MP3 Clare Connors - Gratitude
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17 MP3 Songs in this album (40:27) !
Related styles: EASY LISTENING: Mood Music, NEW AGE: Relaxation
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My Musical Odyssey
When I was three years old, I was finally tall enough to reach our familyâs piano and I began to pick out tunes with my tiny fingers. My parents werenât able to find a teacher to work with me until I was six, but by that time the piano and I had become fast friends.
My dad, a truck mechanic, used to change from his coveralls after work each night, wash his hands with Lava soap, and sit down and play the piano. I always marveled at the way his fingers, so large and strong, could play with such sensitivity. He had a beautiful, resonant bass voice and always sang as he played. Mom sang along with him in two-part harmony while she fixed supper.
Singing and piano playing saturated my young life, for my whole family loved music and made it a part of each day and each gathering. I swear that my sister, Eileen, knows the words to every song that hit the charts in the 50âs and 60âs ! I was always encouraged to play, even being excused from washing dishes so that I could practice.
My formal music education has been sporadic, but Iâve never been without a piano, except when I was overseas as a Peace Corps volunteer. When I married, my husband gave me a piano with a payment book for it as a wedding gift!
I played professionally in restaurants during summer vacations to earn money for college, but didnât think of myself as a musician until I began playing Irish music with friends and neighbors and in a band in my late thirties. Serendipity then led me to the magic of playing for ballet and modern dance classes. It was there that I embraced composing and discovered a whole new dimension in musical expression. The graceful movement patterns I observed in the dance classes suggested musical patterns to me, and I found great joy in the experience of spontaneous composing.
Then I found myself hearing musical patterns while observing nature. I always consider this type of composing as a gift from the unseen world â something waiting to be ushered into our experience.
A friend once loaned me a piano accordion and I learned to play it in the bathroom with the door closed, which was the only way I could avoid driving my family crazy. I later got my own accordion and played in many nursing homes. For a while, I did accordion music therapy with Alzheimerâs patients and discovered musicâs power to communicate across seemingly impenetrable barriers.
My first experience in recording a CD came when cittern player Gerald Trimble asked me to play piano on his two albums,â First Flightâ andâ Heartland Messengerâ, both released by Green Linnet International. I also played with Gerald at Harvard Universityâs Black Sheep Music Festival. This collaboration taught me a great deal about music arranging and got me thinking about making my own CD. Some 20 years later, thanks to a generous benefactor, my first CD,âHeartlightâ was born.
Accompanying singers has been another of my most rewarding musical experiences. From playing for my father, brother, and uncles and aunts, whose resonant voices and beautiful singing styles always thrilled me, to accompanying a wonderful Irish tenor for ten years in an Irish restaurant, Iâve been blessed with many opportunities to enjoy this musical pleasure.
Iâve also played in five Irish bands and have had many outrageously fun times playing this magical music. Thereâs a quiet, mystical side to Irish music, too, and Iâm working on interpreting that aspect of it on the piano.
After many long years of fitting music into a very busy schedule, Iâm now grateful to have enough leisure time to make it a primary focus. And I finally have time to devote to producing and sharing CDs.
I canât imagine a world without music. It has kept me in touch with my inner strength during a 25-year period of extreme stress. It is my deepest hope that I can help others to heal and cope with the worldâs mounting stresses through this music. Nothing makes me happier than to learn that my music has helped someone relax, smile, or heal. I hope that it will bless you in some way.
I want to acknowledge and thank my children (Danny and Sarah), my family, friends, classmates and piano and dance teachers who've inspired, encouraged and supported my efforts over the years. What wonderful people they are !
"Gratitude" song list with comments:
This CD is an expression of my gratitude for all that has nourished me throughout my life. I am particularly grateful for my family and friends who have loved me so abundantly and for the inspiration Iâve received from the beauty of Nature and from human artistic expression. Iâve written here a brief visualization for each song to enhance your listening experience and Iâve noted what inspired each composition. May these songs take you to places of wonder, beauty, and peace.
