About First Breath Welcome to the debut CD of First Breath. First of all I'd like to thank Karim Hajee for the inspiration behind this wonderful project. First Breath is a new age band that delights in passion and inspiration. During the course of recording this CD the band experienced the extremes of what life has to offer: my wife was pregnant with our first child and my uncle, who I was very close to, died. As you read each song description you will see how both events played out in our lives and how that translated to song. Resolution I wrote this song not long after I learned my wife was pregnant. To me 'Resolution' is about the struggle of life. Water and birds float and soar throughout the piece. If you listen with headphones they keep shifting across the aural horizon. The first section is in a minor key. Minor keys to me represent pathos, tension, and upheaval. After a brief section of extreme discord, the theme comes back in a major key with a baby laughing on wind. Ah, the joys of life always pierce the haze, if you let them. Fill your mind Throughout this CD there's the subtle, often silent, but powerful influence of Karim Hajee. When I heard the line from one of his motivational speeches - 'fill your mind with possibilities', it seemed so simple, so clear, yet profoundly deep. I tried to represent that line in music. However, my first effort turned to sonic soup. I had an idea for a piece with layer after layer of 8th notes, driving with relentless intensity to a climax then falling off in density and volume. To put it politely, it sucked. But out of that came a beautiful counter melody in 7. So I took that, borrowed a little from Pachybel and his Canon and came up with this glorious song. The melody first appears at the top with Kristina sounding as though she's inside some 1930's tube radio. It next appears on violin, performed with dexterity and grace by Sara Kim. For all you harmonic investigators, the original 8th note line is still there, only this time as one of the textured elements, not a principal theme. There's Nobody Else (like you) Another line from Karim. To me it's a line from a love poem. A line spoken to one's soul mate. I don't know whether Karim intended it to be so, but for me it works. From that line I came up with a solo piano piece. Delicate with some quirks, just like me. Unique, if you will, coupled with a soft expression of caring and craving. A song of love from me to her - my wife. My Prayer I truly loved my Uncle Hardy. He was a great man. Not only in stature (he was 6 foot 5 inches tall), but in my life. He died in a plane crash . Since he was an old school flyboy, a Lt. Colonel (Ret) in the Air Force, Special Ops, with over 50 years air experience, it was probably the best way for him to die. If there is a best way to die. Hardy had a Masters in Psychological Warfare and a PHD in international military affairs. He lived and loved war. He was a true warrior. He died on November 16, 2003. A Sunday. The Friday before that Jo told me she was pregnant. We never got a chance to tell Hardy. His memory runs fresh thru me now. When he was alive, he and I would get together at least twice a month, flame up some beef on the backyard grill and solve the world's problems. I remember sitting around one summer's night, glass of red in hand and he told me his philosophy of death. It was simple. Dead is dead. He had no fear of death or life. He was a warrior. True to the end. This song is about my love for my Uncle. The solo violin, again played beautifully by Sara Kim, is the spirit that flies free after we die. The quartet of Heather, Jo, James, and Adam sing with simple beauty. At the end - a quiet request, sung with perfect innocence by Jo. Passion Sorrow can always be tempered by joy, if we let it. Remember Jo was with child. Our first child. A little girl. The pain of losing Hardy kept being flipped by the joy of my daughter growing inside my wife. From that excitement came the simple lyrics. Kristina Lanuza, who was new to our lives, but is now a permanent part of it, sang those words with grace and feeling. Originally I set this song to a kind of a 50's bop tune. But so many people complained, that I revised and revised and revised until this version popped out. I'm glad my friends were honest with me. Sometimes I'm too close to a piece to know how bad it is. That's why the truth, though tough, needs to be spoken, then, if willing, heard. Dream Deep Another song about Hardy. Return of a minor key. Sadness. The melody ascends, transforms to major, but always descends, returning to it's dark origins. I often wonder, as a person who believes killing is flat out wrong, where the warrior fits in the spiritual realm of judgment. Hardy was a warrior. Lived for war, served in Vietnam, killed. Killed for our country. This moral question transcends one's feelings about that war. It transcends all wars. It is about the warrior. Before I came to understand Hardy, I didn't believe in the warrior caste. After all, the only time I'd ever seen a 'warrior' was in a movie - be it Samurai or Clint. Hardy was truly of the warrior caste. He killed people. Not out of spite, or anger, or derangement. He killed, as have other warriors, for their country. For the preservation of something they love so much they are willing to die, so we may live. Now I'm not saying the terrorist is right. I'm not saying the murderer is right. I'm not saying Hardy is right. What I'm saying is - I believe, some people are put on this earth to protect and to serve. And they do their job. For a job it is. But this brings up the question: When a warrior, not a radio talk show host warrior, or a flight-suit-wearing-pretend warrior, but a real warrior dies, does he or she enjoy Heaven, or Nirvana? Or do they rot in hell because killing, all killing is wrong, a sin? Like we're taught in church? I'd like to think Hardy is flying in God's wing squadron, but then he might find it too boring. Dream Deep is a plea for something more basic - solace. For the dead and for the living. First Breath Ahh, little baby Skylar. Inside Jo's belly. Kicking and growing. How beautiful. This song, after a lyrical piano intro catches that excitement. The syncopated melody is magically played by Sara Kim. Andy on the drums lays down a solid groove. Ken Hughes strong guitar and textured picking adds unexpected and delightful movement. The initial theme returns as the bridge, followed by a little section of discord, then we're back to the rockin' melody, book ended by the intro. Pilgrimage Kristina kicks this song off with an arcing, dissonant melody. This song is as the title suggests: A pilgrimage. The lyrics are once again from Karim. 'there is no such thing as coincidence'. Andy K kicks in the Barundi drumbeat. That boy can play. Jo, with her dark penetrating voice, introduces the main lyric. As this pilgrimage reaches it's destination, it builds and gains momentum, ending in a percussive unison riff. Higher Self 'Build that bond with your higher self' another Karim-ism. The choir takes this song out. Heather, Johanna and James and Adam sing their parts wonderfully. I have to give Jo super-kudos for nailing what I call the 'chick section'. I felt this song needed a sing-along moment. Kind of like that super saccharine group from the 70's - the New Kristy Minstrels. Remember them? Not that I do, but channel surfing has it's moments. Speaking of flipping channels, I put in a four-part section after listening to a gospel choir on late night TV. The idea of breaking down a theme and then building again felt right for this song. Intro Creating Power Outro Creating Power These two pieces are where my collaboration with Karim began. I have to give him credit. He allowed me to write songs that move his program forward as opposed to the traditional floating nebulous music most self-help programs insist on. Enjoy.
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