"Art and music are the crystallization of the human spirit... In a sense, it is a spiritual window through which we converse with the life of the universe.

The power of art can break the shackles that bind and divide human beings... The spirit of art and the spirit of peace are naturally bound together. Artists are the standard bearers for the creation of peace."

(Daisaku Ikeda)

Ray Sapko

...born and raised in Chicago, IL USA, was one of the three founding members of the rock group Tantrum. Recording three albums consisting of all original material, "Tantrum", "Rather Be Rockin" and "Breaking Away", the band toured the USA performing with many well known artists including Ray Charles, Kansas, The Clash, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Mitch Ryder, Nicky Hopkins, Nazareth, Jim Peterik and Survivor and Molly Hatchet.

In late 2005 a 2CD compilation set (Rather Be Rocking/Tantrum/Breaking Away) [Escape Records]) was released consisting of all the material contained on the three albums. Says one reviewer, "All in all this entire package features thirty tracks from possibly the most unique and exciting female fronted band in the history of rock music." The song "Applaud the Winner" co-written by Sapko was chosen by Kerrang! Magazine to feature on a compilation called “Konnoisseurs." The same reviewer comments,"That one song alone is a remarkable introduction to this very talented band." According to The International Encyclopedia of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal: "The three female vocalists sometimes harmonized or took the lead vocals individually – either way it was devastating, and complemented by some great guitarwork from Sapko."

After the breakup of Tantrum, Ray continued his study of music receiving his Bachelors Degree in Guitar, studying at The American Conservatory of Music, Roosevelt University, Sherwood Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University. His many instructors included Richard Pick, Jack Cecchini, Seigo Yamata, Willie Pickens and Rich Medel. Ray has also taught guitar at several schools in the Chicago area including The American Conservatory of Music. Since that time Ray has never stopped performing, teaching and composing, and in his words, "all with the realization that those three things have been my true intention ever since childhood."

Currently, Ray performs weekly, does session work and teaches private lessons in Chicago area. Through his vast and varied experience in the music business he is also dedicated to fostering the many talented youth he meets on a daily basis.

Ray is also a long time member of the SGI-USA, an American Buddhist movement that promotes peace and individual happiness based on the philosophy and practice of Nichiren Buddhism. He says, "The most important thing is to first tap our innate capacity for wisdom and happiness so we're able to create value in whatever situation we find ourselves. To spread this joy to those in our immediate environment is therefore natural and most important in creating a peaceful society. The quotation (on left) by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda summarizes what I feel is essentially the mission and purpose of music and art."

Now for the first time since Tantrum, Ray Sapko has released his first long awaited solo CD, "The Way Beyond Blue", consisting of all original, all instrumental material – a total of ten songs. Sapko states: "This project has been close to my heart for some time now. Although I did my share of the writing for Tantrum, this is a very different concept, one where I was solely responsible for the writing, arranging, producing as well as the performing of the material. So far the response to this CD has been extremely positive from both those who are big fans of instrumental music and those who are not."

Give it a listen and we're sure you'll agree!

Photography by Reiko
Copyright © 2012 Ray Sapko. All Rights Reserved.
Website design & development: Joanna Kozek
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