Online Interview with Serah - September 2001
1. What was your inspiration for the album ?
As you can imagine , an album is really an unfoldment of inspiration . It can start with a song, and each song unfolds with inspiration as it comes to meet the needs. ( For me, song writing IS an unfolding of inspiration and perhaps you could say spiritual clarity.) When I wrote the song ."Wing of Mercy " it seemed to imbibe the theme of the album . Mainly, the presence of that Higher Power that carries us through challenges of all kinds with love and insights, deep inner growth and enrichment . I think you can feel this idea running through all the songs on the album , hopefully in a fun and pleasurable way, sometimes even with some humor....
2. Please tell me about the "Hymn of Peace" --what inspired you to write it ?
When I was invited to perform at the Hague in 1999 for the United Nations World Peace Conference, I was also invited to write /compose, and perform a song specifically for that event. I was thrilled to do this as it certainly fit right in with my sense of mission. As I worked on the song, I was compelled to reach out to the deep mission of each one of us, to love , and to heal , and bring peace. The Song of the universe sings to us all , collectively and individually. The live performance of the song I wrote , "Hymn of Peace" , is on the new album.
3. What is it about African music that you find so appealing ?
In the eighties, I went with my young family to Africa to join some friends who were helping in a drought area in Northern Kenya not far from Lake Turkana. We lived outside of Nairobi and traveled back and forth to this area. We were not working with a specific organization, but as friends who cared deeply. So much blessing unfolded. Of course, I had my guitar with me , and was always singing with the local people , my songs, and their songs. I fell in love with African music. During that time, with the help of many wonderful people, food supplies were obtained, a shelter for orphaned children was built , and a little school . And families were found who were grateful , kind, and joyful to adopt each orphaned child into their families. It had been a very challenging and hard time, but very fruitful and blessed. When I returned to America after that , I felt so strongly that I wanted to find a way to weave this beautiful African music with my songs. I am happy to see that more and more people are appreciating World Music of all cultures, and that more and more people are caring about this planet as a world family.
4. What other musical cultures influence your sound?
Well, probably my ancestral "roots" are an influence. I am of Celtic and Gaelic descent. But American folk music as well would have been a big influence . I love incorporating many different musical cultures including Native American (specifically Lakota -- as we have a Lakota singer/friend that I often work with) , as well as French ,and sometimes Indian music.
5 . Do you feel that music has the power to break down cultural barriers?
Absolutely yes. It has broken down barriers historically and is still doing so. It is part of the role of the arts , I feel, to inspire, help and heal human needs. ( This is why I was grateful to be invited to give the concert at the World Peace conference of the United Nations ) . I think music and lyrics potentially can do so much, as can film and all the arts. We have certainly seen a kind of spiritual leavening in human thought throughout the twentieth and now twenty first century, but we clearly still have a long way to go . Its really all about love, isn't it, love and respect for our world family. The arts can nurture this process of spiritual growth in a comforting and hopefully, sometimes fun way.
6. What are your goals as an artist ?
My goals are , as the previous question/answer implies, to give what I can to inspire ,heal and bring compassion, insights, joy and fun ... Music and songs have always been healing for me , others' songs and music as well as my own creative process. It is my hope that the music I bring will inspire renewal, peace , love for all, and goodness in all its wonderful aspects as much as possible...
7. What do you hope most that listeners will take away with them after hearing WIng of Mercy ?
I hope that each one who listens will feel substantially comforted, inspired, and "in a better place" after listening to Wing of Mercy, each in their own way. I hope that the healing intent of each song will reach each one right where they are, who they are , what they need. I hope to inspire hope and faith in our Higher Power, the One Infinite Mind that is Love and Life and that thoughts will be lifted to a sense of being that feels that Presence . When we are inspired we can bring a gracious poise and wisdom into the challenges and sometimes overwhelming terrain of human experience. The "cover song" that I did, " I'm Not in Love" originally by 10 CC , was meant to be a fun song , and to me fun is feeling the normal joy and humor that life is meant to include ...
8. What are your future musical plans?
I am currently working on a new album which should be finished soon. In fact, at the moment , we had somewhat miraculously finished a session 2 days early, the evening of Sept. 10, the night before the terrible devastation of the terrorist attack in New York and Washington, D.C. All the musicians ( from all cultural and religious backgrounds) have been praying together ever since. At the time of this writing, we are still together on the third day after, and still praying deeply for all mankind , indeed all creation ; for world peace ,for wise solutions ... I know most of the world is joined now each in their own way holding hands as it were ... with immense selflessness, compassion, and love for all.
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