This is a truly inspirational interview with flutist Lorrie Sarafin. Come on in friends and enjoy her positive energy as she tells us about her love of nature, her beautiful Native American flute music, and speaks of the journey to finding one's true self. - Ro.
Ro: I was listening to music from your CD Second Wind while preparing for this interview. I love Native American flute music and a number of the songs on Second Wind contain your own original Native American flute compositions. The music is incredibly beautiful. When did you first start playing the Native American flute?
Lorrie: Thank-you for your kind words - I am glad that the music speaks to you. To answer your question - I bought my first flute in 1996 - from a store in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ. I had heard the instrument back in 1993 played R, Carlos Nakai at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and just fell in love with the sound. I had no idea you could buy these flutes - so imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon them in that store! I didn't know how to play and so bought the flute for it's looks - which is NOT the way to buy a flute (laughs).
Ro: Who were your teachers?
Lorrie: I was never formally trained on the Native American Flute - nor did I take any classes or lessons. Instead, I took the flute out into the beautiful Sonoran Desert on my many hikes and played to the cactus, the rocks and the birds and animals. I like to think my "teachers" were all of Nature and the Wind. If you get close enough to a big Saguaro cactus out here - the Wind "sings" as its passing through the cactus needles. It's the most amazing sound!
Ro: As a singer-songwriter myself, from a practical standpoint, I know that a tremendous amount of time and effort are required to complete a CD. Life gets in the way of us pursuing our passions and this can be very disheartening. Rousing Rowena is a blog about living a meaningful and happy life and by that I mean through pursuit of our passions over material possessions, in pursuit of significance over monetary success. It is my understanding that a heavy dose of divine intervention got you thinking about your own direction, leading to the completion of Second Wind. Please share with my readers what happened.
Lorrie: I suffered two accidents, neither of them life threatening, that put me on crutches for over a year. The fact that it was difficult to get around made me realize that perhaps I wasn't as immortal as I liked to think I was! And since I couldn't get out and about as easily as before - I decided that it would be a good thing to focus on something creative. The idea of seriously making music became a possibility rather than a dream - and I just took one day at a time and entered into the flow of it all. There were times I wanted to give up - I had to learn at least four or five music software programs - and also software to create the CD's artwork. It was a pretty intense time. It took me two years to complete the music - and like a true birth I felt depressed after I sent my "child" off to be replicated. (laughs)
Ro: In his review of Second Wind, Bill Binkleman of Zone Music Reporter said that your CD “contains some of the best combinations of desert ambient soundscapes, haunting Native American-influenced flute, and environmental sounds since John Huling’s classic release, Desert Plateaus.” I agree most soulfully with Mr. Binkleman’s description. Please tell us in your own words, your feelings about nature and how its influences your music.
Lorrie: I seriously doubt that if I had not been in love with the Sonoran Desert that Second Wind could have occurred. I also seriously doubt that if I hadn't spent the 1980's employed by a radio network in New York City that Second Wind would have seen the light of day. I now fully understand that Second Wind was a culmination of my entire life experiences up to the moment it was released. My life's "journey" encapsulated in a 60 minute music CD - all of my life experience was necessary to create that first CD.
Ro: It is my understanding that all of the songs on Second Wind are personal reflections of your life experiences. Bobbi (Canyon Sunrise) was written in honor of a friend whom you loved very much and lost. The song is mysterious, tender, and takes me to a peaceful place. Please share with us a little bit more about your friend Bobbi and others who have influenced your songs.
Lorrie: I don't think I could have made it through those high school years without my best friend Bobbi. We were always together - and her death at age 47 from breast cancer hit me very very hard. I had already composed Canyon Sunrise - and decided to honor her spirit by renaming the song after her. I am sure she smiles whenever anyone plays the song.
