AV: Tell me about 1993 and your first
exposure to Native American flute and what that meant to you in regards to the
music you would eventually make.
LS: This is an interesting question if only for the fact that
I’m not so sure I think of myself as a “musician”.
I guess that depends on what one’s definition of
“musician” is. I know I like music - all kinds! And yet I have had no real formal training as
a “musician” - although I did study piano for a few years back in the 80's -
but never with an eye towards performing or making an album. I just loved the sound of the piano and wanted to
make those sounds! Same thing with the Native American flute - when I first
heard the sound back in 1993 - I knew that I had to have that sound in my life. To give you a little background here - I had just
moved out toArizona from the New York metro area. I had sold everything (except my clothes and my
stereo and music CD’s!) to move out to the southwest - and I came out here with
no support group nor did I even have a job lined up.
(To be honest - I believe I was called out here as there were times as I was
riding intoNew York
to work that I would get this crazy notion in my head that I needed to move out
west. Go figure.) I was in my early 30's and ready for a major life
change. I guess you could call it my
Grand Adventure. I’m not sure how
many people who are reading this have ever done something like that - but it’s
quite liberating. And of course a
little scary! I missed my piano greatly - and when I read about a concert at
the Scottsdale Center for the Arts featuring R. Carlos Nakai on the Native Flute - I decided I
wanted to go and hear what that was all about.
I was totally blown away by the sound.
I had never heard anything so beautiful in my entire life!!
After the concert I
of course went to a music store to obtain more Native Flute music. It wasn’t until I walked into a store in Old Town
Scottsdale three years later in 1996 that I actually bought my first flute
(which you can hear on “South Mountain Sunrise”).
The interesting thing about that is that I bought the flute without even
playing it (not a recommended thing to do when buying flutes!!) Years later
when I interviewed the flute maker of that flute (Odell Borg) he told me that
he thought that particular flute was one of the best flutes he had ever made. Coincidence? I’m not so sure...and if
you hang around flute people long enough you begin to recognize that there are
no coincidences when it comes to the flute.
AV: I found it interesting that you say in
your bio that you took your first Native American flute into the desert and
learned to play it there. What was
that like for you and how did the desert put you in the frame of mind to begin
to play this style of music? Did you play any instrument prior to learning the
LS: Well, to be honest, the real reason I took the flute out
into the desert to play is because I was so bad at it in the beginning and I
really didn’t want anyone to hear me play! The most difficult thing about the
flute when you are first learning to play is to be able to coordinate the fingers
to close all the holes properly - if not - you get all kinds of squeaks and
it’s incredibly annoying to anyone who is listening- including the player!
;-) Also - I never considered myself a
performer in ANY sense of the word!
Being in front of people always gave me the heebie-jeebies. So the
logical thing for me was to take the flute out in the middle of the Sonoran
desert and just play. Which is what
I did. In retrospect - I’m glad
that’s how I learned to play. Nature
is so inspiring to me - and being out in the peace of the desert, with nothing
but the wind and the cactus and the birds allowed me, I think, to connect with
something greater than myself. Or
maybe it allowed me to connect with my true self.
As time went on, and I spent more and more time in the desert - I think it
seeped into my consciousness and strange and wonderful things began to happen
on my journeys into the wilderness.
I came face to face once with an elk in the White Mountains - and once while in
Sedona I met a bobcat on a hiking trail - I have many many stories of all the
wonderful gifts given to me as I walk this flute journey path. After about a year or two of playing out in the
desert - I started playing in local parks as a way to get over my performance
anxiety. It was my performance
training ground! I knew people could
hear me as I played - but since it wasn’t really a formal performance _ I
didn’t get too nervous. And the
wonderful thing was - people would come up to me and tell me how much they
enjoyed my music. This of course
gave me the confidence to continue to play in public areas and I learned to be
able to focus completely on the sound and forget everything else - a must for
anyone who performs publicly! I then took my music into the local hospital to
play for patients and also provided music (all free of course) to Bereavement
Camps sponsored by Banner Hospice.
