Planetary Coalition’s Africa-inspired tunes

How did Planetary Coalition’s Africa-inspired tunes come into shape? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the first practice duet of Alex Skolnickand Mali’s famed kora player Yacouba Sissoko, and a background of the man who lent his voice to the tracks “Alla La’ke” and “Back to the Land.”

While the inspiration for “Alla La’ke” came during this afternoon practice session, “Back to the Land” is a melody Alex had composed back in 2012 and wanted to infuse some authentic African instrumental music and voice as well, which Yacouba made possible.

Kora – the 21-string traditional Malinese instrument: Yacouba Sissoko
Guitar: Alex Skolnick

Filmed and edited by Maddy Samaddar


“Passage to Pranayama” – practice run with Kiran Ahluwalia & Nitin Mitta

Planetary Coalition wishes a very Happy Birthday to acclaimed Indo-Canadian ghazal/classical vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia.  today! She lent her unique vocals to our track “Passage to Pranayama” along with tabla Maestro Nitin Mitta.

Here’s a look back into the making and evolution of the song Passage to Pranayama with a behind-the-scenes insight into the long process of music making, idea development and tune building.

Video by Maddy Samaddar.

Alex Skolnick & Yihan Chen. A guitar-pipa rehearsal

For ‪#tbt : The first meeting of Alex Skolnick and pipa virtuoso Yihan Chen exactly a year back in July 2014. Instant musical chemistry!

See how they came up with the track “Return of the Yi People” in the album -the first ever guitar-pipa duet and a variation of Wang Huiran’s tune Dance of the Yi People.

Did you know that the Chinese Pipa is an instrument more than 2000 years old?

Guitar: Alex Skolnick

Pipa: Yihan Chen

Filmed/edited by Maddy Samaddar

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Extended Excerpt of “Playa la Ropa” with Alex, Rodrigo y Gabriela

The following link will take you to a video we posted on our Facebook Fan page following Cinco de Mayo.


Be sure to watch in HD setting!

You can also view the video by clicking on the photo below.

An extended video excerpt of “Playa la Ropa” – a high energy guitar trio featuring Alex with dynamic Mexican guitar duo and animal rights’ supporters and activists Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Alex Skolnick, Rodrigo y Gabriela

Audio – Playa La Ropa – composed by Alex Skolnick
Steel String Guitar – Alex Skolnick.
Nylon String Guitars: Rodrigo Sanchez & Gabriela Quintero.
1st & 3rd solo – Rodrigo.
2nd & 4th solo – Alex.
Chords & Percussive Guitar – Gabriela.

Video – filmed and edited by Maddy Samaddar.

This is NOT a full Playa La Ropa official video. It is only an extended excerpt for our fan page. A video featuring the complete song may be created in the future.

“Island In The Sky” live performance

On Earth Day, last Wednesday, we posted a video of the CD version of the track “Island in the Sky.”

For ‪#‎FlashbackFriday‬, here’s an early version of the track performed live in January 2013 during the launch of Alex’s book “Geek to Guitar Hero.” There are some improvisations here which are possible only in a live performance. Plus Rachel Golub joins us on her violin which is absent in the final CD.

Which version do you like better? The final CD one or this earlier live version? (Mind you, the audio is not that great here in the live performance as the camera was far away and the audience sounds get in the way.)

A special vignette for Earth Day

A special treat for our fans on ‪#‎EarthDay‬! A full video of the CD’s 1st track “Island in the Sky:” An ode to Planet Earth; to the joys, sadness and wonders of our planet captured in this quick video (which among other images holds our personal tribute to a true hero – astronomer/writer/philosopher Dr.Carl Sagan)…and to futile hope that humans will learn not to abuse the one home they really have before it is too late…’cause perhaps it IS too late in terms of irreversible environmental and ethical damage.

The phrase “Island in the Sky” comes from a passage in Alex’s dear friend author Bradford Morrow’s book “Trinity Fields.”

Musicians – Alex Skolnick (guitar), Max ZT (santoor), Moto Fukushima (bass), Luke Notary (percussion). Video compiled by Maddy Samaddar.

Thank you all for supporting Planetary Coalition!

(As this is a lower res video for quick upload, the audio will not be as good as heard in the original CD/mp3)


Please click here if the above video fails to play: http://on.fb.me/1h3JuLE

Alex Skolnick for Yamaha Guitar Development

A vignette shot by Yamaha Guitars earlier this year: Can you name the tune from Planetary Coalition which he plays at the 20 second mark?
“Alex Skolnick didn’t develop his playing style overnight. It took many days, months, and years of practice to find his unique voice and the confidence needed to push musical boundaries.” – Yamaha Guitar Development

Album Excerpts and Preview Part 3 – tracks 10 to 14

This is the last of the album excerpts’ series for Planetary Coalition – with glimpses of the last 5 songs on the album. On Novermber 25, 2014, our itunes sales commenced and within a day the album had already climbed to the top 20 world music albums at number 13. Please help support the project – the link to buy the album on Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/Planetary-Coalition-Alex-Skolnick/dp/B00OTVQ0L4 and on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/planetary-coalition/id934930381

This series of excerpts begins with a composition with Cuban influences – with the great Grammy award-winning Cuban percussionist Horacio “el Negro” Hernandezand his daughter Jennifer who co-wrote the piece with Alex.

Following this, both countries of the Holy Land – Israel and Palestine are featured – with renowned Palestinian oud player Adnan Joubran of Le Trio Joubran co-composing a track with Skolnick (a piece with surprises in its full version where the melody takes a rather unexpected turn) followed by a duet with famed Israeli percussionist Gadi Seri (a frequent accompanist in the group of Israeli singing sensation Noa) in a piece inspired by travelling through the Negev desert. Initially both Seri and Joubran were to feature on the same track but, due to different rhythm styles, decided to have two separate pieces.

The fourth excerpt is the first guitar-pipa duet ever performed of a popular Chinese melody – with Skolnick and pipa virtuoso Yihan Chen playing on a variation of Wang Huiran’s tune Dance of the Yi People as “Return of the Yi People” and the colorful landscapes featured in the video are indeed from the region of South China where the Yi people reside. To see the very first meeting of Chen and Skolnick and how they clicked instantly go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G-ymgp5e-8

And finally, an excerpt of the popular signature tune of the project – the very first track which Skolnick had composed in 2012 when he conceived of the Planetary Coalition series: Sleeping Gypsy  which includes visual clips of the dancing crowds in Union Square where he kick-started the project in 2012 and later performed once again in the summer of 2014.

On Saturday November 29, 2014, about seven of the twenty seven musicians of Planetary Coalition will play at the Liberty Science Center coinciding with an exhibition on the history and development of the acoustic and electric guitar.

Album Excerpts and Preview Part 2 – tracks 1 to 4

A short video with glimpses of the first four tracks of the album, including two time Juno-award winning Indian ghazal/folk style as well as classically trained singer Kiran Ahluwalia; also, Turkish kanun player Tamer Pinarbasi along with other members of New York Gypsy All Stars; members of the group Raza Truncka from Salto playing Argentine indigenous drums and members of the Brooklyn-based world music group House of Waters. Stay tuned till the end of the video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87ncMQRiX44

(Photography and videography of the artists in-studio are by Tom Couture and Maddy Samaddar – who has also done the editing and album artwork. A separate page will be put up to list all other images used, including film clips with copyrights, permissions and detailed credits for all the regional, political and landscape photos used in this video.)