Sarah was written for a little girl who was born with a lot of medical problems. Her mother was a fellow co-worker of mine at the time and one day she just broke down and cried and told me how much she wanted to keep Sarah alive - even though all the doctors were telling her it was a lost cause. It was just such a heartrending moment! The song is full of hope - and a "never say die" attitude - and that is what I wanted to convey - a mother's love can make anything possible.
Song for Stephanie is for a woman I met and played for at a local hospital. I did not know her, but ended up playing for her a couple of weeks before she died and also at her funeral. The Native American Flute has a way of leading you gently on a journey of discovery - not only of others but also of yourself. It can make instant connections between strangers - I once played at a local park as the sun was going down and found myself staring into the teary eyes of a stranger who got down on his knees and thanked me for the music. You never know who the music will touch and how deeply - which is why I think playing the Native American Flute is one of life's most amazing experiences.
Ro: Songs such as Camelback Shadows and South Mountain Sunrise were inspired by places that you have been. Describe how these particular places inspired you.
Lorrie: Camelback Mountain is a landmark here in the Phoenix, AZ area. When I first moved out here and we were about to land at Sky Harbor airport - my talkative seat neighbor on the plane was pointing out all the landmarks - and I never forgot Camelback Mountain - as it has the distinctive outline of a camel's head and a camel's hump. Years later I was playing at a local resort and was watching as the sun set against Camelback - I noticed how the shadows got longer and longer and how the mountain turned from an orange to a purple...and the song Camelback Shadows was born.
South Mountain Sunrise was inspired by all the hiking I have done at South Mountain - which is the world largest city park at around 17 thousand acres. I took my flutes many places on South Mountain - and in some areas there are ancient petroglyphs - rock art pecked out of the stone by the ancient Hohokam. You can't help but feel there are a lot of ancient Spirits on South Mountain and I wanted to pay tribute to them on this song.
Ro: I see that you perform at various artist studios and, marketplaces in and around the Phoenix area. You have also volunteered your time to play for Bereavement Camps and Interfaith memorial services hosted by Banner Hospice, and have played for patients at Scottsdale Healthcare’s Osborn campus in an effort to promote healing. How wonderful! What is your favorite venue and why?
Lorrie: I would have to say that playing the flute in service to others (Hospital or Hospice) has got to be the best! When you play with no other thought but to help others - then I think you are doing what one should be doing with the flute. But you can also do that in other venues too - so as long as there are appreciative people around and you don't let Ego get in the way!
Ro: It is my understanding that the song Emergence is your interpretation of the journey we all make in realizing our true selves. That is awesome! In closing, please tell us a little bit more about your journey and share with my readers any words of wisdom that you may have about realizing their own true selves.
Lorrie: When I started with the flute - I only wanted to play beautifully - I had no other thoughts but to make beautiful sounds. As more and more people let me know they liked the sounds I was making - then I wanted to share - and so one thing led to another and Second Wind was born. I am pleased to say that CD # 2 is in the works - and I hope to have Many Paths released within the next few weeks. Many Paths is a departure for me in that some of the songs are collaborations with people from over ten years ago - and are quite a mixture of New Age, Ambient, Celtic and Smooth Jazz flavored tracks. I am so thrilled to be able to get them out into the world!
My advice for those who are still seeking - keep seeking! Your life's journey is to find what it is that you are best at - and what you enjoy doing the most. Joseph Campbell expressed it as "following your bliss". The Universe will always help you - ask and you shall receive - but as always - be careful what you ask for! (laughs) Answers WILL come - but I have found that if you can get out into Nature - your chances improve as to finding out what makes you YOU.
Ro: Thank you very much Lorrie for contributing to Rousing Rowena. You are truly inspiring! I am looking forward to Many Paths and to hearing more from you in the future.
I recommend Lorrie’s CD Second Wind for use in meditation, relaxation, and simply because I love her music! For more information about Lorrie, her upcoming performances, and to find out where you can purchase your own copy of Second Wind and future releases, please click here: Lorrie Sarafin
With all my love, Ro
Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.