People would come to these camps to get grief counseling and I would play
background music all day long. It
was my way of giving back and being of service.
Doing this always made me feel so much better.
It is said “To give is to receive”.
I certainly have found that to be the truth as I found the more I gave the more
AV: You also say in your bio that around
2003 your interest in creating ambient washes with a synthesizer and using some
world percussion caught your attention.
What was it about these styles that made you want to add them to your Native
American flute playing and what can they accomplish that you couldn’t using
only the flute?
LS: Yes, I was searching for a way to express myself - and while
the flute is a wonderful way to express onself, I wanted something
more . I wanted to incorporate a lot of different world
instrumentation and percussion as well as the wonderful sounds of synthesizers. I was searching for a certain flowing sound - and
I knew if I could find the right mix then each song creation would be a
separate journey unto itself - and yet also retain it’s place as a part of the
whole. I think that solo flute music
is quite beautiful - but I also think that with the addition of other
instrumentation it opens up the imaginative part of the brain. People who have bought this CD have told me that
it takes them on journeys. Music
should do that. It should take you
to a better place.
AV: Let’s talk about your new CD called
Second Wind. Is there a particular
meaning that you intended to communicate by the title Second Wind?
LS: The dictionary defines “second wind” as “the recovered
capacity for continuing any sort of effort”.
The title has personal meaning for me as I had almost given up the flute after
a couple of traumatic experiences. I
had suffered two accidents back to back which left me on crutches for months. I found my ability to get around was curtailed -
and the fact that I couldn’t get out and about sent me into an emotional
tailspin. I think I needed to create
music in order to get through this dark time of my soul.
In fact, “Bobbi (Canyon Sunrise)” was created a couple of days after my first
accident. I was in a great deal of
discomfort and yet the piece came together exactly as I had envisioned. The flowing and weaving in and out of musical
lines on “Bobbi (Canyon Sunrise)” is closest to my heart in terms of the style
of music I want to continue to create. That particular song also has special meaning
for me as it’s to honor my best friend from high school who passed away in
December 2004 after a long 12 year battle with ovarian cancer. The title “Second Wind” also has meaning for those who need a respite
from the stresses of the every day world. My hope in creating this music is that it will help people to relax,
re-energize and rejuvenate and it seems to be working as I’ve heard from
several people who tell me it’s helping them achieve a kind of peace.
AV: When you started to compose the music
that would become Second Wind was there a theme that you wanted to weave the
LS: Creativity is a funny thing.
I don’t think I purposely intended at first for the album to be a “day in the
life of the desert” - but as the songs were created I realized there was indeed
a theme taking shape. I’m not really
one to plan out things before hand - I sort of go with the flow and see what
happens. Or maybe it’s more like the
ideas continue to percolate in the back regions of my brain and then - poof!-
out comes the finished product! I had actually created about 24 songs and ended
up choosing the best 16. A lot of
time was spent on the mix - so much so that I was jokingly referring to myself
as “Ms. Quincy Jones”!
AV: On your website you mention that the
music of Second Wind can be used for bodywork, healing and meditation. What characterizes the music of Second Wind that
makes it suitable for these types of applications?
LS: I ended up spending a lot of time on the
mix - and was very concerned with how the songs flowed into and out of one
another. I wanted to weave musical
lines (percussion and otherwise) in and out so that a continual flow would be
achieved and the listener would be taken along on this “flow” and all of a sudden
find him or herself wondering how they got from Point A to Point B because the
transition was so subtle. The
musical flows were achieved by crossfading and mixing some musical elements
over certain transitions to make the flow smoother.
AV: You made a special point on your bio
page of saying that the Native American flute does not overwhelm on this CD. What kind of mixture were you aiming for and how
does this help your Second Wind achieve a broader appeal?
