I’ve spent all of my adult life following the two intertwined paths of musical expression and yoga/meditation.
Music Promo Blurb: “Mateo Monk is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, adept at many styles of world roots music. With thirty years of performing experience, his live shows are an exciting musical journey around the globe, exploring the rhythms of jazz, bossanova, reggae, hindustani raga, bluegrass, soul and funk. Performing solo on the guitar, flute, synth, and vocals, Mateo utilizes a “looper” pedal to create fully textured rhythms, adorned with virtuosic melodic musings, all seamlessly woven into the song form in real time. It’s a modern spin on the iconic idea of the “one man band”, executed by a one-of-a-kind artist with deep emotional sensibility and dazzling instrumental finesse.”
Full Music Bio: Mateo is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who has been writing, performing, and recording music for over 30 years. While living in Boulder Colorado around the turn of the millenium, Mateo led an original reggae/soul band called Natural Kingdom which enjoyed moderate success in the region, performing at most of the key venues in the Colorado front range. While opening for the reggae band Culture at the Mishawaka amphitheatre in Fort Collins, Mateo was “discovered” by the acclaimed reggae producer Georges Kouakou. Georges ended up producing Mateo’s first solo album entitled, “Guidance and Protection” which featured Junior Marvin of Bob Marley and the Wailers and was mixed and mastered by legendary mixman Jim Fox of Lion and Fox Studios. The record earned Mateo a distribution deal in Europe with Blackstar Sankofa Records, which led to a 15 city tour in France in 2004 as part of a traveling reggae festival along with the Viceroys out of Jamaica and Clinton Fearon of the Gladiators. After the tour Mateo relocated to Washington DC where he played frequently in the club scene for several years with various bands whose members included touring musicians from other notable bands such as Thievery Corporation and Culture. In 2011, Mateo became a founding member of the Archives, a project spearheaded by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation, contributing two original songs to their self-titled album that was released on Hilton’s ESL Music label. The Archives performed at all the major clubs and theaters in the DC region, as well as a few stadiums, both headlining and opening for legendary reggae artists such as the Wailers, Midnite, Ziggy Marley, Lucky Dube, and several others. During this time Mateo also contributed tracks to Thievery Corporation’s “Saudade” album and a solo record by Eric Hilton entitled “Infinite Everywhere”.
Eventually Mateo grew frustrated with the posers, pettiness, and politics of the DC music scene, moved out to Virginia, and built a name for himself performing at psychedelic music festivals up and down the East Coast as a solo looping artist. In the latter half of the twenty-teens, Mateo enjoyed reasonable success playing hundreds of music festivals, developing a loyal fanbase, and releasing two albums, “State Of Affairs” and “Here And Now”. By 2020, once again weary of the professional grind and life on the East Coast in general, Mateo went on sabbadical, selling his Virginia home and moving into a van which he lived in for a year while roaming the country in search of a more fitting place to call home. In August of 2021, Mateo bought a 40 acre ranch in Sundance Wyoming on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest where he keeps a humble music studio, and by winter of 2022, he resumed performing after a two year hiatus. Mateo is currently working on his 4th album, and has several music festivals and club dates booked for the Summer/Fall 2022 season.
Spiritual Bio: Mateo has been practicing yoga, pranayama, and meditation for thirty years, and has been a devotee of Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi since 1999. He has joined Sri Karunamayi on meditation retreat at her jungle ashram in India for three consecutive winters, and in the winter of 2019/20 she asked him to join her US tour performing on the bansuri flute and leading kirtans/bhajans at all events. However shortly after, the pandemic arose and she has not toured the US since. Mateo still hopes to join Amma in musical service once travel bans and vaccine mandates are lifted.
In addition to meditation, pranayama, and yoga practices, Mateo is an avid chanter of vedic scripture and mantras in the Sanskrit language, chanting the Sri Rudram, Hanuman Chalisa, Durga and Medha Suktams daily, as well as many other key suktams and mantras. Mateo is also devoted to playing Hindu devotional music on the bansuri flute and the double-sided dholak drum as part of his daily practice, and is an avid student of Indian scripture and epics.
In the summer of 2021, Mateo relocated from the east coast to a 40 acre ranch in Sundance Wyoming, situated on quiet rolling praire at the edge of the Black Hills National Forest, with the intention of devoting more time to sadhana in solitude, and stepping back a bit from the grind of professional, secular, music. In additional to growing food and establishing sustainable permaculture on his land, Mateo has visions of erecting several yurts and teepees to offer a place of retreat, rest, and refuge for earnest spiritual seekers and rehabilitating drug addicts in the years ahead.
So what’s with the wolf?
Over three decades of meditation, Mateo has developed a gift of inner sight, frequently having profound visions during his meditations. The most powerful of these visions happen in a similar fashion: Mateo will come to state of inner stillness with eyes closed, when suddenly he sees through his eyelids, viewing the same world before him in total luminous clarity, only now, there is an entity present of some sort. The entities never speak but they do interact with him in symbolic ways. In this manner he has seen Hindu deities, holy rishis, native shamans, and animal spirits. Far more frequently than any of these, he has seen wolves, in particular, the White Wolf. Wolves of all shades, even luminous wolves, will surround him, stare him in the eyes, or pant in his face. He hears their howls within and without. These visions transmit profound energy and insight, and each one has shifted his life in some manner.
Over time, Mateo came to embrace that the White Wolf is indeed his spiritual totem and inner guide, and sees this wolf, in essence, as nothing other than an avatar of the Holy Spirit. The wolf remains with Mateo to this day and he believes that this communicator spirit channels primarily through his poetry.