Second Wind by Lorrie Sarafin


 

Lorrie Sarafin

Visit Lorrie's website

 

 

Second Wind

 

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 theNew 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 t o 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 theScottsdale 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 flute?

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 I received. 

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 music around? 

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 aPhoenix 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 theScottsdale,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 theChandler 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 be doing.

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 2006Tempe,AZ Fall Festival of the Arts onMill Avenue. 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 http://cdbaby.com/cd/lorriesarafin .  

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 info@lizarddanceproductions.com . 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 community.

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.