LS: Solo flute CD’s are wonderful - but they also have a very
limited audience. I wanted the
Native American flute to be more of just
“another instrument” on this CD -
and my main concern first was in
creating good music - whether or not there was a flute track on every song
wasn’t important. What was important
was the flow - and whether or not the music was flowing and evolving and
helping the listener to achieve a state of peace and relaxation - while also
retaining the separate identities of each song.
While I wanted the whole album to flow, I also wanted each song to retain its
own musical identity - 16 separate journeys all rolled into one flowing
“parent” journey - if that makes any sense.
AV: Did you go about creating the software
compositions any differently than what you created on the flute? How so?
LS: All of the tracks with original Native Flute Compositions (a
total of six - “Ceremony”, “Sarah”, “Tiger Eyes”, “Song for Stephanie”, “South
Mountain Sunrise” and “Camelback Shadows”) had already been composed as solo
flute pieces. The background music
on these pieces and almost all the music on the other songs were created using
SONY’s ACID PRO® music looping program.
I have about 14 SONY ACID loop libraries and spent a lot of time searching for
the right sounds for each of the pieces.
I really owe a debt of gratitude to all the artists who have contributed to
these libraries - most notably James Johnson and Robert Rich. While the Native Flute tracks were recorded in a Phoenix studio, all the
rest of the production work - including mixing and mastering was done on my
home computer. I had to learn about
5 or 6 software programs in order to complete this project. As it was, it took me between 2 and three years to
finish the project - I worked on it every night and every weekend for that
length of time, while working a full 40 hour workweek.
AV: What part does the desert or nature
play in how you approach your musical compositions? Could you see the two of
them being separate in your mind?
LS: To be honest - I doubt very much this CD would have come
about if I had not moved out toArizona
and experienced the desert and found the flute.
I’m not so sure the two can be separated.
The desert played such a huge role here - and the sad part is that with all the
development here in thePhoenix
area, the beautiful desert is fast disappearing.
It’s a very sad sight to see as there is something very special about the
desert. There is only oneSonoran Desert - and it only exists in one place
in the world - and once it is gone there will be no getting it back. This is a harsh, yet fragile environment. When you come upon the ancient rock art scattered
throughout the area here - it takes your breath away as you realize that
ancient peoples once lived here and the only thing that remains is their
mysterious communications. I wonder
what will remain of our civilization when we are gone.
AV: To many people music tends to be rather
cathartic in allowing them to feel the emotions they keep hidden away from the world. Did
composing and recording Second Wind serve a cathartic role for you in regards
to the subjects you were covering in your music?
LS: I do believe that emotions can be conveyed through any
artistic medium - be it music, painting, sculpture, etc. There is a horse sculpture out here in the Scottsdale,AZ
area just outside the front entrance of the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort. It’s by Snell Johnson, and it’s three horses
frozen in time as they gallop. It’s
called “My Friends” and it is the most alive sculpture I have ever seen in my
life! The sense of flowing movement is just uncanny and the beauty of the piece
is truly incredible. Just thinking
about that sculpture as I’m writing about it makes me cry because it is so
powerfully beautiful. I think like
most artists, what I am feeling at the time is going to come through in
whatever medium I choose. But the
artist has to allow himself/herself to let those emotions out - otherwise the
listener/viewer will not feel anything.
And the emotions have to be honest.
I’m not so sure one can “fake” emotions in something as expressive as music.
It’s either there or it isn’t. I think if one is in tune with their spiritual
side, then the emotions will come through.
Music is a language that we are still trying to understand. It’s amazing how often a musician can reach down
deep into someone’s soul and touch them - whereas words cannot always do that. I can only hope that what I’ve created will be
able to reach people’s hearts and emotions and help them to achieve a bit of
healing as that was my intent.
AV: Was Second
Wind completely you or were there others who were involved with the project
that helped bring the music to disc?
LS: I owe a debt of gratitude to all the
artists who have contributed to the SONY ACID® music loop libraries. Without their artistry - I would not have been
able to express myself as well as I hope I have on this album.
AV: What are your
thoughts on the process of writing and recording a project like Second Wind
from beginning to finished product? Better than you thought or a lot more work
than you thought it might be?