1: Moonlight: You are sitting on a silent hillside beneath a full moon. Silver light gently bathes you and your surroundings, transporting you to a world of wonder and peace. (Inspirations: Moonlight, ballet, and the music of John Field)
2: Woodstackinâ Reel: Crisp October air fills your lungs as you and your friends stack logs on the farmhouse porch. Overhead, a majestic eagle lazily rides the thermals. Musical instruments, a warm fire, and a pot of hearty chili await you. (Inspirations: Irish traditional music and wood gathering with friends at a Missouri farm)
3: Aspen Afternoon: Mellow afternoon light gleams on golden aspens in the magical landscape of the Eastern Sierras. Rustling leaves and a tumbling stream delight your ears as the sun warms your shoulder blades. (Inspiration: a weekâs visit to Californiaâs Mammoth Lake region)
4: Fireflies: Cool evening air caresses your face as you walk through fields of twinkling fireflies. In the deep darkness, itâs hard to tell where the fireflies end and the stars begin. You are in a world of pure wonder.
(Inspiration: a June evening in rural Missouri)
5: Rockinâ Chair: A young child rests on your lap, nodding off to sleep as you finish reading a fairy tale in the family rocking chair. The gentle motion mesmerizes you and for a precious time you become a child yourself. The world becomes wonderfully simple and simply wonderful. (Inspiration: rocking my children to sleep)
6: Rain on a September Evening: Sitting by a window at dusk, you watch the rain steadily drifting downward. Its soft patter on the roof lulls you into a reverie in which you and your beloved walk hand in hand in an evening shower. Your heart dances as you re-live these precious moments. (Inspiration: A September rainfall in New England)
7: Moonbow: You are drawn to the window on a soft spring evening by an unusually bright light. Above, a full moon wears a rare multicolored halo. The sight fills you with awe and peace. (Inspiration, a âmoonbowâ sighting during an Irish music jam session in rural Missouri)
8: Mountain Sunrise: You awaken in a tent to the sound of birdsong. Traces of light slowly filter through the darkness, increasing until the shape of a nearby mountain is defined. The rising sun slowly slides from its cradle, sending bright fingers before it. All at once, the golden disk rises above the mountain in a moment of exhilarating majesty. (Inspiration: camping at Hartâs Location, Maine)
9: Another Rainy Day: You curl up in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and a good novel. Your cats snuggle in your lap and purr. Outside, the rain nourishes the thirsty earth. You put aside your book and drift inward to the place where dreams are born and nourished. (Inspiration: enjoying the deep quiet of a rainy day)
10: Gathering Stillness: Daylight fades; birds end their song; and dusk draws you into a place of quiet mystery. Stillness soothes your soul and the dayâs tensions melt away. Darkness welcomes you into its comforting embrace. (Inspiration: watching night fall during a delicious June evening on a Missouri farm )
11: The Music Makers: Inspiration: my music-making friends and a verse from âOdeâ by Arthur OâShaughnessy (Music and Moonlight, 1874):
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams,
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
12: Full Moon Float Trip: The canoe beneath you glides silently through the water as you hear a voice faintly calling:
âCome with me â
on the mighty river â
just floating â
Come with me, dream with me, come with me, rest with me â
(Inspiration: a full moon float trip on the Missouri River with three canoes full of friends on my 40th birthday)
13: Beautiful Argentina: Tango rhythm is the heartbeat of Buenos Aires, where people take ample time for family life; treat children, elders, and pregnant women with warmth and consideration; whistle on the sidewalk; eat lots of ice cream; and welcome visitors with generous hearts. (Inspiration: living in Buenos Aires for four months)
14: Gypsy Waltz: The campfire leaps to the rhythms of guitars, tambourines, and violins while stories are told and dances danced. The air crackles with excitement and drama as hearts unite. (Inspiration: watching the fire in a wood stove)
15: Friends: Warmly sharing, listening, celebrating, commiserating, making music, helping, entertaining, questioning, teaching, inspiring, encouraging, critiquing, learning, growing together. (Inspiration: My dear friends)
16: Compassion: A dear one is illâ¦discouragedâ¦stressed outâ¦
We reach into our hearts and bring out the best we can give to help heal, uplift, cheer, calm that soulâ¦and in so doing we embody the finest aspect of human natureâ¦(Inspiration: Compassion shown to me by dear family and friends during stressful times)
17: Bright New Day: Multiple challenges beset him over and over again, yet he continues to carry on with hope and zest for life, reaching out when he can to help others. (Inspiration: My dear son, Daniel, whose great courage and force of will have repeatedly kept a fatal disease at bay against all odds)
Photography: Sarah Joplin
Graphics: Bob Reade
Engineer: Justin Mayer
Recorded at Bear Creek Studio, Santa Cruz, CA
Special thanks to my family and friends who have encouraged, critiqued, and provided financial support for this CD. Without you, it would still be just a dream. My gratitude to all of you is beyond words.
Produced by Heartlight Music Creations, BMI
in partnership with CDbaby
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