LS: The task was quite overwhelming
as I had to learn a lot of software programs in order to create and mix and
master - but now that
I’ve learned these programs I’m fairly sure the next time
around won’t be as difficult for me.
As difficult as it was - it was also a lot of fun - and of course most of the
fun was in manipulating the sound and tweaking the mixes here and there. A big thanks also to the creators of iZotope
Ozone3 - their EQ saved me when it came to some of the flute tracks. I don’t think I could have completed this project
without that piece of software.
AV: Tell me about
your public performances and how that is different for you than the writing and
recording process. How can folks
catch up with you in your public performances, is there a list of where you’ll
be somewhere on your website?
LS: I do love performing publicly - it’s my chance to play my
music and hopefully touch people with it.
The largest venue I have done is the Chandler
Center for the Arts as
part of the Intel Benefit Talent Show (2000 and 2001).
I was working as a contractor for the time at Intel and a fellow Intel employee
and I hooked up to create music - we played (along with a few other Intel
employee acts) to a sold out house of 1500 and raised over $10,000.00 for a local charity.
That was my first real public performance and I remember thinking as I was
waiting for the curtain to open "Well - I guess I’d better be ready for this!”. Thankfully I stopped being nervous as soon as I
started playing the flute! I was also asked to perform at the 2003 Scottsdale
Arts Festival where I appeared on three different stages during the three day
event. People kept wanting to know
if I had a CD out and it was then that I figured maybe it was time to work on a
project. Periodically I take my
flutes toPapago Park
here inTempe,Arizona which is just down the street from
where I live and play at the Hunt’s tomb area (that big white pyramid on top of
the hill that overlooks the Phoenix Zoo).
The last time I did that a man happened to be there listening and when I
finished as the sun went down he came over to where I was, knelt down and
looked up at me with tears in his eyes and thanked me for playing. It is encounters like this which give me the
strength to go on as the path of a musical performer is most times fraught with
doubt and uncertainty. It is this
kind of validation that leads me to believe that this is what I am supposed to
Because the creation of this CD took so much of my time and
energy, I sort of stepped off the public performance bandwagon. Most of the time, my performing has been in the
public service arena - I mentioned before playing for patients at the hospital
and for bereavement camps. I would
like to continue to do that and if my destiny is to play publicly for money
then I have complete faith that that will occur.
In the meantime, I perform at my booth every third Saturday (from October thru
May) at the Estrella Mountain Ranch Farmer’s Market inGoodyear,Arizona. There will be an Art Walk at that Market May 20th,
2006 in which I will also be performing.
I also hope to have a booth set up at the 2006 Tempe, AZ
Fall Festival of the Arts on Mill
I am in the process of setting up my own website (www.lorriesarafin.com) so I am hoping
to have that up by the end of April 2006 and yes, any public performances will
of course be listed on that website.
In the meantime, you can access info about the CD at http://www.lizarddanceproductions.com And also at the CD Baby website
AV: Any final
comments you’d like to make about the writing, recording or feedback you have
received on Second Wind?
LS: I am eternally grateful to the Creator who has shown me so
many wonderful gifts, and to my mother and my brother and sister for all their
support. A big thank-you also to
Bill Binkelman at KFAI-FM - who gave me such a wonderful review that it made me
cry. Also, thanks to Marty at WXDU
and Misha at WWSP and also to Barry at WFDU-FM for playing the music! If there
are any other broadcasters who would like a review copy, please feel free to
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I would be more than happy to get
a copy out to you. And of course I
want to thank all those who have purchased the CD - your support means so much
more to me than mere words can convey.
I sincerely hope the music speaks to you and that it has made a positive
difference in your life.
And finally, thank-you Michael for this opportunity to talk
about “Second Wind”. I am sincerely
grateful for your interest and for all that you do for the music
AV: And thank you Lorrie for taking the time to talk to us about your new CD and I wish you much success with the path that you have chosen in regards to your music.